Exercises to Gain Waist Curves
Many women think that if their mother did not have a slim, curvy waist then they are also doomed no matter what they do. This is not true. A woman's basic shape cannot be changed but excess fat around the waist is not genetic. Eating more calories than you burn causes fat. Doing core exercises that shrink your waist and round your hips and glutes and eating in moderation will give you curves and improve your health.
Ab exercises firm and tone the rectus abdominus muscle that covers the majority of the abdomen. Tightening this muscle with ab exercises helps shrink your waist. Exercise burns calories and adds muscle, and muscle burns fat even while you're resting. So by doing ab exercises you cannot undo damage from excessive eating but you can take a step toward flattening your abdomen. One ab exercise that works the rectus abdominus is the crunch done on a lying crunch machine such as one you will find at your gym. Simply lie face up on the bench and place your legs onto the leg pad with the knees bent. Grab the handles next to your head with your arms bent and then squeeze your abs to pull your head and shoulders toward your knees.
The obliques are the muscles on the sides of your waist. When not toned, this area sticks out giving it the nickname "love handles." Toning the obliques therefore helps create a slim line on the waist. You also may benefit from diet modification if there is a lot of fat on your waist. Side crunches are a simple body weight exercise for the obliques. To perform side crunches, lie on your back with your knees bent and rest your knee on the floor to the left. Rest your head into your hands with your arms bent and then raise your head and shoulders toward the ceiling and slightly to the right. Repeat on the opposite side.
Exercises for the outer thighs tones the glutes and hips, creating a curved shape. The outer thighs are known as the hip abductors. Using a weight machine for hip abduction is an easy way to work this muscle group. To perform the hip abduction, sit on the machine and place your legs straight on the leg attachments with your outer thighs against the pads. Then, open your legs wide as you push against the pads. This exercise targets the gluteus maximus, gluteus medius, gluteus minimus, piriformis and obturator externus.
Exercises to Avoid
Certain exercises make your waist stronger but also thicker. These exercises are not appropriate for someone wanting curves. Adding weight to exercises for the obliques increases the size of these muscles, making the waist bigger. Examples include side bending, or lateral flexion, and twisting exercises such as side bends, cable rotations and oblique crunches. Do not use dumbbells, barbells, weighted plates or machines for these exercises. You may add resistance to abdominal exercises because the abs consist of a thin layer of muscular tissue that cannot grow in size like the other major muscles of your body.
Sarka-Jonae Miller has been a freelance writer and editor since 2003. She was a personal trainer for four years with certifications from AFAA and NASM. Miller also worked at 24 Hour Fitness, LA Fitness and as a mobile trainer. Her career in the fitness industry begin in 2000 as a martial arts, yoga and group exercise instructor. She graduated cum laude from Syracuse University.