We are pumped to share one of our favorite stories from Self here on FitSugar!
If you're saddled with saddlebags, you probably think you got the short end of the family gene pool stick. But, lucky for you, those pesky fat deposits surrounding your hips, thighs, and butt are far easier to banish than, say, Great Aunt Hilda or your bossy big sister. "Saddlebags are largely determined by genetics, hormones, and age, but women can still affect the shape of their bodies through nutrition and exercise," says Rebekah Rotstein, a New York-based Pilates instructor who recently released the Pilates For Buff Bones DVD.
Not sure where to begin? Rotstein recommends utilizing large muscle groups rather than relying on spot training for fast results. "Pilates get results because it's a whole-body exercise program and works your muscles synergistically," she says. "Muscles aren't meant to function independently but as a team!"
Just remember to keep your expectations realistic. No workout in the world can turn you into Cameron Diaz overnight. "All women have padding at their hips, no matter how thin we are (even Diaz!)," says Rotstein. "It's what differentiates us from men and accentuates the curves you've got!"
To tone up those saddlebags fast, add these four moves to your regular workout routine. Check out the moves after the break.
- Lie on your back with your knees bent, one pointing towards the ceiling and feet touching (sole of the left foot against the side of the right foot) with hands pointed towards the ceiling (top).
- Lift your hips into a bridge pose, squeeze your buttocks, and open your knees, pushing through the planted foot (bottom). Lower to the starting position.
- Perform 10 to 15 reps slowly then quickly do another set. Repeat on the other side.
- Focus on opening your knees, lifting your hips to target the gluteal muscles along with the external rotators of the hips.
- Lie on your side with your bottom knee bent and your other knee straight, with your foot reaching forward.
- Lift your top foot (top), arcing it up to the ceiling then lowering it behind you (bottom). Return it up to the ceiling to arc down in front of you again.
- Perform 10 reps then repeat on the other side. Remain lifted in the lower waistline and keep your top shoulder stacked over the bottom to prevent twisting your trunk and to target the gluteal muscles along with the external rotators of the hips and core stabilizers for the trunk.
Side Lunge Balance
- Stand on one foot with the other knee bent, with your foot touching the supporting knee and both feet and knees facing forward.
- Stand tall, lifting from the supporting arch and growing through the crown of the head (top).
- Lunge to the side and tap the ground with the hand opposite the bent knee (bottom). Return to the starting balance position.
- Perform 10 reps slowly then another set quickly. Stick out your tail when you lunge and keep your back straight. Stand tall and lifted through the low belly when you return the balance to target the gluteal muscles along with those of the thigh and the lower leg and foot, working for both control as well as explosive power in a wide range of motion.
- Lie on your side propped on your forearm with your knees slightly bent. Keep your belly lifted, shoulders relaxed, and supporting elbow pressed into the mat.
- Straighten your knees and lift your hips into the air to perform a side plank (top, shown with the arm by the side).
- Then lift the top foot off the bottom (middle).
- Lower the top foot then lower both hips to the starting position. (For a variation, lower the hips with straight knees, bottom).
- Perform 10 reps slowly and repeat on the other side. Repeat on the other side. When sending the hips into the air, push into the forearm and lift the low belly. When lifting the top foot, also push down into the bottom foot. This targets the gluteal muscles while integrating the stabilizers of the core and shoulders, offering a full-body strengthening experience.