Working Out Calf Muscles in Zumba®
Zumba is a hardcore fitness program that takes inspiration from Latin music and a variety of dance movements including merengue, salsa, reggaeton, cumbia, samba, bhangra and hip-hop – along with many others. Hence, this results in Zumba providing you with a complete body workout, muscle toning and calorie burning. However, Zumba’s benefits don’t stop there – Alas, Zumba has shown great promise in working out calf muscles as well.
In Zumba, there are three types of movements that impact your calf muscles i.e. Merengue March, Samba Touch and Cuban Salsa.
Merengue march is another elementary movement performed by marching in place. It works out the top and lower parts of the legs.
- Start by lifting one foot off the ground by landing on the ball of your foot, then switching to the other foot.
- While marching, begin to move your hips from side-to-side.
- Change your march by lunging one leg to the side, then switching your weight and stepping to the other side with your opposite leg.
The samba touch is a primary move performed with Zumba music and particularly targets the gastrocnemius and soleus muscles in the calf.
- Start by dividing your body weight evenly and standing elevated with your feet wide.
- Lift your right heel off the ground to raise the weight on top of your right foot and toes.
- Move your hips a little to the left; lower the right heel down and swiftly swap your weight as you begin to elevate your left heel off the ground as your left toes point on the floor.
- After comprehending the beats, you can then start switching then from one foot to the next by hopping and moving your weight from one foot to the other.
- To take it to the next level, you can switch your weight from heel to toe and step each foot in front of the other as you switch.
Cuban Salsa is another classic Zumba movement. This movement benefits the calf muscles because of the side step performed and the weight that is placed on the lower leg. The following steps are to be performed:
- Stand with both legs apart (Like in Samba touch)
- Step with your right leg towards the right side of your body
- Slightly bend your knee putting a little weight onto your right side and place at the floor.
- Then move your hips, transfer your weight back to the left side as you shift your right foot back to the initial position.
- Move your hips as you step your left leg out to the left side of your body and repeat the process.
The movement of your body is generated by hip muscles, but the slight bend in your knee directly targets your calf muscles.
- Your hips might not move in the beginning so start with the basics; you can practice the foot steps before you add your hips.
- Never shy away from modify some movements to suit yourself. This is particularly true if you have an injury or a special condition.
- Don’t jump or twist if you’re unable to.
- It is imperative to wear proper shoes.
- Ensure you have adequate space to perform your movements safely.
- Consult a doctor before beginning Zumba.
Bear in mind: Ineffective, or poorly performed, Warm-Up and Cool-Down sessions can lead to calf strains. Calf strains may also be caused by dehydration, along with deficiencies in calcium and magnesium levels. Consequently, it is highly recommended to ensure adequate water intake, in addition to a healthy, balanced diet.
You can keep check on your daily water intake with our Water Tracker Tool.
Medical Benefits of Healthy Calf Muscles
The calf muscle activity helps move blood circulation from the lower leg back up to the heart – this is an essential body function that reduces the occurrence of blood clots and swollen veins forming in the lower leg.
This is the very reason physicians recommend walking and other lower body exercises - especially heart patients - as one of the best ways to improve circulation in the lower half of the body.