The following are the four most common female body shapes:
Apple (triangle downward)
Apple-shaped women have broader shoulders and bust, and narrower hips.
Banana, or straight (rectangular)
Banana-shaped women’s waist measurement is less than 9 inches smaller than the hip or bust measurement.
Pear, Spoon, or Bell (triangle upward)
Pear-shaped women’s hip measurements are greater than their bust measurements.
Hourglass Shape (triangles opposing, facing in)
Here, the hip and bust are almost of equal size, with a narrow waist.
A study of more than 6,000 women conducted at North Carolina State University in 2005 revealed that 46% of women were banana-shaped; just over 20% were pear-shaped; just under 14% were apple-shaped; and only 8% were hourglass-shaped. The hourglass is normally accepted as the “ideal” female shape in Western countries.
Research suggests that apple-shaped women have the highest risk of heart disease, while hourglass-shaped women have the lowest. Diabetes professionals say that women with a waist measurement of over 80cm (32 inches) have a higher risk of heart disease due to body fat buildup around the waist, which poses a higher health risk than fat buildup at the hips.
Suggested Exercise Routines for Different Body Shapes
There are not many women who are 100% happy with their body type or shape (if any), however, exercise does help to tone your body whatever your shape.
Focus on both cardio and resistance exercise. Cardio will help to keep your weight in check and resistance will help to maintain the balance between your upper and lower body. Remember to keep resistance weights light otherwise you will build up too much muscle mass.
Biceps curls, shoulder presses and squats.
Exercise bike (light resistance)
Try to slim down your lower half, focus on aerobic exercises that work your lower body and resistance exercises that build up your upper body.
Cycling (low resistance)
Push ups and shoulder presses
Focus on aerobic training to slim down and lose body fat. By working on your lower body you can balance out your chest and shoulders.
Focus on cardio exercises to help lose weight in any problem areas (buttocks and stomach). Apart from that exercise to keep your symmetrical body shape including all muscle groups.
Uphill walking or jogging
Bench and shoulder presses
Different Body Types
What body type and body shape are you?
There are three different body types classified as Ectomorph, Mesomorph and Endomorph, however, not many people fall into one category, usually, you will be a combination these.
Ectomorph – a lean and angular body shape, long limbs, slender, slim, narrow waist. Ectomorphs can lose weight easily and have lower levels of body fat but find it more difficult to gain lean muscle mass.
Mesomorph – strong athletic body type, muscular build, well-developed shoulders and slim hips Mesomorphs have a faster metabolism than other body types and can lose weight and gain muscle mass easily.
Endomorph – a round body shape, short and tapering limbs, larger boned than other body types, plump/stocky appearance, usually have round faces with larger thighs and hips, small hands and feet and high waist. Endomorphs have higher levels of body fat than other body types but can also easily build muscle. Weight loss is difficult.
If you are overweight it may be more difficult to establish your actual body type from the 3 different body types or you could in fact be somewhere in-between. You can also be short or tall or thin or fat for your body type.
Diet has little to do with different body types but it does have an impact on what you weigh on the scales.
Different body types are largely dependent upon genetics, it is impossible to change your body type but you can learn to make the best of what you have by toning your body shape. As well as different body types we all have different body shapes. Your body shape is determined by the total balance of your body together with your physical features. For your overall look you need to take into account your muscle tone, body fat and body mass index, the appearance of your skin i.e. cellulite, fluid retention and posture – more on these later.