Cellulite: it’s something that so many of us have, but none of us want— and, boy, is it stubborn! Sure, there are plenty of beauty DIYs and costly procedures that yield good results, but the very best thing you can do to banish the offending fat is to—surprise, surprise—exercise!
Wayne L. Wescott, PhD., a fitness research director and advisor with Prevention, says that reducing the appearance of cellulite through exercise is all about 1) losing fat and 2) gaining muscle through targeted exercises. This means that simple dieting or cardio won’t get rid of that dreaded “cottage cheese thigh”— you need to be willing to push yourself a bit further!
“As women age, they lose muscle. As that muscle layer becomes thinner, weaker, and less firm, that overlying fat layer doesn’t have a stable base. The fat crinkles and wrinkles and goes in any direction because there’s not solid, smooth foundation underneath it,” Wescott explains.
Lift and Squat that Cellulite Away!
When it comes to busting cellulite, there are 2 categories of exercises in which you will need to focus: squats and lifts. Squats target what is normally considered to be the cellulite “trouble areas” – the backs of the thighs and the butt – while leg lifts serve as whole-body exercises that not only bust fat in your legs, they also help to strengthen both your back and core.
Protip: Before jumping into the workout, make sure that you have taken the time to stretch!
- Start in a neutral position with your feet about 3-feet apart, pointing out, so that they are facing opposite sides of the room.
- Lower your body to the ground, being careful that you keep your hips forward. Dip down until your thighs are parallel with the floor.
- Repeat the above, but this time add heel raises on both sides at the end of the move. Repeat 15x on each side.
- Stand with your feet hip-width distance apart. Tighten your core and lower down by bending at the knees. Keep going until your thighs are parallel with the floor.
- Return up to your starting position, but instead of setting your heels on the floor, shift the weight to the balls of your feet, then lower down. Repeat 15x.
- Start by standing with your feet about an inch or two apart. Before going into the pose, make sure that your arms are parallel and your palms are facing inward.
- Exhale and bend the knees, so that your thighs are parallel to the floor below you. Your knees will inch out over your feet and your torso will lean over the thighs, at a right angle. Hold for 30 seconds.
- Work your outer-thigh muscles with this handy exercise. Begin by standing with your feet, shoulder-distance apart with your hands on your hips.
- Cross your right foot behind your left foot so that your inner thighs touch in the middle. Bend your knee at a 90-degree angle then return to the starting position.
- Finish by raising your leg to the side, as high as you can. Go back to the beginning pose. Repeat 15x.
- Strap on some ankle weights and get down on all fours, placing your forearms flat on the ground. Ensure that your back is flat, not arched or hunched.
- Lift your right foot towards the ceiling, with your gaze focusing down towards the mat. Continue to lift until your thigh is parallel to the ground. Flex your foot and hold for a couple of seconds.
- Repeat on each side 15x.
- Lay flat so that your lower back is flush with the mat. Center your hips so that they are facing the ceiling. Keep those buttocks engaged!
- Lift your rear up towards the ceiling, being sure that you are lifting from your core. Repeat 30x.
- Grab a resistance band (preferably with handles or grips) and kneel on the floor with both knees down.
- Wrap the center of your band around your right foot and extend the leg out, so that your thigh is parallel with the floor.
- Return to the starting position and repeat 15x on each side.
These exercises are safe and effective to do every day, but it’s important that you rest those aching muscles. Dr. Wescott recommends maintaining a regular cardio schedule and performing the lifts and squats 3 to 4 days per week as part of your “leg plan”. Sounds easy enough!
Now that you know how to get started on your very own cellulite-smoothing journey, we’d love to hear from you! Have you tried any of these squat or lift exercises before? If so, which ones have been most effective for you? Who is your favorite fitness guru?