Bra Bulge. Love Handles. Back Fat. However you look at it, excess fat on your back is not a pretty picture. When you put a tank top or swimsuit on and feel like you’re spilling over from the back, it can make you self-conscious and want to cover up. We’re here to change that!
Unfortunately, eliminating back fat isn’t as simple as doing a few push-ups and calling it a day. In this ultimate guide to getting rid of back fat, we give you the practical, science-backed information you need to get rid of back fat and feel more confident in your body. Learn what causes back fat and why you need a multi-step approach to getting rid of it. Then, we’ll show you how to tone up your back using our 15-minute back fat blaster workout.
Ready to say buh-bye to back fat? Then read on!
Follow these 5 proven steps to get rid of back fat:
- Eat cleaner and healthier foods
- Get moving with cardio exercises
- Strength train your entire body
- Practice good posture
- Do exercises targeting back fat
Whether it’s something that’s always bothered you, or a new frustration that has appeared with age, back fat can be a serious pain. Unfortunately, there’s a lot of misinformation out there about back fat. So let’s get down to business and see what real science says about the causes of back fat and how to reduce it.
What Causes Back Fat?
We’re all predisposed to carry more fat in specific places, but there are also several things that can cause back fat to accumulate or worsen. Let’s explore some of them.
Lack Of Use
One reason for back fat is that the back muscles are worked far less than the muscles on the front of the body. It seems bicep curls and push-ups are pretty popular, but rear delt-flys and renegade rows are a little more foreign to most. When muscles go unused, they atrophy, or lose strength. Losing strength encourages a loss of tone and definition. This leads to those loose, jiggly spots we dread. Time to tighten those babies up; no more neglecting, start doing some back fat exercises.
Trying To “Spot Reduce”
Sometimes when you identify the area of fat you don’t want, you work it to death hoping with each passing rep it will disappear one day. It won’t. Science says you can’t spot reduce body fat. “Unfortunately, subcutaneous fat loss tends to be more generalized versus just the part that is being trained,” says Lara Carlson, C.S.C.S., president of the New England Chapter of the American College of Sports Medicine. This means you can’t just work the part of your body you don’t like and expect it to go away. (So if you want to know how to get rid of lower back fat or upper back fat specifically, it doesn’t exactly matter. Fat is fat.)
You can, of course, spot “tone” an area by working a specific muscle group (like muscles in your back). But for that to make a difference with your back fat, you need to tackle the whole picture, including proper nutrition, good strength training, back fat exercises, and cardio. Translation: you need to reduce overall body fat to get rid of back fat!
If you have too much body fat it is going to end up somewhere and it usually doesn’t ask your opinion as to where that place should be. Some people struggle with fat on their belly, others are frustrated by the size of their thighs. Your back is just another place for that extra fat to make its home.
The other sticky thing about body fat is that it changes with age. Love handles might not have been a problem in your 20s but suddenly you hit your 40s and there it is! Hormones do crazy things to our bodies, and aging isn’t always friendly. If you want to get rid of back fat, the truth is you have to get rid of fat in general. While that is happening, you can work on toning and tightening the parts of your body you want to see changed.
It may not actually “create” back fat, but it definitely emphasizes the fat that you have. The Cleveland Clinic mentions how proper posture helps your physical appearance, in addition to helping keep your bones and joints healthy, lessen arthritis pain, and decrease spinal stress. It’s true, isn’t it? Posture can completely change the way you look. Bad posture can age a person more than a few lines and wrinkles around the eyes. In addition, poor posture and slouching allow extra fat and skin to “puddle” over the area in which it resides. Standing up tall and strong will pull those love handles away from the belt line and make you look longer and leaner.
How To Get Rid Of Back Fat
They say knowledge is power. So if that’s true, now that you have the reasons for the back fat on your body, let’s tackle what you can do to change it. None of the reasons above are too big to change, so let’s get to work!
You’ve probably heard this phrase by now, but if you haven’t, listen loud and clear: You can’t work off a bad diet. In an editorial by the British Journal of Sports Medicine, researchers noted that excess sugar and carbs—not physical inactivity—are primarily to blame for the growing obesity epidemic. No matter how much you move, eating poorly is working against you and it will win every time.
Excess calories, especially those in the form of sugar and unhealthy fats, end up as fat on your body and that includes your back. But eating clean doesn’t mean starving yourself. The key is to choose healthy, whole foods. Clean eating includes lots of fruits, vegetables, lean protein and healthy fats. The choices are wide open! Walk the perimeter of your local grocer or visit a farmers market just to see your options. If you’re not sure how to start, try our eBook Get Started With Clean Eating for a little guidance—we’ve got TONS of tips on how to make clean eating a natural part of your daily life.
Get Moving With Cardio
Cardio exercise burns calories and helps blast body fat. The CDC recommends 2 hours and 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise a week. Walk, bike, dance, and just get movin’! And if you really want to dig in and get serious, try a few days of steady state cardio and mix it with two days of some type of interval training such as HIIT workouts or Tabata intervals.
Varying your workouts to include both lower intensity and higher intensity activities helps shake up your stubborn metabolism and get things moving in the right direction.
Strength Train Your Entire Body, Not Just One Area
We learned earlier about losing muscle and the effects of muscle atrophy. So what can you do to get it back? Work the muscles, of course! “Without question, exercise is the most powerful intervention to address muscle loss”, explains Nathan K.LeBrasseur, Ph.D. from the Mayo Clinic. The best weapon against body fat and for a better shape is to strength train your entire body with a special focus on your back. Why?
- Muscle tissue is active. The more muscle you have, the more efficient your body is at burning calories.
- You want muscle on your whole body to be working for you all day long. Be sure to get to those larger muscles, especially legs, since those are going to be more efficient muscles on your body.
- Target those back muscles in order to see change. While spot reducing doesn’t work, it is still true that as you lose fat you want to firm up the muscle below the skin in order to create the tighter shape you are truly looking for instead of the jiggle you so dread.
Stand Up Tall
Last but not least, you can fix that posture fairly easily. Standing tall with your shoulders back and lower abs pulled in tight will make you look both taller and leaner all over. A good rule of thumb is to align the back of your head over your tailbone and your tailbone over your heels. And if posture is really a problem for you, try Pilates! Pilates teaches you to engage your core, strengthen your low back, practice good posture and keep your back and shoulders stable and strong. Professional athletes everywhere have learned the wonders of pilates. Anyone can do pilates!
The 15-Minute Workout To Get Rid Of Back Fat
Now it’s time to work on some exercises to reduce back fat! You’ve already learned that in order to get rid of those love handles you need a combination of both cardio exercise to burn off fat and strength training to tone your back. This back fat workout is going to use circuit training to combine both of these types of exercises, focusing mostly on strength moves targeting your back. During this 15-minute workout, you will alternate back and forth between a strength move and a cardio move, giving you just the balance you need to make it truly work. If you have 30 minutes, go through the routine twice and really see results!
How It Works:
- For each strength move below, perform the listed amount of reps, then go right into the cardio move and perform for 2 minutes.
- For best results, try interval-style training in the cardio section by performing the first minute at a moderate pace and the second minute going hard enough to breath heavy through your mouth—you should be almost breathless by the end.
- Grab a pair of dumbbells and lets get started! (You can also download and print off this workout by clicking the button below!)
Reverse Grip Row Double Arm Row: 12 reps
Jumping Jacks: 1 Minute Moderate. 1 Minute Go Hard!
Side Plank With Arm Extension: 12 reps on the right, 12 reps on the left
Jogging In Place: 1 Minute Moderate. 1 Minute Go Hard!
Renegade Rows: 20 total reps, alternating right and left
Jumprope: 1 Minute Moderate. 1 Minute Go Hard!
Straight Arm Press Back: 12 reps
Skaters: 1 Minute Moderate. 1 Minute Go Hard!
Single Arm Rows: 12 reps on the right, 12 reps on the left
Power Skips: 1 Minute Moderate: 1 Minute Go Hard!
Two More Quick Back Fat Workouts
Just so you have more workouts in your arsenal to fight back fat, here’s are two different quick back fat workouts to do. Perform these quick workouts first thing in the morning, on your lunch break, or on-the-go. The first one is bodyweight-only, and the second just requires a set of dumbbells.
Bye Bye Back Fat Workout
This one is just four moves! Do 15 reps of each when you need a quicker workout to tone your back and get rid of back fat for good.
1) Plank to Mid-Back Row. In plank position, pull right arm up to side of your abdominals; repeat on left side.
Do 15 reps.
2) Side Plank Scoops: Put down your bottom leg knee or go to your forearm for modification.
Do 15 both sides.
3) Swimming: Lift all four limbs up off the ground, engage your abdominals. Flutter with your arms and legs from the shoulders and hips. Keep your nose pointing down in the water with a neutral neck.
Count to 15.
4) Breast Stroke: Keep the tops of your feet on the floor. Use your mid-back muscles to breaststroke with your arms.
Do 15 reps.
Back Fat Blast Workout
This workout is three moves and requires a set of dumbbells. Use heavy enough weights that you feel fatigued and are working “comfortably hard.” Repeat the whole series twice through.
1) Renegade rows: You can do the kneeling variation if you are not able to do a full plank.
Do 10 for each arm.
2) Reverse grip rows: Arms are in front of the body holding dumbbells at hip height with palms facing the ceiling.
Do 15 reps.
3) Overhead pulls to crunches: Keep your abdominals engaged throughout!
Do 15 reps.
Now you know how to get rid of that stubborn back fat. Remember, there are no quick fixes in life but if you put your mind to it, do the back fat exercises, and stick to the 4 other steps, you’ll have your bikini body ready in no time.