Cellulite is simply fat that has formed in the layer underneath the dermis and epidermis of the skin and is characterized by a dimpling, cottage cheese, orange-peel look. Fat cells are divided into compartments by connective tissue. Men have connective tissue with a pattern that is horizontal or crisscross while women have connective tissue in the shape of honeycomb which allows fat to protrude. Cellulite is caused by many factors including poor circulation, hormones, genetics, inadequate exercise and unhealthy diet. Although there are creams, lotions and procedures that can be done to reduce cellulite, proper nutrition, cardio exercise and strength training are the safest, most effective, long-term strategies for minimizing the appearance of cellulite. Because cellulite typically appears in the hips, thighs and buttocks, here are some exercises you can perform to blast away the cellulite.
The guidelines set by the American College of Sports Medicine recommend that you perform cardiovascular exercise 3 to 5 days a week. Cardio exercise like swimming, walking, jogging, cycling and inline skating will help improve circulation and burn away excess fat that contributes to the appearance of cellulite. The cardio workout improves the functioning and capacity of the circulatory and respiratory systems, increases blood flow and the muscle's capacity to develop energy aerobically and metabolize fat. Perform cardio exercises 20 to 60 minutes at an intensity that is 80 percent of your maximum heart rate (220 - age = maximum heart rate).
Glute and Thigh Buster
Equipment Needed: Exercise Band (at least 5 feet long) Reps 20, Sets 3 Place exercise band under the feet with hands lifted behind the shoulders. The feet should be shoulder width apart. Lower the buttocks down as though you are sitting in a chair. Avoid the knees buckling inward and the knees protruding past the toes. The knees should never exceed 90 degrees. Stand back up to standing position without locking out the knees. Repeat.
Equipment Needed: One Dumbbell (10 lbs to 20 lbs) Reps 20, Sets 3 Stand in a wide stance with feet and knees turned out 45 degrees. Hold the dumbbell evenly in both hands in front of the body. Lower the buttocks down as though the back is sliding down an imaginary wall. Avoid the knees buckling forward and the knees protruding past the toes. The knees should never exceed 90 degrees. Keep the chest lifted and the shoulders back. Stand back up to standing position without locking out the knees. Repeat.
Equipment Needed: Exercise Ball (diameter about 65 cm) Reps 20, Sets 3 Lie down supine on the floor with the calves and feet on the ball, buttocks lifted, and the legs extended straight. The arms are along side the body. The body should look like a straight plank. Inhale as you bend your knees to 90 degrees pulling the ball with your feet towards the glutes. Hold for 1 second. Keep the abs and back engaged. Exhale while pushing the ball back out while straightening the legs. Hold for 5 seconds. Repeat.
Inner Thigh Squeeze
Equipment Needed: Exercise Ball (diameter about 65 cm) Reps 20, Sets 3 Lie in a supine position on the floor with the legs placed on the outside of the ball. The feet are lifted off the floor with the knees at 90 degrees. The arms are on the floor along side the body. Keep the abs engaged and the lower back pressing to the floor. Inhale to prepare and exhale as you squeeze the inner thighs against the ball simultaneously. Hold for 5 seconds and release. Breathe naturally as you hold the squeeze. Repeat.
Outer Thigh Side Step
Equipment Needed: Exercise Band (at least 5 feet long) Reps 20, Sets 3 Stand on the exercise band about hip-width apart. With the handles in hand, keep your arms down beside your body. With the feet creating tension in the tubing step touch side to side. Then, side step to the right 10 times, then side step to the left 10 times. Keep your knees slightly bent.
Known as the trainers' trainer, Carol Ann, has become one of the country's leading fitness educators. Combining national fitness certifications and a master's degree in exercise science from Middle Tennessee State University, she has achieved a 20-year career in the fitness industry. As the owner of Studio Group X Inc., she provides cutting edge personal training, consulting, freelance writing and speaking engagements.