Saddlebags are fat deposits located near the hips that are a problem for many women. While a long-term program of diet and cardio will help eliminate the fat, resistance training exercises can speed up weight loss and tone your underlying muscle. Consistency and hard work are key to eliminating your saddlebags for good.
Fat loss requires a caloric deficit, which means you either have to eat less, exercise more or do a little of both. Cardio exercise is an effective way to generate a caloric deficit. The most effective forms of cardio are those that work your entire body. Some examples are running, swimming, rowing and aerobics. Even though cycling doesn't require much from your upper body, it is effective for targeting the saddlebag area, so don't hesitate to add a few sessions to your routine. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends that overweight adults should increase their activity to 45 minutes of exercise per day to facilitate weight loss and prevent weight regain.
Squats recruit multiple muscles in your legs and butt, especially your gluteus maximus, hamstrings and quadriceps. Stand with your legs shoulder-width apart, hold a dumbbell in each hand and secure them at shoulder-level with your elbows bent and pointing to the front. Pull your belly button into your spine, stabilize your core and straighten your back. Slowly bend at the hips and the knees to lower down into a squat. Continue down until your thighs are parallel with the floor. Immediately push through your heels to return to the starting position. To prevent injury, don't round your back during the exercise. Perform three sets of eight to 12 repetitions using a challenging weight.
Deadlifts target the muscles at the backs of your legs, the hamstrings and gluteus maximus. Place a dumbbell on the outside of each foot, which should be shoulder-width apart. Bend at the waist and knees to squat down so that your are able to 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. Keeping your core stabilized, lift the dumbbells off the floor by straightening your hips and knees simultaneously until you reach a full standing position. Keep the dumbbells close to your body as you stand. Slowly lower the dumbbells back down by bending your waist and knees to squat down. Immediately repeat the movement. Perform three sets of eight to 12 repetitions with challenging weights.
Lying Leg Abduction
Side-lying leg lifts recruit your gluteus medius and tensor fasciae latae muscles. Lie on your right side with your hips stacked and your legs fully extended. Support your upper body with your right elbow. Pull your belly button into your spine and stabilize your core. Slowly raise your left leg up as high as you comfortably can without rotating your hips. With control, lower your leg down. Complete 10 repetitions and then switch sides. Perform three sets per side. You can make this exercise more difficult by using a resistance band or ankle weights.
To target your gluteus medius, begin on all fours with your hands directly below your shoulders and your knees directly under your hips. Pull your belly button into your spine and stabilize your core. Keeping your knee bent, raise your right leg out to the side as high as you comfortably can without rotating your hips. Hold the position for a count of two and then slowly lower your leg back down. Perform 10 repetitions and then switch legs. Complete three sets of the exercise on each leg.
Lying Butt Bridge
Supine bridges target your glutes and low back muscles. Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Relax your arms along your sides. Pull your belly button into your spine and contract your core. Pushing through your heels, lift your hips off of the floor until they are aligned with your shoulders and your knees. Squeeze your glutes and hold the top position for a count of three and then slowly lower back to the floor. Complete three sets of 10 to 15 repetitions.