How To Get Rid Of Saddlebags: A Comprehensive Guide

Written by Varsha Patnaik , MSc (Biotechnology), Certified Diet & Nutrition Coach

Have you noticed the fat that has taken up residence on your outer thighs just below your buttocks? That is what you call saddlebags. Saddlebags, just like belly fat, are stubborn and refuse to go away quickly. A variety of factors, such as stress and a sedentary lifestyle, may contribute to the development of saddlebags on your thighs. In this article, we will look at how to get rid of saddlebags through different exercises and dietary changes.

What Are Saddlebags?

Saddlebags are pockets of fat that accumulate on the outer thighs, just under your buttocks. The space under the buttocks is an underdeveloped area where fat accumulates, giving the appearance of saddlebags that hang off a horse’s back. What belly fat is to men, saddlebags are to women – diffcult to get rid of.

Understanding their causes can give you the best insight on how to get rid of those saddlebags. So, keep reading!

What Are The Causes Of Saddlebags?

Saddlebags may develop due to a host of factors. Genetics may play a role in lower body fat distribution (1). If your mother or grandmother had saddlebags, chances are you may have them too. Lack of movement, stress, and poor eating habits also lead to weight gain and accumulation of fat in different parts of your body (2), (3), (4).

Research also indicates that advancing age in women has been associated with higher levels of fat in the buttocks, hips, and thighs (5). So, don’t be surprised if you gain weight around your buttocks and thighs as you age.

Pregnancy may be another factor that can contribute to saddlebags. As your body goes through multiple changes, you may gain weight in the hip and thigh areas (6).

Saddlebags may be stubborn, but don’t worry. There are many different ways to get rid of them. Let’s learn all about them in the next section.

How To Get Rid Of Saddlebags

Making changes in your lifestyle and engaging in physical activities can help reduce the appearance of saddlebags over time.

1. Change Your Diet Plan

Making changes in your diet can go a long way in reducing saddlebags and improving your overall health. You can follow these simple tips:

  •  Eat a diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables (7).
  •  Avoid the consumption of processed foods (8).
  •  Limit your intake of alcohol (9).
  •  Consume lean proteins such as fish, chicken, and legumes (10), (11), (12).
  •  Eat complex carbohydrates such as quinoa, brown rice, and multigrain bread (13), (14), (15).

2. Get More Active

Along with a healthy diet, keeping yourself physically active can help reduce those saddlebags. If a trip to the gym is not your idea of exercise, there are plenty of other options out there. Swimming, dancing, jogging, yoga, or walking can help burn those calories and strengthen the muscles in your thighs and legs.

3. Targeted Exercises

If you work out regularly, try the following exercises to target your saddlebags:

  •  Squats
Squats

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Squats are one of those exercises that don’t require any equipment and are easy to do. When done right, they work on multiple muscle areas and can help you lose fat.

  1.  Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your arms resting at your sides.
  2.  As you brace your core and keep your chest high, begin to push your hips back and bend your knees. Make sure your knees do not cave in.
  3.  When your thighs are parallel to the floor, pause for 2 to 3 seconds.
  4.  Return to the starting position.
  5.  Repeat 3 sets of 20 reps of this exercise every day for amazing results!
  •  Single-Leg Hip Raise
Single-Leg-Hip-Raise

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This exercise targets your hamstrings and strengthens your hips, glutes, and abs.

  1.  Lie down on your back, with your right knee bent and your right foot flat on the floor.
  2.  Raise your left leg to be in line with your right thigh.
  3.  Push your hips up and keep your left leg elevated.
  4.  Pause and slowly return to the starting position.
  5.  Switch to the right leg and repeat.
  6.  Do 12 reps with each leg.
  •  Mountain Climbers
Mountain-Climbers

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These are considered one of the best cardio workouts that can help you stay in shape.

  1.  Put both hands and knees on the floor.
  2.  Place your right foot near your right hand and extend your left leg behind you.
  3.  In one swift motion, switch your legs, keeping your arms in the same position.
  4.  You can repeat the exercise 10 times.
  •  Burpees
Burpees

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Burpees are a grueling yet effective workout for all those looking to lose saddlebags.

  1.  Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  2.  Squat down with your back straight and your hands on the floor between your feet.
  3.  With your weight on your hands, kick your feet back so you are on your hands and toes, and in a pushup position.
  4.  Do one push-up before jumping to your feet and back to the starting position.
  5.  Push up strongly from this position and jump, reaching your arms over your head.
  6.  Repeat 3-4 sets of 10 burpees every day.
  •  Fire Hydrants
Fire-Hydrants

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This is an excellent exercise for toning your glutes and outer thighs and improving your hip stability.

  1.  Start by getting on all fours on your exercise mat. Your wrists should be directly under your shoulders while your hips are above your knees.
  2.  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. Keep your pelvis stable.
  3.  Hold the position for 2 seconds before slowly lowering your leg back to the starting position.
  4.  Do 15 reps on your right side before switching to your left leg.

To Sum It Up

Saddlebags refer to the pockets of fat on your outer thighs that give you a pear-shaped appearance. Genetics, stress, poor diet, and a sedentary lifestyle are potential causes of developing saddlebags. Changing to a sustainable and healthier diet and keeping yourself physically active can reduce those saddlebags and improve your overall health.

Expert’s Answers For Readers’ Questions

Are hip dips and saddlebags the same?

Saddlebags and hip dips are not the same. Saddlebags refer to the pockets of fat on your outer thighs. Hip dips are prominent indentations on each side of your hip below the hip bone.

What muscle is under saddlebags?

Saddlebags are found under your buttocks where your glutes and hamstrings meet.

How long does it take to reduce saddlebags?

With a healthy diet and regular exercise, you may see a reduction in your saddlebags in 6-12 weeks.

Sources

Articles on StyleCraze are backed by verified information from peer-reviewed and academic research papers, reputed organizations, research institutions, and medical associations to ensure accuracy and relevance. Read our editorial policy to learn more.

  1. Gender and Genetic Effects on Upper and Lower Body Fat and Associations with Diabetes in Multigenerational Families of African Heritage
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/labs/pmc/articles/PMC2474724/
  2. Sedentary Lifestyle: Overview of Updated Evidence of Potential Health Risks
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/labs/pmc/articles/PMC7700832/
  3. Psychosocial Stress and Change in Weight Among US Adults
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/labs/pmc/articles/PMC2727271/
  4. Stress-Related Weight Gain: Mechanisms Involving Feeding Behavior Metabolism Gut Microbiota and Inflammation
    https://www.researchgate.net/publication/293799541_Stress-Related_Weight_Gain_Mechanisms_Involving_Feeding_Behavior_Metabolism_Gut_Microbiota_and_Inflammation
  5. Competitive reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction analysis indicates that levels of aromatase cytochrome P450 transcripts in adipose tissue of buttocks thighs and abdomen of women increase with advancing age
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/8106632/
  6. Pregnancy-related changes in body fat
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11165728
  7. Fruit and Vegetable Intake: Benefits and Progress of Nutrition Education Interventions- Narrative Review Article
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/labs/pmc/articles/PMC4644575/
  8. Ultra-Processed Diets Cause Excess Calorie Intake and Weight Gain: An Inpatient Randomized Controlled Trial of Ad Libitum Food Intake
    https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1550413119302487
  9. Effects of the brown rice diet on visceral obesity and endothelial function: The BRAVO study
    https://www.researchgate.net/publication/255732371_Effects_of_the_brown_rice_diet_on_visceral_obesity_and_endothelial_function_The_BRAVO_study
  10. Food health and nutrition: where does chicken fit?
    https://ro.uow.edu.au/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?referer=https://www.google.com/&httpsredir=1&article=2503&context=hbspapers
  11. Foods nutrients or whole diets: effects of targeting fish and LCn3PUFA consumption in a 12mo weight loss trial
    https://bmcpublichealth.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1471-2458-13-1231
  12. Effects of dietary pulse consumption on body weight: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials
    https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article/103/5/1213/4569588
  13. Effects of the brown rice diet on visceral obesity and endothelial function: The BRAVO study
    https://www.researchgate.net/publication/255732371_Effects_of_the_brown_rice_diet_on_visceral_obesity_and_endothelial_function_The_BRAVO_study
  14. Optimisation of Process for Development of Nutritionally Enriched Multigrain Bread
    https://www.researchgate.net/publication/289488476_Optimisation_of_Process_for_Development_of_Nutritionally_Enriched_Multigrain_Bread
  15. Quinoa’s Potential to Enhance Dietary Management of Obesity and Type-2 Diabetes: A Review of the Current Evidence
    https://www.researchgate.net/publication/351561681_Quinoa%27s_Potential_to_Enhance_Dietary_Management_of_Obesity_and_Type-2_Diabetes_A_Review_of_the_Current_Evidence
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