When people think of curves, they generally refer to an hourglass figure with a chest, hips and butt. These body parts are often comprised mostly of fat. When women begin a new exercise routine, they may lose some of those curves due to fat loss. Proper cardiovascular training, as well as a good strength training routine can enhance the muscles in your curviest body parts, allowing you to keep the figure you embrace and still remain healthy.
The American College of Sports Medicine recommends that healthy adults engage in at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise, five days per week. To keep the curves in your lower body toned, consider exercises that are weight bearing. Walk on a treadmill at a five to 15 percent incline. Use a stair stepper or elliptical. Avoid doing too much cardiovascular activity. Women often fall into the routine of doing massive amounts of cardio and no strength training, which results in muscle loss. Muscle is essential in maintaining curves and keeping your body firm.
Unlike the chest, the butt is comprised of mostly muscle, so with adequate resistance training, you can actually make your bottom rounder and curvier. Do rear leg lifts on a cable machine or with an ankle weight. Also, try floor glute bridges, where you lie on your back with your knees bent, lift your butt into the air for a second, and then lower it. Compound, multi-joint exercises like squats, lunges and deadlifts are the most effective exercises. According to the National Strength and Conditioning Association, do three sets of eight to 12 repetitions of each exercise for optimal toning and growth.
Total core exercises like planks help tone the whole midsection. For abdominal focus, do crunches on a stability ball, lying leg lifts, and leg lifts on the Roman Chair, a machine where support yourself with your elbows and forearms and lift your legs up to your chest. To tone the obliques, do twisting exercises like bicycle crunches and seated abdominal twists with a light medicine ball. To minimize muscle growth of the obliques and concurrent thickening of the waist, avoid doing weighted side bends.
Women who are naturally tall or thin may be build more like a pencil and not have a lot of curves. One way to give the illusion of an hourglass figure is to build your shoulder muscles slightly, which makes the waist look smaller in comparison. Do seated dumbbell shoulder presses and lateral raises to work the top of the shoulders. To round the front side of the shoulders, do frontal raises and incline dumbbell shoulder press. For the rear shoulders do decline reverse flys and use the Pec-Dec machine. Keep the weight heavy enough to fatigue your muscles by eight to 12 repetitions.
- Muscle and Fitness Hers: 10 Backside Exercises
- The American College of Sports Medicine: Physical Activity and Public Health Guidelines
- “Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning”; National Strength and Conditioning Association. Baechel, Thomas R. and Earle, Roger W. 2008.