The Best Strengthening Exercises for Minimizing Saddlebags

Stepping is a good way to tone saddlebags.
i Digital Vision./Digital Vision/Getty Images

Saddlebags are those pesky flaps of fat that settle on your outer thighs and hips. You hate the way they make you look, but they just won't go away. You can't spot reduce your saddlebags, but combining cardiovascular exercise with strength training is a healthy way to trim the fat and tone your muscles. The best moves are those that target your upper legs while also burning calories.Talk to your doctor before starting a new exercise routine.

Cardiovascular Exercise

    Cardiovascular exercise can't get rid of just your saddlebags. However, this type of exercise burns calories, which blasts fat all over your body, including in your thighs and hips. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend getting at least 150 minutes of aerobic exercise each week, though you might need to double this number for effective weight loss, particularly if you already exercise periodically. Choose activities that also target your upper legs for the most benefit. Biking, step aerobics, swimming, jogging and dancing are healthy options.

Saddlebag Slimmer

    The saddlebag slimmer, given its name, is an ideal exercise to include in your routine. You can do the move right in the comfort of your own home without any equipment. To do the exercise, start on your hands and knees. Use an exercise mat if you have wood floors, which makes the move more comfortable. Lower your right hip to the floor, stacking your knees and ankles and resting your hip on the ground. Support your upper body by resting your palms on the ground at about chest level on your left side, elbows straight. Bring your left knee into your chest, bend your elbows and lower your chest toward the floor at the same time. Return to the starting position, lower your right hip toward floor and repeat the move. Do at least 12 repetitions, two or three times per week.

Dumbbell Step Up

    Stepping engages all of the muscles in your lower body, making it an effective choice for slimming your saddlebags. Holding dumbbells increases your overall body weight, which makes your legs work harder during the move. To do a step up, stand in front of an exercise step or small stool, holding a dumbbell in each hand. Lift your left foot onto the stool and plant if firmly for balance. Follow with your right foot. Step back with your left foot, following with your right. Alternate legs with each step to ensure that both sides of your body are worked equally.


    Squats are easy to do and don't require any equipment, but they provide big benefits to your thighs. To do a squat, stand with your feet about hip-width apart, arms at your sides. Slowly lower your body as if you are sitting into a chair. Stop when your knees reach a 90-degree angle. Return to the starting position to complete one squat. Hold dumbbells in your hands to increase the saddlebag slimming benefits.

the nest