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The 10 Best Exercises to Target Cellulite-Prone Areas

Regular exercise can help minimize the appearance of cellulite and tone these stubborn areas.
FACT CHECKED BY Alexa Mellardo

Cellulite, the dimpled appearance of skin commonly found on the thighs, hips, buttocks, and abdomen, is a common concern for many of my clients. While it's a natural occurrence caused by fat deposits beneath the skin's surface, regular exercise can help minimize the appearance of cellulite by toning muscles and improving circulation. Here are 10 effective exercises specifically designed to target cellulite-prone areas, along with sets and reps to incorporate into your fitness routine.

Incorporating these 10 exercises into your regular workout routine can help address cellulite-prone areas, improve the overall appearance, and tone of your skin. Remember to pair exercise with a balanced diet and hydration for optimal results. As with any fitness program, it's essential to consult with a healthcare professional before beginning—especially if you have any underlying health conditions or concerns. Stay consistent and patient, and you'll be on your way to smoother, firmer skin in no time.

Keep reading for the 10 best exercises for cellulite-prone areas. And when you're finished, don't miss Here's How Long You Need To Walk Every Day for Weight Loss.


reverse lunges

Lunges are excellent for targeting the thighs and buttocks, two areas prone to cellulite buildup. This exercise engages multiple muscle groups simultaneously, helping to firm and tone these troublesome spots.

Stand tall with your feet hip-width apart. Take a large step forward with your right foot, lowering your body until both knees are bent at a 90-degree angle. Keep your back straight and your front knee aligned with your ankle. Push back up to the starting position, and repeat on the other side. Aim for three sets of 12 to 15 lunges on each leg.

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Squats are a powerhouse exercise for toning the glutes, thighs, and hips, making them an effective weapon against cellulite. They also help improve overall lower body strength and stability.

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, toes pointing slightly outward. Lower your body as if you're sitting back in a chair, keeping your chest up and your knees aligned with your toes. Go as low as you can while maintaining proper form, ideally until your thighs are parallel to the ground. Push through your heels to return to the starting position. Perform three sets of 12 to 15 squats.


illustration of step-ups

Step-ups primarily target the quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes, making them an effective exercise for reducing cellulite on the thighs and buttocks. They also improve balance and coordination.

Find a sturdy bench or step platform. Step onto the platform with your right foot, pressing through your heel to lift your body. Bring your left foot to meet your right on the platform. Step back down with your right foot, followed by your left. Repeat, alternating legs. Aim for three sets of 12 to 15 step-ups per leg.

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Glute Bridges

glute bridge

Glute bridges isolate and strengthen the glute muscles, helping to lift and firm the buttocks while reducing the appearance of cellulite in that area.

Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor, hip-width apart. Engage your core, and squeeze your glutes as you lift your hips toward the ceiling. Pause at the top for a moment, then lower your hips back down. Repeat for three sets of 15 to 20 repetitions.


barbell deadlift

Deadlifts are a compound exercise that primarily targets the hamstrings and glutes, making them effective for toning and tightening the back of the thighs, an area prone to cellulite.

Stand with your feet hip-width apart, holding a barbell or dumbbells in front of your thighs. Hinge at the hips, keeping your back flat as you lower the weight toward the ground. Keep the weight close to your body as you lower it down, feeling a stretch in your hamstrings. Drive through your heels to return to a standing position, squeezing your glutes at the top. Perform three sets of 10 to 12 deadlifts.

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Side-lying Leg Lifts

side lying leg raises illustration

Side-lying leg lifts target the outer thighs, helping to sculpt and tone this area while reducing the appearance of cellulite.

Lie on your side with your legs straight and stacked on top of each other. Rest your head on your bottom arm, and place your top hand on the floor in front of you for stability. Lift your top leg toward the ceiling, keeping it straight and engaging your outer thigh muscles. Lower your leg back down with control. Perform three sets of 15 to 20 leg lifts on each side.

Walking or Running

illustration of woman on a brisk walk

Cardiovascular exercises like walking or running help to increase circulation and burn excess fat, which can reduce the appearance of cellulite all over the body.

Choose a comfortable pace and duration for your walk or run. Incorporate hills or inclines to increase the intensity and target the lower-body muscles even more. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity cardio most days of the week.

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Jumping Jacks

jumping jacks

Jumping jacks are a simple yet effective exercise for boosting heart rate and engaging multiple muscle groups, including the thighs, hips, and buttocks.

Stand with your feet together and your arms at your sides. Jump your feet out to the sides while raising your arms overhead. Jump back to the starting position. Continue at a brisk pace for one to two minutes. Repeat for three sets.

Bicycle Crunches

bicycle crunches

Bicycle crunches engage the abdominal muscles, helping to tighten and tone the stomach area where cellulite may be present.

Lie on your back with your hands behind your head and your legs lifted, knees bent at a 90-degree angle. Bring your right elbow toward your left knee while straightening your right leg. Switch sides, bringing your left elbow toward your right knee while straightening your left leg. Continue alternating sides in a pedaling motion. Aim for three sets of 15 to 20 reps on each side.


man swimming concept

Swimming is a low-impact, full-body workout that effectively targets cellulite-prone areas while improving overall muscle tone and cardiovascular health.

Choose your preferred swimming stroke (freestyle, breaststroke, backstroke, etc.). Swim laps at a moderate to vigorous intensity for 20 to 30 minutes. Aim to incorporate swimming into your fitness routine two to three times per week for best results.

Tyler Read, BSc, CPT
Tyler Read is a personal trainer and has been involved in health and fitness for the past 15 years. Read more about Tyler
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