If you’re a woman, you’ve most certainly heard of the phrase “saddle bags” which is a euphamism (if you can call it a euphamism) for those stubborn pockets of fat that tend to accumulate on women around the outsides of there thighs, creating, well, a look of saddle bags.
Yep, it’s taken from those convenient bags that hang off the sides of motorcycles to hold items, on either side of the motorcycle, and it’s the perfect way to describe these pockets of stubborn fat that so many women have, because in a nutshell, that’s what they look like.
These pockets of extra fat are what give women a womanly shape and curve to their body, but they can also be large and distracting, and give a woman a pear shape, or simply make a woman’s body look disproportionate when they grow out of control, usually in relation to when we gain weight or take a really long time off of going to the gym or working out. Many times, saddle bags are hereditary.
I for one, inherited them from my mother and my grandmother, who are skinny, but they’ve always had that extra pocket of fat on the thighs, so it’s always been a problem area for me, especially when I put a few pounds on, because that’s exactly where those extra pounds all like to go – to the thighs.
I know there are some of you out there who are reading this and going “yes!”, I have the same problem, and yes it does run in my family on the women’s side! But take heart, there are some exercises you can do to help minimize the look of saddle bags on the sides of your thighs, and of course a low fat and quality protein diet always helps as well, so the fat cells shrink and in turn shrink this area.
Exercises cannot completely eliminate saddle bags on their own. Yes, they can help to pull them in and tone them, resulting in a smaller, more compact appearance, but you also must watch your diet. Isn’t this always the unfortunate truth of shrinking any part of our anatomy though?
OK, now let’s talk about some simple aerobic machine exercises we can do to help minimize the appearance of large thighs, AKA saddle bags. A very simple one is to use the elliptical machine and slightly turn the feet out as if you are walking like a duck.
Turning the feet out helps to isolate the area on the sides of the thighs, and the aroebic activity combined with the isolation of the muscles in this area can help to pull and sculpt the saddle bag problem area. The elliptical machine is one of my favorites for helping sculpt and tone my buttocks and thighs, without bulking them up, and they are great for helping sculpt this problem area as well.
Also, going backwards on the elliptical can help sculpt out this area as well, if you can, with pointed out feet, but if it’s too uncomfortable, just go backwards for a few minutes without inverting the feet. Every little bit of diversification in positioning will help this area.
Running on the treadmill or even walking doesn’t compare to the elliptical if you want to concentrate on the thighs, because the elliptical’s motion is much more conducive to working this area since it is a half circle motion, and this targets that tiny area much better and more effectively.
Now, onto some more simple isometric-style exercises that you can do anywhere. You don’t need any equipment for these, just a little endurance and muscle to power your way through them like a champ, all the while thinking of how toned your thighs are going to look by doing them consistently, and how you’ll fit into those jeans without getting stuck at the thighs when pulling them on.
This one is a great one, and one of my favorites currently because it sounds easy, but when you start doing it, you will see that it is truly a great isolation exercise.
Begin laying on the floor (either a carpeted floor, or get a yoga mat or a mat with cusioning to protect your back and vertebrae). Put both of your legs straight up into the air, so that your body looks like it is at a perfect ninety degree angle. Now, put the bottoms of your feet together.
This will create a slightly pigeon-toed look and may not feel very natural at first, but bear with me. Making sure you keep the bottoms of your feet together the whole time, slowly pull the legs down, almost as if your legs are one mechanism, moving up and down, in a diamond shape.
Bring them straight down to the juncture of your thighs, all the while keeping the bottoms of your feet together. You should feel some sort of isolation of the sides of your thighs, and if you don’t you may be performing the exercise incorrectly, so re-assess your positioning and technique.
After you bring your legs down, then begin to start moving them up, with your feet still velcroed together, and bring them to a straight up position again, maintaining the bottom of the feet touching.
Do as many as you can. When you get good at this exercise, you can begin to do a slight variation of it, and move the legs out from the body, going at more of a one hundred ten degree angle than a ninety degree one. You will still feel the isolation, your just working a slightly different area of these stubborn saddle bags.
Next are the more obvious choices that help wittle away that stubborn thigh fat, and those are the infamous and dreaded lunges. Yep, lunges are one of the best exercises you can do for those stubborn fat pockets that accumulate around your thigh areas.
Some of my favorites that I do a lot when I notice my thighs are starting to be the sticking point for my jeans not fitting, is the side lunge. If you repeat the lunges around eight times for three sets, this is a good way to not only burn fat and sculpt out muscle, but also to keep the calorie burning up and create what’s called muscle confusion.
Side lunges look like forward lunges or squats, only one leg is straight out to the side, planted on the floor, while the other knee is bent, toes facing out to the other wall, away from you, and you are lunging so that the isolated area is the side of the thigh rather than the quadriceps or buttocks.
They are hard to do for many women, but I promise you, if you continue with them and stick to it, you’ll be doing three sets of eight lunges in no time at all, if not more, and you’ll be on your way to a much smaller upper thigh area!