Want to know how to get rid of saddlebags?
You’re not alone there are millions of women who suffer from stubborn saddlebag fat that won’t go away despite their best efforts.
What are saddlebags?
Saddlebags are the area of fat on the outer part of your upper thighs right below your hips. It kinda looks like the saddlebags being carried on a horse and it’s a very common problem for a lot of women.
Saddlebags can become more noticeable the more sedentary you are. Many women who aren’t active enough notice their outer thigh area growing with the appearance of saddlebags.
While weight loss plays an important role to reduce fat on the outer thigh it isn’t everything. Adding in thigh exercises will rebuild the toning that has been lost with muscle atrophy.
Even if you’re pretty fit it can still make losing your saddlebags seem like the last area that want to go. This can be really discouraging but I’ll show you the best ways to lose them.
What Causes Saddlebags On Thighs
The saddlebags on the side of your thighs and lower hips are caused by an excess of fat on the area without enough muscle to tone it up.
But you can use these methods below to cut down on your saddlebag fat. You can also lose your cellulite and help to smooth your thighs.
With the right dieting and exercise strategies, you will be able to successfully slim down your saddlebags faster than you think.
Yet it’s possible that by losing weight your saddlebags can seem like they’re getting bigger. Stubborn fat on a body part like your thighs can be harder to lose and take more time.
This can leave you feeling frustrated and defeated but there’s hope. Having a bad diet and lack of exercise are the biggest reasons saddlebags develop, but you should be able to still lose saddlebags once you make some lifestyle changes.
Women tend to have a higher body fat percentage than men because of higher estrogen levels.1 Women also have the genes to promote more storage of fat in their bodies.
Men tend to carry a lot of belly fat while women tend to have a pear-shaped body for storing fat on their hips and thighs.2
Hormones can cause fat to be stored in areas like your thighs, hip dips, love handles, and saddlebags. Stubborn fat in problem areas caused by hormonal issues and genetics can be a tough battle.
The saddlebags body type…
Many women are genetically prone to store fat in their hips and thighs which doesn’t make it any easier for them.
Thigh fat, especially the saddlebags, is the number one problem area for many women with a pear-shaped body.
If you have a pear-shaped body it’s due to your genetics. Body fat distribution is largely determined by genetics so this is why you have outer thigh fat on your saddlebags.3
Storing fat in these areas was helpful for the survival of our hunter-gatherer ancestors. Having future energy reserves for a possible famine or drought was of the utmost importance back then.
You can still have saddlebags even if you’re skinny…
Having too high of body fat can still cause saddlebag fat on the outer thighs despite being otherwise thin.
This is because your body is skinny fat. This is when you look thin and skinny but still have too much fat compared to muscle
To tone and tighten the thighs, hips, and glutes you’re also going to have to add in some thigh exercises.
Adding some lean muscle to the area work to lose saddlebags since you’ll be toning your thighs up.
Why You Can’t Get Rid of the Saddlebags
Can you get rid of saddlebags?
Yes, you can definitely lose the saddlebag fat that is unsightly and causing a lot of trouble for you. You’re going to have to slim down your entire body through a calorie deficit and exercise.
Once you start to lose weight and burn body fat you can then use the following exercises to better target and tone your saddlebag fat away.
Getting rid of saddlebags can take longer depending on just how bad they are. The more fat you have on your outer thigh the longer it’s going to take.
But the good news is fat loss can happen quickly if you’re following the right diet and exercise strategies.
If you have workout experience then you should have some outer thigh muscles which will shorten the time it takes to lose the extra fat.
Yet if you’ve never exercised before or recently then it could take you longer to burn off the fat deposits on your outer thigh.
And the lower your body fat percentage is currently will impact how long it’s going to take to tone up your outer thighs.
How long does it take to get rid of saddlebags?
With all that said it’s possible to get results in as little as a few weeks or a few months.
If getting rid of saddlebags completely is your goal then that could take much longer depending on how fast you’re able to burn body fat.
The faster you get started then the faster you’re going to gain outer thigh muscles and burn off fat.
If you have trouble toning up your inner thigh fat then that could take a similar amount of time but probably not as long since this area doesn’t hold as many fat deposits.
Getting Rid of Saddlebags (Before and After)
Spot reduction, a.k.a. losing fat in targeted places can seem like it’s near impossible but that’s not the whole truth.
It’s always a good idea to strengthen the muscles laying under the fat in these specific areas. This way you’ll be able to make the muscles stronger while making the targeted area more metabolically active.
This shapes the area you’re trying to rid of which in this case your saddlebag fat.
Muscle is a great way to lower the amount of fat in your body and increase your metabolism.4 Sedentary lifestyles cause you to lose muscle as you age, which makes the problem much more severe.5
If you genetically have a pear-shaped body then you’re going to lose fat faster in your upper body than in your lower body.6
But here is a newer study finding that spot reduction can work in some amount.7 Researchers found the group using lower body strength training lost more fat in their lower body compared to the upper body training group.
Weight loss itself isn’t going to get rid of the stubborn saddlebags. That’s because you’ll still have too high of overall body fat.
The trick to losing stubborn fat is through fat loss otherwise you could become skinny fat.
You’re going to need to burn off fat from throughout your body to get rid of your saddlebags for good. Otherwise, it will be hard to lose them if you have an extra layer of fat on top of the muscle lying underneath.
Here you’ll find the best exercises you can use to finally drop the dreaded saddlebags.
Spot reduction doesn’t work very well, but these exercises will tone and shape your outer thighs when you’re losing overall fat on your body too.
Best Exercises to Get Rid of Saddlebags
The best exercises and workouts you can use to lose your saddlebags are High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) and Metabolic Resistance Training (MRT).
This is going to be significantly more effective for losing your body fat. You’ll slim down your saddlebags faster than traditional slow-go cardio and weightlifting machines.
Does walking get rid of saddlebags?
Slow-go cardio like walking, jogging, or cycling will help you lose some fat off your saddlebags. It’s a lot better than doing nothing and walking does help to tone and slim down thighs and love handles.
But you’re going to get much quicker results using HIIT workouts instead. HIIT workouts have been proven to burn significantly more fat than old-school slow-go cardio workouts.8
Along with burning more fat, your metabolism will also be elevated for up to 38 hours after you finish working out.9 Not to mention your body will release more natural fat-burning hormones from HIIT workouts.
Be sure to use Metabolic Resistance Training workouts to tone and shape down your upper outer hips.
MRT workouts use compound movements, heavyweights, complementing exercises, and short rest periods to maximize fat-burning and lean muscle gains.
Side-To-Side Band Walks
- Place a resistance band around your thighs right above your knees.
- Slightly squat down and keep your feet pointed straight ahead.
- Then slowly stepped side to side 10 paces each way to effectively work the outer part of your thighs.
- Lay on your side and place a band around your thighs right above your knees.
- With your knees bent slowly began to lift the top knee up towards this guy like a clam.
- Then slowly bring it back down to the starting position before repeating.
Curtsy Lunge Drops
- Place a box about shin to knee height in front of you. Stay on top of it with both feet hip width apart and facing straight ahead.
- Then take a big step back towards the ground with one leg going behind your front leg.
- Slowly lower your back knee towards the floor by bending your front knee.
- Then come back up to the starting position and alternate to the other side.
- Start off in the all-fours position on your hands and knees. Make sure you keep your back straight throughout the movement.
- Then slowly bring one leg out to the side while keeping your knee bent. Try to get your knee up so it’s almost the same height as your hip.
- Slightly pause at the top before bringing your knee back down to the starting position.
- Start off in the all-fours position on your hands and your knees.
- Then with one knee bent begin to make large circles with it. You will quickly start to feel the burn in your outer thighs while doing this exercise.
- Go 10 repetitions forward before repeating with 10 repetitions going back.
- Start off in the standing position with your knees slightly bent and your feet hip-width apart pointing forward.
- Then jump out to one side and land on your outside foot making sure you keep your knee bent.
- Then jump back far out to the other side landing on the other outside foot.
- Start off with your feet hip-width apart and standing straight up making sure your feet are pointed forward.
- Then make sure you keep your chest out throughout the movement looking straight ahead.
- Take a big step out to your side with one leg and then lower your hips towards your heel. Make sure you keep your heel on the ground throughout the exercise and try not to lean forward on your toes.
1-Legged Crab Bridge
- Start off seated on the ground with your hands behind you and your knees bent in front of you.
- Then raise your hips up off the floor so you’re in the tabletop position. Then lift one knee up off the floor.
- Next, begin to lift your hips up and down towards the floor working one side at a time. Be sure to work both legs for this exercise.
- Place a band around your knees right above your thighs. Make sure you keep your feet hip-width apart and your toes pointed forward throughout the movement.
- Then slowly lower your hips towards the floor right behind your knees like you’re taking a seat on a chair. Try to get your thighs at least parallel to the floor.
- Then pause at the bottom for a quick second before bringing yourself back up to the standing position.
- Start off with 1 foot in front of you and 1 foot behind you. Then lower your knee towards the floor and make sure your front knee doesn’t go very far past your toes otherwise you need to move your foot farther forward.
- Once your knee gets about an inch or two above the floor jump back up and while you’re in the air switch the leg positions so you land with the opposite leg in front of you and behind you.
1-Legged Romanian Deadlift
- Hold a weight in your left hand and place your right foot firmly on the floor. Slightly bend your left knee and lift it up off the floor.
- Keeping your right knee slightly bent then lean forward at your hip improving the weight towards your big toe.
- Once the weight almost reaches your forward slowly come back up to starting position. Be sure to repeat the exercise on the opposite side after completing the repetitions.
Side-Lying Leg Raises
- Lay on your side on a bench. Bend your bottom leg underneath you.
- Extend your top leg and point your toes towards the floor.
- Then lift your leg up and down off the floor. Be sure to keep your toes pointing down to better target your outer hip and thighs.
Get Rid of Saddlebags Without Exercise
First off you’re going to have to start to eliminate the bad foods causing you to get saddlebags in the first place. Here’s a list of the junk foods you’re going to have to quit to drop unwanted fat on your body and slim down your body.
- refined carbs
- processed foods
- bad vegetable oils
- excess alcohol
You’re also going to have to watch your caloric intake daily to make sure you’re not eating too much food. Counting calories definitely isn’t everything but it’s important to make sure you’re not eating too much. Even if you’re eating healthy foods it will be hard to lose fat if you’re eating too much.
You’re also going to need to increase your intake of protein while reducing your daily carbohydrates. An easy way to get more protein (with minimal calories) in your diet is to drink a protein shake.
This low-carb protein shake is my favorite. Protein helps to promote your metabolism while increasing the amount of lean muscle you have in your body.
Be sure to not shy away from good fats such as avocados, almonds, and grass-fed butter. You can find more of these good fats here.
You should be eating more vegetables than fruits. Now eating fruit isn’t all that bad but it does contain sugar in the form of fructose. So if your goal is to maximize fat loss then the fruit isn’t always the best idea.
By now you’ve figured out how to lose your saddlebags. There is no magic pill and you’re also going to have to put in some work. Getting your diet and workouts in inconsistently will help you get much quicker results than anything else out there.
Using a strategic combination of HIIT and MRT workouts will give you the best results for losing the fat on your body. You can do the above exercises 2 to 3 times per week but the majority of your workouts should be HIIT and MRT.
Then use these exercises to get rid of your saddlebags to shape and tone up the area even faster. If you’re having trouble getting rid of similar stubborn parts on your body like your back fat and love handles then I have exercises for them too.
Many people who lose weight have trouble losing their saddlebags but now you have the tips and strategies to lose them for good.
Josh holds a Bachelor’s degree in Exercise Physiology and Nutrition Science. He’s a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) by the National Strength and Conditioning Association and he’s a Certified Personal Trainer (CPT) by American Council on Exercise. He’s worked as a Strength and Conditioning Coach at the high school and college levels. He has over 15 years of experience as a personal trainer and nutrition coach. He is also the author of The Flat Belly Formula. He strives to bring inspiration and results for people to live healthier lives through smart diet and exercise.