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The hip roll is a basic belly dance movement.
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Undulating torsos along with fluid, sinuous hip movements characterize the dances of the Middle East. Some, like belly dancing, offer significant fitness benefits. As a weight-bearing activity, belly dancing helps you maintain bone density, while enhancing grace and coordination, strengthening your legs and mobilizing your hips, back and shoulders. Movements like the belly roll teach precise abdominal muscle control, and hip rolls relax the tight hip joints that suffer as you sit at your desk.
Stand facing the mirror with your feet hip-width apart, and your knees slightly bent. Place one hand on your lower belly and the other on your upper belly.
Contract your upper abdominal muscles, then contract your lower abs.
Relax your upper abs, then your lower abs. When you master the sequence, reverse the order, contracting your lower abs first, then your upper abs.
Lift your chest and upper ribs forward and upward, as if someone had a puppet string on your breast bone pulling it upward toward the ceiling. Contract your entire abdominal region as you do this.
Lower your ribs as if you were flexing your upper torso into an abdominal crunch. Relax your abs as you do this.
Connect the two movements in a fluid motion, contracting your abs and pulling them up like a zipper as your ribs move forward and upward. Relax your abs as your ribs release downward and inward. Follow the cadence of the music.
The Hip Roll
Face the mirror and stand with your feet hip-width apart and your knees relaxed. Imagine that you're holding a full load of groceries, and you need to use your hip to close the car door. Slide your hips to the right, then do the same to the left. Establish a side-to-to side rhythm in cadence with the music.
Slide your hip to the right, and lift your right heel from the floor.
Slide your hips all the way to the left. Place your right heel on the floor and repeat the movement, lifting your left heel.
Add variety to your belly rolls by varying the size of rib movements. Other forms of ethnic dance and Latin-oriented aerobic workouts also use the hip roll, but in a wider stance. To exaggerate the hip roll, lean your waist away from the hip. If you can't find traditional belly dancing music, even music from someone like the artist Shakira can set the mood.
Never keep your feet wider than hip-width apart during belly dancing The belly roll initiates by drawing your rib cage forward, not by pulling your shoulders back. Consult your doctor if you have back problems.