Ask Rocco: Send My Saddlebags a Packin’!

Ask Rocco: Send My Saddlebags a Packin’!

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Question: What is the best exercise to get rid of "saddle bags? I exercise about four days a week with cardio and strength training, but I can't quite find a move that targets that pesky area.
– KS

Answer: You have no doubt exhausted all your resources and body parts or you would not be writing me. The best way for me to answer this question is for me to give you a lesson in gravitational pull. I am going to take some liberties here and assume that you have been exercising the area of the hip region that you call “saddlebags.” And this couldn’t be further from what you should be doing.

When you work the hip area on the side of your legs you are actually creating a larger area for the saddlebags to sit, and that ain’t good! What needs to be done is build a more muscular “booty” or gluteal area, so that you can pull the skin that surrounds your hips up and back. This keeps gravity from pulling fat down on your thighs. The higher and rounder the butt, the better at fighting gravity it will be. Sir Issac Newton would be proud.

The trick is to build the butt without actually building your thighs in the process. Here are some exercises to accomplish that task:


  • Mountain Climbers – Get down on all fours, then position your left leg straight out in back of you while bending your right leg and bringing it underneath your torso and to your chest. Now alternate this process for 60 seconds.


  • Lunges (on the same leg) – Step forward with one leg and lower your upper body down, bending your leg (don't step out too far). You should have about two to two and a half feet between your feet. Do not allow your knee to go forward beyond your toes as you come down, keeping your front shin perpendicular to the ground. Push up and back and repeat with the other leg or do all the reps with one leg then switch at least 30-35 repetitions on the same leg (do not alternate!) Switch legs and do 30-35 more.


  • Nautilus Hip & Back (at the gym)











– Illustration taken from Bill Pearl’s “Getting Stronger”, Shelter Publications, 1985

Try these for at least six weeks and watch those “saddles” seemingly melt away.