Dance-based workouts are one of those modalities that give your body everything it needs in a single session. They get your heart pumping and your muscles working, allowing you to hit your daily dose of cardio and strength training in 30 minutes flat. And since bopping around is a lot more fun than holding a two-minute plank, you may not even realize that these types of choreographed workouts hit your core hard.
“In dance, we always have to be centered, and that comes from the core,”says Ashley Everett, founder of FitChoreo and the woman responsible for Beyoncé’s (yes, I said Beyoncé’s) famous dance routines. “With dance, you have to constantly engage your core, because as long as you’re moving, your core is constantly going to be contracting, and you’re going to be exercising your abs.”
Everett has partnered with TODAY All Day—The TODAY Show’s new streaming service—to host one of their inaugural “Get Moving With…” classes, which is launching later this week. Along with beloved trainers like Isaac Boots, Jessamyn Stanley, and Erin Oprea, who will each be offering different types of classes on the platform, she’ll be bringing you a dance-based workout that will give you a sweaty, fun core-and-cardio workout for $0.
“Half hour workouts [like the ones TODAY All Day is hosting] can often be more effective than hour-long ones because you want to make the most of that short amount of time,” says Everett. “We naturally push ourselves harder, versus if you have an hour you’re going to take more breaks and spread things out, and your heart rate isn’t going to be as high. Thirty minutes keeps you active and keeps your heart rate up. You can get it done and feel the burn much more quickly.”
As a former professional dancer, Everett knows a thing or two about keeping your core strong—even when you’ve only got 30 minutes to get it done. Her most important tip? Remembering to keep your abs muscles engaged no matter what you’re doing. “Continue to think about pulling your belly button in—even if you’re arching [in moves like crunches], you still have to keep it engaged,” she says. “A lot of times, people let their ribcage stick out, but you want to continue to push it down. If you’re in a plank, for example, you want to keep your body as straight as possible.”
While nearly every dance class move will work your core (if you’re engaging it properly, that is), there’s one in particular that Everett swears by for targeting every muscle in her own: The classic body roll. “Body rolls are a dance workout, but they’re also a great core and abs workout at the same time,” she says. “You can do them fast or slow, and go forwards, backward, or to the side, which really works your abs every time you do them.”
To try the move on your own, pop on your favorite Beyoncé playlist and follow along with the video below. Or better yet? Tune into Today All Day on Thursday, October 8 at 11 am and watch Everett demonstrate it herself.
Until you can tune into Everett’s class, press play on the video below for a dancer abs video that will get your blood pumping:
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