Salsa Dance for Fitness and Fun

Latin style dance fitness can be a lot of fun and is a good workout for legs and core muscles. I’ve had a lot of fun with my Crunch Cardio Salsa workout DVD. The fitness instructor on the video is Giselle Roque de Escobar, who exudes a lot of enthusiasm.

The total workout is 40 minutes long and is broken down into five different dance routine segments, in addition to the warm-up and cool-down. These include the salsa , merengue , merengue salsa, samba and Latin funk combinations. You can choose the different chapters from the main menu and can either do the full workout or do two to three of your favorite dance segments along with the warm-up and cool-down. The versatility is nice, because there may be days when you’re a little sore or not up to a full length workout but still want exercise.

Arms probably do not get the same sort of workout as your legs do, but there are arm movements, many of which are graceful and Latin-inspired. There are “flick arms,” (a wrist flick movement,) graceful twirling flamenco arms during the cool-down and even a move where you shake some imaginary maracas. After returning to this DVD from a long break, I felt it in my shoulders and upper back which must be from the arm movements.

The instructor is easy to follow. She’ll demonstrate the footwork, sometimes moves just as simple as stepping out to the side, or alternating feet stepping forward, then add hip and arm movements. There is, of course, a lot of hip movement in Latin dance.

Giselle teaching hip movement
Source: YouTube

Although some of the moves I described are done in place, you do move around quite a bit for this workout: frontwards and back, side to side and even on a diagonal. I did manage to modify things a bit and make it work for a somewhat small space. As long as you are moving at the right tempo, you can still get good exercise whether you are moving in place or in the space around you.

One favorite move is what she calls a “modified mambo,” where you turn sideways and push up on the ball of your foot for a hip roll, then move splayed hands out to the sides, as Giselle says, “as if you were presenting your hips.”

The most energetic segment is the samba segment. The rhythm for this section is quite fast, and you do what Giselle describes as “little skips.” You aren’t lifting both feet off the floor at once, but the step has a lot of bounce to it. The workout is low impact throughout, but there are a few little hops here and there too.

There is a drummer, introduced as Ravi, drumming the beat in the background behind the dancers. The DVD cover describes it as “live drums,” but a recording of drums isn’t live in the truest sense, is it? What is more accurate to say is that, while the music is canned, the drums were live at the time of the recording and has a live feel to it. The drumming, I think, does help you get a good feeling for the beat easily.

With Amazon Prime, you can get the DVD for $8.22. Click on the image link below, if you are interested.

You can also stream the workout with Amazon Prime with a $6.99 per month subscription to the BeFit channel. A free trial is possible.

Latin and Disco Dance with The Firm

Dance fitness is my favorite form of exercise, and, over the years, I’ve accumulated quite a collection of dance fitness DVDs and Just Dance games for Wii. I’ve had The Firm: Cardio Dance Slim Down DVD for a while, but it’s a favorite. It was first released in 2006 and re-released in 2013. What makes things a bit confusing is that The Firm released a different DVD by the same name in 2015, this time with a different instructor. The one I’m reviewing is led by Allie DelRio Pointer.

The workout is 45 minutes long and, aside from warm-up and cool-down, has three dance segments in different dance styles. The second is Latin dance, and the third one is disco. The first dance style is un-named both on the packaging and by the instructor in the video. Perhaps, it would be considered club or modern dancing. I’m not quite sure, but it is fun.

Photo by Mitchell Orr on Unsplash

This video has more interesting warm-up and cool-down segments than in many workouts. I’ve seen so many that use different combinations of very similar stretches. These feel a little more choreographed and have a few interesting and fun moves. For instance, you “butterfly”your legs in the warm-up, a kind of move where you slide on the balls of your feet and alternately point your knees inwards and outwards. In the cool-down, you do the “jerk,” a ’60s dance move, for a bit and also a sweep kick where you balance on one leg and sweep the other around in a circle.

It’s considered a low-impact workout, but there are a few little hops. In the first dance segment, there’s a cool move where you give a low kick followed by bringing both knees up in a little hop and then quickly followed by a dirt-off-the-shoulder move. (You just brush imaginary dust from your shoulder.)

In each dance segment, Allie starts out teaching one dance move, then adding on with another move and continually repeating the sequence as new moves are added until you have a full routine. I’m a little bit experienced at this, but I thought it was easy to learn.

Photo by Isaiah McClean on Unsplash

The Latin dance segment is also fun and features mambo and cha cha inspired steps. There are even some cha cha moves in the disco segment.

Photo by Fidel Fernando on Unsplash

I really enjoy the disco segment. Whether you are hoping for some ’70s flashback music or really hoping there won’t be, those tunes are not featured. Many of these fitness DVDs don’t have the music license to play music hits either new or old. The music throughout sounds like some electronic instrumentals. You can get a feeling for it with a little preview clip below.

I find that locomotion (kick ball change) move, in the clip above, to be one of the most fun out of the whole . I don’t know why. It just feels good to do those kicks.

By the way, I think Allie misspeaks in the clip when she says her favorite move is the cha cha “with legs.” I think she means to say “with arms.” It would be impossible to cha cha without legs. 🙂

Over all, the workout is very fun and varied, low impact and not too overwhelming if you are a beginner or at intermediate level. It works a variety of muscles.

You can buy the DVD on Amazon with the link below. I do get a little commission as an Amazon affiliate, but that does not affect the price which is a pretty good one.

Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash