Wide Hips in Men [A Physique Death Sentence?]


By today’s standards, the ideal male physique consists of small hips, toned abs, broad shoulders, a well-developed back, and low body fat. Hips are an often overlooked aspect of the male physique, however.

While wide hips are not an issue for women, it’s not the same for men. Wide hips in men make them look feminine and, therefore, unattractive. Exercise and liposuction can all help decrease hip-width in men.

A lot of women consider men with a perfect physique to be attractive and vice versa. Women with wide hips are seen as sexy and beautiful. But the same can’t be said for men with wide hips.

Before we go into the details of why wide hips in men aren’t cool and how to fix it, let’s understand a few things first.

Waist Circumference and Waist-to-Hip Ratio

The ratio of the waist to the hip circumference is known as WHR or waist-to-hip ratio. This measurement reveals the amount of fat stored in the waist, hips, and buttocks. 

Two factors that contribute to the increase of waist circumference are:

  • Age – Older adults up to the age of 70 years old show a larger waist circumference increase compared to younger adults according to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) data. (Ford, et al. 2003)
  • Gender – women have a smaller waist circumference than men according to NHANES findings from 1999-2000 Survey. 

Waist Circumference, Waist-to-Hip Ratio, and Health Risk

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the ideal WHR for men is 0.9 or less, while it is 0.85 or less for women. If the WHR increases to 1.0 and above, you’re at a higher risk for heart disease and other conditions. This is for both men and women. 

To calculate your WHR, use a flexible tape measure to get your measurements for:

  1. Waist circumference (WC): wrap the tape measure across the belly button. Measure once the tape measure is on the skin, and after you exhale after breathing in gently. 
  2. Hip measurement (HM): Wrap the tape measure around the part of the buttocks where it is the fullest.  (WHO. 2008)
  3. WHR = Waist circumference divided by the hip measurement.

And yes, the waist and hips measurements are taken at the belly button and the buttocks, respectively. This can be counterintuitive, but it’s per the standards set by the World Health Organization.

To illustrate:

If the WC is 38 inches and the HM is 44 inches, the WHR is 0.8636, which is well within the WHO’s range for ideal and healthy WHR for males. If, on the other hand, the WC is 36 inches, and the HM is 35 inches, the WHR is 1.028, which is over the range given by the WHO. Healthwise, a WHR of 1.028 is a clear indicator of higher heart disease risks and other conditions. 

Wide Hips and Male Attractiveness

A study titled Visual Perception of Male Body Attractiveness by Fan et al. (2005) examined the effects of WCR, Body Mass Index (BMI), and Waist-to-Hip Ratio (WHR) in rating male body attractiveness by male and female raters. In terms of WHR, the study ranked WCR second as a significant factor for male raters in determining attractiveness.  It is clear from the abovementioned studies that male attractiveness is determined firstly by Waist-to-Chest Ratio (WCR) and secondly by Waist-to-Hips Ratio (WHR).

The ideal male body shape is one where the hips are smaller. This is the purpose behind training to get a v-taper physique.

For more info on the ideal physique for men, check out our article.

Can Wide Hips in Men Be Genetic?

Big bellies and big hips correlate with diabetes, as well as other metabolic conditions. A study was done by a research team at the Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston, USA, and linked genetics to body shape and the distribution of fat around the belly and hips.

Gesta et al. (2006) found distinct differences in gene expressions that led them to conclude that these gene expressions can identify BMI or body mass index and the waist/hip ratio in obese people. Dr. C. Ronald Khan, the lead researcher at Joslin Diabetes Center, said, “we have identified potential targets for perhaps, one day changing body shape.” 

Genes aside, men with wide hips don’t have to wait for what the researchers of Joslin Diabetes Center will find in their research because other simple methods can help with hip-size reduction. These are practical and quick methods that get results and are easy to do. Head off to the gym and ask your trainer to introduce you to the exercises below.  

How to Get Smaller Hips

Although there is no medical procedure to make the hip bones smaller, you can still lose fat in the hip area. Check out our article for shredding fat and reducing cortisol, which will also help reduce fat buildup in unsightly areas such as the hips. 

Hip Liposuction

Liposuction can help remove unwanted fat from the hips, which will help achieve a smaller hip size. Liposuction is a minimally invasive surgery. This procedure is characterized by small incisions, less pain, and low infection risk. After about a week, you can resume normal activities like going back to school or work. However, it is best not to engage in any physical exercises until four weeks after the surgery.

HIIT

HIIT stands for “high-intensity interval workouts.” HIIT is an extreme workout that keeps your heart rate up. Although a bit tedious, keeping your heart rate up burns a lot more fat in much less time. HIIT works by pushing the human body to its maximum between 20 to 30 seconds of the workout. After the first intense few seconds, you must do a less extreme version of the same exercise one to two times. Keep doing this for 20 minutes, and you will see much better results than running on a treadmill.

Barre Exercises

The best way to burn fat from your hips is by making moves that involve multiple muscle groups and not just a particular spot. Barre exercises are incredibly practical since your body becomes the machine, and all your muscles will have to work together to support the balance of your body at the barre. You can also do strength training combined with sprints. This duo is perfect for trimming and toning your muscles.

Core Exercises

Pay more attention to core exercises. You cannot choose where the fat will be distributed within your body, and spot fat reduction is a myth. Core strengthening exercises are effective in improving your strength as you work out.

Balance Exercises

Practice balance exercises. Workouts involving balancing are an excellent way to shrink your hips and tone muscles. Try going into a lunge, and then push up and balance on one leg. You are getting at your core muscles, glutes, inner and outer thighs, thereby further trimming down your body.

Metabolic Conditioning (Metcon)

This type of exercise utilizes circuits and different equipment such as medicine balls or kettlebells. This activity makes your body lean and your metabolism high throughout the whole day. Try this metcon routine below:

Step 1: Do a 30-second side plank on each side
Step 2: Do 30 seconds of mountain climbers
Step 3: For another 30 seconds, do squats
Step 3: For 30 seconds, lie flat on your back and do bicycles
Step 4: Do “cross knee mountain climbers.”
Step 5: Lastly, do a marching planks exercise using your forearms

Five Male Body Shapes

Look around and try to observe how one man’s body shape is different from another’s. Some men have broad shoulders, while others are larger around the hips. According to experts, there are five body shapes, namely:

  1. Rectangular
  2. Oval
  3. Triangular
  4. Inverted Triangle
  5. Rhomboid

The table below sums up the characteristics of each body shape. It also includes some recommended exercises that will help achieve your desired body shape plus the right kind of food to maintain such body shape.

Male Body ShapeDescriptionExamples
RectangularA rectangular shape is a body that is straight up and down. The torso lays quite flat, and there is little to no change in shape as it reaches the hips.Ewan McGregor, Hugh Grant, Ashton Kutcher, David Beckham, Harry Styles
OvalThis body shape has excess stored weight in the upper half of the body.Zach Galifianakis, James Corden, Elton John, Seth Rogen
TriangularThis body shape is equivalent to the “pear” shape in women. It is defined by slim shoulders and a larger waist or hips.Alec Baldwin, Adam Levine, David Walliams, Michael McIntyre
Inverted TriangleThis body shape is also known as the upside-down triangle and considered the “ideal” body shape. It is characterized by broad shoulders and a slim waist or hips.Vin Diesel, Taylor Lautner, Cristiano Ronaldo, Usain Bolt
RhomboidThis body shape has well-built shoulders that protrude slightly in comparison to the hips.Hugh Jackman, Gerard Butler, Daniel Craig, David Gandy

You have to remember two critical things when thinking about your wide hips: health and attractiveness. If you care about either of those, you’ll make sure to keep your body fat low enough to keep fat out of your hips.

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