Taking a step class can help reduce saddlebags.
Saddlebags can make you dread wearing curve-hugging jeans that once used to be flattering. The unsightly extra padding that accumulates on your hips and the upper part of your outer thighs is common in women who are prone to store fat in their lower bodies. Targeted exercises can build muscle, but won't spot reduce fat. The only way to eliminate your saddlebags is through overall fat loss, which is possible through diet and exercise.
Unfortunately, you can't spot reduce saddlebags. However, losing overall body fat can make a difference.
Blast Calories with Cardio
Targeted exercises won't reduce fat from your hips and thighs. To do this, the American Council on Exercise recommends working up a sweat with 30 to 60 minutes of cardio on most days. This will burn calories that contribute to weight loss. Use cardio equipment in the gym that engages the large muscles in your lower body. For instance, walk briskly or jog on a treadmill, ride a stationary bike, pedal on an elliptical machine, or use a stair climber or rowing machine. For variety, consider taking an aerobics class, such as step or kickboxing classes, to lose that jiggle.
Try Hip-Abduction Machine Exercises
Hip abduction moves your legs away from the center of your body, working the muscles in your hips and butt. In the gym, you can mimic this motion while using a seated lever machine or a low-pulley cable station for resistance. When sitting in the lever machine with your calves against the pads, you separate your legs as far out as you can against the resistance. Then bring your legs back together with a controlled motion. When using a low pulley, secure a cuff attachment to your ankle, stand sideways and move your working leg out as high as you can against the resistance before returning it to the starting point.
Must-Do Bodyweight Exercises
Although in the gym, you can effectively work your problem area using just your body. In the gym, grab a mat for the floor exercises, and use a set of dumbbells for extra resistance. You can do side leg lifts standing upright, lying on your side, or on all fours. During the standing and lying leg lifts, holding a dumbbell on the outer thigh of your working leg can offer extra resistance. Lunges and squats can also work the muscles in your problem area including your glutes, hamstrings and quadriceps. Lunges can include walking lunges, lunges with one foot on a platform and side lunges. Squats can include wall squats, one-legged squats, or squats with a barbell bar behind your neck across the back of your shoulders.
Don't Forget Diet
In addition to exercise, eat a sensible, reduced-calorie diet to ensure your body gets the nutrients it needs and to prevent gaining back the calories burned through exercise. Consuming smaller portions and swapping out unhealthy, high-calorie foods for healthier, low-calorie alternatives can reduce your caloric intake. For instance, drink water instead of soda and alcohol, and snack on veggies and fruits instead of cookies and chips. Emphasize all food groups by including veggies, fruits, whole grains, lean protein and reduced-fat dairy in your diet. Before committing to a diet and exercise routine, consult your doctor, especially if you're plagued with injuries or health conditions.