What is Zumba?

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There are fitness trends, and then are crazes. Meet Zumba.

By most accounts, Zumba, a dance fitness program created by Colombian dancer Alberto Perez in the 1990s, is an exercise phenomenon. Women and men all over the U.S. are dancing their way to good fitness using Zumba, a unique—and oh so fun—form of dancing that consists of dance steps such as samba, salsa, merengue, and mambo, with a little dash of hip-hop.

Zumba is such a good time for so many that is has been dubbed a “dance fitness party.” Although Zumba, at first, was introduced to many through fitness DVDs, this exercise program has taken off. Now, Zumba fitness programs are enjoyed everywhere from fitness studios to church basements.

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Since its creation, Zumba has also adapted into a number of programs, including:

  • Zumbatomic (Zumba for kids)
  • Zumba Gold (Zumba for seniors)
  • Aqua Zumba (Zumba in the water)
  • Zumba Toning (resistance training classes)
  • Zumba in the Circuit (circuit classes at Curves fitness centers)

Most Zumba exercise classes consist of large groups, thus adding to the unique camaraderie of its participants. Dancing up a sweat, says most Zumba participants, is made all the more fun when done with friends. Fun dance moves and lively Latin music are all it takes to work up a sweat and reap the benefits of a great cardio workout.

As a personal trainer, you may decide to take this good-time workout to your personal training business and start offering your own brand of Zuma fun. In fact, replacing a typical cardio workout with a Zumba-inspired workout may be just what you need to excite and motivate your clients.

Zumba Workouts

Zumba, although dance-inspired, requires no dance skills or experience. People of all shapes, sizes, ages, and fitness levels can benefit from Zumba. A typical Zumba class is about an hour long, and all classes include a dynamic warm-up, a period of high-energy dancing, and then a cool down, accompanied by stretching exercises. Each song of a Zumba routine has its own dance routine, thus allowing the participants to get the hang of the movements through repetition.

You may choose to work with your clients using some of the pre-choreographed Zumba dances, or you may deviate and choreograph your own routines using the type of music your clients respond to best. Your Zumba workouts may also be dialed down or up to suit your clients.

Your Zumba workouts may first involve teaching your clients the basic Zumba moves, which include the merengue, salsa, cumbia, and reggae, thus allowing them to catch on to the routine once the music starts. Your personal training Zumba sessions may be with a small group or with just one or two clients. Because part of the appeal of Zumba is its simplicity, you will likely forgo any stringent correction, instead just letting your clients enjoy themselves as they move to the music.

The Benefits of Zumba

One of the biggest benefits of Zumba is that it can be enjoyed by people of all ages and fitness levels. Because Zumba is essentially an hour’s worth of twisting, pivoting, and shaking, it packs an impressive punch, fitness-wise. In fact, Zumba’s benefits include:

  • Lower blood pressure
  • Increased muscle tone
  • Decreased body fat
  • Improved balance and coordination
  • Increase bone density
  • Improved stamina
  • Increased aerobic threshold

How to Become a Personal Trainer with a Zumba Specialty

Your career in personal training must begin with a solid educational background in fitness and health, which is accomplished by completing an associate or bachelor degree in personal training or a related area of study, such as:

  • Exercise science
  • Kinesiology
  • Health and fitness
  • Physical education
  • Exercise physiology

A degree program in personal training or a related field prepares students through study in the major components of physical fitness, which include:

  • Muscular strength and endurance
  • Flexibility
  • Power
  • Functional movement
  • Muscle imbalances
  • Cardiorespiratory fitness

These programs are also designed to study the process of educating clients and motivating them to begin, enhance, and adhere to an exercise program. Most degree programs in personal training culminate in a fieldwork internship, which allows students to begin practicing their acquired knowledge in a real-world setting.

If you want to focus your personal training career on this fitness program, you’ll find that mployers often prefer job candidates with Zumba certification. You may achieve one or more certifications through Zumba®:

  • Zumba Kids
  • Zumba Kids Jr.
  • Zumba Sentao (cardio workout with targeted resistance training)
  • Zumba Step
  • Zumba Basic 1
  • Zumba Basic 2
  • Jump Start Gold (for the older adult)
  • Aqua Zumba (water-based workouts)
  • Zumba Toning (body-sculpting techniques)
  • Zumbatomic (kids 4-12)

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