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

Connor Sellers
Published by Connor Sellers | Senior Coach
Last updated: February 20, 2024
FACT CHECKED by James Cunningham, BSc, CPT
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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.

In my years as a health and performance coach, I've personally guided numerous clients to shed hip fat, tailoring workouts to their unique needs and seeing firsthand the transformations.

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

Let’s dive in.

Quick Summary

  • To reduce hip fat, it's essential to lose overall body weight and engage in exercises that strengthen and tone the hip area.
  • Effective exercises for toning the hips include squats, jump squats, side lunges, side leg raises, etc.
  • A study in the Annals of Internal Medicine links sleep deprivation with increased weight gain, showing a 55% decrease in fat loss and a 60% increase in fat-free mass loss in 14 days of moderate caloric restriction with 8.5 and 5.5 hours of nighttime sleep opportunity.
  • I've seen firsthand that dedication to regular exercise and a balanced diet is the most reliable path to achieving and maintaining a reduction in hip fat.

How To Lose Fat From Your Hips?

Woman measuring her waist

Losing fat from your hips can be achieved through overall weight loss, hip-toning exercises, or even surgery as a last resort. It also involves addressing various factors beyond calorie reduction, such as age, stress, sleep, exercise, and genetics.

It's about understanding the hidden factors, besides overeating, that contribute to fat buildup:

  • Age: With age, our bodies naturally shift weight to our hips, as noted in the study from the Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research [1].
  • Chronic Stress: According to a study published in the Obesity journal, high stress can lead to increased weight, often around the hips [2].
  • Sleep Deprivation: Not enough sleep can disrupt energy use, causing weight gain, based on a study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine journal [3].
  • Exercise Deficit: Skipping workouts means unburnt calories, which turn into fat.
  • Genetics: In women, hormonal changes during life stages like puberty, pregnancy, and menopause can boost hip fat.

To tackle this, there are three effective strategies:

  • 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

Six Effective Toning Exercises To Help

Person on a push up position

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.

From my experience guiding clients, these are the hip-toning exercises that have consistently delivered results:

1. Squats

Squats, a staple in my coaching sessions, are incredibly versatile, effectively targeting the hips along with other lower-body muscles.

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

Here's how to squat with perfect form:

  1. Stand feet just beyond shoulder width.
  2. Keep your core tight and back straight.
  3. Squat until your thighs are parallel to the ground.
  4. Pause, then rise while exhaling.
  5. Aim for 10–15 reps.

2. Jump Squats

A woman doing squats in the gym

In my sessions, I often ramp up regular squats to jump squats for a more dynamic and intense workout, greatly benefiting the hips.

Here’s how to do them: 

  1. Start in a squat position, feet shoulder-width apart.
  2. Squat until your quads are parallel to the floor.
  3. Explode up into a jump and straighten your knees.
  4. Land softly and squat again.
  5. Go for 10–15 reps or 30 seconds.

3. Side Lunges

These focus on the hips and inner thighs.

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

  1. Stand with your feet wider than your hips.
  2. Engage your core, keep your back straight, step right, and squat.
  3. Lower until your right thigh is parallel to the floor.
  4. Push off the left foot and return to the center.
  5. Do 10–12 reps per 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 side on a mat.
  2. Keep your legs straight and lift one leg as high as possible.
  3. Pause, then lower slowly.
  4. Repeat for 10–12 reps, then switch sides.

Also Read: Most Effective Exercises for Hip Bursitis

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, hip-width apart.
  2. Lift one knee to the side and up, keeping it bent.
  3. Pause, then return to start.
  4. Do 10–12 reps, then switch legs.

6. High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

Woman running outdoors

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

Research from the Journal of Obesity 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.

Lastly, for a smoother journey to losing lower body weight, consider natural fat burners as a helping hand.

Other Healthy Ways to Reduce Fat in This Area

Close up shot of a salad in a bowl

Reduce Calorie Intake

In my practice, I've always advised a simple approach: consume fewer calories. Reducing overall body weight invariably leads to less hip fat. Plus, burning more calories than you eat ramps up this effect.

Cut down on processed foods; they're often weight gain culprits. Stick to a diet rich in whole foods, lean protein, and good fats.

Avoid sugary drinks and opt for healthier options. Incorporate thermogenic foods like coconut oil, green tea, and cayenne pepper, and don't forget black or green coffee for a metabolic kick.

Another trick? Unrefined sea salt. A dash in your diet could clean out your colon and boost your metabolism.

Get Plenty of Sleep

From my experience, never underestimate sleep. It's a game-changer for weight loss, a fact I've seen time and again with clients. It's a fact confirmed by a study from the Canadian Medical Association Journal [5].

Setting a regular sleep schedule can turbocharge your metabolism, helping to burn calories more efficiently, as shown in the International Journal of Endocrinology study [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.


References:

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5296421/
  2. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28767203/
  3. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20921542/
  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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About The Author

Senior Coach
Connor Sellers holds a degree in Kinesiology and Exercise Science from Rutgers University He is an author and personal trainer with the mission to inspire people to relentlessly pursue their fitness and lifestyle goals. He mantra is that staying fit has an overall positive effect on one’s body, mind, and spirit.
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James Cunningham, BSc, CPT
Staff Writer & Senior Coach
James Cunningham, BSc, CPT holds a BSc degree in Sport & Exercise Science from University of Hertfordshire. He's a Health & Performance Coach from London that brings a unique blend of academic knowledge of health supplements and practical exercise experience to the table for his readers.
Learn more about our editorial policy
Dr. Harshi Dhingra, MBBS, MD is a published peer-reviewed author and renowned physician from India with over a decade of experience. With her MBBS from Bharati Vidyapeeth and an MD from Rajiv Gandhi University, she actively ensures the accuracy of online dietary supplement and medical information by reviewing and fact-checking health publications.
Learn more about our editorial policy

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