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About the Curves program
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A common complaint of women is that they just don?t have time to exercise. The Curves 30-Minute Complete Workout provides the solution. Our hydraulic resistance strength training machines allow you to perform cardiovascular and strength training at the same time.

For thirty minutes you move around the circuit, changing stations every thirty seconds. You need not rush to a class or worry about a schedule. When you show up, your workout begins. Just jump in anywhere there is a station open and move at the same time and in the same direction as everyone else.

Total Fitness
A complete workout must include five components: warm up, cardiovascular training, strength training, cool down and stretching. As you begin the circuit, exercise slowly at each station for the first three to five minutes. As you end the circuit, do the same. This allows your body to warm up and to cool down as you begin and end the workout.

After you warm up you will begin to work harder on each machine. The intensity of a double positive strength training machine easily elevates and sustains your target heart rate. As you go around the circuit, you will move from an upper body strength machine to a recovery station to a lower body strength machine and so on. Strength and cardiovascular training are performed simultaneously.

Hydraulic Resistance
The unique features of hydraulic resistance make it possible to perform strength and cardiovascular training at the same time. You will push forward with one muscle group and pull back with the opposing muscle group. Gravity neither helps nor hinders the work. This intensity easily elevates and sustains your target heart rate. By working muscle groups that oppose each other, you also work muscles symmetrically or in balance. Several of our machines are single positive and work in only one direction to effectively target the larger muscle group.

Safe and Effective
With hydraulic resistance exercise, you are moving fluid. This is similar to aquatic exercise, and is inherently safe even for fragile people. There are no weight stacks to manage or decisions to be made. In conventional gyms, up to 85% of injuries occur during the eccentric contraction (the lowering of the weight). With a double positive workout you never lower the weight. You push and pull. The Curves workout provides a strength training program that many grandmothers and great grandmothers can safely do; yet it provides resistance and intensity levels that will challenge athletes.

Cardiovascular Training
Cardiovascular training is accomplished by working hard enough to elevate the heart rate to a training target level. The heart is a muscle and must perform work to get strong and stay strong. The strength training machines provide the work that elevates the heart to its target level. Every eight minutes you will hear a cue that reminds you to take a ten second heart rate check. Look for the posted heart rate chart, find your age in the column on the left, and move across to find your target heart rate. The first column (red - 50%) is the column for people with special health concerns such as high blood pressure, asthma, pregnancy, etc. The second column (yellow - 60%) is where most people will be. The remaining columns are for those who are more physically fit or athletic. Working out at your target heart rate ensures that you are getting a cardiovascular benefit at a safe yet effective level. It is not necessary to increase your target heart rate percentage as you get in shape. As your physical conditioning improves, you will have to work harder to raise your heart rate to its target level.

Burn Body Fat
Sustained target heart rate activity conditions your body to access fat for energy. During the first few minutes of exercise, your muscles will primarily burn energy in the bloodstream and glycogen stored in the muscles. As you continue to exercise, your body will begin to access more fat stores for energy. Sustained exercise will continue to burn more fat, and your body will become more proficient at accessing body fat as you exercise on a regular basis.

Optimal Levels
The thirty-second intervals were chosen because they are the optimal time for a strength training set. Your muscles can ?sprint? for about thirty seconds before they begin to exhaust. After an upper body strength machine, you will move to a recovery station for thirty seconds, then to a machine that works the lower body and then to another recovery station. This means that it will be a minute and a half before you will be working an upper body muscle group again. This is the amount of time that a muscle group needs to recover and be ready to sprint again. By alternating muscle groups in this way, you are able to perform cardiovascular and strength training at the same time.

Strength Training
Strength training has long been the missing link in women?s fitness. Holding a one-pound dumbbell during an aerobic class was once considered to be strength training. True strength training requires that you move a resistance that is greater than the muscle is accustomed to. Progressive resistance stimulates the muscle to stay strong and firm. Increasing the speed of movement on our machines provides this progressive resistance. The faster you go, the harder it is, because you are moving more fluid though a restricted orifice in the cylinders. You should move the resistance as fast as you are able. This assures that you are ?overloading? muscles and achieving the benefits of strength training.

The Intensity Should Be On the Machines
You must work the machines with intensity. Remember that the speed of movement determines the amount of resistance. Strength training achievement requires you to move resistance which is 60 to 80% of your maximum lifting ability. Moving more slowly on the machines means you move less resistance and you may not achieve the full benefits of strength training.

Hesitation Method to Lower Heart Rate
If you find that thirty seconds of working hard on the machines elevates your heart rate above your training level, you should hesitate at each machine to lower your heart rate to an appropriate level. Simply sit on each machine and wait for five seconds before you begin to work. Five seconds is about 16% of the thirty seconds, which means that you will reduce the amount of work being performed by that percentage. If five seconds does not bring your heart rate down enough, hesitate for ten seconds. Hesitating, rather than slowing down on the machines, ensures the resistance necessary for strength training while keeping your heart rate at safe levels.

Benefits of Strength Training
Strong muscles provide the support for joints and vertebrae that keep your body stable and working properly. Bone density increases as a result of load bearing activities. If you are strength training as you lose weight, your body prioritizes muscle tissue and burns more body fat. By protecting muscle mass as you lose weight, you are more likely to reach your weight loss goals and to maintain them.
Rules of Resistance Training
Have your Curves instructor teach you these rules:
  • Move across the midline of the muscles being worked
  • Keep elbows and knees within the plane of motion
  • Move the full range of motion without locking the joints
  • Go fast enough to get adequate resistance
  • Keep it simple
You Won?t Look Like Arnold
Don?t worry about gaining too much muscle. Most women do not have the testosterone levels necessary to gain a lot of muscle. You also have a preset genetic potential to have a certain amount of muscularity. If you are new to strength training, you may gain three to five pounds of muscle rather quickly, but further gains will slow down once you reach your potential for muscle gain. If your body fat percentage is high, you have fat striated throughout the muscles (much like chuck steak). As you burn body fat, you will find that your muscles will become leaner and may look smaller, even though they have become firmed and toned.

Exercising Every Day
We recommend that you utilize the Curves workout three times per week due to the need for muscle recovery from strength training. If you desire to work out every day, modify your workout every other day by moving the machines more slowly. By working on the machines more slowly, you will be moving a resistance that is less than 50% of your maximum lifting ability. This should still elevate your heart rate to its target zone and provide a cardiovascular workout, but be below the threshold for strength training.

Recovery Stations
We recommend that you ?move lively? on the recovery stations, but that means different things for different people. If you are in poor shape or your joints are fragile, you should simply walk in place. If you are in great shape, you may run or even dance. Be sure to stay on the board and not step on and off. Keep your movements under control. The level of intensity on the recovery station will not affect your heart rate a great deal. Lowering your heart rate back to your target level will be accomplished by reducing the work on the machines. Do not use dumbbells while on the recovery stations. If you feel that you need them, you are holding back on the machines where the real work is performed.

Stretching
Always end your workout with stretching. Your instructor will teach you how to follow the Curves stretching poster. It takes less than five minutes to move through all of the stretches. You perform a static stretch by isolating the muscles around a specific joint and extending those muscles completely. Hold the stretch for seven seconds and then extend the muscles further. Being careful not to bob or bounce, just hold each stretch for a total of fifteen seconds. A static stretch is the safest way to stretch, and is done at the end of the workout when the muscles are warm. Stretching is important because it helps to maintain range of motion and the integrity of the joints. Be sure to take time at the end of each workout to perform this fifth component of a complete workout.

Core Exercise Program
The Curves workout provides the key components for optimum health: cardiovascular training, strength training and stretching. With hydraulic resistance, the machines will provide greater resistance as you become stronger and more physically fit. This means that the circuit will continue to provide the work necessary to elevate your heart rate and overload muscles. You will never outgrow the intensity of the Curves workout. This 30-Minute Complete Workout may be viewed as ?basic training? for an active lifestyle. It will give you a strong heart, strong muscles and flexible joints. You will then be able to take the stairs, walk your errands, and run and play with your children and grandchildren. You?ll be able to do the things that an active lifestyle requires.
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