A while ago I talked about using your measurements to find your body shape. In this post, I want to talk about the type of exercises to avoid for your body shape.
Exercise for weight loss vs maintenance mode
In most cases the exercise you do for weight loss and for weight maintenance can be different depending on your body shape. For example, if an hourglass is on weight maintenance mode, she can use heavier weights than when she is in weight loss mode.
As a ruler body shape, when I want to lose weight I usually drop about 8-10 pounds with 3 days of intervals for cardio (40 minutes) and 2 days of aerobic weight training (40 minutes) for a 1.5-2 month period without any changes to my diet. But when I am trying to build strength, I often follow a low rep and heavy weight exercise plan such as ChaLean Extreme.
Strength and problem areas for your body shape
If you have not yet determined your body shape, you might want to read my previous post before you continue reading.
Your body shape only determines where your body distributes your weight. One body shape is not better than the other. All of us have strength and problem areas. The goal is to emphasize the strengths and not obsess about the problem areas.
- Naturally “thin” if not overweight
- Do not have to work as hard as the other body shapes to lose weight
- Excess weight stored in the stomach (which protrude forward rather than get wider) and butt areas
- Do not have a lot of muscle mass, but have a lot more body fat proportional to your weight (the perfect example of a fat skinny person)
- Tendency to have bad posture and back pain (hence need to strengthen shoulders, abs, and back).
- Tend to get gain a lot more weight during menopause than other body shapes (it is due to the low muscle mass ratio for the ruler body shape).
- Tend to develop bone fractures and osteoporosis as you get older (once gain, it is because the ruler has a low muscle mass ratio)
- Good flexibility
- Look lighter than actual weight (because of how evenly weight is distributed between the upper and lower body)
- Naturally strong abs (lucky you. I would love to not have back problems)
- Back of upper arms
- Inner and upper thighs
- Tend to bulk on upper and lower body (not like the Hulk, but enough to be more muscular than most women)
- Great looking arms (since the least amount of body fat is stored in your arms, a pear body shape can have great arms in a shorter time period with strength training than any other body shapes.)
- Good flexibility and coordination in your lower body
- Look heavier than actual weight (because excess weight is distributed mainly to the lower body)
- Will bulk on the lower body (use only your own body weight for lower body strength exercises!)
- Great looking legs (since the least amount of body fat is stored in your legs, a cone body shape can have great legs in a shorter time period with strength training than any other body shapes.)
- Stomach tend to protrude forward like the ruler
- Potential for back pain because of poor hamstring flexibility
- Bad posture due to weak abs
- When overweight, tend to look shorter than you actually are
Weight loss exercises for your body shape
Use only your own body weight for abs exercises.
High reps, low weights for both upper and lower body for weight loss (low reps and heavy weight ok after losing most of your excess weight).
Of the body shapes, a ruler must do strength training on a regular basis to build up their muscle mass (see problems area above for rulers if you skip that part).
High reps, low weights for both upper and lower body.
Use only your body weight for strength exercises on the lower body (ie. think ballet inspired types of exercises or calisthenics).
Low rep and heavy weight for upper body strength exercises after losing most of your excess weight.
Low rep and heavy weight for lower body strength exercises after losing most of your excess weight.
High rep and light weights for upper body strength exercises.
Stretching the lower body to increase hamstring flexibility is a must to prevent back pain
Final thoughts about exercising for your body shape
If what you have been exercising for years without any noticeable difference to your body shape, why not give these ideas a try. The worst that can happen is that 2-3 months of fussing with low reps, highs reps, etc and you still look the same. But if it works…
Personally I have always gotten great results from high reps, low weights strength exercises when I am trying to lose weight. But because of my naturally lower muscle mass, I cannot follow my weight loss exercise plan during maintenance mode. Sometimes it seems like it takes forever for me to gain any muscle.
In addition, I also have a tendency to eat more when I exercise more. Unless there is a goal like my wedding, I usually do not have the discipline to have net negative calorie intake. A break-even is good enough for me.
Until next time and thanks for stopping by Small Steps to Health.
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