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The Marilyn Monroe Workout to Sculpt an Hourglass Figure

Sculpt this glamorous body type with a workout inspired by Marilyn Monroe.

Marilyn Monroe will forever be an iconic symbol of glamorous 1950s Hollywood stardom. And with the upcoming biopic, "Blonde," launching on Netflix in September—which will be an adaption of the historical fiction book by Joyce Carol Oates—fans will get an even closer look into the singer and actress's life. Even though Monroe's workout and diet habits were a bit strange—warm milk with raw eggs, anyone?—the model made the hourglass figure a popular body type many individuals to this day long to achieve.

Born Norma Jeane Mortenson, the 5'5" star reportedly weighed 118 pounds. She pretty much put an hourglass figure on the map with body measurements of 36-24-34, which were recorded by a receptionist when Monroe signed with a modeling agency in 1945 (via Mental Floss). Monroe started to perform workouts each day when she reached stardom, which she shared in an issue of the former Pageant magazine back in 1952 (via Vogue).

Monroe explained, "Frankly, I've never considered my own figure so exceptional; until quite recently, I seldom gave it any thought at all," adding, "(I) never cared especially for outdoor sports"—she had "no desire to excel at tennis, swimming, or golf." Monroe continued, "I never used to bother with exercises. Now I spend at least 10 minutes each morning working out with small weights. I have evolved my own exercises, for the muscles I wish to keep firm, and I know they are right for me because I can feel them putting the proper muscles into play as I exercise."

The 1950s were clearly a very different time! We chatted with Jacquie Smith, a certified integrative nutrition health coach from IIN and a fitness instructor specializing in barre, yoga, and pre/postnatal workouts, and are here for you with our very own Marilyn Monroe workout, so you can (safely and healthily) sculpt your very own hourglass figure. As we patiently wait for "Blonde" to hit Netflix, read on, and enjoy this workout!

Low-impact bodyweight and strength training moves are key to achieving a confident, fit body

Marilyn Monroe in glamorous gown
M. Garrett / Contributor / Getty Images

First and foremost, Smith stresses, "While we'd all love to look like Marilyn Monroe with the perfect hourglass figure, remember that each of us has our own unique and beautiful body. The key to a healthy, strong, and confident body (and mind) is with daily movement—finding movement that you love and doing it consistently for at least 10 to 15 minutes every day."

Smith tells us the absolute best kind of exercises to achieve the coveted hourglass figure—and in general—are low-impact bodyweight and strength training moves like pilates, barre, and sculpt. "The movements in these workouts create long, lean muscles that accentuate the female body, build strength and work with your hormones rather than against them," she explains.

Now, let's get into the specific exercises for this Marilyn Monroe workout.

Related: The #1 Workout for a Tiny Waist, According to a Trainer

Side Plank

fit woman doing side plank exercise

The Side Plank will help define your obliques and achieve a smaller waist. To begin, Smith instructs, "Get into a forearm plank position and then move your right fist to your left elbow so your forearm is parallel with the top of your mat. Stack your feet and hips, and then extend your left arm over your shoulder towards the ceiling. You can choose to hold this position or level up by moving your hips up an inch and back down. Make sure to do both sides to cinch in both sides of the waist!"

Related: The #1 Workout for an Hourglass Figure, Trainer Says

Dumbbell Chest Press

woman doing dumbbell chest press

This next exercise is a great one to do for a bigger bust by strengthening and building the muscles in your chest. In order to do it, get your 5-to-8-pound dumbbells ready, lie down on the floor, bend your knees, and make sure your feet are flat. Smith continues to instruct, "Bring your elbows out wide so they are in line with your shoulders and grip your weights tightly so that your palms are facing your legs. Press your arms up overhead towards the ceiling so the weights are directly above your chest, and then slowly bring your hands back down to the starting position. Make sure to squeeze your shoulders blades as you bring the weights down."

Glute Bridge

glute bridge

This final exercise to wrap up the Marilyn Monroe workout will hone in on your gluteal and hip muscles, making your hips and butt appear fuller. "Lay on your back with your knees bent and your feet hip-width distance apart and flat on the floor. Your fingertips should be able to graze the back of your heels," Smith explains. "Relax your shoulders, and press your forearms and palms into the floor to activate them. Pushing through your feet, lift your hips up, and engage your glutes, hamstrings, and finally abs. Squeeze your glutes at the top, and slowly lower down to the starting position."

Alexa Mellardo
Alexa is the Mind + Body Deputy Editor of Eat This, Not That!, overseeing the M+B channel and delivering compelling fitness, wellness, and self-care topics to readers. Read more about Alexa