Take one look at ballerinas or famous dancers like Julianne Hough and Jenna Dewan Tatum and it becomes clear—dance is no joke. And when you take elements of dance and mix them in with fat-burning fitness moves (think squats and jumping jacks), you’ve got a serious sweat sesh on your hands.
In fact, dance cardio, as featured in Women’s Health High-Intensity Dance Cardio, might just be the ultimate workout. First of all, it requires constant movement, which keeps your heart rate up and burns calories like crazy. Second, it’s so fun that the term “workout fatigue” essentially leaves your vocabulary. Plus, since this technique uses full-body movements, you’re engaging practically all your muscles at once, leading to total-body toning.
How to: Stand with your feet a few inches apart and arms at your sides. Then, simultaneously raise your arms out to the sides and over your head, spin your body 180 degrees, and jump your feet out so they’re slightly more than shoulder-width apart. Without pausing, quickly reverse the movement. Repeat to your right and return to start.
How to: Stand with your feet a few inches apart and arms at your sides. Jog in place while kicking you feet back. Try to get your heels as close to your butt as you can.
How to: Cross your left leg behind your right and lower into a half-squat, your right arm out to the side, left arm across your hips. Hop to the left, switching your legs and arms. Keep hopping quickly, alternating from side to side.
How to: Stand with your feet a few inches apart and arms at your sides. Then, simultaneously jump your left foot forward and right foot backward, and raise your hands above your head. Without pausing, quickly alternate the movement with your right foot forward and left foot backward. That’s one rep. Keep jumping quickly, alternating back and forth.
How to: Begin by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart and your arms at your sides, your core strongly braced. Gently drop down into a low squat position, placing your hands on the floor for support. Using the strength of your core combined with your arms, hop both legs backward, landing in a pushup position. Pause for one second, then in one swift motion, tuck your knees into your tummy and hop your feet up towards your hands, landing in the low squat position. Return to the standing (not too fast or you will get dizzy!), then immediately drop back down into a low squat to repeat the movement.
How to: Stand with your feet a few inches apart and arms at your sides. Bend at the hips and place your left hand on your left knee as your reach back with your right arm. Simultaneously, extend your right leg behind you and tap the ground with your toe. Quickly return to starting position. Without pausing, raise your left knee, jump, and raise your hands above your head in one fluid motion.
How to: Stand with your feet a few inches apart and hands clasped behind your back. Step your left foot to the left, step your right foot behind your left, and step your left foot out once more. Then jump up and clap simultaneously. Repeat to the right.
How to: Begin by standing with your feet together and hands on your hips. Drop down into a half squat. Immediately, explode up into a high jump, bringing your knees up to your chest in a tuck. At the same time, bring your hands out in front of you at hip height, almost like a finish line for your knees. It’s a big movement that requires a great deal of effort, so jump with all your might! Land softly and immediately drop back into the half squat, before exploding upward again.
How to: Stand with your feet a few inches apart and arms at your sides. Then, in one swift motion, raise your arms out to the sides then over your head. At the same time, jump your feet out so they are more than shoulder-width apart (a bit wider than a standard jumping jack). Without pausing, quickly reverse the movement. Repeat to your right and return to start.
How to: Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and hands by your sides. Hop and kick your left foot out, heel first, while bringing your right arm forward, bent at a 90-degree angle. Alternate quickly from side to side.