1. Pear Shape
The shape: Pears populate the roster of bombshell beauties, from Alicia Keys to Jennifer Love Hewitt. As the name of this body type implies, pears are proportionally smaller on top, easily pack weight onto their lower bodies, and have a hard time toning their arms and shoulders.
The Rx: A pear often becomes obsessed with whittling down her lower body by doing dozens of lunges and leg lifts. Of course you want your butt, hips, and thighs to be tight and toned. But, pears: you also want your body to be balanced, so don’t neglect what’s above the belt.
2. Straight Shape
The shape: Women with ruler-straight body types, like Cameron Diaz, can wear nearly anything—but they don’t generally have the girl curves to really kick it up in a bikini. Any weight they do carry usually forms a little potbelly, just like the boys get. Straight/boyish builds are similar to athletic types in that they also carve a fairly square silhouette; but unlike their athletic counterparts, boyish builds tend to have a tough time getting muscle tone.
The Rx: To add some curves, women with straight builds should focus on tightening their core—especially their deep abdominal muscles which pull in the belly, and the obliques, which cinch in the sides of the waist. Straight/boyish body types should also increase weight training to add lean muscle mass (read: curves) to their butts. Upper- and middle-back exercises will help un-hunch a square-body-type’s shoulders, lessening the frail-looking frame.
3. Curvy Shape
The shape: Curvaceous like Beyoncé or Scarlett Johannson, woman with curvy body types are balanced beauties who fill out a bikini top and bottom. When they gain weight, it tends to be all over. Like pears with larger chests, they have the curves, but what they usually lack is all-over muscle tone.
The Rx: Without some full-body toning exercises, hourglass-shaped girls run the risk of popping out a little bit too much, especially in the thighs and upper arms. To keep a shapely yet firm figure, curvy body types should pay special attention to their extremities.
4. Athlete Shape
The shape: Think Hayden Panettiere or Jessica Biel—broad across the back and shoulders, narrower through the hips. Athletic builds are often short-waisted (and maybe a little thick-waisted), tend to have square silhouettes, and will have a lower ratio of fat to muscle than curvy or pear-shaped body types. Swimsuits can be tough to find for athletic builds, because what fits the bottom half will often be too small to stretch over the top.
The Rx: Athletic women don’t generally need too much toning. But a bikini begs for a little balance, as well as a little nip through the waist for a sexy silhouette. Tummy-tightening core moves, along with lower-body exercises that shape the glutes and thighs, are the perfect complement to this already strong build.
This article was originally published in Women’s Health.
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