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How To Get Rid Of Hip Fat (6 Best Exercises)

Connor Sellers
Published by Connor Sellers
Last updated: September 27, 2022

Here’s the hard truth: contrary to what people might tell you, directly targeting hip fat is impossible.

However, the good news is that losing fat around your hips and toning the area is still very possible.

I’ve trained many people over a decade and helped them achieve their fitness goals, which often included helping them lose weight around the hips.

I’ve gone through the relevant scientific literature to find out what exactly causes hip fat and what you can do to lose weight around that region.

Let’s dive in.

Quick Summary

  • The best way to lose excess hip fat is to burn body fat through a clean diet and exercise routine.
  • Excess calories, chronic stress, and lack of sleep can increase the amount of fat in the hips.
  • You cannot directly target and burn hip fat, but you do exercises to strengthen your hips and give them a toned appearance.

Is It Possible To Lose Fat From Your Hips?

A measuring tape tied into a ribbon on someone's stomach

Yes, it’s possible to form your hips. However, natural spot fat removal isn’t possible because your body decides when and how much hip fat you lose.

There are three ways you can lose hip fat:

  • Overall weight loss: Losing weight throughout your body will ultimately lead to weight loss in your hip region.
  • Tone your hips with exercise: Hip exercises won’t directly target your hip and thigh fat. But they can build muscle in that area, giving it a toned look and reducing hip fat accumulation.
  • Surgery: This should be your last option if weight-loss strategies don’t work. Several surgical procedures can remove stored fat directly from the hips.

“You can reduce your overall body fat by eating healthy and exercising, but your body doesn’t know where it’s burning fat. Wherever there’s fat on your body, it will come off. And we have fat all over our bodies.”

- Lisa Moskovitz, RD, CEO of NY Nutrition Group

What’s the Main Reason For Fat Gain in the Hips?

The main reason for fat gain in the hips is fat retention. Fat cells will likely accumulate in the hips if you eat more calories than you burn.

Although overeating is one way your body accumulates fat in the hips, there are many other causes, such as:

  • Age: As you age, your body composition changes, and you tend to put more weight around the hips [1].
  • Chronic stress: Increased stress is associated with increased body weight — sometimes in the hip region [2].
  • Lack of sleep: Studies show that lack of adequate sleep can make you gain weight by negatively affecting your body’s energy expenditure [3].
  • Lack of exercise: Lack of physical activity will almost always lead to weight gain as you’re not burning off excess calories. Extra calories get stored as fat.

Some Effective Toning Exercises To Help

Two people doing squats together

One of the best ways to give the appearance of low body fat in your hips is to perform exercises that’ll strengthen them.

By gaining lean muscle mass in your hips, you can give them a toned and fat-free appearance while also increasing strength in your hip muscles.

Here are some highly-effective hip-toning exercises I’ve recommended to clients over the years.

1. Squats

Squats are the most versatile body exercise that targets multiple lower-body muscles, including your hips.

You can start with bodyweight squats and slowly progress towards using dumbbells or kettlebells.

Here's how to squat with perfect form:

  1. Stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder width.
  2. Engage your core, keep your back straight and lower yourself till your thighs are parallel to the ground.
  3. Pause, and exhale as you come up.
  4. Repeat for 10–15 reps.

2. Jump Squats

A woman doing squats in the gym

Jump squats are a plyometric exercise that takes the squat to another level and works multiple muscles, including your hips.

Here’s how to do them: 

  1. Start with a basic squat position with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  2. Keep your weight on your heels and squat until your quads are parallel to the floor.
  3. From this position, explode upward into a jump, keeping your knees straight.
  4. Land with the balls of your feet and lower yourself back into the squat position.
  5. Repeat for 10–15 repetitions or 30 seconds.

3. Side Lunges

Side lunges are a variation of the forward lunge, targeting your hip and inner thighs.

Here's how to perform side lunges with perfect form:

  1. Stand with your feet a little more than hip-width apart.
  2. Keep your core engaged, back straight, and your eyes facing forward.
  3. Take a wide step to the right and squat down.
  4. Lower your body until your right thigh is parallel to the floor.
  5. Pause, push off with the left foot, and come back to the center.
  6. Repeat for 10–12 reps and alternate with the other side.

4. Side Leg-Raises

A person doing side leg raises

This isolation exercise will strengthen and tone your hips.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Lie on your left side on a yoga mat.
  2. Keeping both legs straight and your core and pelvis engaged, raise your right leg as high as it can go.
  3. Pause at the top, and lower your leg to the starting position.
  4. Repeat for 10–12 reps and switch to the left leg.

5. Fire Hydrants

Fire hydrants target your glutes and hips while also using your core muscles for stability.

We recommend doing these on a soft yoga mat if you have knee problems:

  1. Get on your hands and knees, and keep your feet and knees about hip-width apart.
  2. Place your palms on the floor and look ahead.
  3. While engaging your core, lift your left knee off the floor, and rotate it to the side and up. Your knee should be bent throughout the movement.
  4. Pause at the top, and then bring your leg back to the starting position.
  5. Repeat for 10–12 reps before switching to the right leg.

6. High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

A woman doing burpees in the g ym

HIIT is a type of cardio that has you do short bursts of intense exercises with very short rests in between.

Research shows that HIIT is an efficient way to expend many calories and burn off body fat effectively [4].

HIIT workouts usually range from 10–35 minutes a session.

Below are two simple examples of HIIT sessions you can do at home:

  • 45 seconds of burpees followed by 15 seconds of rest (10 rounds)
  • 40 seconds of running on a treadmill followed by a 20-second rest period (10 rounds)

Since it's highly intense, aim for only two or three HIIT sessions a week.

Other Healthy Ways to Reduce Fat in This Area

Close up shot of a salad in a bowl

While exercise can help you tone your hips and reduce stress levels, we recommend doing it in conjunction with the following effective fat-burning methods.

Reduce Calorie Intake

Eating fewer calories is the easiest way to reduce your overall body weight and ultimately lose excess fat from your hips. You can also of course burn more calories than you eat by increasing your activity.

In addition to reducing your food intake, make an effort to avoid processed foods, as many of them lead to unnecessary weight gain.

Adhere to a healthy diet consisting of whole foods, lean protein, and healthy fats. Limit drinks like sugary sodas, juices, sports drinks, and full-fat milk.

You can also eat more thermogenic foods that’ll make your body work harder at metabolizing and burn calories faster. Some popular thermogenic foods are coconut oil, green tea, apple cider vinegar, cayenne pepper, and salmon.

Get Plenty of Sleep

Getting good quality sleep can help you lose weight [5].

One of the first things I tell clients wanting to shed fat is to get their sleep schedule in order. Quality sleep helps your metabolism, which ultimately helps you burn calories efficiently [6].

FAQs

Does Walking Reduce Hip Fat?

Yes, walking can help reduce hip fat. Walking won’t spot-remove fat from your hips, but it will help you lose weight throughout your body, including your hips.

What Foods Reduce Fat In the Hips?

Healthy foods like high-protein sources, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats can help reduce fat in the hips. They won’t directly target your hips alone, but they’ll help you reduce overall body fat.

Are There Medical Procedures That Can Remove Fat From Your Hips?

Yes, there are medical procedures that can remove fat from your hips. Surgical procedures like liposuction are used to remove excess fat from specific areas of the body, such as hips, thighs, buttocks, abdomen, arms, or neck. It can also shape these areas.

What We Recommend for Fat Hips

Overall, fat loss is the best solution to get rid of fat in the hips. The plus side is that you’ll not only lose weight around your hips but all around your body.

Lower body weight loss can be arduous, so we recommend making it easier with the help of natural fat burners:

We’ve personally tested out these products, and the results speak for themselves. They’re not an overnight solution to losing fat in your hips, but they’ll speed up the process.


References:

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5296421/
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5573629/
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2951287/
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3375095/
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3519150/
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2929498/
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