The hourglass body is a shape wanted by many, but is it a realistic goal?

As a personal trainer and nutritionist, women are always telling me they want a bigger bum and smaller waist.

I make it clear to them that everyone has to go through a slightly different process to get a particular physical look. 

However, it’s possible to achieve the ideal for your unique body. You just need to follow my hourglass body workout plan and eat nutrient-dense foods that fit within your calorie goal.

Depending on where you start, genetics, and more, each fitness journey takes a different amount of time. To shape a body you feel confident and healthy in, patience is a must.

Keep reading to learn how to exercise for an hourglass figure, what you should eat, and different factors to consider!

What is an hourglass body?

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hourglass figure

The hourglass figure involves shapely shoulders, a tiny waist, and a larger bum and hips.

Throughout history, many female public figures have been celebrated for their hourglass figures. 

What’s important to keep in mind is that a lot of work goes into getting there and maintaining it. Famous women have access to the world’s best trainers, personal chefs, and even surgeons. 

Therefore, it’s key to have realistic expectations. Focus on what’s sustainable and healthy for you and your lifestyle.

How to get an hourglass figure?

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hourglass figure

While there are general guidelines for getting an hourglass figure, this path looks different for every woman based on genetics and body type.

No matter where you’re starting on your journey to achieve the toned, curvy body shape, be understanding of your body. It’s doing its best to keep you healthy internally despite what external goals you may have!

Now, here’s the scoop on getting the hourglass figure. You need to follow an eating and workout regimen. 

Your meals will contain plenty of lean protein sources and nutrient-dense foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and seeds.

Your new, efficient hourglass body workout plan will involve a weekly schedule of workouts. 

These primarily focus on building the width of the shoulders and back, slimming the waist, and building the booty and legs.

It’s pretty challenging to achieve a low enough body fat percentage to show your tiny waist while maintaining enough muscle mass to contribute to the wider back and hips. 

Still, it’s possible if you are patient, dedicated, and enjoy the process!

The Main Target Areas in Your Hourglass Body Workout

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hourglass body workout

Upper Body

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To start the hourglass figure, you want to have a broader upper back and defined shoulders. 

While some people think broader shoulders are the opposite of the “feminine” look of the hourglass shape, consider how it creates an illusion.

Your waist can only get so small. Use the leeway you have with your upper body to your advantage. The larger your upper body is, the smaller your waist appears in comparison.


The main thing contributing to the tiny waist is maintaining a low body fat percentage. 

Eating in a caloric deficit is the quickest way to make this happen, although you need to do this safely and gradually.

If you aren’t a fan of blocky-looking abs, you don’t need to worry about including too many abdominal exercises in your workout routine.  

However, keep in mind that a strong core prevents injuries and allows you to perform everyday movements with more ease.

If you would prefer to have defined abs show through as you start to lose weight, feel free to do a quick ab routine two to three times a week!

Booty and Outer Hips

Related: A Complete Guide To Growing A Heart Shaped Butt

The final part of this overall look is wider hips and larger glutes. Building this area of the body takes a lot of time for the average person.

To make it happen, the best route is to eat plenty of protein, eat in a caloric surplus, lift weights consistently, and utilize progressive overload.

Notice how we mention caloric surplus here but a caloric deficit for your waist? 

That’s where things get tricky! 

The whole process of shaping your body into the hourglass figure involves cutting and bulking over and over. 

You do this until you’re happy with where you are and can take a break at your maintenance calories.

Things to Consider When Training for an Hourglass Body

Related: Best Cardio For Weight Loss

hourglass exercises

Body Genetics

At the end of the day, genetics will help determine how easy or difficult achieving a physical goal is.

While the aspect of genetics should never hinder you, recognize that your body is doing the best it can with how it’s naturally built.

If you’re doing the same things as a friend, and they achieve the look first, don’t get frustrated and think you’re doing something wrong.

Their genetics may simply be giving them a bit more of an advantage. 

You can still develop a body you’re confident and happy in as long as you understand that consistency is key. You’ll eventually get where you want to be!


How you eat is going to play a big role in how your body is shaped. A caloric deficit or caloric surplus will help determine if your body will primarily be gaining muscle or burning fat.

To achieve the hourglass figure, you will need to switch between the two ways of eating to allow your body to mold to the desired shape.

Consuming nutrient-dense foods will also be a factor. This is because the body functions optimally when it is provided the tools (macronutrients and micronutrients) that it needs.

Muscle Mass

The hourglass figure favors muscle mass being carried primarily in the glutes, back, and shoulders. These contribute to the upper and lower parts of your figure.

Everyone can gain and maintain muscle mass with different levels of ease, but the process can become more attainable with the right hourglass exercises and protein intake.

Body Fat

It can be difficult for many people to keep their body fat percentage lower due to the strict diet and workout routine that’s usually required. 

However, if you take the time to develop healthy little habits that contribute to staying lean, the process doesn’t have to be too strenuous.

Similar to muscle mass, body fat comes and goes at a different rate and in various places depending on the person. It is important to acknowledge how your individual body functions.

Body Type

The three body types are endomorph, mesomorph, and ectomorph. 

You don’t have control over your body type. Still, it’s essential to recognize that any woman who is a mesomorph will have to put in less effort to achieve the hourglass look.

If you’re an endomorph or ectomorph, you can certainly shape your body to look more like the hourglass figure than it is now. But you may not be able to do so to the extent of someone who is a mesomorph.

The 5 Best Exercises to Include in Your Hourglass Workout Routine 

1. Barbell Back Squats

The barbell back squat is a fundamental exercise that helps you shape your entire lower body while promoting the functional movement of squatting down to help with everyday tasks. 

Perform this compound exercise at least once a week in an hourglass workout.

Equipment Requirements

Barbell and plates

How-To Perform Barbell Back Squats

  1. Center yourself under a loaded barbell. 
  2. Place your feet slightly wider than hip-width with your toes pointed out at a 45-degree angle. 
  3. Push your glutes back and bend your knees to come down into a squat. 
  4. Pause when your thighs are parallel to the floor before pushing back up and coming to standing.

Benefits to Achieve an Hourglass Shape

  • Builds the glutes
  • Strengthens muscles in the legs

Pro Tips

  • Ensure your knees don’t go past your toes to help prevent knee injuries.
  • Keep your back upright and straight throughout the exercise so the load of the barbell stays centered and doesn’t start to come forward.

2. Barbell Hip Thrusts

The barbell hip thrust is one of the most effective exercises for building the glutes, and having large round glutes certainly contributes to the hourglass figure! 

Do these at least once a week on a glutes or lower body day.

Equipment Requirements

Barbell and plates

How-To Perform Barbell Hip Thrusts

  1. While seated on the floor, lean your back against a sturdy bench with a loaded barbell centered on your hips. 
  2. Position your feet flat on the floor and maneuver so your bum is off the floor and the bench is holding your weight. 
  3. Push through your heels as you bring your hips up until your knees form a 90-degree angle. 
  4. Pause at the top of this movement before bringing your hips back down toward the floor and repeating the movement.

Benefits to Achieve an Hourglass Shape

  • Builds the glutes
  • Shapes the hips

Pro Tips

  • Keep your chin tucked into your chest for the entirety of the movement to prevent neck injuries.
  • If the barbell digs into your hips too much, try using a bar pad.

3. Lat Pulldowns

If you want to develop a wider back to contribute to the hourglass work, lat pulldowns are one of the easiest ways to get this done.

Be sure to do this exercise during your next upper body or pull day workout!

Equipment Requirements

Cable machine and bar

How-To Perform Lat Pulldowns

  1. Take a seat at the cable machine and set the desired weight. 
  2. Grab the bar so that your arms form a V shape. 
  3. Keep your chest up and back straight as you bend your elbows and pull the bar down to your chest. 
  4. Pause here before releasing the bar back up.

Benefits to Achieve an Hourglass Shape

  • Contributes to a broader back
  • Develops strength in the back and biceps

Pro Tips

  • If you cannot bring the bar all the way down to your chest, try utilizing a lighter weight to do this exercise more effectively.
  • If you want to improve the symmetry of your lats, try alternating which side of the bar you pull down rather than using both arms at once.

4. Lateral Raises

In addition to broadening your back, try building your shoulders to create further contrast. The lateral raise is a simple and easy exercise that will shape your shoulders in no time. 

Include these in your upper body or push day workouts!

Equipment Requirements


How-To Perform Lateral Raises

  1. Grab two dumbbells and stand up straight. 
  2. Start with the dumbbells down by your sides with your palms facing in. 
  3. Keep a slight bend in the elbows as you lift the dumbbells up until your hands are at shoulder height. 
  4. Bring the dumbbells back down to your sides before repeating.

Benefits to Achieve an Hourglass Shape

  • Develops rounded shoulders
  • Adds contrast to a slim waist

Pro Tips

  • You can only lift one arm at a time if you find that helps you develop a better mind-muscle connection.
  • Be sure not to swing your body to help get the weight up. If this is the case, try using lighter dumbbells.

5. Hanging Leg Raises

Want a challenging ab exercise that works the upper and lower abs? 

Hanging leg raises are great for someone who wants both developed abdominals and a slim waist. These are great because the obliques aren’t the primary target.

Equipment Requirements


How-To Perform Hanging Leg Raises

  1. Grab onto a bar so your arms are fully extended above your head and your feet do not touch the ground. 
  2. Press your legs and feet together in a straight line. 
  3. Tense up your abdominals and slowly bring your legs up until they are parallel to the floor. 
  4. Pause here before releasing them back down.

Benefits to Achieve an Hourglass Shape

  • Keeps the waist slim due to minimal oblique contractions
  • Challenges the rectus abdominis

Pro Tips

  • Perform this exercise slowly to prevent your body from swinging.
  • If straight legs are too difficult, try bending your knees instead.

Best Hourglass Body Workout Program 



WARM-UP5 minutes walking on treadmill + active stretching
Barbell Back Squats38-101 minute 30 seconds
Weighted Step Ups310-1245 seconds
Single Leg Straight Leg Deadlifts210-1245 seconds
Seated Calf Raises215-2045 seconds
CARDIO10 minutes Stairmaster
COOLDOWN5 minutes passive stretching + foam rolling


Rest day


WARM-UP5 minutes walking on treadmill + active stretching
Bench Press38-101 minute 30 seconds
Lat Pulldowns310-1245 seconds
Lateral Raises210-1245 seconds
Face Pulls210-1245 seconds
CARDIO15 minutes walking on incline
COOLDOWN5 minutes passive stretching + foam rolling


Rest day


WARM-UP5 minutes walking on treadmill + active stretching
Barbell Back Squats38-101 minute 30 seconds
Bulgarian Split Squats310-1245 seconds
Abduction Machine212-1545 seconds
Hanging Leg Raises212-1545 seconds
CARDIO10-minute HIIT workout
COOLDOWN5 minutes passive stretching + foam rolling


Rest day


Rest day



WARM-UP5 minutes walking on treadmill + active stretching
Barbell Back Squats46-81 minute
Leg Press Machine38-1030 seconds
Leg Extensions310-1230 seconds
Lying Hamstring Curls310-1230 seconds
Dumbbell Calf Raises215-2030 seconds
CARDIO20 minutes Stairmaster
COOLDOWN5 minutes passive stretching + foam rolling


WARM-UP5 minutes walking on treadmill + active stretching
Lat Pulldowns410-121 minute
Cable Rows310-1230 seconds
Dumbbell Bicep Curls310-1230 seconds
Ab Crunch Machine212-1530 seconds
Russian Twists215-2030 seconds
CARDIO25 minutes walking on incline
COOLDOWN5 minutes passive stretching + foam rolling


Rest day


WARM-UP5 minutes walking on treadmill + active stretching
Barbell Hip Thrusts48-101 minute
Cable Kickbacks310-1230 seconds
Glute Machine310-1230 seconds
Hanging Leg Raises210-1230 seconds
Crunches215-2030 seconds
CARDIO15-minute HIIT workout
COOLDOWN5 minutes passive stretching + foam rolling


WARM-UP5 minutes walking on treadmill + active stretching
Bench Press46-81 minute
Machine Chest Flyes310-1230 seconds
Dumbbell Overhead Press310-1230 seconds
Lateral Raises310-1230 seconds
Tricep Kickbacks312-1530 seconds
CARDIO20 minutes Stairmaster
COOLDOWN5 minutes passive stretching + foam rolling


Rest day


WARM-UP5 minutes walking on treadmill + active stretching
Sumo Deadlifts46-81 minute
Good Mornings310-1230 seconds
Reverse Lunges310-1230 seconds
Adduction Machine312-1530 seconds
Smith Machine Calf Raises215-2030 seconds
CARDIO25 minutes walking on incline
COOLDOWN5 minutes passive stretching + foam rolling

The Best Nutrition Plan to Achieve an Hourglass-Shaped Body

hourglass workout

The three macronutrients are protein, fat, and carbohydrates. When eating to get an hourglass figure, do not neglect any of these.

Protein should be prioritized because it is the most satiating macro, burns the most calories from digestion alone, and helps contribute to a faster metabolism. 

A general rule of thumb is to consume one gram of protein per pound that you weigh.

Eating enough protein will allow you to build your glutes and upper body while keeping that waistline cinched. 

After figuring out how many of your daily calories should come from protein, you can fill the rest in with carbs and fat. 

Carbs provide the body with the energy that it needs while healthy fats optimize hormone function and support the body’s systems overall.

7-Day Sample Meal Plan


1. Omelet and Toast

Make a tasty omelet with egg whites, bell peppers, onion, spinach, and your desired spices. 

Top with a bit of shredded cheese and salsa, and serve with a side of toasted high-protein bread and peanut butter.

2. Protein Oatmeal

Take your normal oatmeal to the next level by adding some extra water or almond milk and vanilla protein powder to your oats. 

Add your favorite toppings like almond butter, cacao nibs, berries, walnuts, and more! 


1. Tuna and Rice Cakes

If you need to make a quick lunch that is high-protein, low-calorie, and a great source of omega-3s, try tuna and rice cakes. 

Whip up your favorite tuna salad with a low-calorie mayo and spread it on a few rice cakes.

2. Sushi

Out and about but don’t want to stop at a fast food restaurant? Head to a grocery store instead and grab some sushi. 

Sushi is a better option because it is higher in protein while generally being low-calorie.


1. Ground Turkey Chili

Ground turkey is a great source of lean protein, and this dish can sit in the crockpot for a few hours to be ready when you are! 

Mix together bone broth, tomato paste, cooked ground turkey, various beans, spices, and whatever other low-calorie ingredients you desire!

2. Chicken, Rice, and Veggies

This dish is a classic for those wanting to make changes to their physique. Add your seasoned chicken, various veggies, cashew pieces, and teriyaki or soy sauce on a bed of rice for a well-rounded meal.


1. Greek Yogurt Parfait

Make a quick and healthy snack by combining Greek yogurt, granola, and an assortment of berries.

2. HaloTop

Have a sweet tooth but not many calories to spare? HaloTop is a brand of high-protein ice cream that averages only 300 calories per pint!


While supplements are certainly not required for you to get an hourglass figure, they may speed up the process. 

If you do choose to use supplements, it can be difficult to pick the best ones.

A great place to start would be with a multivitamin or greens powder. They each have their pros and cons, but they have the collective goal of providing the body with nutrients it may be lacking from your daily diet.

When your body consistently gets various nutrients, it can better burn fat, gain muscle, and have the energy it needs.

Another supplement to consider would be protein powder. If you are indeed chasing the one-gram-per-pound-of-bodyweight goal, you probably need a little help from protein powder.

Protein powder has very few grams of carbs or fat, so you can efficiently get an average of 25 grams of protein in roughly 150 calories.

There are many supplements out there to choose from, so try starting with the basics and do plenty of research before taking anything new!

Calories Recommendations

To eat in a calorie deficit, you must first know the total daily energy requirements (TDEE).

Then you’ll want to deduct 250-500 calories for steady fat loss.

You can use our free advanced calories and macro split calculator for weight loss and muscle growth. Simply fill out the calculator in less than 60 seconds and you’ll have the right calorie and macro split to follow for your goal.

As we discussed, you will have to go through a series of caloric deficits and surpluses to get an hourglass figure. 

This can be a lengthy and tedious process, so it’s only recommended for those who find it realistic with their lifestyles.

Eating in a caloric deficit would allow you to achieve a slim waist because you would be carrying minimal fat on your abdomen. 

On the contrary, eating in a caloric surplus allows you to gain muscle on your upper body, glutes, and hip area to achieve the upper and lower parts of the hourglass.

Since you cannot do both at once, start by focusing on burning fat until you lose a few inches on your waist. 

Eat maintenance calories for about four weeks to give your body a break. Then, start to eat in a caloric surplus.

Once you gain a few pounds of muscle, eat at maintenance again. And so the cycle repeats. 

Everyone responds to this process differently, so be patient and make the individual tweaks you think necessary.

Pro Tips for Training Your Body to Achieve an Hourglass Figure

hourglass figure workout

1. Get Enough Sleep

While you do tear your muscles in the gym, it is while you sleep that they repair and rebuild to become stronger. 

Aim to get at least seven hours of sleep a night to maximize gains and energy for the next day.

2. Prioritize Rest and Recovery

Your body will go under a lot of stress because of your workouts and calorie adjustments, so rest and recovery are important to make the whole process sustainable.

Make sure to take at least one day a week off from working out and stretch for a minimum of ten minutes daily.

3. Get in All Your Workouts

Try to stick with a consistent workout schedule to ensure you are burning an adequate amount of calories and developing muscle in the right areas.

Building muscle can take a lot of time, so making it to the gym and following a plan is what will really deliver the results.

4. Eat Plenty of Protein

Hit that one gram of protein per pound of body weight goal to speed up how quickly you gain muscle on the desired areas of your body. It will also help you feel full when you are in a caloric deficit.

5. Stay Hydrated

Water does so much good for the body, including optimizing the delivery of nutrients to the cells. 

Aim to drink a gallon of water a day; it will feel like a lot at first, but your body will get used to it after a week or so!

Frequently asked questions

How do you get an hourglass body?

To achieve the hourglass body, pay special attention to both what you eat and your hourglass body workout plan.

Tracking your calories and eating plenty of high-protein and nutrient-dense foods will supply your body with the fuel it needs to transform.

It’ll also give you an idea of how much you need to eat to get the results you desire.

In addition to the diet, stick with a well-thought-out hourglass workout plan that involves the right exercises and progressive overload.

What exercise gives an hourglass figure?

If you want an hourglass figure, then the most important muscles to focus on are your shoulders, back, abdominals, and glutes.

Include hourglass exercises that target these muscles weekly. A few examples are the exercises I shared – barbell back squats, barbell hip thrusts, lat pulldowns, lateral raises, and hanging leg raises.

Can you work out to get an hourglass figure?

While nutrition is still a key factor, you must do workouts to get an hourglass figure. 

It is recommended to train three to five times a week. That’s generally what’s most sustainable and realistic for the average person.


We hope that you enjoyed our article guiding you through the process of achieving an hourglass body! 

Transforming your physique can feel a bit overwhelming, but if you have a plan and stay consistent, it’s more than possible. 

In addition to patience, you need to meet yourself where you’re at and create realistic expectations. 

And above all else, listen to your body. 

So, now it is time for you to determine your daily calorie restrictions, what days you’ll commit to your hourglass figure workout plan, and anything else you need to do to set yourself up for success.

Please comment below which hourglass shape workout is your favorite, and don’t forget to share this guide with anyone else you know who needs some guidance!