Health experts recognize that body sculpting is best accomplished through a combination of cardiovascular/aerobic workouts and toning exercises. But sometimes it’s hard to find time for both. The most effective body sculpting workouts combine the calorie-burning benefits of a cardiovascular workout with the muscle shaping of target-toning workouts.
Here is a brief explanation of the body sculpting workouts that are said to be the most effective.
This is an exercise session that lasts an hour. It uses a ballet bar (or something similar you have at home) for most of the exercises, and includes some mat work. The Bar Method works the whole body, beginning with a warm-up and free weights (weights that are not attached to a machine).
All of the exercises in the bar method involve stretching, and stretching is practiced between exercises as well. The Bar Method is designed to be easy on the joints and specifically target those muscles that are involved in your body’s shape (rather than core muscles, which methods such as Pilates emphasizes).
The Bar Method also focuses on posture, so it may be of particular benefit for those who wish to correct or avoid rounded shoulders and the like. Sources point out that the Bar Method needs to be practiced three to five times a week for maximum benefit, and it’s usually done in a class setting.
Toggling back and forth between aerobics and toning helps you get more out of a 20-minute workout. The basic method is to perform one minute of cardio exercise between sets of toning exercises. The key is to keep moving for the whole 20 minutes. Sources recommend the following equipment for an effective multi-tasking workout:
* Exercise mat
* Aerobic step or equivalent
* Weights (3 to 8 pounds, or none if you’re just beginning and can’t lift weights yet)
None of these pieces of equipment are exorbitantly expensive, and you can often improvise with what you have already in your house. You begin with a one-minute cardio workout, such as marching in place or stepping on the aerobic step. You move on to your first toning exercise, such as lifting weights or doing squats, and perform one minute of cardio between reps. Typically, you will do five toning exercises punctuated by cardio in a 20-minute workout.
Some toning and sculpting exercises may be better than others; these tend to shine as the most effective for those who have tried them. Among the most popular and effective toning exercises are:
* Squats (bottom and thighs)
* Lunges (bottom, legs and thighs)
* Dips (triceps)
* Push-ups (upper body)
* Scissor kicks (upper abs)
* Bicep curls
* Plank (abs and upper body)