How to Reduce Hip Muscles

Hips support your pelvis as your walk and run, providing an essential daily function. They also give you a curvy physique, but extra-large hips may make you feel bulky, rather than sexy and strong. Usually, large hips are a result of extra fat. If you're sure, however, that it's muscle that's making you wide, you may be able to reduce it slightly.

How to Reduce Hip Muscles (Image: VeraOsco/iStock/GettyImages)

Remember, however, that your body's proportions are largely a matter of genetics. Some people have a narrower hip region, while others -- especially women -- tend to have more generous hips to support childbirth.

Reduce hip muscle gradually with exercise. You don't want the muscle to waste away from inactivity. You simply want to reduce any excess bulk in the region and avoid adding more size to the muscles there.

What Makes the Hip Muscles Large

Hip muscles include the gluteus medius and gluteus minimus, both of which are on the outer side of the buttocks. These muscles are partially covered by the gluteus maximus, the big muscle of the buttocks, that may also be contributing to the appearance of big hips.

Squats, step-ups, hiking up hills and hip extensions are exercises that contribute to development of the muscles of the glutes. Specific sports, such as speed skating, also lead to an increase in hip size due to muscle hypertrophy.

If you've been lifting hefty weights and training the lower body multiple times per week, the muscles will respond by growing thicker, stronger and greater in size.

How to Reduce Muscle Mass

Don't give up on exercise altogether. This only leads to atrophy and the accumulation of fat. Muscle doesn't turn into fat, but as it shrinks and you burn fewer calories, fat takes its place.

To reduce hip muscle, you'll want to de-emphasize exercises that develop the hips. When you perform a lower-body strength-training routine, choose only one compound exercise that works the hips.

So, instead of doing squats, leg presses, step-ups, single-leg squats and lunges during your lower-body workout, opt for just one of these exercises In addition, you might include another isolation lower-body exercise, such as leg extensions or leg curls, that don't work the hips and focus on the muscles of the thighs instead.

When you do the one exercise that does involve your hips, train with lighter weights and go for a large number of reps to build endurance. The muscle still gets worked, and you burn calories, but you're less likely to develop a lot of bulk. For example, if you're accustomed to performing heavy back squats for six to eight reps, sub in bodyweight squats, but do up to 100 reps.

Choose cardio that's less hip-centric and more total-body in nature. Skip hiking, stair climbing or cycling up hills. Choose flat road running or rowing on an erg to boost your heart rate instead.

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