Body Shaping Exercises – The Art of Illusion
Something I have dealt with pretty much every day for many years are female body shapes. When it comes to improving their figure, invariably they say they want to “get rid of this” and then grimly slap their tummy, bottom and/or thighs.
Disappointing as it is, we can’t magic away our troublesome areas and unfortunately, we can’t ‘burn fat’ from one chosen part of the body and not another. But we can recreate the overall picture. There are body shaping exercises that will come to the rescue!
RELATED: RECOMMENDED PLANS FOR YOU
Body shaping exercises can make a significant overall difference. By tweaking certain other areas on an individual’s body shape, we can disguise the more overbearing and less loved parts. We can’t change our genetics but we can have a jolly good go at improving the symmetry – good symmetry evens out the unwanted lumps or straight bits and stops the eye from falling on our weaker spots.
A little bit of illusion and smoke and mirrors maybe…but it works!
Take a look at the pear shaped figure. The focus tends to be drawn to the hips, so the tendency would be to start working hard on that area. But consider conditioning the back and the shoulders for a more balanced shape.
Bringing a little more breadth to the V shape in the upper trunk always creates an illusion of a smaller waste and narrower backside.
Shoulders are key to most body shapes and are broken into three areas anterior (front) medial (middle) and posterior (rear). By the nature of our everyday actions shoulders tend to be under worked and under developed. A little bit of shape in the medial deltoid sets the arms off beautifully and does wonders for the balancing the hips and waist. They also look amazing in sleeveless dresses and tops.
Don’t forget the back of your shoulders. Looking at somebody’s profile, a little condition in the rear deltoids, gets rid of the slumped shoulder desk look posture and turns it into a prouder, more upright stance. It also adds height – which, if you are like me, is always welcome! See the exercises listed below.
Whilst we’re talking about the arms, a mistake commonly made is to overwork the triceps – the back of the arms. Because nobody wants a flappy under arm it is all too often this area gets too much attention and can end up rather oversized in comparison to other muscle groups. And from a side view this can make the arm look chunky.
Keep control of this by choosing light weights and going for high repetitions, but more importantly by keeping it in balance with the bicep – the front of the arm. A well conditioned bicep takes the eye away from any saggy under arm and sets off the front of the shoulder nicely as well.
Natural breast lifting!
What with gravity and having babies, the bust doesn’t always stay where it started out. To create an illusion of a lifted bust, work on the upper chest more and focus on the line that runs vertically from the collarbone to the clevage.
A little more volume to the inner part of the pectoral muscle gives the impression of higher breasts. And there’s an illusion many of us will be happy with!
Legs come in all shapes and sizes but it comes back to the same trick, smoothing out the angles and rough bits by working on muscle parts above or below.
For instance, big calves are hard to make smaller, but more texture in the muscle shape matched up with some detail in the thigh and the calves don’t look so big any more.
The Back: For an attractive V shape to the torso, go for pulling down motions – the piece of gym kit most will be familiar with is the ‘Lat Pull Down’. The rowing motion of pulling your arms from in front of the waist towards the waist is also good -‘Seated Row’ .
Or make your own for home with a resistance band and hook it around a door handle. Set your feet and body position sturdy and pull. The more size and change you want, the more resistance and fewer reps you’ll need. Work towards repeating this exercises three times, every three days.
The shoulders: For shoulders that stand out try lateral raises. With a band or dumbbells, raise the arms out to the side to shoulder level and lower back down to in front of the thigh. Choose a weight that you could lift 10 times or more. Work towards repeating this exercises three times, every three days.
For the rear shoulders, pick a slightly lighter weight than before and assume an almost Sumo wrestler stance – bend knees, bent at the hips and chest nearly parallel to the floor. Raise the weights in front of you as if like arms on a clock making a ten to ten o’clock time.
Don’t expect the arms to go high, but bring them back down to knee level each time. Try for 10 repetitions or more. Work towards repeating this exercises three times, every three days.
The Chest: To hit the upper chest for a ‘bust lift’, set a bench at an incline of about 45 degrees. You can also lean against a gym ball. With a dumbbell in each hand press from shoulder width and level to centrally above the chest, as if drawing a triangle with the weights – squeeze the chest muscles together in this last action and then lower them to the starting position.
Biceps: There are many variations on bicep curls but the original way recruits more areas than the others. With a dumbbell in each hand curl the arm up from hip to shoulder level, keeping the elbows close to the ribs. Try for 15 repetitions. Work towards repeating this exercises three times, every three days.
Triceps: Extending the arm past the waist line whilst keeping the elbows tucked in like chicken wings, is a good way to work these muscles, but rotating the hands outwards and inwards during the action works more of the triceps.
Play around with this and feel the different areas working. If you think your under arms are oversized, go for higher repetitions here – 15-25 should keep you safe! Work towards repeating this exercises three times, every three days.
So follow these exercises and you will work towards creating the kinds of ‘illusions’ that will not only enhance what you have but diminish and distract the eye from any areas you are not so happy about!
If you are interested in joining me for workout programmes in my studio and/or my Woodland Workout Trails (and occasionally the beach!), contact me through www.joeybull.com,via Insta/Twitter – @joeybullfitness or my WatchFit profile.