A guide to keep it svelte in the midsection
There is nothing quite like the look of a tapered waistline in a dress, swimwear or activewear. Everything just fits and seems to look better when we have an hourglass shape with the waist being smaller than the shoulders and hips.
Some women are born with this type of genetic structure. They naturally have a wider collarbone, narrow rib cage and wider hips. Imagine the luck! What if you weren’t born with a naturally small waist? What if your natural shape is more straight up and down or even a little larger in the waist than the shoulders and/or hips? Are those of us not born on “Team Tiny Waist” doomed to simply try to mask it with our fashion choices or sigh in envy of those who won the waist lottery at birth?
Not at all!
There are training methods and tricks which will build an hourglass shape. Yes, it’s true! By concentrating on building certain body parts while not activating others, you can have that coveted hourglass appearance no matter what your genetics. Let’s talk about some Do’s and Don’ts of becoming a part of the Tiny Waist Tribe:
DO: Lift Weights and train your upper body for width
When you weight train your upper body to gain width, you will create a wider top half which will automatically make your waist appear smaller.
Back exercises such as pulldowns, assisted pull ups and one arm dumbbell rows are all examples of exercises designed to widen the back without gaining a lot of thickness in the process. When the back becomes wider, the waist has the illusion of becoming smaller.
Pro Tip: When performing a lat pulldown, think about activating your armpits. Yes, this sounds crazy! However, this mind/muscle connection trick will assist you in activating your lat muscles, rather than using your arms in order to perform the movement.
Working your shoulders will also assist in an appearance of an hourglass shape. By adding a little muscle to the shoulders, the upper body will gain some width which will in turn cause the waist to appear smaller. It doesn’t take a lot, boulder shoulders are not necessary (unless you want them!) in order to create this illusion.
Pro Tip: When working your shoulders, be sure to push them down throughout the movement. This will assure you are activating the deltoids and not the traps. Large traps can appear more masculine, so it’s best not to utilize them in pageant weight training.
DON’T: Train your Oblique Muscles
This one is contrary to what many people believe. Training your oblique muscles does not make your waist smaller. Many feel they are actively burning the fat on top of the obliques when performing side to side movements or weighted side bends. Unfortunately, spot fat reduction is not physiologically possible. When you perform not just these movements but any type of exercise, you are not working the body fat in that specific area; you are activating the muscle underneath. Your obliques are muscles just like any other and when you train them, they grow. Think about this, growth of even just 1/4 inch on each oblique adds up to a 1/2 inch larger waist.
Pro Tip: Be careful when you’re in certain pilates, core and yoga classes. They often include oblique work which can lead to a wider and thick waistline.
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