To get an hourglass figure, you’ll need to work for a shapely midsection, toned hips and narrow waist. That means doing a lot of focused strength exercises that isolate muscles in the core to show definition where you want it. Strength isn’t the only part of the equation, however. If you’re carrying around any extra weight, you’ll also need to put in regular cardio sessions to burn calories and lose that fat.
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Russian twists are an exercise that is easy to modify to your fitness level, and they’re especially good for building an hourglass figure because they work the oblique muscles as well as the upper and lower abdominals. Begin in a seated position with your knees bent and heels on the floor. Hold a heavy dumbbell or weighted medicine ball at your chest, with elbows bent to the sides. With abs tight and spine straight, twist first to the right and then to the left, pausing briefly in the middle before each rotation. The American Council on Exercise suggests gradually building up to a more difficult version of the exercise in which you slightly lean backward and raise your feet off the floor.
The body has 29 core muscles and that the plank is one of the best exercises for working many of them at once. Indeed, it can help you achieve several hourglass features, including a sculpted waist, rounded hips and a flat belly. To do the move, start on your belly with your hands placed directly under your shoulders and your legs extended straight in back of you. As you exhale, push up with your hands and point your toes to raise your body, which should form a straight line from your head to your heels. A variation is to drop to your forearms and hold the pose from there. Build up to holding the plank for a minute or more.
An oblique twist begins from a plank position. Slowly lift your left leg and draw your knee in toward your chest, then twist to your right side and attempt to touch your right elbow with your left knee. Return to the plank and repeat the move with your right leg. To make it harder, drop down for a pushup while you do the twisting motion.
A standing crunch eliminates the strain you might feel in a reclining position, but it’s no less effective at flattening that midsection. Start with knee crunches. Turn to your right side and lower into a slight lunge, with your left leg behind you. Crunch your left leg up and in while twisting your torso to your left. As you reach fatigue, switch to your right leg. You can also do side crunches. While standing, raise your right knee up to meet your elbow on your right side. Repeat on the left.
Add regular cardio sessions to your weekly strength exercises to lose extra pounds and make your hourglass figure sleeker and more defined. For weight loss, the American Council on Exercise recommends working out on five or six days per week for 45 minutes or more each time.