Curves is an international fitness franchise for women that utilizes a 30-minute circuit on custom designed hydraulic strength training machines, interspersed with aerobic activities such as jogging in place. The circuit consists of up to 13 stations, covering the whole body, most of which are "double-positive" with no eccentric component. Resistance bands can simulate all the exercises provided by the Curves hydraulic machines, but with a "concentric-eccentric" pattern of resistance.
Stand on the middle of a length of tubing. Keeping your back straight, bend to grip the both ends of the tube with each hand and hold them firmly against the front of your shoulders. To work your quads and glutes, stand upright pushing with your legs against the band's resistance.
Grasp one end of a band while trailing the other end on the ground. Stand on the middle of the band so that it stretches a little between your foot and hand. To work the bicep, bring your palm up toward your shoulder, keeping your elbow close to your side. For your triceps, grasp the tubing behind your back and over the top of the opposite shoulder. Keeping elbow fixed, fully extend your arm.
Loop the band around your back while sitting upright on a chair. Grasp the ends in front of you with arms parallel and palms facing each other. To work your chest, push outward and fully extend your arms. For your back, remain in the chair and loop the band around your feet with legs extended. Hold the band with arms extended and pull back as far as your can keeping elbows close to your sides.
Sit on the middle of a band looped across a chair. Grasp both ends of the band and hold your hands against the front of your shoulders with palms facing out. To work your deltoids, straighten both arms vertically to a full range of motion. For lats, hold the band directly above your head with arms wider than shoulder width. Pull outward and downward until the band is level with the back of your head.
Stand upright with a band attached to your ankle and an external fixed point such as a heavy table. Keeping the side with your working leg closest to the table, allow your leg to be abducted by the band and then adduct it back against the band’s resistance. For abduction, turn your body so that your working leg is farthest away from the table. Abduct the leg against the band’s resistance.
Lie supine on the floor and reach over your head to grasp one end of a band, with the other attached to a fixed external point. Keeping your arm and neck position fixed, curl up from the prone position. For back extension, adopt a single leg knee position with trunk leaning forward. Wrap the band around your upper back and attach it to a point directly in front of you. Extend your trunk at the hip.
Perform each step in rotation starting at any station. Add the jogging/walking in place station between each exercise. Additional Curves exercises can be simulated with resistance bands in the same way as the basic routine described above.
Cedric X. Bryant, Ph.D., chief exercise physiologist for the American Council on Exercise, cautions that the Curves circuit will increase your strength but, contrary to the Curves claims, will provide you with little cardiovascular benefit.
The Curves machines are hydraulic and most provide only a "double-positive" action, with no eccentric resistance. Strength development has been found to be severely limited by omitting eccentric contractions.
When performing your resistance band circuit, breathe out as you stretch the band and breathe in as it returns to its starting length.
Do not strain as you stretch out the tubing. If you cannot perform a full range of movement, choose a color that indicates less resistance.
Obtain clearance from your physician before starting your circuit routine.