The Slim Thick Workout: achieving the ideal body type
Back rear view of young african american sports fitness woman in sportswear posing working out isolated on red background studio portrait. Sport exercise healthy lifestyle concept. Looking camera

The Slim Thick Workout: achieving the ideal body type

The slim thick body type has dominated the better part of the 2000’s as the ideal physique. The slim thick figure definitely found it’s genesis in celebrity culture. However, instead of taking the celebrity approach and dropping thousands of dollars to have get features altered, the masses are turning to a cheaper and more beneficial route- fitness.

If your goal is to build a slim thick body but don’t know where to start in the gym, you’re in luck! In this article we’ll break down the essential aspects to achieving this look and a slim thick workout to get started with. With that being said let’s get into it!

what does it mean to be slim thick?

The “slim thick” body type is a term used to describe a certain female body shape that has become more popular recently. It is a combination of a slim waistline with curvy hips and thighs. Specifically, a “slim thick” figure is generally used to describe a woman with a small waist, flat stomach, larger hips, big bum, and thighs, who is toned or considered physically fit.This is the most basic way of thinking about it: Slim (waist), Thick (thighs). Period.

In general, this definition can vary depending on which camp you fall under. There may be more or less nuance if you observe the fitness community, body positivity, etc. But in the most general sense, if your waist is considerably smaller than your thighs and butt- congratulations you’re what is considered slim thick.If you happened upon this article, my guess is that nature didn’t bless you with this physique and you’re looking for answers on how to achieve it yourself.

is it realistic to aim for this goal?

The good news: you can definitely have it. While you may not have won nature’s lottery and gotten the ‘smoking hot’ body of your dreams, this just means you’ll have to craft it with the best tools at mankind’s disposal, exercise and nutrition.The not-so-great news: you’re gonna have to work hard for it, you’re gonna have to work consistently for it, and you’re gonna have to be patient for it. If anyone tells you anything different, they’re selling you a poor, short-lived, and sometimes dangerous alternative.

slim thick workout transformation

The goal should be to build a QUALITY, ATTRACTIVE, AND HEALTHY physique that benefits you physically and mentally. There are no short-cuts or quick fixes to this level of physical fitness; you either put in the work and get the results or you don’t. If you’ve stuck around this long and are still interested in the slim thick body, hopefully this article will serve as a launching pad for both your fitness journey and amazing new physique. With that said let’s jump into it.

the dangers of the slim thick goal

Before jumping into the hows of developing an hourglass figure, it’s just as important to touch on the dangers of this specific body type goal. There has always been beauty ideals in modern society, however with the rise of social media, none has done more damage to the self-esteem of young women than that of the slim thick body goal.

The concept of appearance perfectionism- the act of holding unrealistic expectations for ones body, has created many negative body image outcomes including, disordered eating symptoms, appearance social anxiety, appearance and body shape dissatisfaction, unhealthy weight control behaviors, low appearance self esteem, and much more.If you go into fitness looking to achieve a specific aesthetic, recognize that body dysmorphia will likely follow throughout your fitness journey. it is a double-edged sword. You will make progress and see great results with time and consistency. However The idealization of the “slim thick” body type has caused harm to body image in several ways, as evidenced by recent research.

Personally, I would never deter someone using fitness and physical activity to change their body, but if you’re really serious about seeing this through, be aware of the how it can affect you both positively and negatively.

Cardio and the slim thick body: is it really necessary?

In this article we’ve emphasized the need for resistance training, but what about cardio? Is it necessary for developing a slim thick body?I’m sure some of you would like the answer to be no (trust me cardio is not my favorite either), but it can actually be useful towards your goal. When it comes to cardio and the slim thick body, the question I like to ask is; how can cardio elevate the slim thick physique and not hinder it?Remember: the combination of resistance training and increased calorie intake will lead to an increase in body mass, both lean mass and body fat. To keep stored fat relatively low especially belly fat around the mid section, we can incorporate cardio to burn additional calories.

cardio fitness to achieve slim thick physique

how to approach cardio

Cardio and weight training require balance for them to benefit this goal, but know that it is possible. Cardio by nature is catabolic, which means the body uses energy pathways to break down fat lipids and protein to fuel your workout. If performed long enough however, the body begins to use existing lean muscle for fuel- leading to a reduction in muscle mass. Seeing as our goal is to add muscle to the frame to create a curvy physique, you can see how this would be counter-productive. Ideally we’re looking for just enough cardio to keep the heart healthy while burning just enough calories to keep your body fat percentage down. Now the good news:

  • if running on a treadmill bores you, there are other forms of cardio that are more engaging.
  • you can use some of them for building muscle particularly in your legs and glutes.
  • you don’t need to perform it for very long (10- 15 minutes is plenty) or very often (3-4 days a week)

The only real stipulation:

  • this form of cardio has to be intense. Studies have found that high intensity cardio (high intensity interval training [HIIT] or high intensity intermittent exercise [HIIE]) have had enhanced effects on skeletal muscle fat oxidation, glucose tolerance, and aerobic/ anaerobic fitness.

Below are a few options of cardio that will not only help you burn calories, but also help build a solid lower body:

Stair Master Cardio

Exercise Time

  • skip-a-step 1 min
  • alternating kickback 1 min
  • skip-a-step 1 min
  • side-steps (right) 30 sec
  • side-steps (left) 30 sec
  • skip-a-step 1 min
  • alternating kickbacks 1 min
  • side-steps (right) 30 sec
  • side-steps (left) 30 sec
  • skip-a-step 1 min

Total: 8 minutes

No Equipment HIIT Circuit (3 Rounds)

Exercise Time

  • burpees 30 sec
  • pulse squats 30 sec
  • alternating jump lunges 30 sec
  • mountain climbers 30 sec
  • hollow holds 30 sec
  • russian twist 30 sec
  • rest 1 min

Total: 12 minutes

Treadmill Lower Body HIIT Workout

Exercise Time

  • walking lunges 1 min
  • sprints 30 sec
  • walking kickbacks 1 min
  • sprints 30 sec
  • walking lunges 1 min
  • sprints 30 sec
  • walking kickbacks 1 min
  • sprint 30 sec
  • cooldown 2 min

Total: 8 minutes

Slim Thick approach to training: weightlifting

Lifting weights is the ideal form of exercise for achieving the hourglass figure for numerous reasons

mass builder

As the category itself suggests, if you want to get slim THICK, you’re gonna have to gain weight. Before I go any further let me clear something up first. Some of you may still need to lose some weight, especially if you’re on the heavier side. However regardless of whether you’re on the slimmer end or the heavier end, you are going to need to gain weight in LEAN MUSCLE MASS.Packing on lean muscle mass will give you control over how you develop your physique. Body fat (depending on your genetics) doesn’t always deposit itself on the areas ideal for the slim thick physique. However depending on which body part you train and how hard/often you train it, you can manipulate the new muscle growth to create a leaner, more appealing body.

more aesthetically pleasing

Call me biased, and feel free to disagree; but there is just a difference in the quality of slim thickness between a woman who achieves the look by weight lifting and someone who achieves it by other means. In my opinion humans are hardwired to pick up on a body that’s strong, athletic, and full of vitality- all unique qualities provided by weight training alone.Does that mean that is everyone’s preference physically? no.However there is a reason that throughout human history, mankind has (for the large majority) gravitated towards the physiques that exude health and athleticism. There is just something physically appealing about a person that’s physically fit- and weights can definitely help you embody this.

helps manage weight and prevent weight gain

While being on the heavier side comes with the territory of this body type, things can get out of hand without the right form of fitness. Weightlifting (and cardio) are an excellent way to not only manage your weight, but determine which way the scale goes to benefit your ideal slim thick figure.If you need to pack on lean muscle mass to build size, weight training is ideal for that. However even if you need to lose weight, weight training and cardio can lead to significant weight loss, fat loss, reduced lean mass loss, and positive body compositional changes(1). With a higher resting energy expenditure, your body is burning calories at a faster rate, which will help keep your body weight down.

weight training

Understanding Muscle Hypertrophy

I could literally write several articles on this subject, but we’ll keep it brief as it pertains to the slim thick figure. As I’ve mentioned before, this physique is achievable, BUT (and this is a big but) grasping and applying muscle hypertrophy to you training can make the difference between building the body of your dreams or being tragically disappointed after putting in countless hours of work.There are a couple things you need to remember…

progressive overload is King

Imagine a staircase in front of you, how do you get to the top of it? You simply put one foot on the higher step until you reach the top of the staircase.Progressive overload is similar to this staircase analogy- it is the process of gradually increasing the weight, frequency, or number of repetitions in your strength training routine.If you think of it like the staircase, the top of the staircase is your goal and the stairs themselves are the intensity level of each workout. The only way the body grows is by putting it through progressively harder workouts.

This doesn’t mean every workout has to be harder than the last, but periodically over the weeks and months of your fitness journey as you grow stronger, your intensity level will have to go up as well.If you stay at the same weight for each exercise, the body isn’t challenged and as a result has no reason to grow. It’s the equivalent of staying on the same stair and moving nowhere- you have to keep stepping up to the demands of what the body needs to grow.Will it be uncomfortable? Yes. Will it be challenging? Most definitely. Will the results be worth it? Absolutely.

rep ranges are key

If you grasped progressive overload in that brief description, then we should talk about how rep range plays specifically into intensity and muscle building. In theory you can overload your muscles at any number of reps depending on the weight you’re using. With enough weight on the bar you can gas your muscles in one rep, and with light enough weight it may take 100 reps to tire them out. The question is which rep range is best for muscle building?

Now there is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, however the general consensus for muscle hypertrophy is 6-12 reps. This is the case for a couple of reasons; for one this rep range helps you target the body’s type II muscle fibers, the largest muscle type with the most growth potential. Moderate reps and moderate loads (8-12 reps at 60-80% of 1RM) is considered ideal for hypertrophic growth.

Slim Thick Workout Plan

To develop the slim thick look, you have to approach exercise as both an art and a science. They are at the heart of it two sides to the same coin. Having an artist’s eye will help you understand the aspects and proportions of your ideal physique- essentially giving you a destination or finished piece like a sculpture.The science of exercise will serve as the objective application, or the road map to your artistic vision/ destination.

With that in mind consider the slim thick shape from a strictly visual perspective. Your main priority is going to be on the proportions of your torso and lower body- the waist to hip ratio. When you observe visually that the waist is slender and the hips and lower body are significantly wider/ thicker, then that will help you recognize how to objectively program your training split and workout routine.Simply put your going to be training your lower body muscles a lot…There are many ways to approach this, but I like to prioritize training volume for muscle groups like a pyramid- think of it like this;

training priority

  • your lower body training volume is 3
  • your core/mid section training volume is 2
  • and your upper body training volume is 1

So let’s say (to keep things simple) your workout routine was 6 days with one rest day, this entails you would have 3 lower body days, 2 core/ ab days, and 1 upper body day. The split itself could look something like this:

  • Monday- Anterior(Quads)
  • Tuesday- Core/ Abs
  • Wednesday- Posterior(Hamstrings)
  • Thursday- Upper Body (Back/Arms/Shoulders)
  • Friday- Accessory (Glutes)
  • Saturday- Core/ Abs
  • Sunday- Rest

Obviously this split is extreme and while I wouldn’t advise a beginner to start here, you get the idea- heaviest emphasis on legs, then core, then upper body. Keep in mind that every body is different, which is why the artist’s eye is essential. Depending on how you’re built or where you begin your journey, you might have to adjust your split.Recognize your own proportions and adjust your training accordingly.

Beginner’s slim thick workout

This stage of your slim thick workout experience should be centered around on building a foundation of lean mass. For those with a leaner frame and a lower body fat percentage this will mean consistently executing a weightlifting workout routine and hitting the kitchen hard in a caloric surplus to build size.For those who are heavier with a higher body fat percentage, it’ll take the same consistency weightlifting- but with the added emphasis on cardio. The kitchen will be an important factor as well, however your nutrition will have to be from a slight caloric deficit. All of this will work together to lose fat and reveal the new layers of muscle growth you’ll develop over time in the gym.

slim thick beginner workout

training approach

As far as training is concerned, if you’re new to the gym, I’d recommend the majority of your exercises be compound movements. Compound movements are exercises that recruit multiple muscle groups such as the squat, deadlift, and lunge. Honestly these exercises are not only great for beginners, but some of the best slim thick exercises because:

  • they’ll help you master the form of the most basic and fundamental movements
  • working multiple muscles will keep your workouts time efficient and energy efficient.
  • it will help keep your physique visually and functionally balanced

Keeping the volume relatively low is also important. Building the hourglass shape is a marathon and not a race- and few things take people out of the gym faster than doing too much too soon. Start simple, give your body time to adapt to the discomfort of weightlifting, give it even more time to gain muscle.Most importantly- TAKE THE TIME TO DEVELOP CONSISTENCY IN THE GYM! You can have the best workout and diet plan in the world, but if you lack the consistency to make it a reality, it’s useless to you. Making the gym a part of your life the ultimate determinant of success- master this and the slim thick body you want is yours.

Day 1: Legs

Exercise Reps Sets

  • barbell squats 12 3
  • Romanian deadlift 12 3
  • reverse lunges 12 3
  • hip thrusts 12 3
  • sumo squats 12 3
  • sumo deadlift 12 3

Day 2: Abs

Exercise Reps Sets

  • planks 30 sec 3
  • hollow holds 15 3
  • Medicine ball crunches 15 3
  • sit ups 15 3
  • knee raises 15 3

Day 3: Rest

Day 4: Arms/ Shoulders/ Back

Exercise Reps Sets

  • Biceps curls 12 3
  • tricep extensions 12 3
  • overhead press 12 3
  • lateral raises 12 3
  • wide grip lat pulldown 12 3
  • cable row 12 3

Day 5-7: Rest

What should I eat to get thick and slim?Aim for plenty of lean protein and fruit, and always remember the amount of calories in every meal. Regardless of the protein you choose, carbohydrates and fats do not hurt.

Intermediate/ Advanced slim thick workout

This version of the slim thick workout plan is where we get down into the knitty-gritty. If you’re ready for this plan (and I mean REALLY ready) this means you’ve built a solid base of fundamental movements, consistency in the gym (at least 6 months), and a decent amount of lean muscle mass.Our goal here is to add training volume to develop and emphasize key muscle groups. That means doubling down on a thick lower body with 2 individual leg days and an entire training day solely for the glute muscles. Abs will be our next priority- hitting them twice a week to define the mid-section and create the illusion of a curvy physique.

Day 1: Anterior Leg (Quads)

Exercise Reps Sets

  • barbell squat 12 4
  • reverse lunges 10 (each leg) 3
  • leg press 12 3
  • leg extension 12 4
  • (alternating) single leg extension 10 (each leg) 3
  • sumo squat 12 3
  • curtsy lunge 10 (each leg) 3
  • clamshells 12 (each side) 3

Day 2: Core/ Abs

Exercise Reps Sets

  • plank 45 sec 3
  • flutter kicks 30 sec 3
  • medicine ball crunch 15 3
  • sit ups 15 3
  • sprinter sit ups 20 (each side) 3
  • v- ups 15 3
  • oblique crunches 15 (each side) 3
  • knee raises AMRAP* 3

Day 3: Posterior (Hamstrings)

Exercise Reps Sets

  • Romanian deadilift 12 4
  • Sumo deadlift 12 4
  • lying leg curl 12 3
  • glute bridge march 10 (each leg) 3
  • seated leg curl 12 3
  • single leg RDL’s 10 (each leg) 3
  • hip adduction 12 3

Day 4: Upper Body (Shoulders/ Arms/ Back)

Exercise Reps Sets

  • military press 12 4
  • lateral raises 12 4
  • alternating bicep curls 12 4
  • tricep extensions 12 4
  • wide grip lat pulldowns 12 3
  • face-pull 12 3
  • (dumbbell) bent-over rows 12 3

Day 5: Accessory (Glutes)

Exercise Reps Sets

  • hip thrusts 15 4
  • deficit squat 15 4
  • (cable or machine) kickbacks 12 (each leg) 3
  • resistance band fire hydrants 12 (each leg) 3
  • hyper-extensions 12 3
  • step-ups 12 (each leg) 3

Day 6: Core/ Abs

Exercise Reps Sets

  • plank 45 sec 3
  • flutter kicks 30 sec 3
  • medicine ball crunch 15 3
  • sit ups 15 3
  • sprinter sit ups 20 (each side) 3
  • v- ups 15 3
  • oblique crunches 15 (each side) 3
  • knee raises AMRAP* 3

Day 7: Rest

Putting it all together

There are several moving parts to achieving the slim thick body via exercise, but prioritizing resistance training, recovery, and nutrition are the largest points. If you can balance these factors consistently- you’ll be well on your way to achieving the physique of your dreams. While there’s no one slim thick workout plan for reaching this goal, remember to be patient with any workout and diet plan you choose. The ideal body is not achieved quickly, but with months and years of steadfast determination and dedication. Go for it, don’t stop, and in time you too will reach your dream body.

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