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The Top Exercises for an Hourglass Figure You'll Want To Copy, Trainer Says

These moves are time well-spent.

Complete with a tiny waist, sculpted curves, and fit shoulders, the hourglass figure is a body type many individuals long for. But how, exactly, does one achieve the end goal? We did the hard work for you and linked up with Laura Endres, a personal trainer on Fyt, to find out the top exercises for an hourglass figure. (If you didn't already know, Fyt is the largest personal training service in the nation that makes fitness under the expert guidance of an in-person or virtual, certified fitness professional convenient and accessible for all.)

Endres tells us that in order to sculpt this very coveted physique, you'll need to build more muscle mass in particular areas of your body, including your shoulders, back, and glutes. You'll also need to remain lean in the midsection. So gear up to sweat!

Read on to learn more about the best exercises for an hourglass figure, and start working them into your routine today. And next up, don't miss The 6 Best Exercises for Strong and Toned Arms in 2022, Trainer Says.

Single-Leg Glute Bridge, Pulse, and Hold

woman performing single-leg glute bridge on turf

"To grow those booty curves," Endres tells us, nothing compares to the Single-Leg Glute Bridge—so get excited! This exercise is doable for most individuals and a super-speedy way to really feel that burn.

Begin this first movement by lying down on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the ground. Then, Endres instructs, "Cross your right ankle over your left knee. Exhale as you press into your left heel and lift your hips off the ground. Lift and lower 10 times. Next, lift again and do 10 small pulses at the top. And finally, after the pulses, hold at the top for 10 seconds." Your glutes should be on fire! Repeat these steps on the other side, and to up the difficulty, you can shoot for more than 10 pulses.

Related: The #1 Outdoor Workout To Lose Belly Fat in a Week, Says Trainer

Three-Count Pulse Goblet Squats

woman demonstrates goblet squat for those who want to get a lean body after 50

The next of these exercises for an hourglass figure is the Three-Count Pulse Goblet Squat. This difficult move was made for building strong leg muscles. Endres recommends practicing it without any added weight to ensure you have the correct form down pat. Once you feel comfortable, get a dumbbell.

"Hold the dumbbell by one end with both hands at your chest," Endress instructs, adding, "Lower into a deep squat, pulse 3x at the bottom, then press back up on an exhale. You should aim to use a dumbbell that's heavy enough to make 10 reps challenging. If you don't have a heavy enough dumbbell, you can pulse 5x or 7x or more at the bottom of each squat to make it harder!"

Curl to Press to Rainbow

woman hammer curl exercises for an hourglass figure

Endres concocted this move to target the muscles in your biceps, shoulders, and upper back. She stresses practicing the exercise without any added weight first until you're completely comfortable. Once you're feeling confident to incorporate weights, get a set of medium-weight dumbbells ready.

"Hold the dumbbells at your sides, palms facing inward," Endres says. "Keep palms facing inward as you hammer curl the dumbbells to your shoulders, and then press them overhead. Next, turn your arms so your palms are facing forward and lower the dumbbells with straight but not locked arms down to the start position. This is the 'rainbow' part of the move. Take 1 count to do the hammer bicep curl, 1 count to press overhead, and 2 counts to rainbow down." Complete 3 sets of 8 reps total.

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

Push-Up to Side Plank

woman 5 a.m. workouts in gym

The Push-Up to Side Plank is a combo move that'll make your shoulders, chest, and obliques stronger. Kick things off in a traditional push-up position. "Brace your abs" as you bring your body to the ground, keeping it straight. Make sure your hips don't lower, and complete a full release at the bottom of the movement. Endres continues to instruct, "Then, brace again as you exhale and press back up. From there, open to a side plank on the right by lifting your right arm toward the ceiling. Once in the side plank position, lift your entire core toward the ceiling for extra extension. Return your right hand to the floor, then repeat the push-up followed by a side plank to your left." Complete 2 sets of 6 to 8 reps.

Endress tells us that when you're focusing on sculpting lean abs, "it's more about what you should not do." The more sets and reps you perform, the greater amount of muscle mass you might build. This could result in a bigger waistline than you were hoping for. She continues to explain, "One exercise that might add mass to your sides is the weighted side bend. Targeting muscles with added resistance like a dumbbell makes them bigger. That's great when it's what you want, and not so great when it's an area where you don't want that." Instead, tailor your focus to performing a moderate amount of the two moves below:


roll-up pilates exercises for an hourglass figure

If you want to achieve abs without bulk, Endres says this is a stellar exercise. "Lie face-up on the floor with arms extended overhead. Inhale to prepare, then on the exhale, begin to roll your head and shoulders off the floor, reaching your arms toward your feet (easier) or toward the ceiling (harder)," she explains. "At the top, sit tall, reaching arms up toward the ceiling. Then, reverse the move. Again, on an exhale, round your back and roll down little by little, while keeping your arms extended toward the ceiling (harder) or your feet (easier) until you're in the reclined start position." Complete 2 sets of 10 reps.

Towel Dead Bug

workout towel yoga mat

For the last of the top exercises for an hourglass figure, the Dead Bug is a favorite of Endres, "because it strengthens your core in a position of good posture, as opposed to the bending forward that most exercises require." Begin by grabbing a hand towel at both ends with your hands. Lie down on your back, bend and lift your legs, and straighten your arms as you point them up towards the sky. Endres continues, "Pull on the ends of the towel for extra engagement in the upper body, then lower both arms overhead as you extend one leg long about 6 inches off the floor. Pause in that extended position, then exhale and return arms and leg to the start position. Repeat, alternating legs. Keep your back pinned to the floor and do not let it arch away during any part of the move." Complete 2 sets of 10 reps.

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
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