The first time you see cellulite on your body is akin to seeing that first gray hair: it catches you off guard. It usually happens in the dressing room, where overhead fluorescent lights become capable of illuminating every last wrinkle and dimple on your body. And then you spot it…usually near your derrière: cellulite.
You don’t have to be overweight or a certain age to get cellulite; in fact, it’s something 93% of women have. While you may not be able to completely rid yourself of cellulite, there are things you can do to get rid of it. (Spoiler alert: strength training is the chepeatest cellulite treatment out there!)
So before you have a panic attack in the H&M dressing room, sit back, breathe deep, and get ready to learn the seven best exercises to reduce cellulite naturally plus a few facts about cellulite.
7 Best Exercises To Reduce Cellulite
These seven strength training exercises focus on the most cellulite-prone areas of your lower body, including the glutes and thighs. Try these exercises 2-3 times per week for best results. You will need a long resistance band for two of the exercises. Perform each move 8-12 times then move to the next one. Go through the sequence two times for best results.
1. Plié Squat
Plié squats tone your inner thighs and glute muscles to create a firmer, more lifted butt.
- Stand with feet slightly wider than shoulder distance apart and toes turned out. Bend knees, lowering torso and keeping your back straight and abs tight. Tuck your tailbone.
- Squeeze your glutes and come to standing position.
2. Pistol Squat
Pistol squats are an effective lower body exercise that strengthen your glutes, quads and core while training your body for better balance and ankle stability.
- Stand with feet hip-distance apart and extend one leg long in front of the body.
- Bring hands to hips or the front of your body for balance. Sit back into a squat with the weight in the heel of the foot, then slowly stand back up using your glute and hamstring muscles. Repeat for desired number of reps and switch sides.
3. Side Lunge
Side lunges strengthen the quadriceps, glutes and hamstrings while targeting both the inner and outer thighs.
- Start standing with legs slightly wider than shoulder-distance apart and toes pointed forward.
- Shift your bodyweight to one leg, bending the knee until it reaches a 90-degree angle and the other leg is straight. Glutes are pressing back behind you. Return to center and switch sides.
4. Elevated Lunge
Elevated lunges are a version of the traditional lunge that focuses on strengthening your glutes, quads, hamstrings and calves.
- Begin by standing a few feet in front of a step and reach your left foot back so toes are on the bench and heels lifted.
- Bend the right knee, lowering your body toward the floor until both knees are bent at a 90-degree angle. If your right knee extends in front of your ankle when you lower, move your right foot farther forward.
- Squeeze the glute as you press yourself back to start, keeping the weight in your right leg. Continue moving down and up for desired number of reps and switch sides.
5. Resistance Band Alternating Glute Squeeze
Resistance band glute squeezes use the band to target the outer thighs and the glutes, helping to tone and shape your lower body.
- Hold handles next to hips with elbows bent and place both feet on the band, hip-width apart.
- Lift right foot and press the band back at an angle squeezing your glute. Keep leg straight. Release and switch sides.
6. Resistance Band Butt Blaster
The resistance band butt blaster uses the resistance of the band’s pressure to strengthen the glute muscles.
- Kneel on floor and wrap band under right foot, placing hands down under shoulders while holding handles against the floor.
- Lift right knee off the floor slightly and push right foot back to extend leg straight against the band, squeezing your glute.
- Release slowly, bringing knee back in to a bent position. Continue for desired reps and switch feet.
7. Single Leg Hamstring Bridge
Single leg hamstring bridges are a great exercise that strengthen the hamstrings, glutes, core and lower back.
- Lie on back with bent knees hip distance apart, and feet flat on mat stacked under the knees. Extend one leg long towards the ceiling.
- Squeeze glutes and lift hips off the mat into a bridge. Lower and lift the hips for desired number of reps, then repeat on other side.
Great job completing one round! Get a drink of water, go back to the top of the list and go through the entire set one more time.
Cellulite 101: Interesting Facts About Cellulite
Now that you have the moves to target cellulite at the source, check out a few fast facts about this very common type of fat:
What is Cellulite?
In short, cellulite is a type of fat. However, its unique, dimply appearance is because this particular type of subcutaneous fat is stuck between the muscle and the fibrous cords that connect the skin to the muscle. The more fat cells that accumulate, the more they push against the skin and cause those cords to pull down. This creates the “cottage cheese” appearance you love to hate. And the looser the muscle fibers are in any part of your body, the easier it is for the fat to push through like little pillows.
At What Age Do You Get Cellulite?
After puberty, pretty much anyone can get cellulite, regardless of their weight. Young girls can have it, but it actually becomes more visible in older women simply because their skin is thinner. In addition, women and men alike tend to gain fat and lose muscle with age, both of which contribute to having cellulite.
Where Does Cellulite Usually Show Up?
Cellulite can show up anywhere that fat accumulates, but it’s most commonly found on the butt and thighs. These areas carry the most fat, so they naturally have more of a chance of accumulating cellulite.
Is Cellulite Genetic?
Yes, cellulite tends to be passed on through families. (Thanks, Mom!) But as you saw in the beginning of this article, there are specific strength training exercises that can help reduce the appearance of cellulite on your lower body.
Do Skinny People Get Cellulite?
Yes! Having cellulite doesn’t mean you are overweight. Thin people have it. Even models have it. (They just have professional air-brushing and spray-tanning!) However, if you do happen to be overweight, losing weight can reduce cellulite.
Related: How To Get A Butt You Will Love
Can I Get Rid of Cellulite if I Lose Enough Weight?
You may reduce the appearance of cellulite if you’re currently overweight. Losing weight will shrink your fat cells and reduce your body fat. However, as we’ve pointed out, thin people get cellulite too. So shed any extra weight that may be exacerbating your cellulite, but then focus on practical solutions like the strength training exercises in this article that will firm you up head-to-toe.
Do Creams or Other Treatments Reduce Cellulite?
Probably not. According to the Mayo Clinic, cellulite treatments are mostly ineffective: “Cellulite treatments, including massages or cellulite creams, advertise remarkable results. But most of these treatments don’t live up to their claims.” In fact, most doctors agree that even the extreme surgeries like liposuction may not reduce your cellulite. Save your money and spend it on home gym equipment!
So… Is Getting Rid of Cellulite Impossible?
We love the phrase “progress, not perfection.” The truth is, getting completely cellulite-free skin may not be attainable. The models you see in the magazines have been spray-tanned and photo-shopped so many times, any hint of cellulite they possess is not going to show up on the glossy pages of your magazine. However, if you try the seven exercises listed above, you can tighten and tone your body and reduce the appearance of cellulite.
Strength training is the best way to reduce the appearance of cellulite, and it costs nothing. When you build nice, firm muscle underneath your skin, it will fill the space with solid structure and create a smoother surface. Basically the webbing of muscle fibers tighten up and they won’t allow the fat to push through. Plus, the more muscle means the more fat burn, and more fat burn means less fat to produce cellulite! Boom!
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