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How to Lose Saddlebags: Do These 6 Things
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How to Lose Saddlebags: Do These 6 Things

Written by Edibel Quintero, RD | Medically reviewed by Medically reviewed by Rosmy Barrios, MD
Published on 2022 July 14
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6 min

Learn all about saddlebags to see how you can shift excess fat on the outer thighs

how to lose saddlebags

It’s normal to accumulate fat in certain areas of the body. We tend to notice fat deposits when dressing and wearing certain clothing items. It can become frustrating, especially when you can no longer fit into your favorite jeans. 

Women tend to gain body fat around the hips, thighs, and buttocks. If you notice extra fat surrounding the thighs, you may have saddlebags. 

While it is completely natural, many people want to know how to say goodbye to the extra weight but don’t know where to begin.

This article discusses saddlebag fat and suggests 6 essential exercises to reduce saddlebag fat and methods that don’t require physical activity. 

What Are Saddlebags on the Body? 

Saddlebags is not a medical term, and it is not the name of a specific body part. 

Saddlebags refer to the fat pockets that sit on the outer thighs, just under the buttocks, resembling the bags that hang from a horse’s saddle. For women, saddlebag fat can create a pear-shaped body, leading many to want to get rid of it.

What Causes Saddlebags?

Saddlebag fat occurs when the butt and thigh muscles are weak due to lack of use or inactivity. The area becomes soft, and excess fat accumulates and falls to the sides, creating the effect. As well as saddlebags, the buttocks may sag and become less perky.

While men can also get saddlebags, it is more common in women due to pelvis size, making it a primary concern among women who gain weight. 

In most cases, the extra fat is hereditary or due to a poor diet, lack of exercise, and sedentary lifestyle. If you’re eating excess calories without increasing your physical activity, you may be prone to stubborn saddlebag fat. 

Other causes of saddlebags include puberty and pregnancy.

Can Pregnancy Make Saddlebags Worse?

Pregnancy can cause saddlebags or make existing saddlebag fat worse. During pregnancy, you experience hormonal changes, particularly with estrogen and progesterone. 

Estrogen can increase the accumulation of fat in the abdominal area and the upper thighs. Therefore, pregnant women are more prone to saddlebag fat.

How to Get Rid of Saddlebags: Try These 6 Exercises

While you may not be able to get rid of saddlebags entirely, there are many ways to reduce saddlebags and improve the appearance while enhancing your overall health.

Losing fat in the thigh region requires many of the same strategies to lose weight and reduce overall body fat. A new exercise program is a perfect way to start, with full-body workouts that target the outer thighs, inner thighs, and glute muscles.

#1 Fire hydrants

Fire hydrants strengthen the glutes while activating the core muscles. 

Get on all fours with your hips over the knees and wrists under the shoulders on your yoga mat. Raise the right leg up and out to the side, bending the knee until your thigh reaches hip level. 

Hold before lowering the leg back to the starting position. Repeat and switch to the left leg.

#2 Squats 

Squats are a great exercise for targeting the butt muscles and fat stores. 

Stand with feet shoulder-width apart with your arms down by your sides or with your hands grasped together. Push your hips back and slowly bend your knees, lowering into a squat position until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Push back up, return to the starting position, and repeat. 

You can add a resistance band for better control.

#3 Clamshells

Lie down on your side with your knees bent at a 45-degree angle, with one leg stacked on top of the other leg. Slowly open your knee on the upper leg toward the ceiling, pause, and return. Repeat several times on each leg.

Again, you can add a resistance band for more control and a bigger challenge. 

#4 Donkey kicks

The donkey kick, as the name suggests, resembles an animal kicking its back leg.

Keeping the core and the entire body stable, draw back the leg with the knee bent as high as it will go without moving your hips. Squeeze at the top and slowly lower the leg back to the starting position.  

#5 Mountain climbers

Mountain climbers are an excellent choice for regular cardiovascular exercise that combats saddlebags. 

You start in a plank position, keeping the back and hips flat and straight. Bring your left knee as close to your elbow as possible before taking it back and repeating the same action with the right knee. 

Keep switching legs and move at a faster pace. 

#6 Burpees

The burpee ultimately combines a squat thrust with a squat jump. It’s a challenging exercise used in strength training that uses the whole body.

Begin with a standing position with feet shoulder-width apart. Lower down into a squat position with your hands touching the floor between your feet. Pressing on your hands, kick your feet back to be in a pushup position. 

Then, jump back and up to the starting position, reaching your arms to the sky. 

How to Lose Saddlebags With Little to No Exercise

Although you should always aim to lead an active lifestyle, a strict exercise routine isn’t for everyone. If you want to reduce saddlebags without training, here’s what you can do.

#1 Make changes in your diet

Making dietary changes is critical to any weight loss program. 

You should aim to eat a balanced diet that consists of nutrient-dense food that nourishes your body. Cut out sugary drinks and processed foods that have no value to your health. You can eliminate refined carbs and incorporate healthy carbs instead while swapping saturated fats for healthy fats. 

Include healthy protein sources like lean meats, seafood, and eggs. 

Many people practice the keto diet to lose weight as it forces a metabolic switch in which the body burns fat as a fuel source. As it’s tricky to manage at first, a personalized keto app like Keto Cycle can help. 

It provides guidance and a personalized meal plan to assist users in handling the keto diet. It breaks down the process into easy, actionable steps that keep you on track with your fat loss journey. 

#2 Liposuction

Liposuction is a cosmetic procedure that uses a large narrow suction tool to remove unwanted fat from the body, including the abdomen, hips, thighs, arms, and neck.

Liposuction is not a natural weight loss method. It involves surgery that is best applied to areas with too much body fat rather than an approach to overall weight loss. 

Liposuction may be an alternative option if you can’t shift stubborn saddlebags with diet and exercise. 

#3 WarmSculpting

WarmSculpting is another type of body contouring and targeted fat removal procedure that uses laser technology. It destroys the fat cells and is less invasive and less time-consuming than liposuction.  

You may want to try this option if you don’t want to undergo surgery. 

Does Running Get Rid of Saddlebags?

Yes, running can help you lose some weight around your thighs. 

Running is a form of cardiovascular exercise that can burn a lot of calories. However, this is something you’ll need to do consistently. Going for runs every morning could help reduce that unwanted fat on your body. Start by running for 15 minutes and build your way up from there.

Exercising in the morning is also said to improve metabolism. If you have a stronger metabolic rate, your body is more likely to burn calories throughout the day. This could help minimize the appearance of those stubborn saddlebags. 

You can try walking if you don’t enjoy running that much. Daily walks can still build up your fitness level. Simply getting out of the house is a good start to battling thigh fat.

A Word From Our RD

We all carry weight differently. Genetics plays a role in how we distribute body weight, determining our body type and shape.

Many women carry extra weight around the hips, thighs, and buttocks region. When fat deposits around the upper thighs and below the butt, the appearance brings the bags attached to a horse’s saddle, hence the name.

Although people can naturally develop saddlebags through genetics, many find them visible with weight gain.

Various workouts can help you lose weight and burn fat, reducing the appearance of thigh fat. Couple that with a nutritious, balanced diet, and you will soon be able to combat unwanted weight.

You can lose weight by creating a calorie deficit. That means reducing your caloric intake and increasing your physical activity to help the body burn more fat.

Speak to your doctor about developing a weight loss plan to ensure you lose weight safely and effectively.

Conclusion

While perfectly natural, many women want to lose fat around the thigh area, with stubborn saddlebags a prime target. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to lose saddlebags with methods that will benefit your overall health at the same time. 

Regular exercise routines, a good diet, and adopting a healthy lifestyle are proven ways to reduce fat and combat target areas in the lower body. 

Written by
Edibel Quintero is a medical doctor who graduated in 2013 from the University of Zulia and has been working in her profession since then. She specializes in obesity and nutrition, physical rehabilitation, sports massage and post-operative rehabilitation. Edibel’s goal is to help people live healthier lives by educating them about food, exercise, mental wellness and other lifestyle choices that can improve their quality of life.
Medically reviewed byRosmy Barrios, MD
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