Weightlifting has become more popular during the last few years, and for good reason. It's the most effective way to build muscle mass, which helps you burn more fat in the long run, and, despite common opinion, it will make you look leaner, not bulkier. There's another great reason to get yourself to the weight room, though, that has nothing to do with weight loss: lifting weights is a fantastic way to naturally build curves in your body. We're talking about the hourglass figure — curvaceous butt, a small waist, and strong shoulders.
"Muscle adds an amazing, toned, feminine definition to the body."
POPSUGAR spoke to Liz Letchford, MS, ATC, EMT, personal trainer and exercise specialist, who confirmed this to be true. "Heavy lifting is the best way to create strong, curvy hips and a tiny waist," she explained. When you gain all that lean muscle and shed fat all over, you literally change the shape of your body. So if you ever thought having a curvy figure was all genetics, think again!
"Muscle adds an amazing, toned, feminine definition to the body," said Dee (Diksha) Gautham, a NASM-certified personal trainer and NPC bikini competitor. She says lifting weights regularly (and safely) will enhance your figure and "help build a proportional hourglass figure all around."
So where to begin if you want to add some curves to your body? Ridge Davis, a personal trainer based in West Hollywood, CA, told POPSUGAR, "With my female clients, I focus on moderately heavy weight with short rest periods. The focus is to properly build your glutes and hamstrings, as this will enhance your shape on a physiological level and keep you burning fat on a metabolic level." It may be tempting to grab the lighter set of weights and do more reps, but Ridge says that won't give you the same result as lifting heavier weights.
"I recommend training four days a week."
Liz agrees: "My recommendation is one heavy lift per body area per week." That means you pick one day to work on deadlifts, another day to work on squats, and another day to work on upper body, like overhead presses. You're "aiming for a weight that you can safely lift six to eight repetitions, leaving only one good rep left in the tank before ending the set."
"I recommend training four days a week," Ridge adds. "Two days focusing on hamstrings, glutes, and abs, and the other two days focusing on back, arms, and obliques — those muscles that shrink your waist into an hourglass figure." He says this formula will change your body and get you feeling strong stat.
Although there is a great emphasis on booty gains and glute work these days (especially on Instagram), Dee reminds us that it's important not to forget about the upper body. "Training your upper back and shoulders can add to the illusion of a smaller waist," she said. "In addition, training your chest muscles can help enhance your breasts and make them look perkier and larger." So make sure you're not just doing booty workouts when you go to the gym.
There you have it! Aim to strength train three to four times a week, lift heavy for fewer reps, and make sure you're eating enough food. "You need to be taking in adequate calories in order to build that booty," Liz said. "While I can't speak to each individual's body type or macronutrient needs, it is a safe recommendation to say that active females need to be taking in at least 1,500-1,600 calories minimum per day." If you're still hungry, eat more! "Growth is all about lifting heavy and feeding the body so it can repair and rebuild into bigger, stronger muscles."
Ridge says if you follow these guidelines, you'll have "a win-win situation that keeps your body snatched and ready for anything all year long!" Cheers to that!