“Gumboot Dancing Is The Most Fun You Can Have While Doing Squats For Half An Hour”

Leg Day just got real...


Cally Siberbauer |

The Women’s Health team recently tried out Mpho Kunene’s Gumboot Dancing Workout and thoroughly enjoyed it, until the next morning – those ‘day after leg day’ feels. This fun workout definitely works out the right places, without you even realising it…

It’s Time For GUMBOOTCAMP

Mpho started Gumboot Dancing as a form of fitness in 2013. “The purpose was and is still to preserve, protect and promote African culture and heritage through dance and other art forms,” he says. The intension is to share these incredible and unique dances with the world on many different platforms. 

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Mpho and his team want participants to learn, experience and appreciate the culture and history of the Gumboot Dance. He adds that it is equally important for participants to realise the incredible fitness benefits of the dance. For this reason they’ve been teaching Gumboot Dancing at corporate gyms, wellness events, schools and team building workshops. “We’ve recently started offering it as a dance-fitness class open to public under a registered brand name GUMBOOTCAMP,” adds Mpho.

So Why Is It Such An Intense Workout?

“The beauty of gumboot dance is that it is in itself a full-body workout,” says Mpho. It is also done in gumboots, naturally, which means that there is extra weight on your feet. Most of the routine is performed in a squat position (ouch), and your abdominal muscles and arms are fully engaged with every movement. “But,” Mpho adds with an evil smile, “leg day has never been so AWESOME!” Feel the ultimate leg burn with a mix of jumping, stamping, hopping, stepping, stretching, you name it.

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What’s more, there’s a serious dose of mental concentration too. While trying to coordinate the moves to the rhythm, add in some singing and chanting. “At the end of each session, one must expect their glutes, hamstrings, calves, quads and shins to be smiling with them,” says Mpho. 

What The Testers Had To Say…

Wanita Nicol: “I am the most uncoordinated person I know so anything that has the word “dance” in it makes me just a leeeeeetle nervous. But even though I was routinely a beat behind everyone else, going left when everyone went right and waving my hands wildly rather than performing actual moves, it was so much fun! I was too busy laughing at myself and trying to stay in time to notice how much of a workout I was actually getting, but the next day, yoh! My bum and thighs were sore. Can’t wait to do it again.” 

Gina Baretta: “Gumboot dancing was loads of fun — you work up a serious sweat (hello, Discovery Vitality points!) while you jump around learning those moves.” 

Michelle October:I will say that the workout is a serious leg toner and seriously the most fun you can have while squatting for half an hour. I feel appreciative about our culture and totally appreciative of the fitness levels of miners because… sjoe!”

Leigh Cann: “The most fun I’ve had in a pair of gumboots. Mpho is a great teacher, with a fantastic sense of humour and a LOT of patience!”

Susan Barrett:Gumboot dancing is an insane leg and butt workout! You’re basically squatting for the entire sesh – but it doesn’t feel like it, because you’re so busy focusing on coordinating your steps, and just generally having a blast. It’s what I’ve always loved about dance as a form of exercise: the fact that you’re tricked by the fun factor into getting your sweat on. I also like the real SA vibes that come with mastering moves that have a strong cultural story to tell. Ultimately, it didn’t really matter if I was going left when everyone else was on the right leg, I smiled through the whole thing – and felt like I’d seriously worked my glutes and hammies the next day.”

Zinhlezonke Zikalala:Gumboot dancing is great! Until you can’t climb out of bed the next morning. I’m not even joking. See, the thing is, you have so much fun doing it that you don’t even realise how much working out you’re doing. It’s a scam – but the good kind. You’re squatting all the time, which is great for the butt! Even better, you don’t feel it because you’re moving to a beat, like you’re dancing while your legs are also getting toned! I promise it’s as fun as it sounds.” 

Want To Try It?

You can also put on some gumboots and give this dance a try. Mpho will be part of the line-up at Fit Night Out 2018, taking place this Saturday at Tyger Valley Shopping Centre Rooftop. Click here to get your ticket to the ultimate sweat sesh.

#FNO is powered by adidas in partnership with Totalsports, Shield, Powerade, Polaroid and Virgin Active. FNO supports Earthchild Project.

READ MORE ON: Fit Night Out Fitness Fitness Advice