7 Exercises to Sculpt an Hourglass Figure
All Credits go to Vanessa Voltolina
These moves will help you sculpt your muscles and round out your curves.
When you envision exercises for the perfect hourglass shape, odds are, the focus is on abdominal moves. The look of a small waist may be the goal, but there are a variety of different muscle groups required to achieve this enviable silhouette. “Balancing muscles and curves in the upper body, core and lower body is paramount," explains trainer and registered dietitian Jenny Champion.
Here, experts Champion and UK-based trainer Polina Liu weigh in on the exercises that can be integrated into your weekly routine to get you toward an hourglass figure.
Works: Upper arms and shoulders
- Using 5-pound weights, raise arms at your sides to form a "T."
- Perform 8-12 repetitions and repeat for 5 sets.
How it achieves an hourglass figure: “This exercise is very simple, but very effective at giving your upper arms and shoulders a muscular, toned look," says Champion.
Works: Chest, shoulders, triceps, and back
- Bring two dumbbells up to shoulder level, press one up, then pull it back down while simultaneously pressing the other one up.
- One raise and lower counts as one rep. Start off with 6-8 reps for 3-5 sets.
How it achieves an hourglass figure: “The dumbbell press will enhance and tone your shoulders and back, which are essential for giving the top half of that hourglass figure,” says Liu. “I find that women rarely work their upper bodies enough, so we do take it [the reps] gradually.” You can do this standing up or lying down on a bench, as pictured.
Works: The entire core, from front to back
- Sitting on the ground with knees bent, hold an 8-10 pound medicine ball about 4 inches from your belly button.
- Lift feet slightly off the ground and lean back onto your rear slightly.
- Begin to slowly twist as far as you can go towards the floor to the right, and then twist to the left.
- Be sure to move slowly and focus on only moving core muscles. (Arms and legs should not be moving at all.)
- Perform 8-12 repetitions on each side and repeat for 5 sets.
How it achieves an hourglass figure: This seated, rotating stretch opens up the oblique muscles and waistline, giving you a toned, muscular midsection that helps to achieve the smallest part of the hourglass shape.
- Lean your back against a secure bench, feet flat on the ground. (Or, start off on the ground, as pictured above.) Rest a weight on your lap if required.
- Inhale, then thrust your hips upwards by squeezing your glutes.
- To increase the intensity you can do these on one leg or on a BOSU ball. If you're really tough you can do these one legged and on a BOSU ball.
- Perform 8-12 reps for about 3-5 sets with a reasonably heavy weight.
How it achieves an hourglass figure: This move works muscles that will give you a shapely behind, says Liu. “They are a versatile exercise that can be done with or without weights and still be challenging.” She suggests decreasing the number of reps as you gain strength, and instead add more sets (and rest time).
Works: Core muscles, gluteus maximus, and hamstrings
- Lie on the floor with knees bent and feet about hip width apart.
- Raise hips off the floor until your pelvis creates a straight line from your ribs to your knees. (Lying next to a mirror is helpful to make sure you're getting your hips up high enough.)
- Hold for 1-2 seconds at the top and then release.
- Perform 8-12 repetitions and repeat 5 sets.
How it achieve an hourglass figure:
"Bridges are one of the best exercises to get a perky booty," explains Champion, "which is exactly what you want paired with that whittled waist."
6. Face Pulls
Works: Upper back (rhomboids) rear delts, back and shoulders
- Set the band or stack to about chest height, stand back and grab the other end in both hands.
- Stand in a firm stance, then pull the weight back towards your face. Tip: You can do this with resistance bands or the cable stack at the gym.
- Begin with light weight and sets of 15-20 until fatigued.
How it achieves an hourglass shape:
This move helps women define their backs and shoulders, says Liu. "More importantly, it is a great exercise to help with posture and helping the body with the weight of your boobs." As the rhomboid muscles are relatively small, she suggests a lighter weight to focus on working them instead of the larger surrounding muscles.
7. Lateral Lunges
Works: gluteus medius, outer thighgs (lateral quads), inner thighs
Hold a weight, usually dumbbells or kettlebells, and lunge as deep as is comfortable to the side.
For Extra challenges, add dumbbells and perform an upright row at the top of the move.
How it achieves an hourglass figure:
Lateral lunges works the gluteus medius, the muscle that sits on the outer edge of your hip, the outer thighs (lateral quads) and as an added bonus, the inner thighs, too, explains Liu. "We all want to tone those bits up!"