Whether it's bikini season or the dead of winter, a small waist and curvy hips are always in fashion. A waist-to-hip ratio of 0.7, in which the circumference of your waist is 7/10 of the circumference of your hips, has long been considered an universally attractive silhouette. While it isn't possible to gain or lose weight from just one part of your body, there are exercises you can do to build muscle in your hips as you tighten the muscles that hold in your tummy. For best results, perform these exercises three times a week.
Stand with legs slightly wider than hip-width apart and toes forward for the perfect squat. Keep your back straight as you bend your knees and stick out your bottom, as though you're trying to sit in a chair that's just a little too far behind you. Squat until your thighs are parallel to the floor, then return to start. Perform three to five sets of 15 to 20 repetitions.
Stand with feet hip-width apart, with hands on your hips, to prepare for a walking lunge. Take a large step forward with your right leg. When your right foot hits the ground, bend your right and left knee 90 degrees for a deep lunge. Push off with your left foot to take another large step forward. Perform another deep lunge, this time with your left foot in front. Make sure your steps are large enough so your knee doesn't extend past your toes when you lunge. Perform three to five sets of 15 repetitions on each leg.
Stand with knees straight and plant your feet about two times your hip-width apart to perform side lunges. Bend your right leg to a 90-degree angle while keeping your left leg straight. Push off with your right foot to straighten your right leg and shift your weight. In a fluid motion, bend your left leg as you straighten your right leg, so your left knee is now in a 90-degree angle. Perform three to five sets of 15 to 20 repetitions on each side.
Lie on your left side with your left arm stretched out and supporting your head to work your inner thighs. Keep your left leg straight and bend your right knee in front of you at a 90-degree angle. Your right leg should be lying on the floor in an L shape, with your right thigh perpendicular to your body and your right calf parallel with your body. Lift your left leg into the air, hold for a second and lower. Repeat for three to five sets of 15 repetitions on each side.
Get into a pushup position to perform a traditional plank. Support your weight on your elbows and the balls of your feet and lift yourself off the floor so your body makes a straight line from the top of your head to your heels. Tighten your abs and hold this position for up to one minute. Unlike traditional crunches that target just your front abs, a plank hits your entire stomach from the front and sides.
Move into a traditional plank position to prepare for a side plank. Lift your right arm and right foot off the mat as you turn so your torso faces toward the right and your weight is on your left elbow and the side of your left foot. Stack your feet or place your right foot just in front of your left foot. Straighten your right arm and point your fingertips toward the ceiling. Keep your body straight and hold for up to one minute. Switch so your weight is on your right elbow. You'll feel this exercise all along your oblique muscles and your transverse abdominis, a group of muscles that holds in your waist like a corset.
Perform crunches on a stability ball to target all of the muscles in your midsection. Sit on your stability fitness ball with your knees bent in front of you. Walk your feet out until the ball is under the middle of your back and your body is facing the ceiling. Put your hands behind your head to support your neck and tighten your abs to perform a crunch. Using the ball causes your abs to tighten to help you keep your balance. Repeat for three to five sets of 15 to 20 crunches. Experiment with the ball under different parts of your back, from just above your buttocks to just below your shoulders, to target different areas of your stomach.
Perform 150 minutes a week of moderate cardio, such as running, swimming, biking or elliptical exercise, to help burn fat and reveal your smaller waist. All the work you've done on your waist won't show if it's buried under a layer of excess fat.
- For an added challenge to your squats and lunges, hold a medium dumbbell in each hand. You should be fatigued enough after your exercises that you couldn't do more repetitions with good form.
- Warm up before your exercise with a few minutes of light, low-impact cardio. Cool down with a few minutes of stretching afterward.
- Always consult your doctor before beginning this workout regimen, especially if you have chronic hip-related health issues.
Lindsey Robinson Sanchez, from Bessemer, Ala., has written for the "Troy Messenger," "The Alabama Baptist" and "The Gainesville Times," where her work was featured on the AP wire. She has a Bachelor of Science in journalism from the University of Florida. She writes style, beauty, fitness, travel and culture.