The Best Cardio to Burn Hip & Butt Fat

Running helps rid your body of excess fat.
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If your lower body has grown too wide for your liking, regular cardio activity can help restore your slender shape. While you can't target your thighs or buttocks with any specific moves, exercises that burn the most calories are the most effective for fat loss because they help you create a calorie deficit -- the key to shedding body weight. Food matters too, so control portion sizes at mealtime and choose lean, low-calorie fare over junk food and greasy snacks.

High-Intensity Intervals

For effective fat burning all over the body -- including the hips and butt -- consider high-intensity interval training, or HIIT. This kind of workout elevates your metabolism even after exercise so you burn more calories all day. To perform HIIT, the American Council on Exercise recommends warming up with light cardio such as walking, then alternating one-minute intervals of exercise at near-maximum exertion with two-to-three-minute intervals of recovery at a moderate pace. For example, you may sprint for one minute, walk briskly for three minutes and repeat. You can also use an elliptical machine, stationary bike or any other cardio equipment. Because HIIT is so intense, ACE advises limiting this exercise to two weekly sessions, and taking a break every six weeks.

Vigorous Cardio Sessions

Performing steady, vigorous cardio doesn't push your body as hard as HIIT, but it does burn calories at a rapid rate while you exercise. Typically, a 160-pound person burns about 606 calories per hour jogging at 5 mph, or 657 calories per hour on a stair stepper. Other vigorous cardio options include swimming laps, cycling at speeds faster than 10 mph and taking a high-impact aerobics class. For reference, consider that 1 pound of fat contains about 3,500 calories, which you can potentially lose with five to six sessions of vigorous cardio.


Although cardio is effective for burning fat, it isn't the best choice for shaping your hips and thighs. For a toned appearance, turn to resistance exercises such as squats and lunges. These and similar compound exercises -- which involve bending more than one joint -- not only shape muscle, but they burn more calories than isolated exercises such as leg extensions to further aid in fat loss. You can perform these moves using only your body weight, or hold a dumbbell in each hand for greater resistance.

Workout Planning

For the greatest fat-burning benefits, perform cardio most days of the week for at least 30 minutes per session. Stretching is not mandatory, but if you choose to do it, warm up first with light cardio to help prevent muscle strain. For proper balance and increased calorie burning, perform resistance exercises for your entire body -- not just your hips and thighs -- two to three times per week. If you don't exercise now, visit your physician before starting a workout regimen.

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