Customize your workouts to size. Just as there are different fashions to suit different body types, so there are certain exercises tailored to different body shapes. Find yours below and get the most out of your workouts.
Body Shape: Hourglass
For the gal who’s curvy up top and down below with a small waist.
- Best cardio routine: “Muscle confusion is key,” says certified fitness trainer Lisa Avellino. “Because the symmetry of your lower and upper body is ideal, routines should rotate to challenge different muscles on different days in order to maintain this balance.”
For example: A week would include four one-hour workouts: Zumba one day, a recumbent bike with light free weights the next, then a boot camp class with a step challenge, and a classic cardio workout, like indoor cycling or hiking for the final day.
- Best strength-training routine: Certified strength and conditioning specialist Kevin Bailey recommends two to three days a week of a total body strength training routine that focuses on the extremities to balance upper and lower body curves.
Body Shape: Circle
Those with a circle body shape have smaller shoulders and hips, tending to have a little more oomph in the midsection.
- Best cardio routine: “Engage in cardio stretch, where the target heart rate is elevated in the fat burning zone without impact,” Avellino advises. Try a half an hour of power yoga and then power walking for 30 to 45 minutes.
- Best strength-training routine: Do strength training two to three days a week for 30 to 45 minutes, suggests Bailey. A great move is the Plank (keeping your body long and straight, arms straight or bent at the elbow and shoulder-width apart, holding you in a hover above the ground). Hold the position for 30 seconds, then rest. Try to work your way up to 60 seconds.
Body Shape: Triangle
The classic womanly silhouette – curvy on the bottom with a small waist and upper body.
- Best cardio routine: Walking, jogging, cycling or the elliptical machine are the go-to cardio workouts for Triangle body shapes, according to Bailey, who recommends working up to 45 minutes of cardio five to six days per week.
- Best strength-training routine: Although it’s important to do some lower-body exercises like squats and calf raises, Triangle shapes should emphasize upper body training. Bailey’s plan: Using a moderate to heavy weight, do three sets of 10 to 15 reps of each of these exercises: dumbbell bicep curls, overhead triceps extensions, dumbbell shoulder presses and chest presses.
Body Shape: Ruler
You’re stick straight, with shoulders that align with your torso and just a slight curve at the hips.
- Best cardio routine: Twenty minutes of cardio two to three times a week is all that Ruler body shapes need, according to Bailey. “They want to gain lean muscle tissue to add shape to their narrow frame,” he says. Think walking, jogging, cycling, jumping rope and swimming.
- Best strength-training routine: Rulers should focus on strength-training four to five times each week in a total body program in order to build muscular curves, suggests Bailey. He recommends the plank and side plank poses (hold each for 30 to 60 seconds), as well as the diamond pushups to tighten the waist area and create an hourglass-like shape.
Body Shape: Inverted Triangle
With a small waist and broad chest and shoulders, your body has a sporty shape.
- Best cardio routine: “The Inverted Triangle shape has an athletic build and little body fat, so 20 minutes, two to there times a week is all the cardio you need to keep the heart strong and efficient,” says Bailey, who recommends utilizing the elliptical, cross-trainer and stair-climbing machines as well as step classes.
“Those workouts all emphasize the legs, which will help to add shape and muscle that balances out broad shoulders,” he says.
- Best strength-training routine: For the lower body, Inverted Triangle shapes should focus on increasing the weight load, while the upper body focus should be on increasing flexibility, according to Avellino. Incorporate light weights in a full range of movements, she suggests.