creating a new zumba routine

Creating a New Zumba Routine | The Do’s & Don’ts for Instructors

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Zumba routines are fast-paced cardio dynamos that help students forget they’re even working out. In today’s fitness deep dive, we’ll cover everything instructors need to know about creating the perfect routine for eager Zumba students.

The Origins of Zumba

Zumba has a relatively short history compared to other forms of exercise and dance. In 1998, Alberto “Beto” Perez founded Zumba in Columbia. An aerobic instructor, Perez found himself in a predicament one day before class. He had forgotten the class music. Pulling out the only music he had with him, salsa and merengue, Perez decided to wing it. The fusion of latin dance and aerobics was an immediate hit.

Originally the spanish word for party – rumba – and the common aerobic class jazzercise were combined to name this new form of dance exercise rumbacise. Later the exotic aerobic blend was coined Zumba. Now Zumba has certified instructors in 125 countries around the world.

Becoming a Zumba Instructor

As the world of Zumba has exploded throughout many countries, the need for teachers grew with it. Zumba is a high-intensity cardio aerobic exercise class. Having the right certification, as with any other fitness profession, is absolutely essential.

The ZIN™ Academy is one of the largest and most recognized professional networks of Zumba. ZIN™ offers a subscription with a wide range of certifications and specialty classes for instructors to hone their skills.

Do Zumba Instructors Need a Dance Background?

A common concern for those looking into the career as a Zumba instructor is whether or not they need a background in ballroom or classical dance. While the muscle memory created through formal training could be very beneficial, it is not necessary for Zumba. The steps are supposed to be simple and easy to learn.

Zumba classes are for individuals who are looking for fun exercise—the motto being “Ditch the Workout, Join the Party”. An experienced instructor needs to have taken part in many Zumba classes, as well as continued education, before venturing into a teaching role.

A Closer Look at a Zumba Dance Sequence

With any good aerobics, Zumba dances need a good up beat song to put the movements to. A typical dance can last the length of one full length song. The average choreography would last approximately three and a half minutes. The dance should be contained to a small area, allowing students to be able to follow along without running into walls or neighboring students.

Repetitive movement sequences allow learners to pick up the choreography and apply the movements by the second or third time through. Arms, legs, hips and shoulders are all used throughout the routine to allow for full body exercise. The progression of exercise should allow for a warm-up period, a high-intensity section, and finally a cool down. This progression can be done throughout the entirety of a class or within a single dance. The warm up and cool down should use smaller movements, while the high intensity sections use larger, full body steps.

Tips for Choosing Zumba Music

The choice in music is an important part of any choreography. Although Zumba was first started in South America using Salsa and Merengue, you can use any genre of music. For Zumba, quick tempos are a necessary component for any dance. A quick tempo ensures that even small movements will be fast-paced, adding to the cardiovascular benefits of Zumba.

While Latin music offers many different styles of quick energetic music, pop and electronic dance music are great genres to loop in, as well. Picking music that’s catchy and enjoyable to you will help you in choreographing the dance as you will be hearing these songs more than anyone else. When choosing your next song, finding a track with a simple repetitive beat will help you and your students keep tempo and pick up the dance faster and easier. Making a playlist of possible song choices can help you decide what song to use and will give you plenty of options for future choreographies.

Best Places to Find Zumba Music

Looking for good dance music can be tough if you’re not sure where to start. YouTube is an easy, free way to find new songs and genres. Once you start finding music that inspires you to get up and move, create a playlist to keep all your music selections in one place.

Alternatively, a streaming service might be more ideal for you. Paying a set price each month would enable you to download a huge variety of songs straight to your device. The official Zumba website has a membership that gives you unlimited access to their top music picks and even choreographies. Finding what works for you is always the best policy for giving yourself room for maximum creativity.

What Steps to Use in Your Zumba Routine

As soon as you lock down your top choice of song, it’s time to start creating your routine. Listening to the music and seeing what your body naturally wants to do when you start to get into the groove can help inspire your entire choreography. If you want to shimmy your shoulders and put your hands up, you would want to consider movements that get your upper body working.

A great way to get your shoulders and back working are, arm pumps, body rolls and hand rolls, just to name a few. Combining these exercises with simple foot movements such as, heel switches, walking in place, or a wide legged stance with hip bumps will help keep your full body moving without adding too much complication to the sequence.

Finding Inspiration for New Zumba Routines

If you are feeling stuck in the middle of a choreography or can’t even think where to begin, inspiration might be what you need. Watching videos of Zumba dances or attending a Zumba class is one way to get your creative juices flowing. Seeing and doing different movements can help you create ideas for your own dance.

Watching ballroom dancing or other forms of dance can help you discover new movements you haven’t tried before. Part of being creative is being open to new possibilities.

Ways to Keep your Zumba Class Safer

Zumba classes are fast-paced and high-energy, which means there are chances for mishaps to occur. Taking small steps with each and every class you teach can go a long way in helping to lessen the chances for an accident or mishap.

Keeping a Zumba class safe takes diligence on behalf of the instructor, certain things to watch for include:

  • Keeping a clean space: this seems basic but you’d be surprised how many accidents happen simply because a studio wasn’t cleaned beforehand. Make sure to promptly wipe up any spills and pick up any loose debris so they don’t become a slipping hazard.
  • Correct bad form: if a student is not performing a routine correctly, you need to help guide them into the proper sequence. Improper form could injure the student or those around them so you aren’t doing any favors by not correcting them.
  • Keep intervals manageable: you know your class and may even be targeting a specific client segment such as older gym goers. Make sure to keep the intervals between high and low intensity dance moves at a manageable level, relative to the class. Watch out for any signs of overexertion and tone down the routine as needed.

No accidents are completely unavoidable but you can help lessen the chances of a mishap simply by being present, alert, and prepared for each and every class.

Making Sure Your Zumba Career is Covered

Creating the absolutely perfect Zumba routine that really drives the energy and enthusiasm of a class is a great feeling. Having students spread their good experience with others, creates an opportunity for having more individuals sign up to take your next class. With consistently good experiences, a Zumba teacher can build their reputation and their client list to whatever heights they desire. Even with all of this, an entire career can come crashing down in an instant with just the slightest misstep during a session with students.

Zumba instructor insurance is your career’s safeguard, offering 360 degrees of protection from the most common types of accidents and other risks that sometimes just happen, no matter how careful you are. A slip and fall injury, an accusation of malpractice—events like these could lead someone to file a lawsuit against you, which, frivolous or not, will require paying for your defense.

Insure Fitness Group’s Zumba insurance policy helps provide for the costs associated with a claim, as well as any legal defense fees that are necessary. We do this for a wide variety of risks that today’s Zumba instructors face so they can have full confidence teaching the routines they love.

Sign Up for Zumba Insurance in a Few Clicks

No long questionnaire to fill out or waiting a long time for approval. Simply fill out a quick online application, check out, and enjoy full Zumba insurance coverage with immediate access to plan documents.

Meet The Author:

Parker Franklin

Parker, IFG’s Brand Manager since 2022, began his wellness journey in 2020, leading to a significant personal transformation. He holds a journalism degree from Murray State University and started his career as an award-winning journalist in western Kentucky before transitioning into marketing and PR. At IFG, Parker is responsible for writing content, managing The Fit newsletter, and overseeing promotions and collaborations with affiliate fitness organizations.