12 Week STRONG by Zumba Challenge
Zumba has become a global phenomenon since it launched in 2001, so much so that there are now only ten countries in the world where you can't take a class. Now the creators of the Latin-inspired dance workout are hoping to recreate its success with a new workout movement – STRONG by Zumba™.
While it might be Zumba by name, this is not Zumba by nature. Gone are the shimmies and merengues and in their place are squats, burpees and core-cinching moves that will certainly leave you feeling strong (and sore!)
STRONG by Zumba is effectively a high-intensity workout that has put a unique spin on challenging HIIT exercises by syncing the moves to music. Or as Zumba CEO Alberto Perlman told HELLO!: "The idea is that we take your cardio exercise to the next level."
After a successful launch in the US in autumn 2016, STRONG by Zumba will soon be going global, with a UK launch planned in early 2017. Before it makes its way across the pond we put the workout to the test in New York, where there are already dozens of classes available.
So what sets it apart from the vast array of other HIIT and group exercise classes available? The music for one. Much like the original Zumba workouts, music is at the heart of these classes and has been devised especially for the programme by renowned producers including Justin Timberlake and Jay Z collaborator Timbaland.
The classes incorporate high-intensity moves synced to music
Unlike many workout classes where the music is simply an afterthought or a playlist selected by the instructor, these songs are specifically designed to sync with the workouts so every punch, kick and jump you do has a coinciding sound.
Zumba CEO Alberto Perlman explained that the class was designed that way to help fitness fans progress quicker as they learn to associate certain sequences with specific beats. "You have a quicker response time as opposed to counting and it's a way to break the ceiling without even noticing," he said.
We can vouch for its effectiveness; even by our second STRONG by Zumba class we were able to recognize some of the songs and the coinciding moves, helping us to push through and complete challenging sets of push-ups and burpees that we typically struggle with. Much more fun than counting through regimented sets.
The classes first launched in the US in late 2016.
The innovative concept has already won praise in the fitness world, including from celebrity trainer Josh Holland. The fitness expert, who has trained the likes of Gigi Hadid and Madonna, hailed the workout as "contagious".
"It's effective because it incorporates lots of different types of movement, while also focusing on strength, power, and cardio in segments or intervals," Josh told HELLO! Online, adding: "It's super fun and engaging and almost anyone can do it.
"The concept of synced music to a workout is innovative and one of those 'you can't believe it hasn't been done before.' It's pretty contagious too!"