There are many different names to represent body shape and type such as pear, apple or tube. The hourglass figure, however, is the most desired by women, as it is considered by society to be the most attractive. While it is possible to flatten your stomach, obtaining an hourglass shape relies more on genetics.
Where Your Body Came From
Genetics is a contributing factor to the natural size and shape of your body. At its most basic form, your body is a collection of chromosome, DNA and genes.
Genes are what determine your waist-hip ratio, which is a measure of fat distribution in your body. If your genes tell your body to store more fat in your hips, you are considered to have a pear-shaped body. This is true whether you are overweight or not. Your body always contains a percentage of fat, and where that fat is stored determines your body shape. Likewise, it is your genes that tells your body to distribute fat equally between your upper and lower torso, which forms the hourglass figure. Thus, it is your genetics that ultimately determines the precise shape of your body.
What You Can Do
Though exercise cannot alter your natural shape, it can produce a lean, toned version. You cannot control where your body stores fat, but how much fat is stored is entirely your choice. Through proper fitness, you can effectively flatten your stomach and achieve a smaller mid-section. Perform moves that engage all muscles in your abdomen for best results.
Back to Basics
The sit-up is a time-tested move that is excellent for your rectus abdominis in the center of your core. Begin laying on the ground on your back with your knees bent and feet planted firmly on the ground. It is key that your feet do not move throughout the exercise, so, if necessary, have a friend hold them still. Place your hands behind your head. Using the muscles in your abdomen, pull your upper body up until your elbows touch your knees. Lower yourself back to the floor slowly. Never pull on your neck or use your head or shoulders to lead the motion. Repeat for three sets of 15 reps.
Do It In Reverse
The reverse sit-up is an outstanding variation to target the lower abs that are often missed. Begin in a regular sit-up position, but place your hands beneath your lower back or upper buttocks for support. Keep your knees bent while raising your calves so they are parallel with the ground. Bring your knees in toward your chest slightly as you straighten your leg, reaching your feet to the ceiling. As your feet go up, lift your buttocks completely off the floor. Your legs and rear-end should form a straight line with your back, shoulders, head and hands remaining on the ground. Lower your legs and butt, and then return to starting position. Repeat for three sets of 15 reps.
Abs on the Side
The side bridge targets your obliques, the ab muscles located on either side of your mid-section. Begin on the ground or exercise mat. Hold your body up by placing your forearm on the floor directly under your shoulder and stacking your upper foot on top of your lower foot. Your legs and knees should be straight, and your entire body should form a straight line. Place your unused hand on your hip. Using your core, raise your hips upward, and then lower them to nearly touch the floor. Repeat this motion for 30 seconds, and then reverse your body and repeat it on the other side. Continue for three sets. You may up the difficulty level by holding a five to 10 pound weight in your non-supporting hand.