Instead of drawing focus to numbers on the scale, shimmy yourself to the mirror, study your frame and have a go at these targeted exercises to achieve your dream physique.
We come in all shapes and sizes and no two bodies are exactly alike – where fat tends to accumulate contributes to our resulting body shape. Apple-shaped ladies, for instance, gain weight easily at their waistlines, while those who are pear-shaped are likely to store fat on their hips and thighs. While we can’t control nature, what we can do is tailor our workouts accordingly.
For that, we got Chung Tze Khit, managing director of Gold’s Gym Singapore & master trainer for National Council on Strength and Fitness, to recommend effective exercises to tone and tighten common trouble zones of each body shape. These strength-training moves can be done using just your bodyweight, a pair of dumbbells or any household object such as filled water bottles and canned goods.
Straight body shape
Your shoulders, waist and hips are approximately of the same width with no obvious curves to your figure.
Aim: To build broader shoulders, a stronger chest, and curvier hips.
Side lateral raise
Side lateral raises help to build stronger and more defined shoulders, while giving you increased shoulder mobility. Start with moderately light weights and raise your arms straight out from your sides to shoulder level.
Dumbbell flat press
Dumbbell flat presses give your upper and lower pectorals an even workout. Lie on your back with feet flat on the floor and a dumbbell in each hand. Rest your elbows on the ground before thrusting them up toward the ceiling, lowering with control.
Targets hips and thighs
Squats aren’t just great for spot-toning your hips, butt and thighs, but your entire body too. It helps create an anabolic environment, which keeps your metabolism high and burns even more fat.
Pear body shape
You have a defined waist, and your shoulders are narrower than your hips. Most of your weight is carried in your lower body.
Aim: To build a broader, thicker and more athletic-looking upper body.
Push-ups are a highly effective bodyweight exercise that will work the triceps, pectoral muscles, and shoulders. Bonus: Engage your abdominal muscles to simultaneously strengthen your lower back and core.
Dumbbell rows will tone and build muscles in your back, while also strengthening your spine for improved balance and mobility. Grab your weights, bend at your hips and knees and lower your torso till it’s almost parallel to the floor. Let the weights hang at arm’s length from your shoulders, pull them up to your ribcage, squeezing your shoulder blades together.
Shoulder presses are key to building bigger, stronger deltoids. It also builds the outer deltoid head that gives you more “capped” shoulders, for a more pronounced shoulder-to-waist ratio. Sit on a chair with back support, bend your elbows at 90 degrees, raise your upper arms to shoulder height, dumbbells at ear level. Push them up overhead and lower back to the start.
Apple body shape
You have wide shoulders, slender legs, and your weight tends to accumulate in the hip and abdomen area.
Aim: To shape up your legs and firm up the mid-section and the hip area.
Lunges like squats, are the unsung heroes of fitness journeys that work more than your quads and supporting adductor muscles. Feel the burn in your glutes and hamstrings as you extend the hips during the upward phase and control the descent of your body during the downward phase.
Leg raises use nothing but gravity to target the lower abdomen – ideal for burning lower belly fat that many struggle with. Lift both legs up with control to activate your thigh and hip muscles.
Floor hip extension
Floor hip extensions work your hips, glutes and hamstrings. For sedentary office workers who spend a large portion of the day sitting, it’s an important exercise to keep your hip flexors mobile and strong. Place palms on ground and get into tabletop position, and extend one leg backward and upward in a controlled motion before switching to the other leg.
Inverted triangle body shape
You have broad shoulders, and a narrow waist and hips – also known as the “swimmer’s body”.
Aim: To strengthen and build up your legs and the hip area.
Walking lunges will tone up your quads and give you shapely calves – thanks to the motion of pushing yourself off the ground – and fire up the muscles in your back and abdomen as you activate them to maintain proper posture along the way.
Romanian deadlifts works your hips, glutes, and especially the hamstrings as you hinge forward with heavy weights. Standing hip-width apart with a slight bend to your knees, hold a pair of dumbbells in front of your hips with palms facing thighs. Keep your spine neutral while pushing the hips back and lowering the dumbbells towards the ground, keeping them close to the body.
Weighted Bulgarian split squat
Weighted Bulgarian split squats work the quads and glutes intensely and you’ll feel a satisfying burn even into your first set. Plus, it builds strength and stability. Holding one dumbbell in each hand, get into forward lunge position and rest the rear foot on a box or chair. Lower until front thigh is almost parallel to the ground, keeping torso as upright as possible.
Hourglass body shape
Your hips, bust area and shoulders are of approximately the same width. And your curvy figure features a defined waist.
Aim: To tone the whole body with equal emphasis on upper and lower body.
Targets chest and triceps
Chair dips are a convenient exercise for anyone to do. If banishing wobbly arms is on your checklist, get dipping because it targets your triceps and strengthens your upper body.
Dumbbell flat press
Dumbbell flat presses are ideal for sculpting your arms and shoulders as they work your pectoral muscles, anterior and lateral deltoids (shoulders), as well as your triceps.
Jump squats are a fun variation that can be done anywhere. They get your heart pumping while toning the calves, glutes, hamstrings, core and quadriceps all at once.