Zumba Fitness: Latin Workout Routine

About a year and a half ago, the Fit Bottomed Girls were frequenters of Zumba classes, a high-energy Latin-based dance fitness class. After going almost weekly and dancing/laughing our little fit bottoms off, Erin and I began to believe that yes, we too could be Zumba instructors. We operated under this delusion, waiting for the Zumba certification workshop to come close to our hometown, but alas it never did.

Fast forward to a few weeks ago when Erin and I reunited for a Zumba class at a different club in a different town. Ten minutes into the class, I could see it on Erin’s face. What in tarnation were we thinking? Erin and I are two very, very white people with little to no rhythm. In my head, my hips were sashaying left, then right, then hip roll, then pow! I was on fire. But one quick look in the mirror changed that. Who are those two awkward girls in the back? Oh, GOD, that’s us. Shakira’s hips may not lie, but from the looks of it, ours sure as hell do.

This is why I decided to review Zumba’s Latin Workout Routine. While I may never be coordinated enough to teach a Zumba class, I figured I could use the DVDs to practice my moves and trip-ups without a class full of 50 watching me in the mirror. The DVD set comes with four discs, each offering a distinct workout.

This quick 20-minute DVD introduces you to the basic Zumba moves: merengue, salsa, samba (which is impossible, so don’t feel bad if you don’t get it), reggaeton (reggae plus hip hop—it’s awesome), flamenco and cumbia. Zumba creator Beto Perez is there to teach you the steps in Spanish, and his sidekick Natalie explains the moves in English. Unfortunately, the only instruction on getting your hips to move like theirs is to “move your hips.” I hear it takes practice, but in my opinion, it’s something you’re either born or not. In our case, our deluded minds just keep on telling us to try.

According to the DVD box, Advanced is the second in the four-disc series, which is odd because it’s easily the hardest of the entire box. And I’m not just talking about intensity; they throw some serious craziness at you, including a dizzying salsa in circles and freestyle time where you can dance however you want . (In those situations I always just do the booty shake. Feel free to steal my idea.) However, in this 40-minute workout, you do get your heart rate up, and there is plenty o’ eye candy, especially if you like your eye candy covered in tie-dyed spandex.

Oddly enough, Power is less intense than Advanced, but it does include some more traditional fitness moves such as squats and standing ab crunches. The first half is led by another disgustingly beautiful hip-swinging Zumba-er named Jenny, and although she’s cute, the first half that she leads is a little boring movement-wise. But, it picks up in the second half of the 40-minute workout when Beto starts to show off his moves. If you’ve been to the classes, you’ll notice a few routines you’ve probably done before, including the “shhh/flying eagle” one. If you’ve never been to a class, I apologize for how weird that must sound and encourage you to go to a class and see it for yourself.

The DVD also includes a quick, 10-minute kids’ Zumba workout, which is simultaneously endearing and frustrating ’cause these kids got mad skillz, yo. They could dance circles around me. However, the choreography in the kids’ version is more basic, and it’s really fun with sparkle fingers and hair flipping, so, I recommend trying this one before you jump into Advanced. Unless, of course, you made the top eight on So You Think You Can Dance. Then carry on, my tiny dancer.

Abs, Buns and Thighs
This final 30-minute workout is done entirely on the floor, and it requires no hip shaking. The DVD includes your basic moves: lying leg lifts, glute kickbacks and crunches, all done for 30 reps per exercise. It’s no BOS, but it burns. For it, you need a mat and a towel for your knees. The instruction and pointers on form in this DVD are excellent, but it gets a little tiresome waiting for Beto and Natalie to both explain explain the moves in their respective languages. Although, the extra break was nice for regaining normal sensation in my buttocks.

Overall, these DVDs are fun, but honestly, they could have squeezed these workouts onto two discs, not four. The difficulty is all off, too. The Beginner workout starts you at zero mph and then Advanced has you doing 80. However, the music is fun, and the instruction is good, even if you do have to listen to it twice. Gosh knows, I could use the practice on my Spanish.

FBG Rating (Out of 5):
Instruction: ★★★★
Long-Term Likeability: ★★★
Music: ★★★★
Fun Factor: ★★★
Meets Expectations: ★★★
Overall: ★★★
Fit Bottom line: These DVDs are less intense than the live classes but capture the music and moves well. However, if you’re looking for the true Zumba experience, gather up your courage and try a class. It’s a blast, and if you stand in the back, you too can have hips that lie. —Jenn

Want more reviews? Read the Fit Bottomed Girls’ new release reviews and retro reviews. For more on how our ratings are determined (it’s not a science, but we do have some method to our madness), read our review criteria.

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  1. Marcy says:

    Oooohhh sounds pretty good. A lot of peeps around here have been raving about Zumba.

  2. eatingbender says:

    Phew, glad to know that there are ways to do Zumba in the privacy of your own home. I swear, I would be laughed at and thrown out of a class! I have no coordination whatsoever when it comes to dancing. My hips definitely would be lying…on the ground, after tripping over myself.

  3. Erica says:

    Hahaha- I totally thought I could teach Zumba too but alas…not for me. Its a fun class, I just have always had a stiffer/cheerleader style of dance so this was out of my league 🙂 I teach a basic hip hop class and thats probably the danciest I’ll ever go. Maybe Body Jam someday!!

  4. tfh says:

    Ah, your hips comments remind me of the time back in college when I signed up for belly dancing. Hahahahaha.

    My body parts do not do isolation well.

    But maybe, if Zumba is fun, it’s worth trying– as long as I can rope in a willing, and hopefully similarly ungifted, friend…

  5. kjl says:

    Thanks so much for doing this review, Jenn! I've missed Zumba since my class ended last spring, but I'm hoping to start up again next year. Thankfully, the parks & rec facility where the class is held doesn’t have a mirror! 🙂

  6. Miguel says:

    How funny, I purchased the Zumba DVD to improve my dance skills! But its also a great work out video!!! You got to try it for your self! http://www.voiceoffashion.com

  7. Mark Salinas says:

    Un examen muy sólido, gracias como siempre muy bueno! 🙂

  8. fatfighter says:

    I love doing dance workouts like Zumba just for something different. I always feel like I’m moving and grooving, but I haven’t checked my moves out in the mirror to see if I really am! 😉

  9. Dr. J says:

    We love the Zumba!! When they have the classes at our fitness center, the room is PACKED! We have the CD’s also, but ain’t nothing like the real thing!

    You guys google girls? We were just in the neighborhood 🙂

  10. Fitnessista says:

    what an awesome review- i love taking the classes and i’ll start teaching in a few weeks and was wondering if the dvds would be worth purchasing. i’m gonna buy the advanced one from amazon today 😀
    enjoy your friday!

  11. Erin says:

    Dr. J: You could call me a Google girl because I Google everything, but we don’t work there!

  12. Jenn says:

    I’m glad Erin and I aren’t the only ones who enjoy Zumba but have problems with some of the hip shaking!

    And Mark, de nada. I think that’s an appropriate response, right? (‘Cause I took Spanish a looong time ago.)