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The Belly Dance Workout - Stomach and Glutes

Updated on February 16, 2018
Marisa Wright profile image

Kate Swanson is an Australian writer and dancer with nearly 40 years' experience in ballet, jazz, flamenco, ballroom, Latin and bellydance.

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.

Bellydance for Beginners with Suhaila: Fitness Fusion - 4 Volume Gift Set (Buns, Jazz, Pilates, Yoga)
Bellydance for Beginners with Suhaila: Fitness Fusion - 4 Volume Gift Set (Buns, Jazz, Pilates, Yoga)

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


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    • PegCole17 profile image

      Peg Cole 

      6 years ago from Northeast of Dallas, Texas

      Very interesting and well designed article. Thanks for all the useful information here.

    • Vacation Trip profile image


      6 years ago from India

      Great hub on belly dancing and fitness. Interesting hub. Thanks for sharing.

    • Marisa Wright profile imageAUTHOR

      Kate Swanson 

      9 years ago from Sydney

      Naughty, naughty! These days most belly dancers try to distance themselves from making belly dance too sexy. Professional dancers definitely do not engage in that kind of behavior - but I must say, I'm sure I'm not the only bellydancer who finds her skills very useful in entertaining her man...

    • profile image

      health store 

      9 years ago

      belly dancing is a great way to get fit it has done wonders for my wife and great for foreplay too ^_^

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Is this difficult to learn? It looks very interesting. Thanks for the information.

    • profile image

      Workouts For Abs 

      9 years ago

      Nice video, I liked it too! Belly dancing is gaining ground in my neck of the woods!

    • Marisa Wright profile imageAUTHOR

      Kate Swanson 

      9 years ago from Sydney

      Sorry you got put off last time, Faybe - it's never too late to start!

    • Faybe Bay profile image

      Faye Constantino 

      9 years ago from Florida

      I am enjoying your new hub about belly dancing. It brought me here of course, and I will probably end up going through all of them. I had a friend over 20 years ago try to teach me but I gave up (she was too fast). Now that I see the benefits as well as the fun, I might try again.

    • Marlene F. profile image

      Marlene F. 

      10 years ago from Richmond, Virginia

      Wow...It looks like fun! Loved the video.

    • packerpack profile image

      Om Prakash Singh 

      10 years ago from India, Calcutta

      Well Thanks for the reply I will surely go through that hub you have mentioned.

    • Marisa Wright profile imageAUTHOR

      Kate Swanson 

      10 years ago from Sydney

      Packerpack, one of the great things about belly dancing is that you don't need to have a perfect figure.  Belly dancing classes generally are very supportive and non-judgmental, unlike other dance classes which can be quite competitive.

      Belly dancing is also one of the easiest dance styles to learn because it doesn't require a lot of flexibility or strength and works with the natural movements of the body.  It does take a little while to get the knack, of course!  As for the moving hips thing, this Hub will help:

    • packerpack profile image

      Om Prakash Singh 

      10 years ago from India, Calcutta

      Belly dance, just like the one Shakira did in "Hips don't lie". Ya it surely is very sexy but at the sametime I guess it will be very difficult. You really need to have some slim body to do that? How is it that they move their hips while the rest of the body keeps still. Great

    • deccasandy profile image


      10 years ago from Belmont

      Belly dance is indeed very helpful Specially in keeping you fit and giving you a flat tummy.


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