Of all the areas of the body where unwanted fat accumulates, the "saddlebags" on the sides of the hips, thighs, and buttocks just might be the most difficult to eliminate. However, with these targeted exercises, you'll be surprised just how quickly you'll be able to fit back into your favorite jeans.
1. Single-Leg Hip Raise
To do this exercise, lie on your back with the right knee bent and left leg straight on the floor. Raise the left leg to a 45-degree angle so it is in line with the right thigh. The knee should be straight. Paying attention to your core, press your right heel into the floor and raise your hips. Pause for two deep breaths and then slowly lower to the floor. Repeat 15 times and then switch legs so the left knee is bent and the right leg is straight. For best results, Women's Health Magazine recommends alternating legs for a total of three sets (total of 90 hip raises, 45 on each side).
2. Grasshopper Beat
To perform this exercise, Women's Health Magazine says to lie on the floor with the forehead resting on crossed arms. Tighten your core and buttocks and then lift legs six to eight inches off the ground, keeping them separated. Bring your feet together, squeezing your buttocks and inner thighs, and then take them apart again. Repeat 20 times, keeping legs off the ground and ab muscles contracted. Rest for 30 seconds and then repeat twice more.
3. Sumo Squat.
POPSUGAR likes this exercises for its "bottom-lifting and leg-shaping benefits." Begin by standing with the legs wide and toes pointed slightly outward. Keeping your knees over your ankles, bend your knees into a squat. Slowly straighten your legs and repeat 15 times.
4. Plié Squat with Lifted Heels
Continue building on squat with this exercise, as reccomended by Fitness Magazine. Take a wide stance, turning out toes and knees and slightly lifting the heels. Extend your arms out to the sides, keeping them at shoulder height with the palms facing down. Squat down, pushing the hips back slightly and keeping the knees over the ankles. Slowly straighten the legs, keeping the knees soft and heels lifted. Repeat 12- 15 times.
4. Dumbbell Deadlift
Grab a pair of dumbbells and get ready for this exercise recommended by Livestrong for the backs of the legs, hamstrings and gluteus maximus. Place a dumbbell on the outside of each foot, shoulder-width apart. Bend at the waist and knees, squatting so you can grasp the dumbbells while they rest on the ground. Pull your belly button into your spine, contract your core, slightly arch your back, and look straight ahead. With your core activated, straighten your hips and knees, lifting the dumbbells off the floor, until you reach a standing position. Keep the dumbbells close to your body as you stand. Slowly lower the dumbbells back down by bending your waist and knees into a squat. Repeat 8- 12 times.
5. Side-Saddle Leg Lifts
Begin by lying on your side with legs extended and feet flexed. Lift the top leg six to eight inches from the floor and make 20 tiny upward pulses. After pulse number 20, keep the leg at the high point and draw 20 tiny, one-inch circles with the heel. Lastly, slowly and steadily bend and straighten the knee, keeping the thigh high. Repeat 20 times and then repeat the entire exercise on the other side. If you find it difficult to perform these exercises while maintaining your balance, place your top hand on the ground in front of your abs for extra stability, recommends POPSUGAR.
To target the inner and outer thigh, Shape recommends clamshells. This Pilates move requires you lie on the right side with knees bent at a 45-degree angle. The left leg should be stacked on top of right and the knees and ankles aligned. Keeping the core engaged and ankles together, slowly open the left knee. Pause for a moment before returning to the starting position. Repeat 12- 15 times and then switch sides so the right leg is on top of the left.
8. Kickboxing. Fitness Magazine says no exercise is more effective for targeting saddlebags and slimming down thighs than kickboxing. If you're a beginner, try this 20-minute kickboxing workout video from Fitness Type.
For best results, perform three sets of these exercises four times a week for four weeks. Take before and after pictures and share them with us when you SHARE this story on social media!