For petite women, it's possible to get curvier by gaining muscle instead of fat. Though the shape of your body is largely determined by your genetic makeup, you can tweak your shape by changing your muscular physique. Strength-training exercises that build your pectorals will emphasize your chest by adding muscle mass behind your breasts. Exercises for your glutes will also lift your butt, and as you continue to pack on muscle you'll add mass to your butt.
To increase the size of your actual breasts you would need to gain fat or have plastic surgery. However, building your chest muscles, or pectorals, will add mass behind your breasts, making them protrude further. According to a 2012 study from the University of Wisconsin, the barbell bench press is the most effective exercise for building chest muscle. However, doing a variety of exercises will ensure all areas of your pec muscles are strengthened, so also include chest flies and pushups. When your pecs get stronger, do barbell bench presses and dumbbell chest flies at an incline to specifically target your upper pecs. Building your upper chest can create the illusion of more upper-breast cleavage. Do decline bench presses and chest dips to target your lower pecs, which gives your breasts a lift, making them more perky.
Your butt is made up of your glutes, the largest muscle group in your body. Building muscular glutes changes the shape of your butt, making it rounder and curvier. Increasing the size of your glutes will make your butt bigger, though losing fat that covers your glutes can counteract this effect at first. Deadlifts and squats are particularly effective for building shapely glutes. Also, do glute activation lunges, supermans, bridges and mountain climbers. Although many cardio activities, such as walking, running and climbing do work the glutes, cardio helps you slim down, whereas strength training can make you bigger in places you want to emphasize.
Strength training your back improves your posture, which makes your body appear curvier by lifting your chest. For your trapezius muscles, which run from your neck to the middle of your back, do dumbbell shrugs. For your lats, which are the muscles on either side of your mid-back, do pull downs and pullups. For balance, work your lower back by doing deadlifts and rows as well.
Weight, Reps and Sets
To build more mass faster, do fewer reps with heavier weights. Do two or three sets of six to 10 reps per exercise. Rest 30 to 60 seconds between each set. Choose the amount of weight you lift based on the amount that tires you shortly before you can do the eleventh rep. Increase your weight as you improve.
Ben Prien is a fitness writer, personal trainer and workout enthusiast. He's been writing fitness articles since 2012 and has worked at "Men’s Fitness" and "Muscle & Fitness" magazines. He specializes in sports conditioning, muscle training, weight loss and sports nutrition.