The Belly Dance Workout - Stomach and Glutes
Belly Dancing to Exercise Abs
It's often assumed that belly dancing is a great abs workout because of that word "belly". In fact, whether a belly dance class works your abs will depend a lot on whether you can find the right belly dance teacher.
For instance, if she's properly trained in modern Egyptian (Oriental) or Tribal, she will teach you to use your obliques, abs and core muscles to move your hips - and a basic class will really work your mid-section. However, many older-style instructors teach using the legs to move the hips, so your abs will barely get a workout!
So, having the right teacher can make a huge difference to your results - though even with good instruction, it takes a lot of practice to be able to work your abs like belly dancer Helena Vlahos in this clip!
However you'll notice that even with all that skill, Helen doesn't have a six-pack. Personally I find the smooth contour of a belly dancer's stomach much more attractive and feminine than a rigid washboard - and if you do to, there are belly dancing abs DVD's which teach specific belly exercises so you can work on them in your own time.
Belly Dance to Exercise Glutes
This is another misconception. Ordinary beginner belly dance classes will not give you a firm, lifted butt. Some belly dancers use their glutes in shimmies, but many don't. You can see the difference in their dancing - if they use their glutes, the movement is generally sharper and tighter.
Suhaila is a "glute user" and she's also a champion of using belly dancing to tighten and define your butt. If you want to learn the glute technique,this is a good DVD to use.
Belly Dance for Weight Loss
If you're not very fit, an ordinary belly dance class is enough of a fat burning workout. But increasingly, you'll find classes and DVD's offering belly dance workouts which are as aerobic and challenging as a gym class.
Many people assume that because belly dancing is so gentle on the body, these cardio belly dance workouts are very safe. Not so! When you do belly dance hip movements at speed, it's hard to maintain good technique. Most beginners will begin sticking their butt out, or twisting at the knee. That can be very damaging for your back and your knees.
So before you start doing these fast belly dance exercises, you must be sure you have your form right - i.e., please ensure you understand exactly what the movements are and that you're able to copy them exactly.
© 2009 Kate Swanson