We slather on creams to smooth it, wear jeans in 80-degree heat to hide it—and yet, about 80% of women over age 45 don’t do the best thing to actually make cellulite disappear: strength train.
Because cellulite is simply fat, many people—experts included—have claimed that the only way to lose cellulite is to lose body fat. But the most current thinking on cellulite goes a layer deeper, to the muscle that ultimately gives fat its shape. "As women age, they lose muscle," says Wayne L. Westcott, PhD,Prevention advisor and fitness research director at Quincy College. "As that muscle layer becomes thinner, weaker, and less firm, that overlying fat layer now doesn’t have a stable base. The fat crinkles and wrinkles and goes in any direction because there’s not a solid, smooth foundation underneath it."
Westcott's way of thinking explains why you can spend hours on the elliptical and your cellulite won’t budge: Even if you lose body fat, the remaining fat is still sitting on the same weak muscle tissue, giving the fat the same lumpy texture. "Cellulite is a two-fold problem, so we need a two-fold solution," Westcott says. "Strength train to get the muscles firm and strong, and lose excess body fat."
We asked Los Angeles-based fitness expert Doris Thews for the most efficient lower-body moves ever. Each exercise works nearly every part of your lower body—butt, hips, and thighs. In fact, they’re so efficient that tagging on just one of the following exercises to your regular workout 3 to 4 times a week can transform your entire lower body. Unless otherwise noted, complete one to three sets of each exercise.