Squats are an effective move for toning your hips, buttocks and legs. Traditional squats don't require a lot of room or equipment, making them an ideal addition to your home workout. Squats alone aren't likely to burn much hip fat, though, as you can't spot-reduce fat. Performing cardiovascular exercise is the most efficient way of burning fat from all over the body, including the hips. By combining squats with cardio exercise and a low-calorie diet, you can achieve weight loss in the hips.
To perform a traditional squat, stand with your feet a bit wider than shoulder-width apart, arms at your sides. Bending at your hips, lower your body as if sitting in a chair, until your knees are at a 90-degree angle, but don't extend past your ankles. Rise to the starting position to complete one repetition. To make the move more challenging, hold free weights or a barbell in your hands as you squat. Spreading your legs wider also increases the benefits to your hips.
The American College of Sports Medicine suggests strength training your major muscle groups, including those in your hips, two or three times each week. Include squats in your lower body sessions. Do one set of eight to 12 repetitions, allowing about six seconds for each repetition. Take a day of rest between lower-body strength-training sessions to allow your hip muscles time to recover and gain in strength. You should not feel pain or discomfort while doing squats. If you do, check your form. If that doesn't work, stop and contact your doctor.
While you burn minimal calories while performing squats -- less than one per minute -- they do contribute to developing lean muscle mass in your hip area. Lean muscle mass boosts your metabolism, which allows your body to burn calories more efficiently, even at rest. Still, combining squats with cardiovascular exercise, which elevates your heart rate, offers the most benefit because you'll be burning calories for fat loss, building muscle mass to rev your metabolism at the same time. Choose cardiovascular exercises that also work your hips to further maximize the benefits. Walking and swimming are two good options. Perform them at a moderate intensity for at least 30 minutes, three or more days a week.
Cardio exercise and hip-slimming moves are beneficial for fat loss, but a low-calorie diet is vital for successful and long-lasting weight loss. Combine them for the most benefit. Choose a variety of foods from each food group, choices that are generally low in fat and calories, but high in nutrients and satiety. Avoid fast food, prepared meals, cookies, cakes, candy, soda and chips, all of which are too high in calories and low in nutritional value to promote weight loss and good health. Instead, eat whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, and lean proteins such as skinless chicken and fish. To lose 1 pound in a week, reduce your daily caloric intake by 3,500 calories, which is 500 calories a day, says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This can be accomplished through a combination of cardio exercise and diet.
Eliza Martinez has written for print and online publications. She covers a variety of topics, including parenting, nutrition, mental health, gardening, food and crafts. Martinez holds a master's degree in psychology.