Saddlebags aren’t really saddlebags. I know, I know—one more fitness thing that’s confusing. The truth, though, is that there’s no body part called the saddlebag, and saddlebags aren’t simply fat that is attached to the side of your thigh. “Saddlebags” are an optical illusion, an underdeveloped area just under your tush where the back of your thigh (your hamstring) “ties into” your glutes. We call this area the “glute-hamstring tie-in.” When the muscles of this area are underdeveloped, the area becomes soft, fat accumulates, and it falls outward to the side, causing the appearance of what people refer to as “saddlebags.” The solution here is to strengthen the muscles that lay under the body fat in this region.
So stick to a healthy eating plan, add plenty of cardio to your workout routine, and try out these helpful exercises to help you feel more confident the next time you slip into something slinky.
- Find a step or a bench that, when you place your foot squarely on it, your knee is at a 90-degree angle or larger.
- Step up 20 times leading with the right foot, then the left, bringing both feet completely onto the bench.
- To return to the starting position, lead with the right foot to step down to the floor, then the left, until ending with both feet on the ground.
- Switch legs and start stepping with the left foot for 20 steps.
Single-Leg Hip Raise
Begin on the floor, on your back, with your right knee bent and left leg resting straight on the floor. Keeping your left leg straight, raise it up to a 45-degree angle so that it is in line with your right thigh. Allow your arms to relax on the floor out from your sides (A). Brace your core muscles, press your right heel into the floor, and raise your hips up (B). Your hips should end at the height that is a straight line from your shoulders through your hips, thighs, and foot. Pause for two seconds, then lower back to the floor. That’s one rep. Repeat this movement for a total of 15 reps. Then, switch sides and complete all reps on the other leg. Continue alternating legs for a total of three sets, with no rest in between sets.