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How to Get Rid of Back Fat: Causes, Exercises & Back Fat Workouts
How to Get Rid of Back Fat
Having excess fat on your upper and lower back, and the back of your neck, can be frustrating and make you feel self conscious about your body. Excess fat can also accumulate on the sides of your waist – another common term for fat in this location is “love handles”. But just what is back fat?
Back fat is that layer of fat that builds up on the muscles in your back. Some women will have back fat in their upper back, which is noticeable when fat bulges over around their bra. Both men and women can experience middle back fat which accumulates around your upper waist. As well, there is lower back fat that builds up in and around the back area of the hips.
No matter where fat gathers on your body, it may be possible to eliminate or reduce back fat. This article talks about back fat and what causes it, and what exercises and lifestyle changes you can make to help get rid of it.
Back Fat: What Causes It
Back fat doesn’t just happen to people who are overweight, it can occur no matter how much you weigh or what shape your body is in.
One of the main reasons for back fat is being overweight and having too much body fat. Each individual is different and fat stores more in some areas of the body than another. For some people excess fat stores in the stomach region, for others it’s the buttocks and thighs, and for some people fat accumulates in the back.
Another common cause of back fat is not working out the muscles on your back. If the muscles aren’t exercised correctly they start to lose strength, tone, and definition. Even if you regularly work out, you’re often focused on other areas of your body during your workout than your back.
Some research shows that genetics can play a role in fat gain, with some people genetically having more fat deposits in their upper body and back.1
Hormones can also play a role in the accumulation of back fat, particularly cortisol which is a stress hormone. Too much cortisol can cause your body to store unwanted fat.2
Having poor posture can also be attributed to back fat for the simple reason that it places more emphasis on any amount of excess fat that you may have.
Exercises for Back Fat
You may be able to get rid of back fat by exercising daily. Start with 10 minutes each day, working up to 30 to 45 minutes of workout time. Some of the best exercises for eliminating back fat and toning the muscles are cardio and strength training.
Cardio is a great exercise for burning calories and fat. Aim for a couple of hours of cardio each week. Choose exercises that elevate your heart rate and keep it elevated throughout your workout. Walking, running, biking, and swimming are all good cardio options. HIIT workouts are also a good cardio exercise. Working out in intervals of low and high intensity can help to motivate your body’s metabolism. If you’ve been doing the same cardio for a while, change up your workout with other cardio.
Strength training exercises work out all of the muscles in your body, including the back area. When you do exercises that focus on your back, you build and tone these muscles. Strength training is also good for burning fat and increasing your body’s metabolism, so you keep burning calories even when you’re not moving.3
There are specific exercises you can to that specifically target the back and waist and tone the muscles in this area. Incorporate some the following exercises into your workout routine.
Back Fat Exercise 1 – Side Crunches
Add side crunches to your workout routine at least three times per week. Crunches target your oblique muscles and may help to sculpt your waist, so you can get rid of love handles.
To perform side crunches, place a workout ball two feet from the wall. Get down, placing one hip on the ball while at the same time pushing your feet into the bottom of the floor and wall. With your fingers behind your head, pull the upper elbow in towards the wall until your body is almost upright. Do up to 20 crunches, noticing the full stretch you’re getting in the rib cage.
Back Fat Exercise 2 -Lateral Raises with Dumbbells
Lateral raises target your upper back, directly below the shoulders. This is a good exercise for sculpting and toning muscles.
Stand up tall with a 3 to 5-pound weight in each hand, with your hands by your sides. Keep your back straight and engage your core. Slowly lift the weights out to each side until your arms are parallel to the floor. Keep the elbows slightly bent when lifting up your arms to avoid locking your arms. Slowly lower your arms. Continue for 15 to 20 reps.
Exercise 3 – Bent Over Flys
Another good exercise that targets the upper and mid back are bent over flys. Hold a weight in each hand and slowly bend over from your hips. Pull your arms out to each side and raise them up to shoulder height. Slowly lower again. Repeat with sets of 8 to 12 reps.
Back Fat Exercise 4 – Floor Raises
Use this exercise to strengthen and tone the center and sides of your back. Lie on your stomach on the floor, with a 3-pound weight in each hand. While engaging your back, lift your chest a couple of inches from the floor. Bring your hands with the weights into a “T” position with your body. Release and lower down. Lift up your chest again, this time moving your arms into a “Y” position. Release and lower down. Lift up your chest again, this time moving into an “I” position, with your arms over and around your head. Repeat with 4 to 6 reps.
Exercise 5 – Mountain Climber
Mountain climber focuses on building strength throughout the back muscles. This exercise is also a good cardio workout.
Begin in a plank position – lie on the floor with your face down. Put your hands directly below your shoulders. Curl your toes and press them into the floor. Push up, using the strength in your shoulders. Keep your arms straight, but not locked into position, so that a line forms from your toes to your head. Lifting one foot off the floor, pull the knee up towards the opposite elbow. Focus on keeping your abs tight. Place your foot back down on the floor and repeat with the other side. Repeat with 15 to 20 reps.
Back Fat Exercise 6 – Yoga Moves
Yoga can help you relax and lower your cortisol levels which can lead to overeating and fat storage. As well, there are some yoga poses that will help to tone and strengthen your back and core muscles, such as Warrior 3, Half Cobra, and Half Moon.4
Why a Back Fat Workout Alone Isn’t Enough
Doing cardio, strength training, and targeted back exercises may not be enough to get rid of back fat. There are some changes you can make with your diet that may help you lose back fat easier and faster.
Eat a healthy diet – Whether you need to lose weight or not, eating healthy can help your body reduce fat deposits. If you need to lose weight, a low-calorie diet can help you safely lose fat and pounds. A healthy diet often includes a good multivitamin, and any other supplements your body may require, such as a testosterone supplement like Delta Prime.
Eat more lean protein – Lean protein helps to build up lean muscles, which can help to firm and tone your back.
Reduce portion sizes – You can improve your body’s metabolism by reducing portion sizes. Eat smaller meals more frequently throughout the day, so your body always has healthy fuel to burn. Aim for five small meals each day, with an emphasis on lean protein and vegetables and fruits.
Plan your meals – Make time to plan and prepare your meals for the week. When your meals are ready ahead of time you know exactly what you’re eating each day and can stay on track with your food plan.
Drink plenty of water – It’s important that you drink enough water every day, so your body eliminates toxins and fat. Drink eight to ten glasses of water each day to stay hydrated. Staying hydrated can also make you feel full, reducing the urge to reach for unhealthy snacks.5
Focus on good posture – Focus on straightening up when you sit and walk. Good posture not only takes the emphasis away from back fat, it also works the muscles in your back, toning and sculpting them.
- 1Jensen, MD. (2008). Role of Body Fat Distribution and the Metabolic Complications of Obesity. J Clin Endocrinon Metab. 93(11 Suppl 1). Retrieved on January 30, 2019 from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2585758/
- 2Moyer, AE. & Rodin, J. (1994). Stress-induced cortisol response and fat distribution in women. Obes Res. 2(3): 255-62. Retrieved on January 30, 2019 from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16353426
- 3Vijayakumar, A. & Yakar, S. (2011). The Intricate Role of Growth Hormone in Metabolism. Front Endocrinol. 2:32. Retrieved on January 30, 2019 from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3356038/
- 4Woodyard, C. (2011). Exploring the therapeutic effects of yoga and its ability to increase quality of life. Int J Yoga. 4(2): 49-54. Retrieved on January 30, 2019 from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3193654/
- 5Popkin, BM. & D’Anci, KE. (2010). Water, Hydration and Health. 68(8): 439-458. Retrieved on January 30, 2019 from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2908954/