The hips are a common problem area for fat deposits. When excess layers of fat accumulate along the hips, you may feel like nothing you do will be able to get rid of them. Not only do you need to do adequate cardio exercise to burn fat, you also need to do targeted strength-building exercises for the hips to tone and tighten the muscles and create a slimmer, more defined silhouette.
Start with Cardio
You can do your cardio routine on days you rest from strength training or do it on the same days. Even doing cardio exercises in your strength training warm-up for 10 to 15 minutes, four to five times a week, will get you results. High-intensity interval training, involving periods of high-intensity exercise with shorter, low-intensity recovery periods, is the most effective fat-burning exercise. The typical ratio of work-to-recovery is 2:1. Though you can't use cardio to spot reduce fat from your hips, exercises such as running, cycling, rowing, swimming and jumping rope will help you lose weight from all over your body.
Lunge to the Rear
The dumbbell rear lunge is one of the most effective resistance exercises for working the hip muscles. Start in a standing position with your feet about shoulder-width apart. Hold a barbell behind you so it rests at the back of your shoulders and grasp your hands tightly around the barbell at each side. Take a step back with your left foot, lowering yourself until the knee of your rear leg is nearly touching the floor. Bend the knee in front of you to a 90-degree angle. Keep your back straight during the exercise. Return to a standing position and then repeat with your right leg behind you.
Raise Your Leg High
Try the dumbbell lying hip abduction to directly target the hip abductor muscles. Lie on your side, your body nearly straight with one leg on top of the other. Extend your top arm down along the side of your body, holding a dumbbell in your hand so it rests against your thigh. Engage your core and slowly raise your top leg away from the other as far as possible, holding the weight in place against your leg as you raise it up. Return to your starting position and repeat several more times. Switch sides.
Incline Leg Raise for the Win
When you want to tone your sides, include the incline leg raise in your workout. Lie supine on an incline board, your hands grasping the sides near the top of the board for support. Your body should form a straight line from head to toe. Slowly bend your legs, bringing your knees up together toward your chest. Lower your legs back down and repeat.
Don't Forget About Safety and Diet
Talk to your doctor before getting started with any new exercise program. With weight exercises, always start off with a lighter weight. Only increase the weight when you're no longer feeling challenged and only increase the amount of weight by 5 to 10 percent, warns the American Council on Exercise. Even with all the right exercises, you won't lose weight anywhere on your body if you're not creating a caloric deficit. By reducing your caloric intake and burning calories with exercise, create a deficit of 500 calories per day. Since a deficit of 3500 calories leads to one pound of weight loss, you will lose a pound per week this way.