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10 Best Hourglass Body Exercises for A Small Waist


Carving out that iconic hourglass figure that makes jaws drops and drool dribble is no small task. Take it from me – it took me almost 6-7 months of hard work to achieve my hourglass figure (and just 3 weeks of vacation to lose it all!). But here’s what you need to know – it is possible. And if you really want to, you can achieve it too!

If you’re looking for a small waist workout to get that snatched look, then you’re in the right place. Each exercise in this blog will help you get that hourglass body shape. And paired with the right diet, this will be effortless for you.

Ready to look like a snack? Bring on your mat!

If you’re looking to tone up your belly, then do these 10 ab exercises for women!

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Planks | Bicycle Crunches | Lat Pull-Downs | Shoulder Press | Seated Rows | Squats | Deadlifts | Leg Raises | Russian Twists | Hip Thrusts | Benefits | Key Takeaways | FAQs

How To Get A Smaller Waist: Top 10 Exercises

1. Planks


One of the most crucial core training exercises, the plank works your upper abs, all the way down to your lower ab area. This exercise tightens your waist, and strengthens your shoulders, back and legs.

  • Muscles Worked: Core, back, shoulders and glutes
  • Sets: 3
  • Reps: Set a 30 second timer
  • Rest: 30 seconds

Step-By-Step Method:

  • Lie down on the mat, face first.
  • With your elbows, forearms and toes, lift your body up into the classic ‘plank’ position.
  • Brace your core to activate it, keeping your body in a straight line from head to toe.
  • Without letting your hips drop or scrunch up high, keep your body neutral.

Want to perfect your form? Try this 10 minute plank workout to improve your form and set your core on fire!

2. Bicycle Crunches


Excellent for giving you a burn in your obliques, the bicycle crunches help you get that smaller waist by pulling your sides inwards and toning your core.

  • Muscles worked: Core, specifically the obliques
  • Sets: 3
  • Reps: 15 for each side
  • Rest: 30 seconds

Step-By-Step Guide:

  • Lie down flat on your back and place your hands under your head.
  • Keep legs raised to form a 90° angle.
  • Pull one leg i.e. your right leg into your chest, while lifting yourself off with your upper body.
  • During this motion, bring your left arm and elbow towards your right knee, diagonally.
  • Extend your other leg out fully.
  • Repeat on the other side, moving your torso fully.

Add this exercise to your complete lower ab workout routine to build a solid pack!

3. Lat Pull Downs


One of the best ways to strengthen your upper back and shoulders is with lat pull-downs. This exercise not only improves your posture, it also gives you a wider back to make your waist look snatched.

  • Muscles worked: Upper back, shoulders and biceps
  • Sets: 3 sets
  • Reps: 12 reps each side
  • Rest: 30 seconds

Step-By-Step Method:

  • Sit at the lat pull down machine, placing a straight wide-grip bar.
  • Hold the bar from the far end to take a wide grip.
  • Pull the bar down into your upper chest, squeezing your shoulder blades tightly together.
  • As you pull the bar down, keep your elbows tucked into your sides.
  • Controlling your eccentrics, let the bar go until your arms extend outwards fully.

Build a wider back to create a smaller waist illusion with these 4 lat workouts!

4. Shoulder Press


Another spot-on upper body exercise, shoulder press helps you gain some muscle in your delt area, enhancing your width and giving you a broader appearance to make your waist look smaller in proportion.

  • Muscles worked: Shoulders, triceps, and upper back
  • Sets: 3
  • Reps: 10 reps on each side
  • Rest: 30 seconds

Step-By-Step Guide:

  • With a dumbbell in each hand or a barbell, take your position on the bench to sit or keep standing.
  • Bring the dumbbells onto your shoulder height.
  • Press the dumbbells above and over your head, building a mind-muscle connection with your anterior delts.
  • Lower them back to shoulder height.

Incorporate this move into your complete shoulder workout!

5. Seated Rows


From hitting your lats to creating depth within your back muscles, seated rows are a lot like T-bar rows that help you earn an overall definition and width in your back, which is crucial for a snatched waist.

  • Muscles worked: Back, shoulders, and biceps
  • Sets: 3 sets
  • Reps: 12 reps each
  • Rest: 30 seconds

Step-By-Step Guide:

  • Take your place on the rowing machine, keeping your feet on the resting area with a slight bent in your knees.
  • Place the v-shaped attachment on the hook, holding it with both hands.
  • Make sure to keep your back neutral, pulling the attachment into your torso or belly button, giving your shoulder blades a squeeze at the contraction.
  • Extend your arms slowly, controlling your movement.

If you’re working out at home, try these 5 back workouts with dumbbells instead!

6. Squats


A powerhouse move, squats work from your head to your toe, engaging primarily your legs and glutes along with your core.

  • Muscles worked: Glutes, quads, hamstrings, and core
  • Sets: 3 sets
  • Reps: 15 reps each
  • Rest: 30 seconds

Step-By-Step Guide:

  • With your toes pointing outward, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Keep a slight bend in your knees, lowering your hips as if you’re taking a seat in a chair.
  • Make sure your chest is puffed up and hips hinged.
  • As you lower yourself, make sure your knees remain behind your toes.
  • Push from your heels to stand back up.

Can’t lift weights? Consider these 5 effective resistance band leg exercises!

7. Deadlifts

How to do Dumbbell Deadlift Correctly?

Holding the greatest of importance when it comes to not only building strength but also toning your waist is the deadlift. This exercise works your back, hamstrings, glutes and core, giving you that slim waist.

  • Muscles worked: Glutes, lower back, hamstrings, and core
  • Sets: 3 sets
  • Reps: 10 reps each side
  • Rest: 45 seconds

Step-By-Step Guide:

  • With a barbell or dumbbells in front of your shins, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Keep a slight bend at the hips and knees, making sure they’re soft.
  • Grab the bar with both your hands, making sure they are shoulder-width apart.
  • If you’re working out with dumbbells, bring them to your sides.
  • Pull the weight up as you straighten your hips and knees, keeping the weight close to your body.
  • Lower the weight to the ground, bending your hips and keeping your negatives steady.

Want to grow your lower body? Check out this powerful leg workout!

8. Leg Raises


Similar to flutter kicks, this exercise is perfect for working your lower ab muscles, giving you that smaller, defined and snatched waist.

  • Muscles worked: Lower abdominals and hip flexors
  • Sets: 3
  • Reps: 15 reps each
  • Rest: 30 seconds

Step-By-Step Guide:

  • Lie down on a yoga mat with your back neutral and your legs fully extended outwards.
  • Place your hands under your hips for support.
  • Gradually elevate your legs to a 90° angle with your legs together and fully extended.
  • Lower them back down, keeping them slightly afloat in the air so they don’t touch the floor.

Sculpt your core with these 4 effective bodyweight ab workouts!

9. Russian Twists


In order to build that hourglass body shape, you need to incorporate Russian twists into your routine to sculpt a snatched waist.

  • Muscles worked: Core, especially the obliques
  • Sets: 3 sets
  • Reps: 20 twists (10 per side)
  • Rest: 20 seconds

Step-By-Step Guide:

  • Sit on the floor, keeping your knees slightly bent and your feet flat on the ground.
  • Lean backwards a little bit, lifting your feet up from the ground.
  • Holding a weight (kettlebell or dumbbell) with both your hands right on your chest, start twisting from one side to another.
  • Brace your core to fully engage it throughout the movement.

Get a chiseled core and torso with these 10 killer obliques exercises!

10. Hip Thrusts


Perfect for constructing those heavy glutes and strong hamstrings while working your core, hip thrusts define your waistline so you get an hourglass figure.

  • Muscles worked: Glutes, hamstrings, and core
  • Sets: 3
  • Reps: 12 reps each side
  • Rest: 45 seconds

Step-By-Step Guide:

  • Sit on the ground with your back resting on a bench behind you and a barbell loaded with weights over your hips.
  • Make sure your shoulder blades are comfortably pressed against the bench.
  • With your heels, push your pelvic area upwards, extending your hips with the barbell.
  • Lower your hips back and push again to complete one more rep.

Incorporate this movement into your complete 30-minute leg workout to grow your glutes and snatch up your waist!

5 Benefits Of Doing An Hourglass Figure Workout

1. Enhanced Core Stability

According to a study, bodyweight ab exercises such as planks and Russian twists improve your strength and stability. With a strong core you not only improve your posture, but you’re also less likely to get injuries. In fact, a strong core prevents lower back injuries and gives you a better athletic performance.

Get a chiseled torso with this at-home ab workout routine!

2. Improved Posture

Shoulder presses, seated rows and other upper body workouts help you improve your posture by strengthening your upper back, shoulders and core muscles. These are all the exercises you need to do to get that snatched waist.

What’s more is that, these exercises enhance your overall posture, improving your physical appearance. These exercises also cut down your back and neck pain, boosting the quality of your life in general.

Improve your posture by building a strong upper chest!

3. Increased Metabolic Rate

A study suggests, compound exercises such as leg press, deadlifts and squats rev up your metabolic rate, helping you burn more calories even when you’re resting. With such high intensity resistance training exercises, your metabolism works for up to 40 hours after workout.

Get those titanic thighs with this complete dumbbell leg workout!

4. Better Body Symmetry and Balance

With an array of different exercises in your routine, you’ll be able to work all the varying muscle groups in your body, strengthening and toning them. This helps you get a symmetrical and balanced physical appearance.

Not only is this great for your overall look, it also enhances your cognitive function and functional coordination.

Train all your muscles with this full body home workout!

5. Waist Circumference Reduction

As per a study, it was revealed that exercises that tone your waist, leading to a smaller or ‘snatched’ waist, have some phenomenal benefits. In fact, a shrinking waist circumference is known for reducing risks of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and metabolic syndrome, with or without weight loss!

Achieve an hourglass body shape by combining a 10-minute HIIT routine with reverse crunches!

Key Takeaways

Getting that perfect hourglass body shape requires a ton of hard work, consistent efforts and dedication to never give up. But hey, it’s totally possible – I have done it too! You just need to make sure you’re patient with yourself and follow a workout routine and diet plan that’s designed for toning and fat loss.

Remember to incorporate the 321 hourglass figure workout into your routine, mixing up cardio, strength and core workouts to build lean muscle. In addition, consume a protein-rich, nutritious diet while you’re on this fitness journey.

And lastly, stick to your plan – it takes time but it’s definitely worth it!


What exercises make you an hourglass figure?

To get an hourglass body shape, you need to do exercises that snatch up your waist, giving you slightly heavier and well-built shoulders and hips. These are the exercises that’ll help you achieve this:

  • Planks and bicycle crunches for toning your core
  • Lat pull-downs, seated rows, bent over rows, shoulder presses and raises for a silhouette hourglass look
  • Squats, leg press, deadlifts and hip thrusts to help you grow your glutes for a well-proportioned, snatched waist look.
How do I get an hourglass body shape?

You can’t just do ab exercises to get an hourglass body shape – you need targeted toning exercises, HIIT and a balanced diet. Make sure to:

  • Incorporate strength or resistance training to build your upper and lower body muscles to create that silhouette.
  • Add core workouts such as reverse crunches, leg raises, Russian twists, V-holds, weighted crunches and planks to chisel up your abs.
  • Consistently do cardio to burn up those calories and shed extra fat.
  • Focus on a protein-rich diet while maintaining a slight caloric deficit.
What is the 321 hourglass method?

The 321 hourglass body shape method is a workout strategy that helps you get a slim waist. It includes:

  • 3 days of consistent cardio to help you burn calories for fat loss and cardiovascular health.
  • 2 days of strength training to help you get toned, with a focus on your back and shoulder muscles for upper body and your complete lower body muscles.
  • 1 day of only core workout and flexibility training to give you that snatched waist look.

This complete method helps you lose fat, gain lean muscle and have a well-proportioned overall body shape.

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