Friday, June 15, 2012

Zumba With Weights; When, How, Why.

By now many people all over the world know about Zumba. The Latin based fun, energetic and sexy workout that uses dance moves and music from around the world to make you forget how hard you are working until you realize that you are sweating buckets and guaranteed delightfully sore muscles!

Along with the regular Zumba format there are a collection of specialty formats. Zumba Toning is among them. This program uses maraca type light weights called Zumba Toning Sticks. They come in 1 lb. and 2.5 lb. Along with adding a layer of resistance to your Zumba workout they make a fun sound when shaken! Zumba Toning can be done with regular, light hand weights. Just no shaking. I'll explain why in a bit.

When; Should you use hand held weights for the regular Zumba format? Let me be clear-


Whew! Why the shouty words Miss Erin?

Because you can do some serious damage to yourself and others! Rotator cuff injuries are no joke. They can cause permentate damage to one of the most complex joint systems of the body. Wrist, elbow and neck injuries as well. Not to mention how a poorly timed arm movement can land that cute little hand weight right in your kisser.

What about the people around you? Party is definitelty over when that weight lands on somebody's foot, face or anywhere!

What about strap-on, glove like hand weights? Well the risk of injuring someone else is greatly reduced. But its still an iffy choice.

How; Seems pretty dangerous to use weights with Zumba, right? So how the hell is there a specialty program for it?

The format used in Zumba Toning is specifically designed to take all those risks into consideration. When participants are using the weights the moves are slower and more controlled. Traditional fitness moves are used; bicep curls, lunges, shoulder presses, lat. raises, flys, etc. Normally Zumba instructors are encouraged to minimize verbal cuing and rely on visual cuing for the regular Zumba format. Not so with Zumba Toning. Mic is in place and on. The Zumba instructor is there to give you verbal instructions, cues and safety tips throughout. The weights are even set down throughout the class for faster combos.
 About the no shaking with regular weights; Zumba Toning Sticks are hollow tubes filled with enough bead-like material to be the desired 1-2.5 lbs. When you move them, shake them, tap them or what have you, the loose material absorbs the force of the movement. What absorbs the force when using regualr weights? You. Think jumping with straight legs. Yikes, that makes my teeth hurt just thinking about it!

Why; Why even have a weight bearing format for Zumba? Lots of reasons. Increased resistance adds a layer of challenge to an already energetic workout. Something a little different. Switching up movement tempos, intensities, points of focus are proven to increase skills, strength and mental and physical endurance, no matter what you doing (there's a future post!).

I am a licenced Zumba Toning instructor. I haven't added it to what I currently teach now. Mainly because its not my favorite format. I prefer to work with heavier weights and bodyweight training techniques. But I'll never say never to learning new tricks. I'll put Zumba Toning on my "Summer To Do List", along with attempting handstands, muscle-ups and dragging my husband the length of our lawn.

I'm going to start posting fun ways to increase the challenge of the Zumba moves we all love, using non-weight bearing techniques.

Check out my new facebook page, DanceFitErin, click the link here. Then, click the "like" button.

Thanks for reading. And remember-

When; Should you use hand held weights for the regular Zumba format? Let me be clear-


Stay safe and healthy!

Enjoy the dance that is life!

1 comment:

  1. I've been using 1.5 pound gloves for the last 4 years. They're much better than those zumba toning sticks --those things hurt my hands and wrists after awhile. In the best fast classes I don't need the gloves but in a moderate class they help me get my heart rate up within a few songs and keep it up. I tried some 3 pound gloves but they're too heavy. I've never gotten injured or hurt my rotators using gloves in a regular zumba class.