Zumba® Teacher Tips

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There is something about certain Zumba® Fitness classes that you can feel before even the music starts.

What is it that creates that kind of magic?

 Believe it or not, it’s not that difficult to make an alchemist out of yourself to create a memorable experience for your students.

Here are a few tools you might want to include in your bag of spells.

Warm up Songs

Artists who head out on tour carefully select their first song to incite a thrill in their fans.

The first three tracks using the Zumba® Fitness formula are designed to prepare the joints, offer cardio, and fire up with toning. Since movement on the first song is limited because of the body is not yet ready for intensive cardio, the first song has to have two important features.

First of all, that opening song has got to announce to your students that the party has started. High tempo like techno-based, pop songs are best as it lifts the crowd and familiar songs help engage students. Since the first song is intended to prepare joints, the movement has got to be simple, but doesn’t mean the music has to be! Look for quick-paced music with sophisticated melodies to help hide the simple movements necessary for the preparation of the body.

Your second song is intended to raise the heart rate, the same “first song” features have got to be present in the second but for a different reason now. You have to have a song that motivates student to charge up the body, and get that heart pumping. Students with high expectations of a class usually give a class their first song before they walk out and unfortunately, they often make sure you know they are walking out. Songs that include opportunity for audience participation really help activate breathing! Nothing like a well placed “hey!” or a “whoot”. Nothing like a whole group of returning pros, surrounding newcomers or ambivalent students to help keep them in the room.

For that third song, since toning has a different focus-to “sweat on the inside” with that deep core work, choose a song that tones down the tempo so you and your students can offer your best alignment and structure to the movement. The more moderate the pace, the greater precision in movement. And because of that, choose a song with a melody that will stick with students an hour later while they’re on their way back to their cars. Audience participation moments, here can highlight the engagement of the core right in that moment of the shouts and hollers.


There is no better way to attract strong “front row” students than to make sure playlists are kept fresh.

The choreography doesn’t even have to be sophisticated. The music, however cannot dare bore the students. In fact, the longer you have been dancing with your students, the more critical the novelty factor. I try to introduce a new song every week in my classes because I’ve been dancing with my students for over 10 years.

Where Zumba is concerned, if you’re front row isn’t happy with your music, no one will be happy. Every month, I come up with new warm up and cool downs for them. It’s a great investment to listen to music “off the clock” to create a collections of new songs to add to your future Zumba playlist before you need them.

Power Position

Get your students used to seeing you moving about the room, so you can fill in the energy gaps you sense from students.

Let those reliable “high fliers” in your class to keep the momentum going on the front row so you can cast your little spells of high-energy where it’s needed! If you don’t feel much engagement in the back row, head back there to hype them up.

If you see students who need modifications, dance with them without being intrusive so they see your help as more of you getting a much needed break or special exchange with them, versus you making them feel they are doing something wrong.

Finally, finish strong.

Before you head to your cool-down and stretch, find one of your high interval songs that the students most connect with or know really well. There is nothing like that last note of the song, with that last move that are coordinated for a solid, powerful ending. That last song and that last breath should leave your students like they gave their all- joyfully and enthusiastically. Talk about a moment of power that the instructor gets credit for when the student has that last empowered high. It’s your magic of intentional teaching that makes all the difference that you will know and your students will feel.

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.