Hamstring Exercises to Reduce Cellulite

Pilates for pregnancy
A woman is training her legs in a studio. (Image: Milan_Jovic/iStock/Getty Images)

While it may be good to give your flabby bits a fancier name than simply saying you're carrying excess fat, that's exactly what cellulite is: fat. According to the American Council on Exercise, dieting alone can't fully get rid of your cellulite -- you need exercise too. If the hamstring muscles on the back of your legs are in dire need of some cellulite reduction, start training them with progressive weighted exercises.

Stability Ball Leg Curls

Step 1

Lie on your back with your legs stretched out in front and heels on a stability ball.

Step 2

Lift your hips off the floor and squeeze your butt, hamstring and core muscles.

Step 3

Pull the ball in toward your butt by bending your knees. Use your hamstring muscles to perform the movement.

Step 4

Pause briefly when the ball is nearly touching your butt and tense your hamstrings extra tight, then slowly extend your legs back out straight.

Step 5

Switch to a seated, standing, lying or kneeling leg curl machine if you train at a gym, but don't have access to a stability ball.

Step 6

Take a foot off the ball and perform single-legged curls if you find the double-leg version too easy.

Step-Ups

Step 1

Stand in front of a step or box set to knee height.

Step 2

Assume a shoulder-width stance with your toes facing forward.

Step 3

Place your right foot on the box and push up forcefully, bringing your left foot up onto the box as well.

Step 4

Lightly touch the box with the toes of your left foot so most of your weight is still going through the heel of your right foot.

Step 5

Put your left foot back on the floor, but keep your right foot firmly planted on the box. Repeat the step-up for all the reps on one side, before switching to having your left foot on the box.

Step 6

Increase the box height, or hold dumbbells, a barbell or kettlebells to make the move more challenging.

Hip Thrusts

Step 1

Sit in front of a weight bench with your upper back resting against it.

Step 2

Step your feet forward so that your knees are bent to around 90 degrees.

Step 3

Push your hips toward the ceiling so that your torso is parallel to the floor and your only points of contact are your back on the weight bench and your feet on the floor.

Step 4

Hold the position for a second, then lower your hips back down to the floor slowly. Just touch the floor very gently with your butt, then push your hips back up powerfully again.

Step 5

Progress to single-legged hip thrusts next, advises strength coach Ben Bruno. Then once you're happy with these, add weight by holding a barbell across your lap. You may need to wrap some foam or a sweater around the bar so it doesn't dig into your hips too much.

Tip

Perform all the exercises for 10 to 15 repetitions, using a heavy enough weight that your muscles fatigue in the last couple of reps. Take two seconds to lift and four seconds to lower and when the exercise becomes too easy, add more weight, advises Wayne L. Westcott, Ph.D., fitness research director at the South Shore YMCA, Massachusetts.

Warning

Consult your doctor and a qualified personal trainer or gym instructor before beginning a workout plan.

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