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Sculpt your body type: Pear-shape

If you’ve been busting your booty on the stair climber and racking up the squats in the gym in an effort to slim your “hippy” pear-shaped frame, then you may be selling yourself short. Since pear-shaped women tend to have wider hips and narrower shoulders, the key to balancing the frame lies in upper body exercises that target the shoulders, triceps and back.

Fitness for the pear body shape
Leighton Meester
This doesn’t mean you should ditch your lower-body workout regimen altogether — you need to keep you hips toned, too! — but it does mean you need to work your upper body just as hard. Try this killer routine to help you achieve a more balanced appearance.

Body-balancing cardio

If you’re a cardio-machine queen, look for pieces of equipment that allow you to work your arms and legs simultaneously. Ellipticals and stair steppers with moving handles are a good choice. You can also switch off between a bike or treadmill and an arm ergometer (it looks like a bike for your arms), performing 10 minutes on the bike or treadmill, five minutes on the arm ergometer, then switching back to the bike or treadmill again for another 10 minutes.

For the class-enthusiast, try kickboxing or cardio-focused suspension training — both include extensive upper body engagement. And if you’re looking for a really fun alternative to traditional cardio, try out an indoor rock climbing class!

Whatever form of cardio you choose, schedule it at least three times a week, then add the following 20-minute circuit routine another two to three times a week. If you add it on the days you’re already doing cardio, you won’t even have to spend time warming up!

Hip-slimming, shoulder-trimming circuit

Perform each strength exercise for a minute and each set of mountain climbers for 40 seconds, allowing 20 seconds rest before the next strength exercise starts.

  1. Assisted pullups
  2. Mountain climbers
  3. Squat press with medicine ball
  4. Mountain climbers
  5. Balance skull crushers
  6. Mountain climbers
  7. Walking lunge with overhead dumbbells
  8. Mountain climbers
  9. Side plank with hip adduction, right leg
  10. Side plank with hip adduction, left leg

Mountain climbers

Mountain climbers are a quick burst of high-intensity cardio that challenge your core, thighs, shoulders and chest. Hop your feet back and forth as fast as you can, but if you have a hard time keeping it going for the full 40 seconds, slow down as necessary. You can even remove the hop and simply step it out.

Mountain climber 1

Assisted pullups

Many women don’t have the upper body strength to perform traditional pullups, but that doesn’t mean you should ditch the exercise altogether! Use an assisted pullup machine, a low bar at the gym or a Smith Machine to target the large muscle groups of your back.

Assisted pullup 1

Squat Press with medicine ball

Pear-shaped women still need to keep their booties toned and high with squats, but by adding a press to the exercise, they’ll be toning their shoulders and tightening their core muscles, too.

Squat Press with medicine ball

Balance skull crushers

Skull crushers are a great way to add definition to your triceps while gradually balancing out your frame. When you perform the exercise on a stability ball, you’ll also engage your core, hips and lower back for a full-body toner.

Balance skull crushers 1

Walking lunge with overhead dumbbells

Like squats, lunges are a must-do for pear-shaped women, and when you perform the exercise while holding dumbbells over your head, you’ll challenge your balance and strengthen your shoulders, too!

Walking lunge with overhead dumbbells 2

Side plank with hip adduction

Rather than spending innumerable hours on the hip adduction and abduction machines at the gym, you can tone your hips while shaping your upper body with the side plank with hip adduction exercise. We used a Lebert Equalizer to perform the exercise, but you can use a bench, chair or low-bar instead. Expect this one to kill your shoulders, obliques and hips, leaving you sore and satisfied for days!

Side plank with hip adduction 1

More body-sculpting workouts

Sculpt your body type: Curvy
Sculpt your body type: Athletic
Sculpt your body type: Rectangle

Photo credits: Sean Thorton/ (Leighton Meester) Lance Williams/Girls Gone Sporty (all others)

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