Your daily workout can get boring if it consists of just a run around the neighborhood or a walk on a treadmill at the gym. Adding music to your workout routine can get you going. Inspired by Punjab’s traditional folk dance – Bhangra – fitness trainers have now started incorporating it into their workouts.
Also known as Masala Bhangra, it was conceived in the United States around 1990. “It became a rage in the US and trickled down to India. It brought the Native Americans back to their roots. Bollywood dance, music, dhol beats etc bring back the feeling of nostalgia. It has several health benefits; Dancing to music releases the hormones serotinin and endorphin, which reduce stress and make you happy,” says Bhavna Harchandrai, a fitness expert from Mumbai.
Bhangra, an energetic folk dance, originated in the farming communities of Punjab and takes its name from the harvest of the bhang (hemp) crop. It is traditionally performed by men to boliyan (short songs) and dhol beats. It is mainly associated with Baisakhi, Punjab’s spring harvest festival, and celebrated as Sikh’s New Year. There is also Giddha, the female version of Bhangra, a celebratory dance performed at festivals or social gatherings.
“These traditional folk dances are good training if you do them right. You can burn 500-800 calories in one session while having fun,” says Baljeet Singh, Bhangra Choreographer and Fitness Instructor. A bhangra workout is not only good for the whole body, but the way it’s performed also targets specific muscles like the arms, biceps, forearms, shoulders, hamstrings, and calves.
A Bhangra trainer from Delhi, Ankit Rajawat, says: “We do a session of 40 to 45 minutes and it’s a full body workout. Running and jumping in the gym gets boring and you quickly feel drained; but bhangra training is full of energy and entertainment. During the pandemic, the bhangra craze has grown exponentially and we’ve been doing virtual sessions back-to-back.” Ekta Gulechha, dancer and bhangra choreographer, agrees with Singh, saying, “Both giddha and bhangra are amazing cardio workouts that you can do can also help strengthen you and increase your endurance.”
Bhangra training is not limited to any specific age group. People of all ages love to indulge in the sessions. “I take three batches a week, including people between the ages of 10 and 55, people love to train with dhol beats,” informs Manisha Saraf, a trainer. People who regularly participate in Bhangra workouts have seen visible changes in their overall health.
“I have polycystic ovarian disease (PCOD) which has led to weight gain and irregular periods. Someone told me that cardio is good for losing weight. Instead of getting on the treadmill, I went to Masala Bhangra and within a few weeks I experienced a change. Now it’s become a regular part of my routine,” says Radhika Sharma, 31, from Mumbai.
The great thing about this workout is that you don’t need any prior knowledge or dance skills. You can just dance to the beat of the music. Mohit Goyal’s Zumba training class started twice a month with intense bhangra training and the 29-year-old has seen a huge improvement in his physique. He says: “After the first session I lost 1 kg. In the last three months I’ve lost about 10 kg. Bhangra is not just a workout, it also works as a stress killer.”
Different types of training
High Intensity Bhangra
Bollywood fusion with Bhangra
Benefits of Bhangra