How to Get a Slim Waist With a Square Body Shape

You can thank you parents for your square body shape — and it's not likely you can change it. However, it is possible to highlight certain features and de-emphasize others to appear slimmer if you have a wide waist.

Lat pull downs are a great way to build your lats. This helps make your waist look slimmer. (Image: Natalie_magic/iStock/GettyImages)

No specific exercise or food will make a certain part of your body shrink. You can lose weight and have a smaller square body shape, but you'll likely still be somewhat square. What you can do, however, is avoid exercises that add bulk to your waist while focusing on ones that bring dimension to your shoulders and hips.

Define a Square Body Shape

You have a square body shape if you have:

  • Similar sized top and bottom halves of your body
  • A small chest/bust area
  • Little waist definition
  • Flat hips and butt
  • A ribcage and shoulders that make a straight line

Avoid Overtrained Obliques

While you can't truly change your body shape, you can contribute to a square look by overtraining your obliques. These muscles at the sides of your abdomen are responsible for side bending and rotation.

For those who tend toward a square body shape, muscular obliques thicken your waist, making it appear square. Doing side bends and rotation exercises with added resistance builds the oblique muscles and could very well contribute to your square appearance.

To get a smaller waist, don't skip oblique workouts altogether as they're important to your overall core health. Do stick to unweighted oblique moves, such as bicycle crunches and side planks, just twice per week.

Train Your Transverse Abdominis

You can't alter your bone structure, but you can train your wide waist to look smaller front to back, so you aren't quite so blocky looking from the side. Do so by toning your transverse abdominis, a deep internal ab muscle responsible for good posture says ACE Fitness, overall core power and holding your organs tightly in your torso.

Plank position and all its variations are effective transverse abdominis exercises. Stomach hollowing, in which you sit, stand or lie down and hold your belly button pulled tight to your spine for 10 to 30 seconds at a time, is another way to truly firm up the muscle.

Create the Illusion of Curves

While you can avoid overdeveloping the obliques and train the transverse abdominis, you can't whittle away flesh from your sides. What you can do is build up the muscle on your shoulders and hips to give you proportions that appear curvy.

Losing fat from a specific area isn't possible, says ExRx.net, but you can develop muscle with specific, regularly performed exercises. For example, build you booty and hips with lunges, squats and deadlifts. A bonus? These moves also use your core for stabilization so you don't have to spend as much time dedicated to specialized core work that blocks out your waist.

Broad, shapely shoulders and a defined upper back also create the illusion of a slimmer waist. Make moves such as the military press, lat pull-downs, rear deltoid flyes and lateral raises part of your weight-training program.

Lose Extra Fat

As you probably realize, losing extra body fat can slim out a wide waist. A healthy, portion-controlled diet paired with a minimum of 150 to 300 minutes of moderate cardio exercise weekly or 75 to 150 minutes of vigorous exercise, according to the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, can lead to significant weight loss.

Aim to lose a sustainable and safe 1 to 2 pounds per week, and depending on how much extra you carry, expect to see a slimmer waist shine through in a few months.

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