I’m short and would like to look leaner and taller. (Unfortunately, I never did ballet, which I’m sure would have helped.) Aside from focusing on posture, what can I do to look longer, leaner and slimmer, despite my short and somewhat stocky build?
The key to looking leaner and taller, when your genetic makeup is a shorter and more muscular body type, is stretching. Obviously you are not going to change your height, or even the length of your muscles by stretching, but what you will achieve is a sense of elongation to your body. It is still very important to do your cardio workouts and weight resistance workouts because this will keep your muscles healthy and strong and your body fat low.
Stretching will help you increase your range of motion, and this will be useful when weight training because you will be able to lift with more fluidity and control. Use lighter weights and work with a full range of motion doing more reps. For example, if you are now doing 3 sets of 12 reps, try doing 4 sets of 20 reps with a little less weight, but concentrate on moving through the fullest range of motion. Pause at the peak of each contraction, and slowly move through the upward and downward phase of each movement. Between each set, perform a focused stretch for the same muscle you just worked. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds while continuing to breathe comfortably.
During your cardio activities be very aware of your posture. Train yourself to hold your shoulders back, your abdominals firm and your chest lifted. Even as you get tired and you notice your body slouching from fatigue, remind yourself to sit or stand tall, and make it a habit. Sometimes that means cutting down on speed or lowering the incline and resistance levels.
Be consistent about your training and get a balanced workout always ending with a cool down to give your muscles a chance to wind down slowly.