Tired of feeling like you can’t wear shorts so you want to know how to get rid of knee fat? Even if you’re not overweight you can still hold stubborn fat in your cellulite riddled knees. We all have these troublesome spots on our body that like to collect fat that just doesn’t seem to go away.
Many women who start losing weight by eating better and exercising can still have fat around their knees. Crazy enough you can make progress and be fine with everything else on your body but can’t get rid of the knee fat even if the rest of your legs are pretty toned.
You’ve probably heard before you can’t spot reduce fat in certain places on your body. And this is largely true but there is a trick I’ll share with you to target fat loss in stubborn body parts like knee fat.
So if you’re tired of having pudgy knees then you’re going to want to check out everything here on how to get rid of them fast. You’ll no longer hate your knees and you’ll feel comfortable wearing shorts once again.
Cause of Knee Fat
Hate to be the bearer of bad news but one of the big reasons you have stubborn fat in your knees is from genetics (1). Many women have pear-shaped bodies so they tend to store their excess fat in their lower body (2). While this might be better than storing it in your belly it’s still frustrating to get rid of (3).
But just because you’re born with the genetics making it more likely to have thigh fat it doesn’t mean you’re stuck with it. Many women on the shorter side tend to store more of their fat in their legs and knees. Genetics only really make up a small part of knee fat. But if you’re doing the right stuff you should be able to lose them quickly.
Just losing weight isn’t the answer either. Losing weight doesn’t necessarily change your body composition and lean muscle mass (4). During the weight loss process, many women also lose muscle they need to tone up stubborn areas (5). So to tighten the area around the inside and above your knee, you’re going to have to do more than just lose weight.
Why Aging Contributes To Knee Fat
There’s no doubt about it having blobby legs can make you look 20 years older than the rest of you. Your metabolism starts to slow down with age and your toned muscle starts to wither away too (6). And the less muscle you have then the higher your body fat is going to be. When your body fat gets too high this is how stubborn fat develops in areas you’re genetically prone to.
As you age your body naturally starts to produce less and less collagen (7). Collagen is the single most abundant protein in your body (8). Many skin experts call it the “structural support for your skin.” As you lose collagen your skin elasticity will also decline (9). This skin elasticity is what allows your skin to “snap back” to its tightness. Without enough collagen in your body, you’ll then start to experience more saggy loose skin as well as cellulite. Studies have found supplementing with collagen can restore this loss of skin elasticity (10). This is the collagen I take daily.
Getting your hormones under control is going to be key to optimizing your body fat levels. Insulin, estrogen, and cortisol are the 3 big ones for women. Eating carb and sugar rich foods can cause your insulin levels to get out of control putting you in a fat storing mode (11). Insulin can be controlled by eating low sugar and low insulinemic foods like those in my Flat Belly Formula program.
Cortisol is a hormone that promotes the storage of fat in stubborn places (12). Cortisol is a byproduct of chronic stress and lack of sleep. Try to reduce the amount of stress in your life and improve your deep sleep quality to combat elevated cortisol levels (13,14). Try taking some CBD oil if you have trouble with either one of these.
Finally, the lack of exercise will also cause your body fat to get too high (15). Even if you lose weight your body will become “skinny fat.” This is where you might appear thin and skinny with a normal BMI but in reality, your body is fatty, mushy, and dimply. But not all exercise works best for getting rid of knee fat so I’ll show you what works best.
Target the Fat In Your Knees
You might have heard spot reducing doesn’t work but this isn’t totally true. Yes if you’re really overweight and try to just do leg presses to get rid of your leg fat then it’s not going to work (16). That’s because you still have too much fat on your body.
The trick with targeting stubborn fat is to lower your total body fat and then add in exercises for your knee area. By lowering your total body fat you’ll then be able to tone up these stubborn areas with lean muscle. But if you just “lose weight” by cutting calories then this stubborn fat will never go away.
Ideally, women should have a 20-30% body fat or maybe even less (17). If you’re not sure of your body fat then use a smart scale or have it measured by a local personal trainer. The smart scales aren’t totally accurate but they’ll give you an idea of your progress. Unfortunately, your body tends to lose fat slower in these stubborn spots. But you’ll get better results the more progress you make with lowering your body fat and target toning the area.
One of the best ways to target stubborn fat is to exercise while fasted. Intermittent fasting is one of the best ways to burn fat on your body (18). Studies have found working out fasted produces more fat burning in the body (19). Adding in ketones to your diet while fasting can also accelerate your fat loss (20). Just like the keto diet, they signal for your body to burn more fat stores for energy. I take Keto Elevate in the morning with my coffee.
Best Knee Fat Exercises
These are the best specific exercises to target the inner and upper knee area. So if you’re looking to get your legs defined again then these focused leg exercises will do the job.
Knee Fat Workout
Now that you know the best exercises to lose knee fat it’s time to put it in a workout. The best way is to combine high-intensity exercise with the above-knee targeted exercises.
So for example you could combine stair sprints with a set of lunges. You could also jump rope then do sumo squats. You could run up a hill then do some step-ups on a bench. You could do burpees then combine it with lunge hops. You could ride your bike as hard as you can for a minute then jump off and do some squats.
The variations you can come up with for a knee fat workout are pretty much endless. The trick is going to keep the intensity high in the workout (21). Then doing these above targeted exercises will increase blood flow and hormones that’ll burn stubborn fat in the area.
Body parts that hold stubborn fat tend to have less blood flow. Many people who have back fat for example will tell you this area also can be cold to the touch. Your body uses chemicals called catecholamines to break down fat cells for energy. Your blood sends these catecholamines to the receptors in your fat cells (22). So it makes sense if blood isn’t flowing to these stubborn areas then the fat isn’t going to burn off from lack of catecholamines. So with the above targeted exercises, you’ll be able to send more blood flow to help get rid of the knee fat.
How do you lose leg fat fast?
You’re going to have to lower the body fat on your entire body. This is going to require going into an energy deficit with your calories. You’ll need to balance and optimize your hormones for fat burning. And then finally you’ll have to combine high-intensity exercise with targeted knee exercises. Just losing weight or doing jump rope isn’t going to do the trick. This is why many women who lose weight still aren’t able to get rid of their stubborn fat.
The Last Word
If you were born with bad genetics for knee fat then don’t worry there’s still hope for you. Just because you were born with this kind of “problem” doesn’t mean you’re stuck with it for life. It’s annoying having knee fat and nobody likes looking bad in pictures and wearing shorts.
Having fat clinging to strange places on the body isn’t abnormal. We were all born with body parts that are more likely to store fat than others. And while it’s true the old fashioned idea of spot reducing isn’t effective for getting rid of it that doesn’t mean it’s not impossible to target stubborn fat.
When you’re doing the right strategies you’ll lose your knee fat fast. So if you’re looking to tighten the area on the inside and above your knees then this will do the job. The more committed and consistent you are following the above methods the faster the results you’ll get with losing your knee fat.
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.