The Best Exercises for Slimming Hips & Saddlebags

A man and woman running on the beach.
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Women have a tendency to store fat in the lower body more than men. Two notorious problem areas are the hips and thighs. The slang word "saddlebags" is used to describe the area between the butt and upper thighs right below the hips. When you have both saddlebags and excess hip fat, your best option is to include cardio and toning exercises in your training program. Cardio helps melt the fat while weight training improves your definition.


Running is a form of cardio that burns calories and works muscles in the butt and thighs. To get more bang for your buck, mix bouts of side stepping into your running workouts. This will place more emphasis on your outer thighs, hips and butt. Run up hills sideways for an even greater challenge.


Biking is a form of cardio that also works your glutes, hips and thighs. A stationary bike or road bike will both give you weight-loss results. To increase the emphasis on your muscles, turn the resistance up on the stationary bike or ride up hills.

Stair Climbing

Stair climbing is a form of cardio that works the glutes and thighs. Either use a set of stairs, multiple flights of steps or a stair-climbing machine. To increase the emphasis on your muscles, step up every two steps. You also have the option of stepping sideways.

Single Leg Split Squat

Single-leg split squats work the glutes, quadriceps and hamstrings which are on the back of the thighs. You need a weight bench or chair to do these. Stand with your back to the bench, and carefully raise your right leg behind you and place the top of your foot on the bench. Keeping your core tight and back straight, lower yourself down by bending your left knee. Once your thigh parallels the floor, rise back up and repeat. After finishing a set of reps, switch sides. To increase the resistance, hold dumbbells at your sides.

Star Jump

A star jump works the glutes, thighs and hips all at the same time. This exercise is explosive, so it also causes a high caloric expenditure. Begin in a standing position with your feet together and arms at your sides. Slowly lower yourself into a squat and move your hands in front of your shins. Quickly jump off the floor and move your arms and legs out to your sides in an "X" pattern. Before you land, move your arms and legs back in. Lower yourself back down immediately and repeat.

Cable Abduction

Cable abduction zeros in on the outer thighs and hips. You need an ankle strap to do this exercise. Fasten the strap to your lower left leg and a low setting on one side of the cable machine. While standing with your right shoulder facing the weight stack, lift your left foot and move your left leg in the air laterally to your left. Slowly lower it down and across the front of your body in a sweeping motion, repeat for a set of reps and switch sides.