Vida’s New Strong by Zumba Class Is a Great Way to Trick Yourself Into Doing a TON of Squats

Photograph courtesy Strong by Zumba.

It said it right there on the press release. It said: This is not a dance class! 

I should have listened.

You see, when you agree to go to a 7 AM Zumba class, you’re thinking, how bad could it be? Zumba, while it requires a decent amount of coordination and an exorbitant amount of hip-swiveling capabilities, isn’t exactly Spartanic. There’s music, you’re dancing; it’s fun.

But that’s normal Zumba. The class I attended is a new offering from the Zumba Fitness brand called Strong by Zumba, which Vida Fitness U Street just added to their group classes schedule on Wednesday mornings. Like the original Zumba, Strong by Zumba puts the music first, so that every move is in time with a soundtrack. But unlike the original Zumba, Strong by Zumba is a high intensity interval training workout that’s quite a bit more like kickboxing than its dance-along sister class.

The Strong by Zumba class started off with music pounding through the speakers as we rolled our shoulders, then moved into a step-touch. A few minutes in, I was keeping up and feeling pretty good about myself. Then the music changed and the instructor announced we’d just made it through the warm up.

For a class that has Zumba in the name, Strong by Zumba had remarkably little dancing to it. What it did have was a lot of punching, kicking, squatting, lunging, jumping, push-ups, burpees, and mountain climbers. It’s broken up into four quadrants, each of which is a choreographed high intensity circuit with a series of moves that repeat, finishing with a core circuit on a mat. And while each of the quadrants involves a different set of rhythmic movements, I found myself in a squat position for a large portion of the class. At one point, we shuffled side to side, squatting, pausing to reach down to tap the floor for a deeper squat. At another point, we ran in place, then jumped our legs apart to duck down into a squat. At yet another point, we moved from jump lunges into—you guessed it—yet more squats.

By my estimate, but the end of the hour-long class I’d done approximately three million squats. And while I’d never make it through that many squats standing in a room on my own, the fact that each squat—and lunge and burpee and punch—was choreographed to music made them a little easier to get through.

If you’re interested in giving this new, tougher Zumba class a try, you can test it out on Wednesday mornings at 7 AM at Vida Fitness U Street. Not a Vida member? The gym has $25 day passes available, or you check out other local gyms where the workout is offered on Strong by Zumba’s website.


Associate Editor

Caroline Cunningham joined Washingtonian in 2014 after moving to the DC area from Cincinnati, where she interned and freelanced for Cincinnati Magazine and worked in content marketing. She currently resides in College Park.