How to Do a 30-Minute Curves Exercise Routine

By Lisa M. Wolfe

A Curves workout is for members of Curves International, a women-only fitness chain with centers throughout the world. Each Curves center contains 13 pieces of strength-training equipment, set up in a circle. Between each strength machine is a recovery board upon which you perform a specific aerobic exercise. The 30-minute Curves routine is a circuit-training workout designed to improve your strength and cardio fitness.

Before the Circuit

Begin your workout at any exercise station within the Curves circuit program. After you complete one station, move, in order, to the next machine or station. Before you start the routine, warm up for three to five minutes by marching or walking in place as you pump or swing your arms. Typically, you will not be the only person performing the circuit workout, so as you warm up, observe the other participants and seek out an open station to avoid bumping into other exercisers.

Strength-Training

Curves strength machines use hydraulic resistance to strengthen and tone your muscles. Hydraulic machines adjust the intensity based on the speed at which you exercise. The faster you perform each movement, the more resistance you feel. Each circuit has 13 machines, which often exercise two muscles at the same time. For example, the biceps/triceps machine strengthens the fronts and backs of your upper arms as you bend and flex your arms. The chest press/seated row strengthens your chest and back as you push and pull the handles. The leg extension/leg curl strengthens your upper legs when you bend and flex your knees. The abdominal curl/back extension machine targets your core as you sit forward and lean backward. Perform the strength exercise for 30 seconds at a speed that creates muscle fatigue by the end of the 30 seconds. After 30 seconds, a voice or a bell signals you to switch to the next station. Wipe off the machine and move to the recovery board next to the strength machine.

Aerobic Exercise

The aerobic portion of the Curves 30-minute workout is stationary marching, jogging or walking on recovery boards. A recovery board is a slightly raised, springy platform that cushions your impact when you perform aerobic movements. These boards are placed between each of the 13 resistance-training machines. Walk, jog or march on the board at a level that keeps your heart rate elevated and leaves you slightly breathless. Challenge your body so that you will burn calories and improve your cardiovascular system, but don't exercise at too great of an intensity level. If you cannot talk, decrease the pace of your walk, march or jog to a level at which you are able to carry on a conversation. When you hear the voice prompt or the sound of a bell, move to the next strength-training machine.

Finish Strong

Continue to alternate the strength-training exercises with the recovery board exercises until you return to the first exercise you performed. Repeat the circle of exercises once more. After your last station, slowly march in place for two or three minutes to lower your heart rate. Once your breathing rate settles, stretch your legs, chest, back, shoulders and arms for three to five minutes. Return every other day for your total-body, 30-minute circuit workout.

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