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Dancing Vs. Weight Lifting

Dancing Vs. Weight Lifting

Dancing can help strengthen both the muscles and bones, while weight lifting is epitomised by muscle bound bodies – but can one discipline help the other or are they poles apart?

Builds muscles

While body builders concentrate on perfecting each group of muscles in isolation, they often miss the fluid overall look that dancers have naturally. Dancers don’t need to lift weights or perform specific exercises – the repetition of perfecting each step achieves toned legs and rippling abs in its own right.

Burns calories

Regular weight lifting burns calories at roughly the same rate as learning one of the slower ballroom styles of dance. In order to compete with the weight loss seen by dancing one of the many faster dances, body builders would have to perform a vigorous workout, which can have a negative impact on the technique and lead to possible injuries from bad form.

Total body workout

The exertion of lifting weights at the top end of your limit will increase your heart rate, and so will burn calories and improve cardio, but the rests in between each set of repetitions reduces the effectiveness of this benefit. Dancing not only builds muscles and burns calories, but it also gives you a good cardio workout due to the non-stop action. It also improves other areas such as balance and coordination.


Weight lifters who increase the amount they raise, rather than the repetitions or sets, end up with bulky muscle mass, but vastly reduced flexibility. Dancers on the other hand build overall muscle through the steps learnt, but they actively focus on flexibility in order to be able to achieve the moves. This gives a dancer a leaner, athletic look.


Weight lifters often have great awareness of their body, muscle by muscle, as they are used to isolating sections of the body for individual exercises. Many of the latin dances focus on being able to isolate sections of the body for movement, while the rest remains still – think in particular about the samba rolls, Cuban hip motion and shimmies – so both disciplines are effective in terms of isolation.

Lifts and tricks

Body builders will practice a series of poses to show off their muscles and will often focus on lifting heavier weights to build bulk, but this can result in pockets of power rather than overall strength. Dancers rely on core body strength to perform the various lifts and tricks of more advanced dance classes, and so will have equal power in their bodies, although they might not be able to lift as much in one go.

Weight lifting certainly focuses on building physical strength, but it lacks the overall workout achieved by dancing which can improve coordination and balance, increase your cardio stamina, produce a strong core and achieve all over strength.

Instead of joining the poseurs in the gym, come along to a free dance class at Arthur Murray Crows Nest to try it out for yourself.