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10 Best Exercises for Saddlebags (Lose Outer Thigh Fat)

Tyler Sellers
Published by Tyler Sellers
Last updated: March 27, 2023

Saddlebags are not an actual body part but a popular informal term for accumulating fat cells on the outer thighs just under the butt.

Many of my fitness clients have difficulty losing thigh fat and come to me for guidance on which exercises contour this area well.

Over the years, I have learned some of the best exercises for core stability and flexibility that can help you contour your outer thighs and lose fat overall.

Here are some of my favorites.

Quick Summary

  • Resistance training combined with cardio to burn extra fat will help tone the outer thigh and reduce saddlebags.
  • Saddlebags plague many women as they gain weight.
  • Squats are effective at improving the appearance of saddlebags while increasing mobility, flexibility, and balance.

Best Exercises to Get Rid of Saddlebags

A woman doing exercises to get rid of saddlebags

The best exercises that can help improve the appearance of saddlebag fat are ones that target the lower abdomen, glutes, and pelvic region.

You can’t isolate where you lose fat, which also includes saddlebags.

Still, strength and flexibility exercises that target the upper legs and lower abdomen, with cardio, can promote overall fat loss and thus reduce saddlebags.

Always consult your doctor before starting any new exercise program.

Moves to Lose Them Once and For All

Performing leg raises

So, if you are eating healthily and have the green light from your doctor, try these moves to lose outer thigh fat for good.

1. Side-Lying Leg Raises

This exercise targets your glutes and hip abductors.

  • Lie on your side and prop your head up with your bottom arm.
  • Slowly raise your top leg, but ensure to keep your hips aligned.
  • Lower your leg with a controlled motion back to the start.
  • Perform this exercise on both legs for three sets of 15.

2. Planks

Planks are an invaluable exercise that targets all your core muscles.

  • Lie face down with your palms flat on the floor below the shoulders.
  • Slowly push up so that your weight rests on your forearms and toes.
  • Your body should be in a straight line from your neck to your heels.
  • Hold for 30 seconds.
  • Lower yourself to the floor, briefly pause and push yourself up again.
  • Repeat three times.

3. Inner Thigh Leg Lifts

Doing inner thigh leg raises

These leg lifts are a great way to target the glutes and inner thighs.

  • Lie on your side and extend your bottom leg out straight.
  • Cross your top leg over your bottom leg and place your foot flat on the floor at your hips.
  • Flex your bottom foot.
  • Slowly lift your extended leg up and then lower it.
  • Repeat 12-15 times.
  • Perform three sets before you switch sides.

4. Squats

Squats target the hamstrings, quads, glutes, and inner and outer thighs.

  • Start in a standing position with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.
  • Extend both your arms out in front of you.
  • Slowly bend your knees and lower into the squat position.
  • With your knees bent, keep your chest open and your head over your hips.
  • Push through your heels until you are standing at the starting position.
  • Perform three sets of ten reps.

“Not only will squats shape your quads, hamstrings, and glutes, they’ll also help your balance and mobility, and increase your strength”

- Nicole Davis, Certified Personal Trainer

5. Side Lunges

A woman doing side lunges indoors

This lunge variation works the glutes, hamstrings, quads, and hip abductors.

  • Start by standing with your feet hip-distance apart with your arms out in front of you.
  • Step out to the side with your left leg while bending both knees and lowering to a squat position.
  • Keep your spine straight.
  • Return to standing and perform on the other side.
  • Perform ten reps for each leg.
  • Aim for three sets.

Read More: Side Lunges Stretches

6. Step-Ups

Stepping up on a small, sturdy bench or step targets the quads and hamstrings. You can increase the intensity by picking a higher step.

  • Step up by bending your right knee and keeping your left leg straight.
  • Immediately step up with your left leg so both feet are on the step.
  • Step down, placing your right foot on the floor, and then step down with the left.
  • You are now back to where you started.
  • Try for three sets of 12-15 reps per leg.

7. Bridges

Doing glute bridge on a mat

Bridges work the glute muscles.

  • Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
  • Your ankles should be below your knees.
  • Squeeze your butt muscles and raise your hips toward the sky.
  • Hold for a three-count and return your hips to the starting position.
  • Perform three sets of 12-15 reps.

8. Curtsy Lunge

Curtsy lunges are a great way to work the inner thigh muscles and hip abductors, stabilizing the hips and improving posture.

  • Stand with your feet hip-distance apart.
  • Keep weight on your right foot while you take a big step back and cross behind your right leg with your left leg.
  • Lower your body by bending both knees while keeping your back straight and core muscles engaged.
  • Your right thigh should be parallel to the floor.
  • Return to the start.
  • Repeat 10-12 before switching to the other leg.
Single leg hip raise using resistance band

9. Single-Leg Hip Raise

  • Lie on the floor with your left knee bent and left foot flat on the floor.
  • Raise your right leg so it is in line with your left thigh.
  • Push up your hips while keeping your right leg elevated.
  • Pause briefly.
  • Return to the start position with a controlled motion.
  • Perform 12-15 reps before switching legs.
  • Repeat with the other leg.
  • Aim to perform three sets.

10. Clamshell

The clamshell targets the inner and outer thighs, glutes, and upper thighs while improving hip and pelvis stability.

  • Lie on your side with one leg on the other and knees slightly bent.
  • Keep your feet together as you lift your top knee.
  • Raise your knee until it is parallel with your hip.
  • Lower your knee to the start and repeat for 12-15 reps.
  • Switch sides and repeat.

Perform three sets.

Additional Ways to Fight Them

Holding healthy smoothie with gym partner

You must take a multifaceted approach involving exercise, diet, and supplements to lose weight and reduce saddlebags.

Let’s take a brief look.

1. Other Effective Exercises

While strength training adds muscle tone, adding HIIT, jumping rope, walking, running, swimming, biking or other aerobic exercises to your workout routine helps you burn fat.

Thirty minutes of cardio exercise several times weekly will help you burn calories, lose fat, and reduce body weight [1].

2. Diet

A healthy diet is critical to weight loss and will work with your exercise routine to help you maintain a calorie deficit.

Eliminate processed foods and put more emphasis on eating lean meats, vegetables, and healthy carbs.

3. Supplements

Adding a supplement, like a fat burner or pre-workout, to your daily routine can support your weight loss efforts. Many fat burners have all-natural ingredients that promote thermogenesis to help you burn extra body fat.

They usually include energy-boosting ingredients that can help you push through workouts.


How Long Does It Take To Get Rid of Saddlebags?

How long it will take to get rid of saddlebags will depend on your genetics, as well as the frequency, duration, and intensity of your training, but with regular exercise and a proper diet, you should start seeing results in 6-12 weeks.

Can Yoga Reduce Saddlebags?

Yes, yoga can reduce saddlebags by reducing overall body fat. Pairing yoga with other fat-loss efforts, like a healthy diet, is essential.

Stop Carrying Around Saddlebags

To reduce saddlebags, focus on whole-body exercises, such as squats and lunges that use multiple muscles.

Start incorporating these exercises into your workout a few times a week and prioritize diet and nutrition. Eating lean proteins and supplementing with a fat burner can maximize your efforts.

All the fat burners on these lists went through our rigorous testing process, so click the link to see which one can jumpstart your fat loss so you can finally drop those saddlebags.


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