How to Body Pop

Two Parts:Popping Your ArmsPopping Other Parts of Your Body

Body "popping" has evolved from the street dance in the 60s and 70s in California, becoming its own signature move in the late 1990s, and then flourishing after the turn of the century with the stampede of hip-hop-influenced pop music that has since become mainstream. If you want to go dancing at clubs, bars or even in your own home, learning to body pop is easy, fun, and great exercise. See Step 1 to get started today.

Part 1
Popping Your Arms

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    Hold one of your arms out straight from your body. It doesn't matter which arm you start with. Just remember to keep it relaxed and loose. If you're too tense, then you won't be able to pop; you can think of "popping" as a releasing some of that tension. Don't lock your elbow -- keep it relaxed. Make sure to keep your hand flat and your chest high, with your neck loose. Know that releasing the tension from your body is essential to any kind of dancing, especially popping.
    • You can even stretch before you begin, if you think that this will help you loosen up a bit.
    • Don't stand there with stiff legs. Instead, keep your feet shoulder width, or even a little further apart, and keep a bit of a bend in your knees. Though the pop requires strong isolation, focusing on one area of your body, the energy should actually come from your legs, popping out the top of your body. You'll need that spring in your legs to help you generate the energy in your arms.
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    Bend down the wrist of that arm. To do this in the most effective way possible, imagine that there's a string tied to your fingers. While keeping your arm taut, pretend that someone is pulling on the string, bringing your fingers and your hand down until your wrist is at a 90-degree angle to the ground. Try to do this without moving the rest of your arm or body. Keep facing forward; resist the temptation to look at the moving hand.
    • Keep your knees slightly bent, springing a bit on your legs with every slight move in your arms. You can use this little bounce to set up a nice rhythm for yourself.
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    Raise your hand and elbow. Now, raise your elbow until it's even with your shoulder, and raise your hand so it's back to being flat again, nearly parallel to the floor. The idea of popping is to pop one part of your body at a time while the rest of your body remains stationary. When you pop with your arm like this, the popping action runs from your hand up to your shoulder. So once your wrist is 90-degrees, you raise your elbow with the same idea, popping it up toward the air, while bringing your hand back to its original position -- flat, while your chest is high.
    • Really, you're letting a wave of energy travel from your shoulder to your fingertips, and back up through your arm again.
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    Straighten your arm. Now, bring your elbow down until your arm is nearly straight and parallel to the floor. The wave of energy has run fully from your hand, through your elbow, and is making its way up to your shoulder. That's why it's important to slip your arm back to its original position.
    • Keep your hips centered, your head and neck nice and tall, and your look focused in the center as you do this.
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    Pop your shoulder. As you transition from your elbow up in the air and back down to your arm's original position, you should raise your shoulder up while you bring the rest of your arm in toward your body. The raising motion of your shoulder is the "pop" you are looking for. When you pop your shoulder, the movement should look unexpected, almost as if it were a reflexive jerk or shiver.
    • You can even slightly pop your other shoulder, to help the move transition to the other side of your body.
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    Repeat the actions in reverse with your second arm. Now, begin by popping your shoulder, and then straighten your arm, raise your hand and elbow, bend down the wrist of your arm, and work backwards to get your arm into the original straight position you began with your other hand. Then, let the wave run through your outstretched arm and back into the shoulder, and then move the "pop" in the other direction starting with your other shoulder, and so on.
    • The wave should travel from the tips of the fingers of one arm, up the arm, and then over to the other side, so the popping motion flows from one side of your body to the other.

Part 2
Popping Other Parts of Your Body

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    Do a chest pop. To pop your chest, stand with an exaggerated stance, with your feet about half a foot out each past your shoulders, with a good bend in both knees. Stay bouncy with your legs, bend down slightly, and then isolate your ribs, coming forward and up with your chest, and then dropping back down, with a slight hunch. You should not use your shoulders or roll them during this process, which is a common mistake. Repeat this motion, keeping those feet bouncy, bending down slightly, and then popping your chest up.
    • Think of it as doing a "chest bump" with the air. It's a similar gesture, putting everything into the chest while developing just a slight bounce and upward motion in the arms and elbow.
    • For an exaggerated movement, you can place one hand on your chest to mimic a heartbeat when you're popping. Place a flexed hand in the middle of your chest, flatten your hand as you pop your chest forward, and then flex it again as you drop back.
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    • You can even add more moves to this technique by bending down and moving slightly to the right, popping your chest, then swooping over to your left side, popping your chest, and going back and forth between the left and the right.
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    Do the walk and pop. To walk and pop, simply act like you're just walking down the street, moving your feet and arms at a count of one or two. Every time you count, take a step, slightly popping your knees, letting the motion travel up your leg and down again, while also popping your arm with every slight movement. Keep your arms out at your sides, in an exaggerated motion, as if you were still doing the arm pop, while incorporating your feet and popping your feet and knees out in the process, too.[1]
    • It can take a little while to get the coordination down, but once you get used to popping with every count, the rest should be cake.
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    Pop your legs. You can pop your legs on their own, or add a pop to your legs while you're popping your arms, chest, or other parts of your body. To pop your legs, just practice flexing and releasing your quads. Then, move back slightly with one leg, flexing your quad as you move back, and then release the muscle in your legs once you move your leg back to its normal position. You shouldn't come forward with your leg, only backwards, and then back to the standing position. You also shouldn't bend down or get low to do this.
    • Once you've mastered the pop on one leg, learn to pop both legs at the same time, not moving your feet but pivoting on them to the right and left as you pop your legs.
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Categories: Dancing