Capoeira moves – Ginga

With this post we start a series to help you learn and improve capoeira movements. Use them as a reference for practicing, they are not a substitute for classes because capoeira needs to be learned with a professional instructor and played in the roda.

We open our series with the most important capoeira movement the ginga, a swinging step+squat that is unique to capoeira. The ginga is the springboard for all capoeira movements: kicks, jumps, attack and defense, low and high, so you’ve better get this right.


Arte Capoeira Center, capoeira tutorial: ginga frontHere we go:

  1. Standing, open your legs shoulder-width apart.
  2. Squat as much as you can, if possible until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Keep your back straight.
  3. Bring left foot back, bring right arm up folding it around your chin. Front foot is flat, back heel is up so your back foot stands only on the ball of the foot.


Can you hold it for 10 sec? Good! Now switch:



  1. Bring left foot parallel to the right foot
  2. when feet are parallel again switch arms: right goes down, left goes up
  3. right foot goes back (right foot standing on the ball of the foot, back straight).



Repeat… Repeat… there you are ginga-ing! This is excellent exercise for your glutei maximi and quadriceps. Remember: leg behind = opposite arm up defending your face/head.

Finally, four tips for practicing ginga safely:

  • Keep your back straight, so your weight is carried on the legs not on the lower back.
  • Lean forward as much as you can, to increase speed and range of movement.
  • The back foot stands on the ball of the foot, facing forward, the heel is OFF the floor.
  • The lower leg is perpendicular to the floor, so your knee doesn’t lean forward or backward. This is crucial to keep your knees healthy & strong!



Once you mastered the basic step you can start to introduce variations the so-called “movimentação”.

Here an example:


Last but not least: Thank you Bala, for modeling for us!