Why is the Hourglass Figure so popular?
Evidence has shown that the “hourglass figure” goes right back to our evolutionary past where a 0.7″ waist to hip ratio was considered desirable. A 0.7″ waist to hip ratio entails of wide hips and a narrow waist and in the past these were signs of fertility. To calculate your own waist to hip ratio, all you need to do is divide your waist circumference to your hip circumference.
Having an hourglass figure has been popular for many years, however seems to be more prominent in 2016 because of celebrities like the Kardashian family and their portrayal on social media. However, we have researched into how to develop an hourglass figure and have discovered ways to obtain something close to this through exercise and determination – without plastic surgery.
This guide will help you to understand how you can come close to the hourglass figure however exercise is only half of the equation. You must make sure that your nutrition is healthy, if you are eating takeaways all day and exercising you won’t be getting that hourglass figure.
4 Important factors that go into achieving an hourglass figure:
1 – Fat covering up what’s underneath
Eating too much fat in your diet won’t give you the body you desire. The best way to reduce fat in your diet is by tracking calories. An app we would recommend is “MyFitnessPal” which allows you to scan the barcodes of the foods you eat using your cell phone camera. Once it has picked up the code, it will automatically register how much fat is in what you are eating. The average recommendation for fat intake is between 44-78g. If already you find that you are eating a lot more than this then you must reduce your fat intake until it is within these boundaries. You must also be in a caloric deficit – this means reducing the amount of calories you are eating in a day – this will mean you will lose weight and will allow you to have a small waist.
*However, if you still feel that you aren’t losing weight but you are within this limit then reduce the amount of fat eaten further until you notice you are losing weight*
This doesn’t just apply to people who want to lose weight, however. There will be some people out there who want an hourglass figure but are too “skinny”. In the sense of nutrition, make sure you are eating MORE fat than the recommended intake. However, if you don’t want to gain weight around the stomach (which is inevitable if you keep eating a lot of fat) you can “lean bulk”. This means eating less fat but keeping carbohydrates and protein high to bulk up those legs and hips.
To find out how much you should be eating you can enter your goals into the IFFYM calculator and this will work out how many macronutrients you should be eating.
2 – Home Weight vs Gym Weight
Obviously if you’re the type of person that is usually busy, you might not have time to make it down to the gym most days. However, work-outs at home can be equally as challenging – if you have the right equipment. Although it is okay not to use weight to begin with because you will see a small difference at the start, it is worth investing in resistant bands. These add some weight to the movements that you are doing and will speed up muscle growth. However, if you choose not to use resistant bands you will see a difference but the progress will be slower so we definitely recommend them.
One key thing is that everyone has different bodies and if you don’t have the genetics for wide hips, no matter how hard you try, they may never be as wide as some fitness models you may have seen. This doesn’t mean you won’t see any progress – progress in inevitable when you’ve put in the work. However, you may not see the same amount of progress in yourself as in other people. However, with determination, you can come as close to that hourglass figure as possible.
4 – Toning Muscle
Once you have sorted out your diet, the next step is to exercise. Exercise is incredibly important in getting that hourglass figure. You simply cannot achieve the best results without putting in some hard work. A lot of women are scared to hit the weights because they are afraid of being “bulky” and “looking like a man”. These stereotypes couldn’t be more wrong.
Lifting weights can make a women look more feminine. By toning the legs, glutes and abs, a woman can have an hourglass figure – the small desirable waist and larger hips. It can also “lift up” those areas that need it most and give a more flattering look to the body.
Another factor in building / toning muscle is hormones. We have an interesting article about this on our blog.
The 7 Exercises we recommend to achieve the Hourglass Figure
We researched into all the different types of exercises and have concluded that the main areas to target are your legs, glutes and abs.
So, let’s get started.
Exercise One: Squats
Squats are the best movement you can do to work your glutes and hamstrings and give you that hourglass figure. They are a simple movement and when done correctly, will show great results. Before you start the movement, stand with your feet shoulder width apart, keep your chest facing upwards and your shoulders back. Now allow your body to come down until your glutes are parallel with your knees. Again, you can use the resistant bands for these if you wish, it keeps you balanced and makes it more challenging to reach parallel.
Exercise Two: Side Lunges
To do a side lunge, you just have to stand upright and then move your right foot so it is further than shoulder-width apart. So, essentially for this movement it is like you leaning on the right leg. Then, bring your left foot to meet your right foot and stand upright. Just keep repeating this movement until you feel a burn in your right leg. Then, turn and do the same for your left leg. The wider you bring your foot out, the more of a stretch you will feel on your glutes and hamstrings.
This exercise is perfect to use with resistant bands, purely because it becomes harder to stretch your leg out, stimulating muscle growth.
Exercise Three: Glute Kickbacks (Standing/Kneeling)
There are two different ways that you can do a glute kickback, kneeling and standing.
Standing: For these kickbacks, you can just hold onto a hard surface nearby for support and keep your feet touching eachother. To begin the movement, just lift your right leg upwards behind you, keeping your back and upper body straight. When you get to the top, you should squeeze your glutes for optimum results. Then, do the same with the left leg and do as many as you can.
Kneeling: For this, you need to have a lot of floor space. Kneel down so your hands are touching the ground and your knees are shoulder width apart. Now, bring your right leg upwards, without moving the rest of your body and “kickback”. Again, when you get to the top, ensure you are squeezing the muscle and slowly bring your leg back down again to the same level as your other knee – don’t touch the floor and do the next repetition.
To use resistant bands for these exercise, wrap the band around 2 inches above your knees and this will make it more challenging.
Exercise Four: Lunges
Lunges are really simple. All you have to do is stand upright and then place your right foot out in front of you so your leg is at a right-angle, then bring yourself up using your quads. These are really good for toning the muscle and will give you more muscle definition in your legs – this gives the illusion of an hourglass figure.
Again, if you wish to use resistant bands then wrap the band around 2 inches above the knee for the best results.
Exercise Five: Bicycle Crunches
A bicycle crunch will allow you to feel a burn in your abdominal area. To begin the exercise, lay on the ground with your feet up in front of you at a right angle. Now, bring your upper body upwards, around 5-6 inches so you are in a “crunch” position. Then, put your hands behind your head with your elbows pointing outwards. Now, keeping your hands behind your head, bring your right elbow towards your left knee and push the left leg out so it is straight, then bring it back to the right angle position. Then, twist your body and do the same with the left leg. Do this repetitively, moving from right leg to left leg until you feel a burn in your abdominals.
Exercise Six: Plank
To do a plank, you just have to lay so your stomach is facing the floor and your back to the ceiling. Then, bring your arms up under you and hold yourself up using your elbows (these should be around shoulder width apart). Now, lift your lower body upwards while keeping your toes on the floor. Ensure your back is straight, look forward and hold this position for as long as possible.
Exercise Seven: Sit-ups
For sit-ups you need to have something to rest your foot under (like a couch or under a chest of drawers), or you can get someone to hold your feet down for you. So, all you need to do is have your knees bent at around a 45 degree angle, waist and bum neutral. This movement is all about moving your upper body. When you’re laying your back down, make sure that you don’t come all the way to the bottom – stop around 3-4 inches before you hit the bottom and then lift your abs upwards again until you are level with your knees. For this movement, you can keep your fingers on your temples and your elbows pointing outwards to feel the best squeeze in the abs.
Design your Workout:
So now you know all of the exercises, it’s time for you to design your own workout plan… here is everything you need:
Choose your workout days
We recommend working out at a minimum of 3 days a week for optimum results – it is optional if you choose to do more however the more times a week you workout, the faster you will tone muscle.
Let’s take squats as an example. You should be aiming for 8-15 repetitions – if you can achieve this with ease, you must find a way to add more resistance.
This is why we recommend using resistant bands because it makes the exercise more challenging. The reason why we say not to go over 8-15 repetitions is because this rep range is scientifically proven as the best way to tone muscle, if you’re doing 20-30 reps this can be classed as cardio and you aren’t going to tone as much muscle.
With the number of sets you do, it truly does depend on how often you are looking to workout. If you were looking to do 5+ days a week then we would recommend using less exercises (maybe 2/3) but doing more sets. A “set” is the amount of time you repeat the exercise with breaks in-between. For example, 12 reps for 3 sets. This means you would do 12 reps, pause and then do 12 again.
If you were looking to do 3 days a week then we would recommend doing more exercises but less sets. This is so you stimulate all the muscles in your legs and abs with each exercise.
We wanted to take a moment to explain about the different resistant bands and how they can help you during your workout.
The Phantom-Fit Resistance Loop Bands are an incredible choice that fits everyones needs. With choices varying from beginner, medium, intermediate and advanced. Therefore, this is great because if you decide that you can easily do 8-12 reps on the “beginner” level then you can move to medium and keep on increasing. Even when you get to the “advanced” level, you can combine bands together for a higher resistance and this proves to be very challenging. Obviously, the more you pay out for resistant bands, the stronger they will be. If you decide that the resistant bands are too easy, then it is worth investing in more expensive ones purely because they will have more resistance and will last longer. However, these resistant bands are great to start off with. Check some more expensive one’s out here.
We picked these ones out after looking for the best reviewed and best value for you, our valued readers. It’s discounted from $39.99 to $10.95 so it’s worth a go in our opinion. (by the way, we are not being sponsored by this company, we chose this product as it was the best value and quality)
So, ultimately, if you still feel that you don’t want to use resistant bands then that is absolutely fine, you will see progression in a longer amount of time. However, we recommend using these purely because they are versatile, you can carry them with you wherever you go and are a great way of achieving that hourglass figure. These are our top tips for achieving the hourglass figure and with hard work and determination, you will see results in no time.