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Updated 08 October 2015

Exercises that bring out the best in your body shape

There's no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to exercise because whether you're shaped like an apple, pear or hourglass influences the type of exercises you should be doing, says a fitness expert.

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It’s that time of year when just the thought of wriggling into a swimsuit can be scary. But it doesn’t need to be that way if we accept and embrace the fact that we come in different shapes and sizes.

Read: Pear-shaped bodies not healthier

Richard Woolrich, biokineticist and personal trainer at Virgin Active, has devised summer workout plans for five different body types and says “training for your own shape means you set realistic and attainable goals and you balance out your physique in a way that brings confidence”.

There are 5 typical body types

Follow these exercise plans to bring out the best in your body shape:

1. The Pear

You carry your weight on the hips, thighs and behind. You have a defined waist with narrower shoulders than hips.

Exercises for the Pear Shape:

- Rows and reverse flies back exercises to help improve the shape of the back and develop your upper body.
- Deadlifts will help tone and recruit the large muscles of the buttocks.
- Static lunges allow you to focus on good form and lateral lunges will help recruit the muscles of the quadriceps and the inner thighs.

2. The Apple

You carry fat and weight around the middle and your lower body is generally slimmer with good shaped legs. You're prone to having a rounded shoulder line and a flattish derriere.

Exercises for the Apple Shape exercises:

- High intensity cardiovascular interval training to help increase calories burnt per session.
- The biggest muscles, legs in the case of apple body shapes, will burn the most calories, but also keep focus on the body as a whole and strengthen all the muscles.
- The plank and pilates play a big role in increasing the strength of the core.

3. The Inverted Triangle

Your hips are narrower than your shoulders and the shoulder line is fairly straight and squared and your waist may curve in slightly. Often this body type is referred to as “the swimmer’s body.”

Exercises for the Inverted Triangle shape:

- Squatting, lunging and deadlifts are great for achieving increased muscle mass and tone in the legs and glutes.
- Twisting type exercises play a role in improving shape and tone around the mid-section and also helps sculpt and shape oblique stomach muscles.
- Low weights and high repetition to ensure nice tone and shape without increasing the size of the muscles.

4. The Hourglass

This shape is a combination between an inverted triangle and triangle. Your hips and shoulders are more or less the same width and in proportion with a defined waist. You might also have a big bust.

Exercises for the Hourglass shape:

- Double arm rows, bent over rows and reverse flies can bring shape around the shoulders and strengthen back muscles and help maintain great posture.
- The plank will help maintain shape and tone around the abdominals. Side plank and rotational exercises performed with control can also make the mid-section look amazing.
- Combination exercises like glute bridging with tricep extension works well. Step ups with bicep curls is another great combination routine.

5. The Ruler

Your shoulders, waist and hips are more or less the same width and you have no obvious curves.

Exercises for the Ruler shape:

- Core work and Pilates will improve and tighten the abdominal area.  
- Glutes exercise are a big focus to get shape around the hips – deadlifts, step ups and squats are all great for the lower body.
- Chest press, back rows and shoulder work – frontal and lateral raises can build the shape and size of upper-body muscles.

Read more:

7 top butt exercises for guys

7 ways to make fitness fun

Sources: Virginactive.co.za


 
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