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Warm Up With Rhythm

Kick off your next class with a dance-inspired intro.

Dancing is a great workout that delivers as many smiles as it does full-body benefits. To share those benefits with participants, however, you don’t need to teach a whole dance class. A dance-inspired warmup will help patrons prepare for specific movements while setting a perfect tone for class.

In general, a good warmup includes

  • rhythmic and dynamic limbering actions that mimic the day’s program;
  • movement through all three planes of motion to heat the upper body, lower body and core;
  • simple-to-follow steps that transition to more complex steps, so that you can “read” students’ ability levels and select appropriate modifications; and
  • progressions that begin from a neutral foundation, starting with foot patterns, then adding arm work, for more intensity and flair.

Try the following fun and effective warmup progressions in your next class.


See also: Why Do Members Love Dance Fitness?

Figure-Eight Hip Mobility

Figure 8 hip mobility movement for dance warmup

This is a great move for the hips and torso.

  • Start with feet hip-width apart, hands on hips.
  • Rock hips right, shifting weight while pushing hips.
  • Circle hips back and around to left, pushing hips L and transferring weight.
  • Circle hips front and around to R, creating figure-eight pattern.
  • Repeat 8x–16x.
  • Progression: Add swirling double arm motion or add rhythmic action by increasing tempo—single hip R, single hip L, then double hip R.
  • Repeat, other direction.


Step-tap movement for dance warmup

  • Start with feet together.
  • Step R foot to side, tap L foot next to R, repeat L.
  • Add intensity by bending knees to lower center of gravity. Add double arm pump for more jazz flair.
  • Perform 8x–16x on each side, varying intensity by shifting from taller position to squat.

Wide Step-Tap With Ballroom Arms

Wide Step-Tap With Ballroom Arms for dance warmup

  • From wide stance, shift weight R; tap L toe while grounding R leg. Shift weight L, and tap R toe on ground.
  • Repeat, maintaining wide stance.
  • Once that’s mastered, add “ballroom arms” by bending one arm at chest height and other arm to goal-post shape at shoulder height. Sway arms from side to side with rhythm of weight shift. (Arms move to weighted side of body.)
  • Repeat 8x, each side.

Body Slide With Stomp

Body Slide With Stomp for dance warmup

  • Start with feet together. Slowly step out wide, R (2 counts), sliding L leg.
  • Reach arms out diagonally, R arm high, L arm low, toward L leg.
  • Stomp feet close together L, R, crossing arms at chest.
  • Repeat, other side.

Tap Front With Leg Lift

Tap Front With Leg Lift for Dance Warmup

  • Tap R leg over L leg; step R leg back to wide stance and cross L leg over R leg, creating diagonal pattern from side to side.
  • Reach arms in opposition to legs, rotating torso.
  • For more flair and intensity, replace tap with “flick kick” front, lifting front leg at diagonal to torso. Create “swing dance” feeling.

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