This fitness program was excerpted from the book Escape Your Shape by Edward Jackowski, Ph.D.
As an Hourglass, you will notice that you tend to put on weight or mass in both your upper and lower bodies while staying more slender through the waist. This applies whether you are a female or male. Generally, Hourglasses are trying to lose weight, mass or inches from both their upper and lower bodies. Hourglass clients typically want to slim, tone and streamline their legs and the back of their arms (triceps). A lot of Hourglass women incorrectly label themselves Spoons. They either focus excessively on the size of their hips or thighs or are bottom-heavy Hourglasses. In other words, they bulk in both their upper and lower bodies, but do faster on the lower half. Hourglasses have to be especially careful with the type and amount of resistance exercise they perform with their lower and upper bodies.
One advantage of being an Hourglass is that you tend to lose and gain weight and mass evenly. Though it goes on fast, you can lose it quickly, too. Hourglasses can and should carry more scale weight than any other body type because your weight is distributed pretty evenly throughout your entire body. That's why a gal who is 5'6", large framed and well toned can look slender even at 150 pounds. Believe it or not, she'll look only about 135 if she exercises appropriately for an Hourglass. This is a classic case of someone who needs to lose inches rather than weight, a feat that cannot be achieved by dieting alone. In fact, losing inches, especially off your problem areas, can only be accomplished through proper exercise. So if you are a large-framed person, don't despair. True, you'll never be willowy, but you can be slender and fit and wear a size 8 with room to spare. As I tell many men and women who fall into this category, don't worry about your weight. The scale doesn't show inch loss, so you could be losing significant mass while the scale shows no improvement. Don't get depressed; for encouragement, rely on your shrinking waist and hips.
Problem Areas and Characteristics
Hourglasses are fortunate because they typically have strong bones and good muscle tone and are less susceptible to osteoporosis than other body types. As a group, senior Hourglasses have fewer fractures resulting from falls; they are built for high-contact and impact sports that require power, strength and speed. Also, sports or movements that require both upper- and lower-body strength are easier for Hourglasses than other body types. For very slim Hourglasses, jogging or running can be enjoyable, but for most, it is uncomfortable. They also tend to have good (sometimes excellent) flexibility throughout their entire body and generally do not have back problems because their abdominals are naturally strong. They have tapered legs and small ankles, though their calves may be muscular. Their problem areas tend to be the backs of the upper arms, the inner and outer thighs and the saddlebag region (just below the hips on the outside of the upper thigh). Some Hourglasses tend to put on weight around the lower portion of their abdominal region, which tends to add to their hip measurement. Most Hourglasses bulk and put on weight easily in both upper and lower regions and must be very careful not to add weights or resistance to their workouts.
If you're an Hourglass who's trying to slim down, hold off on adding weight or resistance to your exercise routine until you lose weight and mass. Even then you may notice you're bulking up more than you'd like. If so, cut back. Hourglasses almost always weigh considerably more than people think because of the way their weight is distributed on their frames.
Best Exercises for Escaping Your Hourglass Shape
Jumping rope with a speed or peg rope
Stationary biking with light to moderate resistance and high RPMs (90 to 120)
Fast walking with little to no incline
Jogging or running for distance slowly (5 to 6 MPH without resistance or hills)
Ski machine at high speed with little to moderate tension for both upper and lower bodies
Elliptical machines with no resistance (only if you're not overweight)
Standing knee to opposite chest, L-kicks, leg-outs, one-legged leg lifts, and vertical scissors
Cybex, Nautilus or other weight machines with light weights and high reps
Upper-body routine with a 4-pound aerobic bar, doing push-outs, behind-the-neck presses, front presses, upright-rows, bicep curls, and tricep kickbacks
Dead lifts with little or no weight
Angled squats (if you're not overweight)
Leg extensions and leg curls with light weight and high reps
Swimming for distance (crawl stroke only)
Exercises to Avoid if You Want to Escape Your Hourglass Shape
High-impact aerobic or exercise classes
Squats, lunges, and leg presses
Inner-outer leg machines with high resistance
Stationary biking with high resistance
Walking, jogging or running on an incline, especially with hand weights simultaneously
Ski machine with high resistance for both upper and lower bodies
Jumping rope with a weighted rope
Stepper/stair climbers with resistance
All exercises using ankle weights
All lower-body exercises using high resistance or weights
All upper-body exercises using high resistance or weights
Roller blading on hills
Rowing with high resistance
As an Hourglass, your mantra is high reps, low resistance and low weights for both upper and lower bodies. High reps mean at least 25 to 50 repetitions for each of your exercises. As you slim down and lose weight and mass, you can increase resistance and weight. But you still must maintain your high reps for each exercise. Hourglasses who bulk very easily may have to keep the resistance and weights at a low level forever. If you currently engage in any of the above exercises and you're not willing to cut them out entirely, try to cut down on the number of times you perform them during the week. As you trim down, you can ease back into them.