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Jazzercise vs. Zumba: Which Is Right for You?

Dance-based group exercise classes can be a blast. If you’re someone who loves to dance but hates to “go to the gym,” these classes can be fun, high-energy and, really, not feel like a workout at all. Now there are a number of dance-based classes and DVDs out there, but two of the most popular types of classes are Jazzercise and Zumba. Both types of workouts have similarities yet also they have their differences. Not sure which one is right for you? Read on to see which class is best!


This is a tricky question because both Zumba and Jazzercise classes are run by independent contractors, meaning that the price can vary widely depending on where you live and who you are taking the class from. Both kinds of classes are sometimes offered for free or for a small additional cost with a health-club membership. Other times, you can pay as little as $10 a class to take them at a facility without a membership. Many times you can also take classes at dance studios and although they charge a little bit more ($15+), the instruction is usually at a bit higher level. Both also offer workout DVDs.

Who wins this one? Because prices vary so widely according to location and facility, it’s a tie when it comes to classes! However, when it comes to buying workout DVDs, Jazzercise is considerably cheaper at just $16.99 for a DVD, compared with $89.95 for a set of Zumba DVDs (while the price per DVD is cheaper with the Zumba DVD set, generally the workouts on the Zumba DVDs are shorter, thereby giving you less workout time for your money).

Ease of Use

Both classes require a basic knowledge of aerobics steps or dance steps. While the emphasis is definitely on fun, if you’re someone who has two-left feet, you might not find Jazzercise of Zumba to be a particularly fun time — or even a good workout because in order to really get your heart rate up you do need to know the steps. The best part of these classes though is that neither require any fancy or intimidating equipment. All you need is your body, a pair of workout shoes and a smile on your face!

Who wins this one? Again, it’s a tie! Both classes are usually held in studios with instructors and participants that are incredibly welcoming, non-judgmental and friendly. If you’re an aerobics junkie of the 80s, Jazzercise will definitely be easier for you to jump right into because the moves are more in line with those of Jane Fonda (although they still do country, hip hop and salsa). If you’re more into the Latin-flavor music and moves, Zumba is definitely a better fit.

Fitness Level

The great thing about Jazzercise and Zumba is that anyone can do them. If you’re a beginner, you just go in and do the moves to the best of your ability, taking as many breaks for water as you need. As you become more familiar with the moves and your fitness level also increases, then you can really give it your dancing-all during a class. Quality instructors of both kinds of classes should offer beginner and advanced fitness modifications for most moves.

Who wins this one? Can you believe it? It’s a tie! Both classes accommodate beginning, intermediate and advanced exercisers.

Ease of Accessibility

So just how easy are these classes to find? Pretty darn easy. Both have classes in health clubs and dance studios across the country. If you live in a metropolitan area, you’re likely to find both a Jazzercise center and a Zumba class to try. And if you can’t find a class in your area, as mentioned above, you can always purchase a workout DVD!

Who wins this? Zumba! With a reported 110,000 locations worldwide to choose from, Zumba wins this battle hands down. However, Jazzercise still has a lot of locations and plenty of class times — 32,000 classes are offered a week, according to the Jazzercise website.

This versus battle sure was close! Although Zumba takes the slight edge because of ease of accessibility, really the better class comes down to personal preference. While both are dance-based, Zumba is definitely more Latin-inspired than Jazzercise, so if the only salsa you know is the kind you eat on chips, you’ll probably prefer Jazzercise. On the other hand, if doing a basic grapevine sounds boring, you’ll want to try Zumba. Also, while both of these classes have more females than males in them, note that there are usually more guys in Zumba than Jazzercise. Of course, that’s not always the case, and it definitely shouldn’t stop any guys from trying a class. Both types of workouts are built on the idea that exercise should be fun!

Which type of class do you prefer: Jazzercise or Zumba? Tell us about it in the comments!

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July 7th, 2011

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(Page 1 of 1, 2 total comments)


First of all, I have no commercial connection with Jazzercise. Second, I totally agree with Michelle because I have done both Jazzercise and Zumba. In addition, unlike Zumba, Jazzercise incorporates weights, floor mat exercises, balance balls and elastic bands. Some studios also have step Jazzercise which is taught at a very high level of intensity. All equipment is supplied by the studio in my small mountain town. In addition to the rigorous training given to Jazzercise instructors, they also are taught to provide both low and high impact/intensity workouts which is great for varying levels of skill and fitness. Finally, if you hate dancing, you won't like either of the classes, but if you try Jazzercise for a month 3 X week, you will soon learn the basic step combinations. The friendliness of class members is very supportive.

posted Jan 27th, 2013 4:17 am


What about other qualities that are very strong for Jazzercise and seem to be lacking in Zumba? I have 5 below I think that the reviews you offered were fair (with the exception of calling Jazzercise 80's... I don't get that vibe at all) and informative. I was curious, though about a few qualities that you did not mention, ones that cause me to favor Jazzercise. Here are 5 that make my decision easy. 1. variety in movement (hands down jazzercise) 2. variety in music (I've heard latin and african with zumba, those are present at Jazzercise too along with Hip hop, techno, funk, ballads, country, etc.) 3. total body workout and toning (Jazzercise instructors are required to do specific upper torso, ab and leg routines, and stretches.) 4. safety: it alarms me to have a follow the leader approach, so many women do things that cause injury in the name of trying or fun, and don't know it. Jazzercise instructors use mics, face the students and cue safety and form based on what they are seeing without finger pointing, and can cue movement ahead to prevent tripping and frustration. 5. Last, Zumba instructors are certified and then can teach as they see fit. Jazzercise instructors are certified after training, try-outs, tests, and a multi-day workshop... then for their whole career have to follow strict guidelines, set choreography from professionals, and are monitored yearly by a Jazzercise representative (and it is a surprise showing). They are held to very high standards in form, flow, cuing, musicality, how personable, safety cues, muscle knowledge, etc. and risk losing their franchise/instructor status if they don't pass. Accountablility is high. Some important points! I've done a variety of aerobics, personal training in gyms, Jazzercise and Zumba as recently as last week. I don't see Jazzercise as 80's at all... the modern music and new moves incorporated constantly make it the most modern form of exercise I've seen. Thanks!

posted May 13th, 2012 6:10 am


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