The Hips, Waist, Thighs Workout: Dangerous Curves Ahead

Six moves that streamline your hips, waist, and thighs, plus superfast cardio fat-blasters and the best way to minimize a bottom-heavy body.

“The key is to concentrate as much on the back of your body — which exercisers often ignore — as the front,” says Pasternak, author of 5-Factor Fitness (Putman, 2004). That means targeting the rear shoulders, upper back, hamstrings, glutes, and obliques, as well as the chest, quads, and abs.

You’ll need light, medium, and heavy dumbbells (ranging from 5 to 15 pounds) and a bench. Do the moves three days a week, plus three to five bouts of short but intense cardio, and you’ll be flaunting a firmer figure in six weeks!

1. Standing Oblique Flexion

Targets: Obliques, Abs

  • Stand with knees slightly bent, feet shoulder-width apart, holding medium or heavy dumbbells in each hand with weights at sides, elbows slightly bent, palms in and abs tight.
  • Slowly slide dumbbell down outside of right thigh as far as you can, bending torso to right while keeping hips square.
  • Hold for 2 seconds, then slowly draw weight back up thigh to start.
  • Repeat all reps to right; switch sides.

2. Bench Step-Up

Targets: Thighs, Hips, Glutes, Shoulders

  • Hold a light- or medium-weight dumbbell in each hand standing next to the bench lengthwise.
  • Step up with right foot onto the middle of the bench; hold for 3 counts with left leg lifted to side.
  • Step down with left foot and tap down with the right.
  • Immediately step back up to the bench with right foot.
  • Do all reps on this leg, rest for 30 seconds, then switch sides.

3. Reverse Incline Row to Rear Fly

Targets: Rear Shoulders, Upper Back

Part A

  • Straddle a bench inclined to 45 degrees, pressing chest into top of bench, knees slightly bent.
  • Hold light or medium dumbbells in each hand, elbows slightly bent with palms in.
  • Bend elbows and pull weights toward body, keeping arms close to sides.
  • Lower and repeat.

Part B

  • From starting position, slowly lift weights out to sides to chest level, keeping elbows slightly bent.
  • Lower and repeat.
  • Do 1 set of rows followed by one set of flyes; rest and repeat.

4. Cross-Twist on Bench

Targets: Obliques, Abs, Lower Back

  • Sit on a flat bench with knees bent and feet flat on the floor or on the seat of the bench.
  • Lean back slightly, engaging your abdominals.
  • Punch right fist across outside of left thigh, twisting upper body to the left.
  • Hold for 3 counts.
  • Repeat, punching left fist to outside of right thigh.
  • Continue, alternating punching to each side; keep your upper body lifted and your abdominals engaged throughout the exercise.

5. Bench Wide-Grip Push-Up

Targets: Shoulders, Chest, Back, Arms, Abs

  • Stand facing a flat bench (push bench against a wall for support, if necessary).
  • Come into a full push-up position with palms placed just wider than shoulder-distance apart on the bench, abs tight.
  • Bend elbows 90 degrees, lowering chest toward bench.
  • Hold for 2 counts, then push back to start and repeat.
  • For an added challenge, alternate lifting one leg for each set (not shown).

6. Bent-Knee Deadlift

Targets: Hamstrings, Glutes, Lower Back, Hips

  • Stand with feet shoulder-distance apart, holding medium-weight dumbbells in each hand, arms at sides with palms in.
  • Keeping head up, shoulders back, abs tight and knees slightly bent, hinge forward from the hips to slide your butt back.
  • As you bend forward, slide weights down the legs, gazing slightly ahead of you.
  • Keeping body weight over heels, slowly return to starting position; repeat.

20-Minute Calorie Busters

No time for a long workout? Keep the intensity high and you can still burn significant calories in a relatively short period. “After warming up, you should be breathing fairly hard for most of the workout,” says Harley Pasternak. If you were to speak, you’d talk mostly in phrases, not full sentences. Below, a few ways to blast upwards of 200 calories in 20 minutes.

The Right Plan for Your Fitness Level

Q&A: “I’m heavier on bottom and narrower on top. What workout will help me look more balanced?”

In addition to the exercises here, focus on shaping your shoulders and upper back with strength moves like the lat pulldown, front and lateral shoulder raises and dumbbell rows, says celebrity trainer Harley Pasternak. Also try doing waist-cinching ab moves, such as trunk twists and “U” crunches, as well as 20 to 30 minutes of cardio three to five times a week to burn excess fat.

The Right Plan for Your Fitness Level

Whether you’re new to exercise or a seasoned pro, follow the guidelines to maximize results.


Weeks 1-3
Strength: 2 sets of 15 reps per exercise
Cardio: Three 20-minute sessions per week

Weeks 4-6
Strength: 3 sets of 15 to 20 reps per exercise*
Cardio: Four 20-minute sessions


Weeks 1-3
Strength: 3 sets of 15 to 20 reps per exercise
Cardio: Four 20-minute sessions per week

Weeks 4-6
Strength: 4 sets of 15 to 20 reps per exercise*
Cardio: Five 20-minute sessions

*After one month, increase weight by approximately 5 percent.



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