This fitness program was excerpted from the book Escape Your Shape by Edward Jackowski, Ph.D.
Most Rulers are fortunate when it comes to finding clothes that fit. They are similar to Hourglasses in that their bodies are pretty much in proportion, but they are not as tapered in the midsection, with no significant difference between the sizes of their chest, waist and hips. They're built straight up and down. Fashion and runway models exemplify skinny Rulers. Rulers tend to carry excess weight on their stomachs and butts. They don't get wider, but rather protrude fore and aft. When a Ruler gains 10 pounds, it is very visible. Most Rulers have small to medium frames and do not possess a lot of muscle mass, hence their need to keep their weight lower than any other body types. Typically, Rulers bulk the least of any body type, and if not overweight, can perform virtually any exercise without the fear of unwanted mass in any region of their bodies. Rulers, however, possess less strength and need to work out extra hard to build muscle, strength and power.
Although most Rulers are small to medium chested, occasionally you'll find a woman Ruler with big breasts. It is imperative for those women to perform a lot of upper-body and abdominal exercises to help support the back, shoulders and arms in order to avoid poor posture and hunching. Rulers give the appearance of being "thin." And on a scale they tend to weigh even less than they appear to. Rulers also may tend to be underweight and overfat, which means they may be carrying too much body fat and not enough lean mass (muscle).
Problem Areas and Characteristics
Rulers are fortunate in the sense that if they're not overweight, they do not have to work out as often as the other body types. Losing weight or mass requires frequent exercise; changing your shape does not. The typical Ruler needs to work out no more than 3 days per week to change his or her body. But he or she needs to exercise intensely, really taxing the muscles. Because the Ruler's workout is typically more anaerobic than aerobic, more rest is required between these intense workouts. Rulers make the best joggers and long-distance runners because of the way their mass is distributed over their frames. They simply put less stress on their joints. They also excel in any movements or sports that require long and sustained aerobic actions. Have you ever seen a world-class Cone, Spoon or heavy-Hourglass long-distance runner or swimmer? Of course not, and now you know why. On the other hand, because it is more difficult for Rulers to build mass, you don't see professional Ruler bodybuilders. Often, because of their poor hamstring flexibility and weak lower abs, Rulers experience lower back pain. As they age, their bones and joints are more susceptible to osteoporosis and bone fractures than other body types. Because Rulers need to work extra hard to build muscle mass, it's vital that they do not allow that muscle mass to fade. In fact, Rulers generally have no problem losing mass throughout their upper and lower bodies (unlike Hourglasses, who need to work hard at it).
Of all the body types, Rulers seem to exercise the least. Perhaps because many Rulers are "naturally thin," they feel they can get away without exercising. It is quite common for Rulers reaching their 40s and 50s to suddenly gain a lot of weight, especially in their midsection. And because they've often been inactive for most of their lives, they have a hard time adjusting psychologically to the fact that they need to exercise regularly. Most men are Rulers and should focus on trimming their midsection and increasing hamstring flexibility to avoid back problems later in life.
Best Exercises for Escaping Your Ruler Shape
Unless you're overweight, all of these exercises are recommended. If you need to reduce your weight, use light to moderate resistance and weights until you reach your ideal weight.
Stretching, especially hamstring and quadriceps muscle groups
Full sit-ups without locking feet, upper and lower abdominal crunches, and leg-outs
Squats, lunges, and leg presses with moderate to high weights
Hand and ankle weights
Stationary biking with moderate to high resistance
Walking, jogging or running on an incline or on hills
All elliptical machines with moderate to high resistance
Stepper/stair climbers with moderate to high resistance
Chair push-ups and introverted push-ups
Ski machines with resistance for both upper and lower bodies
Roller blading on hills
Jumping rope with a peg or weighted rope
Inner-outer leg machines with moderate to high weights
Rowing with moderate to high resistance for both upper and lower bodies
All upper- or lower-body exercises using moderate to high resistance or weights
Exercises to Avoid if You Want to Escape Your Ruler Shape*
* Please note: Although there are no exercises to avoid unless you are an overweight ruler, some abdominal and leg exercises may cause some discomfort to the lower back region. As your hamstring flexibility and abdominal strength increase, you may begin to add exercises from the following list to your regimen.
One-legged leg lifts
Side leg lifts
As a Ruler, you pretty much have free rein to perform any kind of exercise provided you are not overweight. If you are overweight, ease up on the weights and resistance a little bit until you start to trim down. Then you can incorporate both. Protect your back! Don't skip your stretching routine before you work out and stretch your hamstrings lightly at the end of all of your workouts. Focus on increasing the intensity of each exercise and to prevent injury pay careful attention to your form and body alignment. Do your abdominal work in the beginning of your workouts when your motivation and energy is highest to ensure that you do it every time.