By now, you’ve probably seen the viral video featuring the nice-enough suburban lady doing the goofiest exercise you’ve ever seen. Welcome to Prancercise. Part walking, part stretching, part frolicking, not quite skipping, almost dancing; what exactly is it? Does it work?
Did You Know?The inventor of Prancercise, Joanna Rohrback, came up with the idea of prancing for exercise way back in 1989.
Well, it depends on what you mean by "work". Everyone’s exercise goals are different. If your goal is to get stronger, no. If your goal is to get leaner, probably not. If your goal is to have fun, well, maybe. It depends on you; the one great feature of Prancercise is that it’s totally about you and how you feel. You basically make it up as you go along, and if you’re silly enough, it just might be fun. But say it is fun; you only have so many hours in the day, and you need to work up a sweat. Can you do it with Prancercise? Sure! Just tweak it a bit.
Prancercise your little heart out, as fast as you can, as long as you can. Then rest, then do it again. This is basically a sprint workout (Prancersprint?), and it can be fantastic for burning fat, building agility and speed, and since you’re prancing, it’s probably pretty good for balance too. See, the times you’re prancing really fast put your body in anaerobic mode, where your energy demands are too fast for your body to keep up with―you’re not using fat for fuel, but you’re using a heck of a lot of fuel―and one way to lose fat is the whole calories in/calories out thing. The rest periods allow your body to calm down and get back to fat-burning mode, so you have the energy to go fast again.
Try Prancercising with weights―strap on some ankle weights and grab a set of dumbbells heavy enough that it’s tough to lift them above your head. Now Prance your little heart out. Be careful, because your body now weighs more than it used to (‘cause of the weights). Don’t get too tricky with the foot action, because you don’t want to stress your joints with impact from the extra weights, and wear weightlifting gloves or use chalk so the dumbbells don’t come crashing down onto your head. You probably won’t build much leg muscle (it won’t replace squats), but you’ll work the stabilizers well enough. The upper body is a different story; if you use heavy enough dumbbells, you can get a heck of an upper body workout. Work in some curls, overhead presses, rotations, and just basically move your arms as much as possible. Beach muscles!
If you want to make Prancercise a plyometrics workout, go right ahead. The bouncy, prancy style of movement lends itself to explosiveness; just get exaggerated with it. Instead of dainty steps, take giant forward leaps. Push hard off your toes with every step, and work in plenty of lateral motion. If you want to use your arms for more than momentum and stability, add a few plyo pushups here and there. If you’re really skilled, feel free to turn it into a full-on Parkour adventure.
You know what? Prancercise is just like dancing, only for people who are too uptight to dance. So just dance. Sure, start off prancing just to get warmed up, but loosen up once you get your groove. Work that pelvis―it’s great for the abs. Vary your gait, spin, twirl, two-step, whatever your body does to music. Get your shoulders into it, and your obliques will love you. Just plain move your body―it’s good for the heart, joints, and circulation. But be warned, this version of Prancercise will only work if you have a bangin’ playlist!
You see, even the goofiest trend out there can be made to work for you if you apply the same basic principles from your usual workout. While it may not replace your normal workout routine full-time, it’s a great way to get out of a rut, and enjoy movement once again. Get out there and Prance!