Exercise does not guarantee cellulite reduction. However, research suggests that certain exercises may help reduce cellulite for some people.

Cellulite is a condition in which a person’s skin becomes dimpled and bumpy. It is a completely natural and common occurrence.

Cellulite usually develops around the stomach, thighs, and buttocks, although it can also sometimes form on the arms.

Cellulite does not damage a person’s health, but some people may wish to make it less prominent for aesthetic reasons.

a woman sits on the ground stretching her legs to warm up before performing exercises to reduce celluliteShare on Pinterest
Westend61/Getty Images

Certain exercises can help tone specific areas of the body on which cellulite commonly occurs. They can also contribute to a reduction in overall body fat, which can reduce the appearance of cellulite.

1. Aerobic exercise

Aerobic exercise involves a sustained period of activity that increases a person’s heart and breathing rates.

Regular aerobic exercise can help people burn calories and, alongside a healthy diet, it can aid in weight loss. Weight loss can lessen the appearance of an individual’s cellulite.

Some common aerobic exercises include:

A person can perform aerobic exercise every day. However, it is important to remember that some exercises, such as running and cycling, can pose some injury risk.

For this reason, it can be helpful to keep an aerobic exercise routine varied.

Learn more about cardio training for weight loss here.

2. Curtsy lunge

Other exercises may help reduce a person’s cellulite by building muscle in the affected area. For instance, curtsy lunges help strengthen the gluteus medius, quads, and hamstrings.

People can follow the steps below to perform curtsy lunges:

  • Stand with the feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Perform a curtsying motion by bending the left leg while moving the right leg backward, crossing over the midline. The right foot should land at a diagonal behind the left leg.
  • Briefly pause in this position before using the left foot to push back to the starting position.
  • Switch the legs, and repeat the above process. Performing the move on both sides counts as 1 rep.
  • Perform 3 sets of 10 reps, with a 1-minute rest between sets.

Strength-building exercises are most effective when the body has enough time to recover from the effort. Therefore, it is best to schedule recovery days to avoid performing the same exercises on consecutive days.

A person should perform this exercise 2–3 times per week.

3. Lateral lunge

The lateral lunge, or side lunge, strengthens the gluteus, quads, and hamstrings.

These are the steps to perform lateral lunges:

  • Stand with the feet shoulder-width apart and the arms to the side.
  • Step to the side with the right leg, keeping the left leg straight, and bend the right knee to lower into a squat position on the right side.
  • Keep the chest up to maintain balance.
  • Push back up with the right leg to return to the starting position.
  • Perform 12 reps on each side.

A person should perform lateral lunges 2–3 times per week.

4. Stepup with reverse lunge

This exercise targets the glutes, quads, and hamstrings. It requires a low bench or another slightly elevated surface.

To perform stepups with reverse lunges:

Stand 1–2 feet away from the bench.

  • With the right foot, step onto the bench while moving the left knee upward.
  • Lower the left leg and step off the bench into the starting position.
  • As the left leg reaches the floor, lung backward with the right leg.
  • Return to the starting position.
  • Perform 3 sets of 10 reps on each leg, resting for 1 minute between sets.

A person should perform this exercise 2–3 times per week.

5. Glute bridge

Glute bridges work a person’s glutes without putting too much pressure on their lower back.

People can follow these steps to perform glute bridges:

  • Lie on the floor with the knees bent, the shins vertical, and the arms at the side with the palms of both hands facing the floor.
  • Push through the heels to raise the hips off the ground, forming a straight line from the upper back to the knees.
  • Briefly pause in this position while engaging the core.
  • Return to the starting position.
  • Perform 3 sets of 15–20 reps, resting for 1 minute between sets.

A person can make this exercise more challenging by stretching one leg out straight so that they are using only one leg to push the hips off the ground.

As with other strength-building exercises, a person should perform glute bridges 2–3 times per week.

6. Split squat

This exercise, which some people refer to as the Bulgarian split squat, also requires an elevated surface, ideally a bench. Split squats target the quads, hamstrings, and glutes.

Split squats require the following series of moves:

  • Stand next to the bench facing away from it.
  • Plant the right foot about a lunge-length away from the bench and place the top of the left foot on the bench behind.
  • Lower down into a lunge position with the right knee bent at 90 degrees and the left knee nearly touching the ground.
  • Push mostly through the right foot to return to the starting position.
  • Perform 12 reps on each leg.

Some people might like to make this exercise more difficult by holding a dumbbell in each hand.

A person should perform this exercise 2–3 times per week.

7. Pushups

Pushups require no equipment and target the chest, shoulders, and triceps.

To perform pushups:

  • Begin in a plank position. The palms should be shoulder-width apart on the floor with the arms straight and the toes together.
  • Keeping the body straight, slowly bend the elbows to lower the body toward the floor.
  • Once the chest or chin is 1–2 inches from the floor, pause briefly.
  • Push back up to the starting position.
  • Perform 3 sets of 5–10 reps, with a 1-minute rest between sets.

People who find this exercise too challenging can modify it by lowering the knees so that they touch the floor, engaging the core to stay locked into this position.

A person should perform pushups 2–3 times per week.

8. Dumbbell rows

As well as targeting the biceps, dumbbell rows help build strength in the shoulders and lats.

To perform dumbbell rows:

  • Keeping the back straight, stand with the knees sight bent, tilting slightly forward from the hips.
  • With both arms straight and the wrists facing each other, hold one dumbbell in each hand.
  • Pull both hands toward the ribs and then pause briefly with the elbows bent and the arms parallel with the torso.
  • Move the arms back to the starting position.
  • Perform 3 sets of 8–10 reps with a 1-minute break between sets.

A person should perform dumbbell rows 2–3 times per week.

Cellulite is a common cosmetic condition that most often affects females.

One article notes that about 85% of women over the age of 20 years may have cellulite.

It can be difficult to reduce cellulite. In fact, research suggests that no long-term treatments are effective.

For this reason, exercise may be the best option for those looking to reduce the appearance of cellulite.

There is little scientific data about the amount of time that it takes to get rid of cellulite. However, exercise offers many benefits, so there is no reason for a person not to try using it as a long-term measure to reduce cellulite, unless their doctor advises against it.

Regular exercise may help reduce cellulite, though there is no guarantee that it will be effective.

Even if exercises do not successfully reduce cellulite, regular vigorous exercise may benefit both body composition and mood. As a result, it may help a person feel more confident about their body.

It is important to exercise in a safe manner to avoid injury.

Anyone concerned about potential injuries should consult a doctor before beginning a new exercise program.