Blog Fitness 3 Simple Hip Hop Moves For Newbies, And Everything You Need To Know To Start Dancing

3 Simple Hip Hop Moves For Newbies, And Everything You Need To Know To Start Dancing

Funky, cool, and iconic, hip hop dancing is a popular style for dancers of every level. Whether you’re new to the scene or an old pro, having a few trusted moves up your sleeve can help you look good on the dance floor. We should mention that hip hop dancing is very diverse and there are many different styles. In this article, we’ll focus on three simple moves that you can use to get started. Build your confidence with these basics and then explore the world of hip hop to find your own style.


1. Popping

Popping is a fairly easy move which involves the dancer “popping” or quickly releasing and contracting certain muscle groups. It’s often combined with rehearsal steps and head nods for a smooth combination.

To practice popping:

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and tense your arms and legs 
  2. Quickly release the tension, making sure your body is relaxed 
  3. Repeat 3-5 times and add arm and leg movements to make it more interesting

2. Locking

A twin dance to popping, locking is a groovy style of dance that was popularized in the 1970s. It involves making “freezes” or poses, by tensing and relaxing your muscles in quick succession.

To practice locking:

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and tense your arms and legs 
  2. Quickly release the tension, making sure your body is relaxed 
  3. Hold this pose for a few seconds before returning to the starting position 
  4. Repeat 3-5 times and add arm and leg movements to make it more interesting.

Read More: The Best Clothes For Hip Hop Dance

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3. Breaking Aka Breakdancing

Fans of RoboCop, the sci-fi classic released in 1987, may recognize this popular style of dance. Breakdancing involves a variety of spins, flips, and other acrobatic moves which resemble robotic movements.

It’s a great way to show off your athleticism and flexibility. Breaking is often performed in battles, where two or more dancers compete to see who has the best moves. It’s an exciting way to express yourself and let loose. 

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For beginners, Njelica and Popping are two of the most accessible forms of breakdance. Njelica is a flowing dance style which emphasizes footwork, while Popping involves quick jerky movements with exaggerated poses. 

Here’s a simple exercise that will help you get started:

  1. Stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart and keep your arms at your sides 
  2. Bend your knees slightly and contract your core
  3. Quickly move one arm up in the air, followed by the other 
  4. Keeping your feet planted, twist your hips and torso from side to side 
  5. Move your arms in time with the motion of your body

Elevating Your Hip-Hop Choreography

Sure, the simple moves we’ve discussed are great for building confidence. But to add a bit of flavor and style to your choreography, you should consider learning some more advanced hip-hop moves. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Floorwork – combine slides, pops, and isolations to create low, slinky moves
  • Waacking – use wrist circles and exaggerated arm movements
  • Footwork – use quick steps and kicks to create flashy patterns
  • Freezes – hold a pose to emphasize the beat and add drama 

These advanced hip-hop moves may also be worth learning as you progress:

  • Drops – use quick spins and body waves to give your moves an extra “umph” 
  • Spins – use the momentum of your body to spin around and create dynamic patterns 
  • Lifts – use quick transitions from floorwork to standing poses for a unique look
  • Power Moves – combine flips and slides to create powerful, eye-catching moves 
  • Handstands – use handstands to create exciting and dynamic poses

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simple hip hop

Hip Hop Moves For Advanced Dancers

As you become more comfortable with your hip hop moves, you can start to combine them and create even more dynamic choreography.

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Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Moonwalking – combine slides and isolations to create a “floating” effect
  • Dime Stop – use quick transitions between footwork, spins, and arm movements
  • Tutting – use quick hand movements to create geometric shapes in the air 
  • Headspins – combine spins and body waves to create a dizzying effect 
  • Power Swipes – use flips and slides to generate speed and momentum
  • Windmills – combine spins and slides to create a continuous spinning motion

As you progress, don’t be afraid to experiment and add your own creative flair. There’s no right or wrong way to do this – as long as you’re having fun, your moves will be a hit! 

How Should A Beginner Start Dancing?

Ready to start dancing? Here are a few tips to help you get started:

Prepare Your Body

Before signing up for a dance class, consider your fitness level. Jumping off the couch and into a strenuous hip-hop class may not be the best idea.

Preparing your body for a few days or even weeks is important because it:

  • Strengthens your muscles and prepares them for the physical demands of dance 
  • Increases your range of motion, which can help you to execute more complex moves 
  • Improves your coordination and helps you to become more aware of your body
  • Builds your confidence and ensures that your body is ready for the challenge
  • Helps to reduce the risk of injuries 
  • Prepares you mentally and emotionally for the hard work ahead

So, how should you prepare your body? By stretching, doing yoga, and following a simple workout routine that targets the muscles you’ll be using for dancing.

Stretches For Hip-Hop Dancing

Stretching helps to improve your flexibility, which is essential for hip-hop dancing (4). Here are a few stretches that you can incorporate into your warm-up routine:

  • Cat/Cow Stretch – roll your spine in a circular motion while keeping your core engaged 
  • Hamstring Stretch – standing on one leg, lean forward and reach your hands towards the floor 
  • Hip Flexor Stretch – kneel on one leg, then lunge forward and hold the stretch 
  • Shoulder Stretch – stand up straight and lift your hands above your head, reaching towards the sky 
  • Spine Stretch – start in a standing position and reach your arms towards the ground, then roll up one vertebrae at a time
  • Quad Stretch – stand on one leg and grab the ankle of your other foot, pulling it towards your butt
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These stretches will help you to improve your flexibility and make your hip-hop moves more fluid.

simple hip hop

Yoga For Flexibility

Yoga is another great way to improve your flexibility and build your strength (2). There are many yoga poses that will help you develop a deeper understanding of your body and gain control over your movements.

Here are a few poses to get you started:

  • Child’s Pose – this pose releases tension from the back and shoulders 
  • Downward Facing Dog – this pose stretches the entire body, including the core and hamstrings 
  • Warrior I – this pose improves balance and strengthens the legs 
  • Triangle Pose – this pose strengthens the core, arms, and legs 
  • Extended Side Angle Pose – this pose builds strength in the legs and shoulders 

Yoga is great for hip-hop dancers because it helps you to become aware of your body, build strength, and increase flexibility.

Read More: How To Start Hip Hop Dancing: 5 Expert-Approved Tips

Strength Training For Hip-Hop Dancing

Strength training is important for hip-hop dancers because it not only builds strength, but it also helps to improve balance and coordination (1).

Here are a few exercises you can do to build strength for hip-hop dancing: 

  • Squats – strengthens the legs and glutes 
  • Lunges – strengthens the legs and increases balance 
  • Push Ups – strengthens the chest, arms, and core 
  • Planks – strengthens the core and stabilizes the spine 
  • Pull Ups – strengthens the back and arms 
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These exercises will help you to build strength and control over your movements

Finding The Right Dance Class

Once you’ve prepared your body, it’s time to find the right dance class. Look for a hip-hop class that is tailored to your level, so you don’t feel overwhelmed.

Choose a class with an experienced teacher who will help you to progress at your own pace. It’s also important to find a class that will help you to learn and develop your own style.

Below are some key considerations newbies should keep in mind when searching for a hip-hop dance class:

  • Class size – the smaller the class, the more individualized attention you’ll receive. Conversely, larger classes are great for learning choreography as a group. 
  • Style of teaching – look for an instructor that takes the time to break down the moves and teach them step-by-step. 
  • Dress code – some studios require specific attire while others allow more freedom. 
  • Location – look for a studio that is conveniently located and easy to get to. 

Find The Right Gear

Make sure you get the right gear for hip-hop dancing. You’ll want to invest in comfortable shoes that offer good support and won’t slip.

We recommend investing in quality dance shoes that are specifically designed for hip-hop dancing. Alternatively, you can always use a pair of running shoes.

Most classes will also require you to wear comfortable clothing like shorts or sweatpants, and a t-shirt or tank top. Make sure you choose clothes that don’t restrict your movement and are breathable.

We recommend these BetterMe leggings and tank tops to keep you cool and comfortable during your dance sessions (3). Not only are they made of breathable, sweat-wicking fabric, but they also offer stretch that allows you to move freely. It doesn’t hurt that they look great too!

simple hip hop

Fuel Before And After Class

Just like any physical activity, it’s important to fuel your body properly before and after class. Eating a balanced meal about 2-3 hours before the class will give your body enough time to digest the food and provide you with energy to get through the class.

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Had a busy day and no time for a balanced meal? Snack on a nutritious protein bar or shake about an hour before the class to keep your energy levels up.

After class, replenish your body with a nutritious snack or meal. Look for something that’s rich in protein and complex carbs to help your body recover faster. We recommend a protein smoothie or a turkey sandwich on whole wheat bread.

Hydration is just as important, so make sure you drink enough water before, during, and after class. Electrolyte-infused beverages also help to replenish lost fluids and electrolytes. Rather than processed sports drinks, try naturally-infused flavored water for a healthier alternative.

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Gradual Progression For Newbies

Slow and steady wins the race when it comes to hip-hop dancing. As a beginner, it’s important to focus on mastering the basics before progressing to more difficult moves. This will help you to build a stronger foundation and help you become a better dancer.

And most importantly, don’t be too hard on yourself and have fun. At its very core, this genre of music and dance is about expressing yourself and having a good time.

So take your time and focus on enjoying the process of learning. Have patience and you’ll be busting out awesome moves in no time! 

The Bottom Line

Hip-hop dancing is a great way to have fun, stay fit and express yourself. But like any type of physical activity, it’s important to take the necessary safety precautions.

Find a good class, get the right gear and fuel your body properly. And most importantly, take your time and enjoy the process of learning. With dedication and hard work, you’ll be breaking it down like a pro in no time.



This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!


  1. Effects of Combined Balance and Strength Training on Measures of Balance and Muscle Strength in Older Women With a History of Falls (2020, 
  2. Impact of 10-weeks of yoga practice on flexibility and balance of college athletes (2016, 
  3. Leggings (n.d., 
  4. Stretching: Focus on flexibility (2022,
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