How To Lose Saddlebags
Saddlebags fat can be like belly fat to men – extremely hard and quite frustrating to get rid of. How to lose saddlebags is a question that many women who would like more shapely hips and thighs are bothered about. Read on to find out if you can and how to lose saddlebags fat.
What are saddlebags?
These are fat pockets along the outer thighs that give many women a pear shape instead of an hourglass figure. They get their names from horse saddlebags as most people tend to compare these pockets of fat to the bags that hang off a horse’s saddle (5).
What causes saddlebag fat?
There is no one thing that causes saddlebag fat. Some of the known causes include:
Saddlebag fat is more common in women than it is in men, and this is mostly due to puberty. When girls reach puberty, they tend to accumulate fat in their breasts, thighs, butts and hips. During this development time, some extra fat can settle in the outer things and, over time, gets bigger and more pronounced.
While the question of how to lose saddlebags fat might not have haunted you before, it can be a constant bother during pregnancy and after giving birth (3).
Changing estrogen levels
Estrogen is a big culprit in how and where women store their fat. Changes in its levels causes women to gain fat in their abdomen, hips and thighs (1), giving them love handles and saddlebags.
Sadly genes could be the reason why you have saddlebags. If the women in your family all have fat in their thighs, then high chances are that you will have them too.
Tips on tricks on how to lose saddlebags fast
Saddlebags, especially if they are genetic, can be extremely hard to get rid of, however, there are things that you can do to minimize them.
Watch what you eat
Yes, adjusting your diet to get rid of saddlebags could be the answer you have been looking for. How does diet apply?
- Extra calories equal extra fat. Saddlebags are basically made out of fat. When you eat more than your body requires, the extra calories get turned into fat. This fat could be stored in your arms, abdomen and love handles or saddlebags. For an effective ‘how to lose saddlebags plan,’ try eating on a calorie deficit, and this may help minimize your thigh fat.
- The types of food you consume. High sugar, high fat and high carbohydrate foods are all detrimental to your overall health and can make saddlebags bigger. If you notice that you eat a lot of such foods adjusting your diet to get rid of saddlebags will be highly effective.
Next time you go grocery shopping, add more leafy greens such as kale, spinach, lettuce and collard greens to your cart. Eat more fruits to replace candy and sweets. Nuts and seeds are also a great source of healthy fats and protein. Consume more fatty fish, such as salmon, tuna, and mackerel, as they are low in calories and packed with omega 3 fatty acids.
Remember to also eat your carbs but replace refined carbs such as white bread, pizza and burgers with more nutritious options such as starchy vegetables, quinoa, beans, legumes, popcorn, oatmeal, and brown rice.
The best way to lose body fat (saddlebags included) is through exercise. Increase the amount of cardio you do, and you can significantly minimize your outer thigh fat. Some great cardio workouts include swimming, running, jumping rope, walking, cycling, and hiking.
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10 of the best workouts for saddlebags
If just doing cardio is not enough for you, here are some fantastic ‘how to lose saddlebags’ workouts (6). Before undertaking any of these exercises, remember to talk to your doctor so you can get a go-ahead.
While these workouts will exercise your lower body, remember that spot exercises do not workout (4). These examples should be added to your daily workout routine that should include full-body workouts, some cardio and strength training.
These are the holy grail of all workouts. Squats are easy to do and when done right, they can help fix issues with a lot of muscles and fat stores, including saddlebags.
- Begin by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart, resting your arms straight down at your sides.
- Bracing your core and keeping your chest high, begin to push your hips back, bending your knees as if you are going to sit down.
- Ensure that your knees do not cave in and when your thighs are parallel to the floor, pause for 2 – 3 seconds.
- Push up evenly through your whole foot back to the starting position.
- Do this up to 20 times for one set.
- Try aiming for 3 sets a day, but remember to pace yourself.
Bent-knee reverse hip raises
- Lie face down on top of a Roman chair, or a sturdy bench (if working out from home). Your hip bones should be on the bench while your legs hang off and can move freely.
- Anchor onto the chair with your hands and arms to keep yourself from falling off.
- Brace your core muscles, contract your butt, and lift both legs until they are straight and parallel with the floor. Keep your head and neck in alignment, resting it on the bench if necessary.
- Hold your legs in place, parallel to the floor, then bend your knees and immediately straighten them
- Return to start position and repeat.
They are also known as banded squat walks or lateral band walks. As the name suggests, you will need a resistance band for this exercise.
- Place the resistance band just above each ankle.
- Position your feet shoulder-width apart. The band should be pulled tight, but not stretched.
- Bend your knees slightly and move into a half-squat position.
- Keep your feet in line with your shoulders and face forward with your body weight evenly distributed over both feet.
- Maintaining the half-squat position, shift your weight over one leg and take a step sideways with the other leg.
- Move this leg in and, sideways while keeping your hips level during the movement.
- Do this 10 to 15 times before switching your weight to the other leg and repeating the movements.
For proper posture, make sure that your spine is in a neutral position and not arched. Keep it straight by finding a spot on the wall to stare at.
- Begin by lying on your right side with knees bent at a 45-degree angle.
- The left leg should be stacked on top of the right leg, and the knees and ankles should be aligned.
- Keeping your core engaged and ankles together, slowly open the left knee to the sky, pause for 2 to 3 seconds, and then return to the starting position.
- Be sure to engage glutes and keep your torso straight.
- Do this 15 to 20 times on one side before switching sides and repeating the exercise on the other side.
If you would like more of a challenge, wrap a resistance band around your legs slightly above your knees, and this will make you use more muscle power to do this workout.
Lower leg lifts
- Lie on your left side on your gym mat and support your head with your left hand.
- Stretch your left leg out and cross your right leg in front of the left, with your right foot flat on the mat.
- Lift your left leg up and then lower it back down toward the floor, but do not let it touch the floor. Keep your torso still and pull your abs in to support your back.
- Repeat this 20 times, and then switch to the right side
- Start by getting on all fours on your exercise or yoga mat. Your wrists should be directly under your shoulders while your hips are over your knees.
- Keeping your knee bent, raise your right leg out to the side, until your thigh is parallel to the floor. Stop once your thigh gets to hip level and make sure to keep your pelvis stable.
- Hold this position for 2 seconds before slowly lowering your leg back to starting position.
- Do this up to 15 times on your right side before switching to the left leg.
Single leg hip raise
- Lie on your back with your right knee bent and right foot flat on the floor. The left leg should be flat on the floor.
- Raise your left leg so it’s in line with your right thigh.
- Once in this position, push your hips up, keeping your left leg elevated.
- Pause for two to three seconds and then slowly lower yourself returning to the starting position.
- Repeat this movement 15 times before switching legs.
Remember to keep your core engaged throughout the exercise.
They are also known as grasshopper beats. You will need a timer for this one.
- Lie facedown on a mat with your feet together, arms bent with your hands meeting under your forehead. Your head should rest gently on the backs of your hands.
- Pull your core in toward your lower back and carefully lift your legs off the mat about 2 to 6 inches and point your toes. Be careful not to raise your legs too high, instead, concentrate on keeping your body long.
- Turn your toes out and then spread your legs until your feet are just wider than hip-width apart. Quickly bring your feet back together.
- Move your legs out and back as fast as you can for about 30 seconds, or as fast as you can without straining your lower back.
Prone hip extensions
- Lie facedown on a bench. Your hip bones should be on the bench as the legs hang off the end. Feel free to hinge at the hips.
- Hold on to the bench, keep your neck in alignment with your back and spine, and brace your core muscles.
- Squeeze your glutes and lift your legs up simultaneously, allowing them to separate to slightly wider than your hips. Lift as high as possible to get a strong contraction in your butt, but not so high that you feel much effort in your lower back.
- Keep your glutes squeezed and hold this position for two seconds.
- Release both legs down to the floor briefly before contracting the muscles again and lifting the legs.
- Try doing this 15 to 20 times.
Rainbow leg lifts
- Get down on your hands and knees on a gym mat.
- Extend one leg out and make sure that it is in line with your hip.
- Brace your core and slowly lift this leg up in an arc and it should fall all the way over to the other leg. Imagine drawing a rainbow with this leg.
- Do not let the leg touch the floor but let it hang a little before making the arc again and returning to the extended position.
- Do this 20 times before switching to the other leg.
Remember not to curve your back upwards or let it sag. You should also lift the leg as high as you can.
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How to get rid of love handles and saddlebags
Struggling to lose love handles and saddlebags can be a frustrating experience. Both of these fat pockets are extremely hard to get rid of, but with dedication you can lose them. While the above workouts show you how to lose saddlebags fast, the following exercises will target both the love handles and saddlebags. Unlike single muscle exercises, the following examples will target multiple muscles giving you a highly effective workout in a short amount of time.
Not only should burpees be on the top of you how to get rid of love handles and saddlebags list, but they are great for anyone trying to lose weight no matter the body part. They might be a gruelling workout, but they are also very effective.
- Start in a standing position with your feet shoulder-width apart.
- Squat down with your back straight and your hands on the floor between your feet.
- With your weight on your hands, kick your feet back, so you’re on your hands and toes, and in a pushup position.
- Do one push-up before jumping your feet back to their starting position.
- Push strongly from this position and jump, reaching your arms over your head.
Beginners should omit the pushup (or do a knee push up) if this variation is too hard for them.
Not only are these a fantastic cardio workout but they are among the best workouts on how to lose love handles and saddlebags.
- Begin in a traditional plank position with your shoulders directly over your hands and wrists.
- Be sure to keep your back flat and your butt down, maintaining a neutral spine. Do not curve your back or sag your hips.
- Engage your core and lift up your right knee, bringing it toward your elbow (or as far as you can). Return the right knee back to the starting position as you simultaneously drive your left knee up toward your left elbow.
- Return to the starting position and continue switching legs as you pick up the pace. It should feel like you are running in place in a plank position.
Like mountain climbers, kettlebell swings are great cardio workouts. Kettlebell swing exercise the muscles in your love handles, glutes, thigh, shoulders, and pecs.
- Stand with feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart as you hold a kettlebell in front of your body with both hands, arms straight.
- With a slight bend in your knees and a flat back, hinge at your hips and swing the kettlebell back through your legs.
- Use that momentum to stand and swing the kettlebell out in front of your body, up to shoulder height. Thrust your hips forward, and engage your glutes and core as you stand up straight.
- When the kettlebell hits shoulder height, your knees should be straight, and glutes contracted in a full hip extension.
- Allow the kettlebell to swing back down through your legs.
How to lose saddlebags without exercising
Working out and eating right should always be the first thing you consider when trying to lose fat. However, if you have been working out and making healthy food choices but cannot get rid of saddlebags, here are some alternative measures that you can consider on how to fix loose saddlebags (3).
- SculpSure, also known as WarmSculpting, is a non-invasive body contouring treatment that promises to target and can reduce fat cells safely in just 25 minutes. The procedure is a laser treatment that destroys fat cells by heating them up and breaking them down. WarmSculpting may help you lose up to 11-percent of your saddlebag fat in just 2 treatments.
- Liposuction. Unlike the above procedure, liposuction is quite invasive, but it can help get rid of a lot of, if not all, the fat in your thighs and love handles. If you choose this option, you will have to be put under and a surgeon – using a large narrow suction tool – will carefully siphon up to 11 pounds of excess fat from your body. Recovery time could take up to a month.
- CoolSculpting. Like SculpSure, this is a non-invasive procedure, but unlike it, CoolSculpting uses freezing temperatures to kill your fat cells. The process takes about 30 minutes and can help get rid of up to 30 percent of fat in the chosen area (2).
Please note that while these cosmetic procedures seem like the best options since they give quick results, they are also quite expensive. Depending on your procedure of choice, you may have to part with anything from $1000 to $3500 (or more). Also, none of these procedures guarantee that the fat will never accumulate again. Without proper diet and exercise, your saddlebags will get bigger and you will be back to square one looking up options on how to lose saddlebags.
The Bottom Line
How to lose saddlebags may be quite hard but it can be done. Working out and eating healthy meals and within your calorie intake goes a long way in helping get rid of this unwanted fat. That being said, it is also important to note that this fat may never go away fully, especially if it is woven into your DNA.
The best thing is to love yourself and realize that all women do not look alike, nor do they have the same body types. If you choose to attempt any of the above ‘how to lose saddlebags fat fast’ exercises or change your diet, be sure to first speak to a doctor or dietician.
Check out the 20 Minute Full Body Workout at Home below.
This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any medical conditions. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
- Can estrogen levels affect weight gain? (2018, medicalnewstoday.com)
- Cryolipolysis for noninvasive body contouring: clinical efficacy and patient satisfaction (2014, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- If Saddlebags Are Genetic, Should You Give Up Trying to Lose Them? (2019, livestrong.com)
- Myths and Misconceptions: Spot Reduction and Feeling the Burn (2013, acefitness.com)
- Shed Your Saddlebags (2011, blogs.webmd.com)
- The Best Moves for Shapely Hips (2019, verywellfit.com)