How to Fine Tune Your Body Shape With Weight Training

Ruben's painting, Judgment of Paris
Print Collector/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Clothes may maketh the man or woman, but eventually, we all have to come clean and get the gear off. It may be your first naked fun run, skydive, nude ski, nude protest, or a day at the clothes-optional beach — it's not such a big deal these days to be seen without clothes...for some people anyway. And, naturally, there are intimate and personal reasons to reveal the flesh. Nude, naked, starkers, want to look your best if you can.

Beauty, Culture, and Period

Beauty is not only in the eye of the beholder, but it's also in the eye of the beholder in any particular culture and age. Those large-bodied women in the paintings of Rubens in the 17th century would perhaps not be seen as reflecting the ideal shape today. Yet some cultures beyond the west see no beauty in thin women, preferring the Rubens model. Male bodybuilders with competition-size muscles don't appeal to many women. The variables are great over culture, period and, of course, personal preference.

The Three Main Body Types and the Variants

Anatomists recognize three main human body types:

  • Ectomorphs - Thin and lean, often tall, often with a high metabolism
  • Endomorphs - Shorter, thicker, stocky, heavy frame and bone and muscle
  • Mesomorphs - More or less in between the ectomorphs and endomorphs, a better balance of height, muscle, and frame size

In addition to these anatomical types, other less strict categorizations of shape are sometimes used.

  • Pear shape - Weight around the hips and legs, smaller in the upper body and waist
  • Reverse pear - Larger in the upper body with narrower hips and butt and waist and bigger shoulders and arms; seen in some women as well
  • Apple-shaped - Fat carried around the mid-section with less stored in legs and arms; rounder like an apple
  • Hourglass - Classic figure-eight shape with a narrow waist, broad shoulders and well-muscled butt and legs (men); and narrow waist, rounder hips and perhaps larger breasts in women; or in women bodybuilders, a similar set of features to hour-glass men.

The Body Shape That Makes Us Look Good

We're not going to discuss body manipulations that fall outside the realm of weight training or fitness...things like body hair and cosmetic surgery. That's up to you. Genetics also plays a big part: You won't be able to work miracles if your underlying body shape is set by what you have inherited.

You can optimize your body appearance for your inherited shape with training, especially weight training.

Generally speaking, the features of a good-looking body are influenced by posture, fat distribution, and muscle.

  • Posture - A straight body with square shoulders neither rounded or hunched forward nor back, in concert with a flat stomach and smooth walking gait, are the foundations of attractive body image. Clothes can sometimes hide flaws in posture but there is no hiding poor posture without them.
  • Fat distribution - It's something we all know, but fat causes bumps where you don't want them, with or without clothes. The main body points at which fat destroys your naked nuances are the hips, the butt, the upper legs, upper arms, belly, and even the chest, especially for men.
  • Muscle size and distribution - While additional fat has that bland, excessive look, extra muscle, particularly with minimal fat over the top of it, tends to trap the light in sinewy crevices to provide that slightly 3D-look that many people seek and admire.

For the men, it's a no-brainer, and it also works for women with less muscle and a little more body fat. Yet the voluptuous female figures of the past are not quite dead. And to be fair, the "skinny female model" look has garnered considerable favor in recent decades even though bone health may be at risk with this low percentage of body fat and muscle.

Exercises to Buff That Butt (And Everything Else)

Here we go. Try these exercises to maximize the nude and rude body bits that really matter.

Get ready to look in that mirror once more.

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4 Sources
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Teplica D. The genetic basis of body shape: lessons from mirror twins and high-definition digital photography. Virtual Mentor. 2010;12(5):412-7.  doi:10.1001/virtualmentor.2010.12.5.imhl1-1005

  2. Brierley ME, Brooks KR, Mond J, Stevenson RJ, Stephen ID. The Body and the Beautiful: Health, Attractiveness and Body Composition in Men's and Women's Bodies. PLoS ONE. 2016;11(6):e0156722.  doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0156722

  3. American Council on Exercise. Mastering the deadlift. October 2013.

  4. American Council on Exercise. Incline chest press.