A body sculpting class generally combines cardiovascular, stretching and strength-training exercises to help burn calories, increase flexibility and tone muscles all at once. Exercises in these classes vary greatly depending on the set-up and instructor. In general, however, expect to move through a variety of low-impact exercises targeting all major muscle groups over about an hour. A body sculpting class will also often use a variety of tools to help with strength training, such as small dumbbells, resistance bands and stability balls.
Most body sculpting classes begin with a warm-up period. This is typically a 5- to 10-minute period of light cardiovascular activity and stretching. It may include, for example, marching in place or light dancing, followed by calf, hamstring, shoulder, arm and back stretches. These activities help get muscles limber and warm, which can help prevent injury as the exercise continues with the more intense activities in the remainder of the class.
After the warm-up period, a body sculpting class will often then move on to core exercises. Core exercises are designed to strengthen stomach and back muscles, which are at the center, or core, of the body. These exercises may be done while lying on a mat, using body weight as resistance, or with the help of a stability ball or body sculpting bar.
Following a core-building routine, the next step is often a move onto arm and leg exercises. This part of the class will often pull in a variety of exercise modalities, including dance, Pilates, yoga and weight-lifting. For example, Pilates leg lifts to help strengthen the outer thighs, followed by shoulder raises with a resistance band to strengthen arms and shoulders. Next, an exercise such as bicep curls with hand weights will increase bicep and wrist strength. These exercises are often done in quick succession to help increase calorie burn.
A body-sculpting class usually ends with a cool-down period. This may be led by an instructor or left to each participant to do on his or her own. Cool-downs usually involve gentle stretching of all of the major muscle groups to help prevent cramping and tightness.
Throughout a body sculpting class, instructors will typically demonstrate how to complete each exercise and use any supplementary equipment. He or she will also often help modify the exercises to particular fitness levels, as needed. In general, it’s best to start with lighter weights or resistance and lower intensity exercises, to help prevent injury and burnout. As core fitness and strength increases, a person taking part in a body sculpting class should be able to increase weights used, flexibility and more.