If your body icons include Marilyn Monroe, Sophia Loren, Sofia Vergara, and even Kim Kardashian, the hourglass shape is the look you love. Curves are definitely in these days, with much love going to the booty. However, to achieve the head-to-toe look, you have to include head-to-toe exercises.
A full-body focus may seem odd, as the hourglass shape seems best known for its itty-bitty waist. But that’s merely an optical illusion. While a slim midsection will do wonders for the shape you’re seeking (not to mention your overall health), it’s not the only way to get va-va-voom curves in all the right places.
The Hourglass Game Plan
As you work to transform into the bombshell shape you’re after, follow our plan to get your body on board. We’ve segmented the muscle groups into three groups. Pick and choose exercises from the examples provided, and you’ll have a routine that’s easy to change up and that will provide amazing results.
Hourglass Shape Upper Body Exercises
Strong rounded shoulders and defined lat muscles can give a V-taper silhouette that makes your waist appear smaller without ever doing an ab crunch or plank. Strength training, be it with barbells, dumbbells, and kettlebells or just your own body weight, will be key to getting the definition needed to start sculpting your hourglass shape. Here are some exercises to try:
- Military Press: Done with a barbell or dumbbells, the weight is held in front of the shoulders with palms facing away from the body. With a strong core, press the body overhead without using your legs to jerk the weight up.
- Dumbbell Raises: Target all sides of your delts by using lighter weight dumbbells and raising and lowering them in slow and controlled movements. To work the front delts, raise the dumbbells with straight arms in front of the body, palms facing the floor. To target the side delts, open your arms out to the sides with your palms again facing down. To reach your rear delts, sit on a bench and lean forward slightly. Raise your dumbbells out to the side with palms down. You may need to adjust your arm or upper body angle to ensure you are targeting your rear shoulders instead of your upper back.
- Dumbbell Lat Raise: Lie on your back atop a bench. Holding a dumbbell in both hands extend your arms out from your shoulders toward the ceiling. Slowly lower the weight overhead so that your biceps track next to your ears. When your arms are almost in line with your body raise the weight back up to the starting position.
- Wide-Grip Lat Pulldown: Using a pulley machine or resistance bands, set up in a position where your arms are extended out in a wide V-formation. Pull the weight down, imagining touching your elbows together. Return slowly to the start position.
- Pull Ups: Pull your chin up and over an overhead bar, focusing on using your back and lat muscles instead of your biceps to lift you. If you’re not able to do a pull up yet, use assistance bands, an assistance machine, or a partner to help you build up the strength.
Hourglass Shape Lower Body Exercises
Adding a bit of boost to your booty and firming up your upper legs will help add curves–and strength–to your lower half. This has a similar effect as the V-taper, in that it too helps to make your middle look smaller. Here are exercises to try:
- Stability Ball Squats: Good for your lower body and your core, this toning exercise will have your feeling the burn fast. With a large exercise ball between your back and a wall, lower down into a squat position so that your back is tall and straight and your legs are at a 90-degree angle with your knees above your hips. Hold this position for 30 seconds, then 60, then 90. After that, keep trying to hold for your own personal record.
- Knee-Raise Step Ups: Start in a standing position with your feet at hip-width. With one foot, step your foot up and onto a sturdy bench. At the top, bring your other foot up to knee height before returning to the ground. Step back and forth, alternating between lifted leg. For added resistance, hold dumbbells in each hand.
- Lunge Front Kicks: Start in a lunge position with your front knee over your ankle and your back knee toward the floor. Ground into the front leg as you lift your back leg, kicking it straight in front of you to at least hip height. Return to the starting lunge position. Complete all kicks on one side before switching to the other.
- Deadlifts: With a barbell or dumbbells held in your hands at your front thighs–palms facing you, slowly bend forward from the hip and lower the weight toward the floor. You can bend your knees a little, but this should not be a squat-type motion. Squeeze your glutes together to raise your body back to a standing position.
Hourglass Shape Core Exercises
The final piece of the hourglass shape puzzle is your midsection. Tightening your abs, obliques, and lower back muscles is essential to creating a curvier all-over shape. Check out our full guide to the 5 secrets women over 30 need to know in order to get sculpted abs you can see.
- Toe Touches: Lying flat, lift your upper body and lower body off the ground at the same time, touching your hands to your toes at the middle of your body. If this is too difficult, build up strength by touching opposite arm to opposite foot, raising only one arm and leg off the ground at a time.
- Planks: If you hate crunches or moving much, planks are your friend. You can do a standard plank, where you hold the top of a push-up position for an extended length of time. You can also do side planks, where you push off the standard plank position to one side or the other, with your feet stacked. Another variation is the star plank, where your arms and legs are out wide almost making an X shape.
- Windshield Wipers: Lie on your back with your legs extended toward the ceiling from your hips. Place your hands below your butt. Slowly lower your legs together down to one side (you don’t have to touch the floor), and engage your core to lift them back up and over to the other side. Repeat, alternating sides.
- Butterfly Crunches: Lie on the floor and bring the soles of your feet flat together, so that your knees wing out to the side. Engage your core and lift your arms and upper body to come into a seated position with arms overhead. Slowly lower back down to start.
Did we miss an exercise you love? Tell us about it in the comments!