3 Best Exercises To Target Butt Cellulite
Ask any woman: If there’s one thing that’s worse than fat, it’s dimply fat. After all, everyone hates cellulite. And that goes double for the ladies. Yes, this affliction plagues some men, but it’s far more prevalent in females. In fact, up to 98% of adult women have some degree of cellulite, according to a recent paper from Cornell University. Read: It doesn’t matter if you’re carrying around extra pounds or are as skinny as a model, cellulite could still be a problem—especially on your butt.
Just ask actress Rachel Nichols, who stars in the action movie, Conan. Eight years ago, when Rachel was working as a model, she noticed that a cottage-cheese-like complexion began to appear on her backside. “I was a 23-year old model, but I didn’t work out or eat right,” she says. “I looked good in clothes, though.” Her strategy: Avoid making eye contact with her own butt. “You’re always told that cellulite is hereditary, and that there’s nothing you can do,” says Rachel. “You just have to live with it.” Or so she thought.
Soon after, Rachel landed a recurring role on the hit show Alias. That’s when she hired celebrity trainer Valerie Waters, who was already working with Jennifer Garner. “When we first met, Valerie said, ‘You’re a little soft,’ ” recalls Rachel. “And she was right: I was skinny-fat.” But a few weeks later? “I started noticing that the cellulite was going away. And after several months, it had disappeared completely,” says Rachel. “No massaging, no strange equipment, no nonsense. Just hard work, 3 or 4 times a week, along with a good diet.”
While there are many theories to the actual cause of cellulite, one point that’s not disputed: It’s fat. So even if you’re still thin when cellulite starts to appear, the dimply area is likely the product of an increase in body fat. Think about it: A guy can be lean, but not have six-pack abs. The reason you can’t see his washboard is simply because a layer of fat is deposited just under the skin, hiding the muscle. That doesn’t have to equate to a beer gut, of course; softening up is a gradual process. And the midsection is the place where many guys seem to collect fat initially. For lots of women, fat tends to first accumulate on their butts and the backs of their thighs.
But that’s just one part of the problem. The other? The area where fat is stored under the skin seems to have a different structure than elsewhere on the body. And as those fat cells increase in size, this structural abnormality begins to become visible on the surface of the skin, leaving indentations. That’s cellulite. The more those fat cells inflate, the more evident the cellulite becomes. The flipside: Lose the fat; say goodbye to cellulite. Trouble is, just as the butt is often the first place fat starts to appear, it’s frequently the last place it disappears. Which may explain why it seems like you can’t shake the cellulite.
The truth is, consistency and patience are your friends. “In my experience, it can take up to a year for cellulite to go completely away,” says Valerie, who has also trained Cindy Crawford, Jessica Biel, and Sasha Alexander. “But it can start to get noticeably better within weeks. And that can be very motivating, which will help you stick with it.”
So what’s Valerie’s secret? “First and foremost, you have to eat a smart diet,” she says. “But you can get slower results or faster results, depending on how disciplined you want to be. There are different options for every lifestyle and goal.”
For those who want to zap cellulite fastest, Valerie recommends that you eliminate processed foods altogether. That includes foods that contain added sugar—soda, baked goods, and candy—as well as those products that have been highly refined, such as white bread, white pasta, and French fries. She also advises that you limit alcohol consumption to two drinks a week. The upshot: You eat a whole foods diet, with an emphasis on lean meats and fresh produce. “That doesn’t mean grilled chicken and steamed broccoli forever,” says Waters. “But six weeks of being super-dedicated can speed your results and give you the momentum to keep at it.”
Of course, Waters will tell you that her true expertise is using exercise to tone and tighten a woman’s butt and thighs. How does she do it? With fast-paced circuit-training that burns tons of fat, improves cardiovascular fitness, and strengthens every muscle in the body, especially targeting the glutes and hamstrings. Here’s a quick breakdown: A typical workout might be comprised of 3 separate circuits. Each circuit is usually 3 to 5 exercises. For the first circuit, you do one exercise after the next—around 10 to 15 reps of each—with no rest in between. Once you’ve completed all the exercises, you then rest for about a minute, and repeat the entire circuit one to two more times. When you’ve finished, you move on to the second circuit, and then the third, following the same procedure for each.
While Valerie makes sure you work your entire body, she has advises an important cellulite-squelching ratio: do two lower body exercises for every one upper body exercise. It’s an approach that’s supported by research. In a recent Syracuse University study, scientists found that people burned more calories the day after they did lower-body resistance training than the day after they worked their upper body. The likely reason: “Leg muscles—like your quads and glutes—generally have more muscle mass than those of your chest and arms,” says study author Kyle Hackney, PhD. “Work more muscle during your exercise session, and your body has to expend more energy to repair and upgrade those muscles later.”