Many women dream of fitting into a sexy pair of skinny jeans. If you’re one of the many who can’t quite pull that off yet, you may be looking for exercises that will burn the fat off your derriere and legs. While that is an attractive idea, the truth is that spot reducing doesn't work. In order to lose fat on your backside and legs, you need to reduce your total body fat. This can be done with aerobic exercise and resistance training.
Fat Burning Zone
When doing aerobic exercise, a common misconception is that more fat is lost while working out in the fat burning zone. It's true that when doing lower-intensity aerobic exercise the percentage of fat burned is greater than the percentage of carbohydrates, but working out at a higher-intensity increases the total number of calories burned. This means the harder you work out, the more calories you burn and, consequently, the more fat you burn.
Jupiterimages/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images
For the greatest results in the shortest amount of time, try interval training. This is when you exercise at a high-intensity for a short time followed by a time of recovery, where you slow down to a moderate pace. This interval is then repeated several times. An example might be two minutes of high-intensity exercise followed by three minutes of moderate exercise. Repeat this three to four times. As you become more fit, you can increase the time spent doing high-intensity activities or increase the number of intervals. A stationary bike, treadmill or elliptical can be used for interval training.
For maximum results, strength training should be incorporated into your workout. There are specific exercises that target the glutes and legs. These exercises tone these muscles and aid in weight loss. However, it is recommended that you target all of the major muscle groups at least twice a week, with a day of rest in between. Some exercises that target your posterior and legs include lunges, step-ups and quadruped bent-knee hip extensions.
If you want to make the most of your time, try running. A 155-pound person running at 6 mph will burn 372 calories in a half hour. The key is to stay motivated and not become discouraged. After your doctor gives you a thumbs up to start a running program, start low and go slow. For the first week walk at a moderate pace for 20 minutes. During week two increase the time to 22 minutes and pick up the pace a little bit. For the next two weeks, add 30- to 60-second jogging intervals followed by five minutes of walking. As you become fitter and more comfortable with the exertion level, continue to add more jogging intervals with shorter walking intervals. You get the picture. Eventually you can work up to 30 minutes of straight jogging.
The stair climber and elliptical are similar in that they both work the lower body while using a stepping movement. The elliptical provides a low-impact workout and combines the motion of stair-stepping and cross country skiing. This is a great way to work out your glutes and legs if you have knee problems. The resistance level and incline can be adjusted on many elliptical machines, so you can vary your routine. Don’t be fooled by seemingly effortless gliding motion. The elliptical will give you a run for your money.
The stair climber, on the other hand, is a machine that simulates climbing stairs. It can be a bit more challenging than the elliptical and is definitely rougher on the knees. Don’t beat yourself up if you can’t do more than a couple of minutes on the stair climber at first. Go easy on yourself and slowly build up your endurance and strength.
- IDEA Health and Fitness Association: How to Burn Fat Faster and More Efficiently
- Harvard Health Publications: Calories Burned In 30 Minutes For People of Three Different Weights
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans
- American College of Sports Medicine: Selecting and Effectively Using an Elliptical Trainer or Stair Climber
Suzanne Albrecht is a doctorate-holding pharmacist with more than five years experience writing medical/health articles. In addition to her pharmacy degree Dr. Albrecht holds a Master of Library and Information Science. Her articles have been published in "US Pharmacist" and on various websites.