Zumba Instructor Strategies: Constraining or Liberating for Women Participants?

Tanya Nieri, Elizabeth Hughes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Prior work documents how instructors can make fitness empowering or disempowering for women; it has not addressed instructors of Zumba, advertised to be distinct from other group fitness and of which women report more positive experiences. Drawing on feminist engagements with Bourdieu, this study assesses how Zumba instructor strategies produce a positive experience and whether they constitute a challenge to the social structure that motivates participation in fitness. We find that the strategies, which deviate substantially from those of traditional group fitness instructors, address the perceived shortcomings of group exercise, making for a more positive experience of the activity and reducing certain leisure constraints. However, the strategies do not prompt participants to critically analyze or challenge dominant ideals or the social imperative to exercise. Future research can explore whether these strategies diffuse to other group fitness and impact on dominant gender, body, and fitness ideals and the fitness industry.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)684-701
Number of pages18
JournalLeisure Sciences
Issue number7
StatePublished - 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management


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