9 Key Tips For Zumba Instructors

zumba instructor tips

Are you looking for tips for Zumba instructors to implement in your next class? Well, you’re in the right place! Whether you’re an experienced Zumba instructor, or are newly qualified, our list of tips will help you run your class successfully whilst having fun too.

Before we get started, if you want to learn how to deliver a range of fun freestyle and choreographed classes with our Level 2 Exercise to MusicEnquire today, or download our free course prospectus to browse the full range of courses we offer.

Tips for Zumba Instructors #1- Pick Songs That are Appropriate for Your Level of Experience

zumba tips

Our first recommendation is to choose songs that are suitable for your level of experience as an instructor.

For instance, one of the best tips for new Zumba instructors is to choose simple songs that have a predictable, repetitive beat, and don’t have many complex parts to the rhythm.

Whilst you’re still getting used to teaching Zumba, you’ll be concentrating on cueing your class effectively, and so you shouldn’t add the extra element of complicated music!

Songs with a simpler rhythm are easier to choreograph and teach, meaning that you’re less likely to get out of time or forget what you're doing. This will prevent your students from becoming confused too!

Some examples of songs that new Zumba instructors could include in their classes are:

  • Don’t Let me Down- Zumba Fitness
  • Krazy- Pitbull
  • Waka Waka- Shakira
  • Let’s Get Loud- Jennifer Lopez

Once you’ve built some experience, you can then try teaching some slightly more complex songs. These are songs that may have different parts with more difficult sequences and rhythms that may take more time to memorise. 

As well as helping you to build on your Zumba expertise, this will also benefit your students, as changing up the music helps to keep things fresh.

This means that students will want to keep coming back and learning more!

Here are some more complex song choices that you could include in your Zumba class:

  • Bring it On- Zumba Fitness
  • Lo Que Paso, Paso- Daddy Yankee
  • Con El Pomp Pa’rriba- Mala Fe

Ultimately, we’d recommend picking songs that you love. This is because you’re likely to listen to these songs more, so you’ll become familiar with them more quickly! You’ll also get more enjoyment from dancing to them, and your enthusiasm will be picked up on by students too.

If you’re struggling to find new Zumba songs, the Zumba Instructor Network has a membership option that gives you unlimited access to their top music picks.

Tips for Zumba Instructors #2- Know Your Chosen Tracks Well

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As the leader of the class, students will be looking to you for instruction, so it’s important that you know what you’re doing at all times.

If you don’t know your music and choreography well, students will find it hard to follow you. This will result in them getting confused, disheartened, and even demotivated to continue your class!

To avoid this scenario, one of our dance teacher tips is to ensure that you know the music inside and out, until you know the rhythms and pauses without even having to think!

As well as making teaching easier for you, this will make the class much more enjoyable for your students too.

Some important elements to consider when learning your tracks include:

  • If the sequence varies or repeats throughout the song
  • Are there any unique quirks or pauses where you need to change the choreography to suit the rhythm?
  • Do you know exactly when the track will end?

To help you know the track inside and out, we’d suggest choosing two or three songs to memorise, and then listen to each of your chosen tracks repeatedly. This could be in the car on the way to work or in the kitchen while you’re cooking!

As well as being familiar with your music, ensure that you know the choreography well too.

When you’re comfortable with every step, you’ll make students feel comfortable too. 

However, don’t worry if you make the occasional mistake, as this will happen with even the most experienced of instructors.

In this situation, don’t stop dancing- keep going and style it out with confidence. It’s unlikely that anyone will even notice or remember!

If major mistakes do keep occurring, such as forgetting large portions of choreography, this can disrupt the class and have a negative impact on the workout. So, make sure that you know it like the back of your hand!


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Tips for Zumba Instructors #3- Create a Playlist for Your Classes

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Once you have selected the appropriate tracks and learnt them, our next Zumba tip is to make a playlist for your classes!

Having a playlist prevents long pauses in between songs, or students waiting while you find the next song. Being left standing around can be demotivating for class members, as it disrupts the rhythm that they’ve built up throughout the previous song.

This also wastes a lot of class time, meaning that you’ll fit less in and offer a below average Zumba experience!

To prevent this from happening and ensure that the class flows from start to end, create your playlist and have it ready to go before the class begins.

This also helps when planning the class, as it’s good to have songs that flow into each other.

However, you don’t want all of your songs to have the exact same rhythm and feel, as this can be boring for both yourself and your students. Planning your playlist beforehand therefore ensures that you are adding some variety into your class.

For example, playing 3 super-fast songs in a row may be an effective workout, but this could leave students too tired to complete the whole class! 

One of our tips for Zumba instructors who are looking to create a playlist is to use the ZIN Play app.

Available on the Apple app store and Google Play, it offers you an easy way to build and personalise playlists for your Zumba class.

ZIN Play also allows you to:

  • Search for tracks by keywords or BPM
  • Crossfade between songs to ensure smooth transitions
  • Adjust the volume on tracks from different music sources
  • Customise tracks so that they fit in with your class

Although you should always have a playlist prepared and ready to go, you should be ready to adapt it on the day of your class.

For example, you may find that some beginners turn up to your class who have never done Zumba before. In this case, you may therefore need to swap out some of the harder tracks in your playlist. 

Alternatively, you could be teaching a group that can handle a higher level of class, so read the energy of the room and include some faster-paced tracks if needed! 

A great dance teacher tip is to use the warm-up and first track to assess whether or not you think that your current playlist will work. Then you can adapt and change the songs when needed! 

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Tips for Zumba Instructors #4- Practice Teaching Your Class Beforehand

zumba tips 4

As we’ve discussed, it’s important that you are as prepared as possible for teaching a Zumba class.

Another of the best Zumba cueing tips that we can give is therefore to practice teaching your class before you arrive at the gym or studio. 

Practising beforehand will allow you to develop some teaching cues for particularly important points of your class, to ensure that your instructions are easy for students to follow.

Knowing what you’re doing on the day means that you’ll feel more relaxed, which will rub off on the students in the class.

If you’re practising alone, you could record yourself teaching on a camera or mobile phone. 

This allows you to see yourself from a student’s perspective, so you can review what went well, and find areas for improvement.

You could also ask your friends to watch you teach, or even run a trial class with them. Not only would this be fun, but it also gives you the chance to gain and implement some honest feedback.

Tips for Zumba Instructors #5- Make All of Your Students Feel Included

tips for zumba instructors 5

From those whose first class it is, to those who are Zumba pros, you’re likely to attract a mixture of students to your class.

This means that it’s important for you to tailor your class to suit a range of abilities and experiences.

At the beginning of the class, ask if there are any new students, and if anyone has any injuries you need to be aware of.

You should then explain how the class works, and remind students that there’s no pressure to pick up the choreography straight away. You could say something along the lines of:

‘Zumba is for everyone, no matter your size, age, or ability, so don’t worry if you can’t get the hang of everything straight away. Just move your body, dance to some great tunes, and have fun!’

Throughout the class, take note of those who are new and may need some extra help. You can then ensure that you continue to encourage them throughout the class.

Be sure to explain and demonstrate all new choreography clearly, and offer regressions for more complex movements. Keep checking that your students understand throughout the class too!

Just like teaching a Spin class, one of the most important Zumba tips is to avoid teaching only to the front row. Make your class accessible to all by exaggerating cues, so that even students right at the back can see your moves.

We’d also advise you to speak loudly and clearly, and use a microphone if necessary to reach all students.

Tips for Zumba Instructors #6- Wear Appropriate Clothing to Teach Your Zumba Class

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An often overlooked tip for Zumba instructors is to make sure that you wear appropriate and professional clothing when teaching.

We’d suggest choosing comfortable fitness clothing that allows you to move about freely and easily. 

Here are some top tips for choosing what to wear as a Zumba instructor:

  • Choose t-shirts and workout leggings that are fitted, but are not so tight that they restrict your movement. If your clothes are too oversized and loose, they will get in the way whilst you’re dancing!
  • Choose clothing made of a moisture-wicking material, as Zumba can get quite sweaty! Cotton tends to retain moisture, so avoid clothing made from this material.
  • For women, invest in a moderate to high impact sports bra that provides support, but doesn’t feel too tight as you move.
  • Bright colours are always a good choice for Zumba, to help you get into the dance spirit and stand out as the leader of your class.
  • Choose footwear that you can move comfortably in, such as supportive cross-trainers or dance-specific shoes. They shouldn’t have much tread on the bottom, and should be supportive of lateral, medial, and twisting motions. 

Here are some of our product recommendations for Zumba clothing:

Tips for Zumba Instructors #7- Continue to Educate Yourself After Qualifying

tips for zumba instructors

You’ll have learnt a lot on your Zumba Basic 1 course, including the basic steps to Zumba, the music itself, and how to create your own Zumba classes.

To become a Zumba instructor, you will have had to have taken a ‘Zumba Basic 1 course’. This will have taught you the basics needed to teach Zumba. 

Whilst this is a good start, one of the best tips for new Zumba instructors we can give you is to keep learning by taking further qualifications. 

As with any part of the fitness industry, keeping your knowledge up to date is crucial for providing your class members with the best experience possible.

For instance, the Zumba Rhythms 2 Instructor Training covers steps for 6 more rhythms, including:

  • Belly dance
  • Flamenco
  • Tango
  • Samba
  • Soca
  • Quebradita

This course will qualify you to learn new techniques that will then help you deliver even better classes for your students, which will keep them wanting to come back for more!

Another tip is to attend other classes with more experienced instructors. Take note of how they teach, the cues that they use, and decide on the elements that you like.

You could then use these elements as inspiration for your own class!


Become a Level 4 personal trainer with OriGym

Enquire today to see how you can enhance your career in the fitness industry!

Tips for Zumba Instructors #8 - Get an ETM Qualification

tips for zumba instructors 3

As well as further Zumba qualifications, one of our best dance teacher tips is to consider getting a Level 2 Exercise To Music (ETM) qualification

Many gyms may require you to have an ETM qualification to teach Zumba anyway. 

But even if they don’t, it is one of the best things you can do for your career in the fitness industry, as it allows you to teach other dance-based fitness classes as well as Zumba, such as:

  • Legs, bums, and tums
  • Body conditioning
  • Aerobics
  • SH’BAM
  • Spin

An ETM can therefore help to expand your horizons as a fitness instructor, as it opens up more teaching avenues.

This allows you to accept more employment opportunities if working on a freelance basis.

It can therefore allow you to gain more clients, which will boost your overall earnings. Plus, the more qualified you are, the more desirable you are for employers! 

Here at OriGym, our Level 2 ETM course covers the following areas:

  • How to deliver freestyle and choreographed routines
  • How to teach specialist populations
  • Human anatomy and physiology
  • The principles of exercise and fitness
  • Health, safety, and welfare during classes

Having an Exercise to Music qualification therefore helps you to gain more expertise, more experience, and contributes to your own self-development!

Tips for Zumba Instructors #9- Make Your Classes Fun and Exciting

tips for zumba instructors 2

One of the main benefits of Zumba is that it is a fun form of exercise that sometimes doesn’t even feel like exercise! So as a Zumba instructor, it is your job to give this kind of experience to your students. 

When a student sees you having fun and giving your maximum energy, it will inspire them to go all out too. They’re therefore likely to have more fun, and will want to return to your class next time!

One of our favourite Zumba tips is therefore to show your excitement and happiness through things such as your facial expressions- for example by smiling and laughing as you teach!

This will make your students feel comfortable enough to express themselves freely through the movements, open up, and enjoy the class to the maximum.

Another way to do this is to introduce some variety into your class.

Whilst it’s important to give your regular students a chance to learn the choreography and improve week on week, it can be boring going to the same exact class with no changes.

You should therefore integrate a new song one at a time, to keep your classes fresh and exciting- which will keep students interested and challenged.

Before You Go!

Feeling inspired to take the next step in your career? Get started with our Level 2 Exercise to Music Course where you will learn how to deliver freestyle and choreographed classes as well as how to keep clients of all ages motivated during classes.

Enquire today, or check out our free course prospectus here to browse the full range of courses we offer. 

Written by Rebecca Felton

Content Writer & Fitness Enthusiast

Graduating from the University of Liverpool with a first-class degree in English, Rebecca’s combined passions for fitness and writing are what brought her to OriGym. Rebecca is a keen gym-goer and specifically enjoys lifting weights. Outside of fitness and writing, Rebecca enjoys cooking, reading, and watching the football.

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