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How to Use Dancing to Get Toned Legs

Jan 1, 2011

If you’re bored with the gym or your usual exercise routine, try dancing to get toned legs. Jazz, ballet, hip hop and African dance are just some of the dance styles that can tone your legs and spice up your workout regimen.

Dancing for Toned Legs

Trained dancers are often lauded for their perfectly trim, strong, flexible and toned bodies. They make movements look easy and their attractive physiques seem effortlessly attained. The truth is that dance classes can be vigorous forms of exercise. Achieving toned legs and a perfect body demands diligence and hard work. You can, however, have fun while doing it.

Choosing a Preferred Dance Style

The trick to toning your legs through dancing is to choose a dance style that you truly enjoy. Do you prefer slower and more controlled movement, such as you would find in a ballet class? Or are you drawn to fast moves, quick transitions and the enlivening musical rhythms found in jazz, hip hop and African dance?

You will also want to consider whether the ideal dance class for you is filled with stops and starts to give you a chance to catch your breath, or if you prefer continuous movement for an hour or so. Each dance teacher has his/her own way of structuring a class. Some stop in between class sections to explain technical aspects of movement. Other teachers teach by doing and expect you to follow along.

Ballet for Toned Legs

Many styles of dance tone your legs. In a ballet class, you point your toes, lift your legs, kick them, leap into the air and turn on one leg, all of which develop strength and balance. The precision of ballet movements help you to develop leg muscles you did not know you had. Ballet helps to lengthen muscles and is a good way to go if you want to avoid bulky leg muscles.

Jazz Dance for Stronger Legs

Many jazz classes use ballet technique as a foundation, but allow you much greater freedom in the movement of the upper body and hips. This freedom of movement allows you to work a wider variety of muscles. Whereas in ballet your toes and inner thighs are turned out, in a jazz class you will work in both turn-out and parallel movement, which works the muscles of the quads.

Hip Hop for a Lower Body Workout

Hip hop classes tend to be more cardiovascular and athletic in nature. It is not uncommon for a hip hop teacher to ask you to bring knee pads with you to class. You might find yourself spinning on your knees or sliding on the floor on the side of your thigh. Hip hop helps to tone the quads, glutes and calves and, depending on the specific style, demands the ability to move quickly.

African Dance as a Total Body Workout

African dance is often helpful for achieving toned legs. It generally requires bouncing from leg to leg, jumping and kicking. Depending on the style of African dance, you will often find that you achieve an overall body workout from this fun and lively dance form.

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