Sound like a stretch? Suspend your doubt for just a moment, and lets look at the evidence. Zumba is a Latin-inspired dance ﬁtness class that proclaims, “ditch the workout, join the party!” Following simple choreographed dance sequences aimed at improving strength, balance and stamina, you can train your body for a better ski season, and even prevent injury, simply by cutting a rug.
Strengthen Your Frontal Plane
Most of the movements employed by the legs in Zumba are lateral movements performed in the frontal plane. This just happens to be the same plane of motion that most of your skiing technique will be happening in. The basic Merengue side step, taught in Zumba, activates and conditions the same muscles used to apply pressure to your downhill ski while carving down the mountain. Since most of our daily activities occur front-to-back in the sagittal plane (walking, sitting down, and standing up), itʼs important to train these little-used frontal plane muscles at the gym, ensuring they are adequately conditioned when we strap on our skis.
Strong legs are an obvious advantage to the alpine enthusiast, but what about a strong core? The core consists of everything in the middle of your body, and is a major player in the complex system of muscles that govern balance and functional movement. The easiest way to train your core is to move in functional patterns that challenge your proprioception, which is just a tricky way of saying balance. Shifting from foot to foot and quickly changing direction in a 45 minute Zumba class, not only stimulates the core stabilizing musculature to improve efﬁciency, the prolonged nature of the movement creates a cardiovascular training environment, similar to what youʼd experience on a ski run.
Avoid the Ski Stretcher
And since no one wants to end their day with a pit stop in the emergency room, itʼs worth mentioning that all that extra core stabilization training will help prevent the most common ski trauma of all time: the knee injury. An added beneﬁt of the stabilization inherent to Zumba, is an increase in muscle control and stabilizing ability in the supporting muscles surrounding the knee joint. Dancing with sudden directional changes translates to your bodyʼs ability to detect, and react to, potentially dangerous unexpected obstacles.
Upbeat music and lively instructors drive the Zumba experience, and the ever-changing choreography ensures a like-new experience every time. It would stand to reason that more fun in the gym today equals better performance on the hill this winter.
Make sure to check out our Group Fitness Classes to catch a Zumba class of your own!