What fitness craze offers a look back into Hawaiian history, graceful dance movements and core-building choreography?
It’s Hula Workouts, of course!
Hula Workouts in Brief
Hula Workouts are a type of low-impact Polynesian dance workouts that provide total body fitness in three ways:
- Working your larger muscle groups
- Increasing core strength
- Enhancing strength and definition in the glutes, quads and arms
Many aficionados undertake Hula Workouts specifically for weight loss. The most popular version is Hot Hula Fitness, which is a 60-minute session available in group classes or online.
Hula: a Long History
Hula has a long cultural history and it is the basis for Hula Workouts. It was started by the original settlers of Hawaii – the Polynesians – and historians say it may date back to as far as 500 CE. Traditional hula dance involves chants and drums, and the female performers wore special costumes. Hula Workouts, however, are a product of the 20th Century and resemble modern hula dance, which changed over time after considerable Western influence. In fitness classes, Hula Workouts are less about sacred cultural practices and more about intense core work – and fun!
The Skinny on Hula Workouts
Hula Workouts are considered a total body fitness workout. They are low-impact and dance-based, though there is less cardio than in other dance fitness classes such as Zumba or Jazzercise. However, Hula Workout students do learn choreography just as in other dance classes.
The music you will workout to may be modern with a traditional Polynesian flare, and it will be set to a four-beat mix. Hula is always danced in beats of four.
Preparing to Get Your Hula On
Hula Workouts involve lots of hip work, so do some stretching before your class begins. Some classes recommend the use of a small weight belt worn around the hips; if you plan to wear one, secure it properly prior to beginning to exercise.
You will also want to remove your shoes, as Hula Workouts are done barefoot.
A Hula Workout class will be taught by a certified instructor. It will involve a warm-up, followed by low-impact choreography and a cool-down. The choreography is characterized by fast hip movements combined with slower, graceful arm movements and poses.
Here’s how you’ll start:
- Stand with your feet approximately four inches apart and your knees slightly bent
- Place your hands on your hips
- Your instructor will take you through the basic foot movements, called the Four-Leaf pattern
- Next, you will add in hip movements and sways – these are easier if you keep your knees bent
- Finally, you will add arm movements into the choreography
Four Main Benefits of the Hula Workout
- Low impact
- Easy to follow
- Ability to exercise at home via web video
Hula Workout Variations
There are a variety of Hula Workouts offered in gyms and via the web, and some – such as Hot Hula – are branded and contain their own choreography and music.
Hula Workouts offer a unique spin on low-impact workouts. They combine the grace of dance with the results of intense core work, and they are a fun way to learn about traditional Polynesian culture while getting physically fit.