10 Best Exercises for Back Fat (From a Personal Trainer)

James Cunningham, BSc, CPT
Published by James Cunningham, BSc, CPT | Staff Writer & Senior Coach
Last updated: January 23, 2024
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The practice of physical training dates back to Ancient Greece.

Over time, the approach to fitness has evolved from throwing stones, employment of fitness machinery to spot reduction, which remains a popular myth today.

That being the case, we reviewed some of the back exercises or what others call "bra bulge back workout" to see how effective they are for burning fat. Let's figure it out.

Quick Summary

  • The back exercises for burning fat are lat pulldowns, dumbbell upright rows, reverse flys, pull-ups, lateral leg raises, superman, bridges, and seated resistance band rows.
  • Upper back fat, lower back fat, and mid-back fat are the types of back fat.
  • According to BetterMe, natural factors that impact fat retention and loss include age, genetics, and hormonal issues.
  • In my opinion, a balanced approach combining strength training and cardio yields the best results for back fat reduction.

Can Exercise For Back Fat Reduce Body Fat?

A man in the gym doing exercise for back

Yes, exercise for stubborn back fat can reduce body fat.

Contrary to popular belief, you can't target fat loss in specific areas. A mix of back exercises, cardio, and weightlifting is key for overall fat reduction and muscle toning, as Muscle and Fitness confirms [1].

Successful weight loss involves healthy eating, regular exercise, and a balanced lifestyle. Including cardiovascular activities like running or cycling in your fitness routine enhances calorie burn and weight loss.

In my experience as a personal trainer, clients who adopt this comprehensive approach see significant improvements in both weight loss and muscle toning.

Is It Hard To Get Rid Of Back Fat?

A woman doing a jog outdoors

Eliminating back fat is challenging, but targeting surrounding muscles can help.

In my fitness training experience, deadlifts are particularly effective for bodybuilders aiming to lose back fat. Combining deadlifts with a proper nutrition plan is a robust approach for reducing back and overall body fat.

Also, shedding fat depends on several factors. Understanding what causes them might cut the deal.

According to BetterMe, fat loss is influenced by various factors, including age, genetics, hormonal imbalances, and lifestyle choices [2].

While we can't fully control natural factors, addressing modifiable aspects like diet, exercise, and managing conditions like thyroid issues or PCOS through medical guidance can significantly improve fat loss.

It's also beneficial to understand the role of hormones in fat distribution. Hormonal imbalances, such as those caused by thyroid issues or PCOS, can affect where fat is stored, including the back area.

Types Of Back Fat

  • Upper Back Fat - These are extra fat that bulges on the sides of the bra strap.
  • Mid-Back Fat - These are excess fat that folds just above the back of the waistline.
  • Lower Back Fat (Love handles) - These are extra fat accumulating on the back of your waistline and spills over on top of your jeans.

What Are The Exercises That Get Rid Of Back Fat And Aid Body Fat Loss?

There are exercises for the back that aids body fat loss.

Here are some of the best back exercises:

1. Lat Pulldown

shirtless man using a lat pulldown machine

The lat pulldown is a powerful workout that targets the latissimus dorsi or the "lats" of the back muscles. It also exercises the lower trapezius muscles and rhomboid muscles to promote good posture and spinal stability.

Steps To Get It Done

Start by grabbing the bar with a wide overhand grip, and slowly pull the bar down as you sit. Secure your feet and legs in the lower and top pads.

Make sure you feel pressure on top of your legs with feet stable in the ground.

Keep your back straight and chest up. Start pulling down the bar toward chest level while squeezing the shoulder blades together. Hold shortly, then raise the bar back up gradually.

Repeat wide grip lat pulldown.

2. Dumbbell Upright Rows

woman lifting dumbbells in both arms

An upright row is a proven exercise that works on your shoulders and upper back. It conditions the upper body while building muscle mass and strength.

By pulling weights towards you, you can specifically target and engage the muscles in your upper back, helping to improve their strength and tone.

Including upright rows in your workout routine can contribute to a well-rounded upper body workout and aid in achieving your fitness goals.

Steps To Get It Done

Stand with feet shoulder-width apart. Hold the dumbbell in each hand, in front of your body. Keep palms facing your body.

Lift your hands straight up until your hands are under your chin, then lower down the weights slowly while keeping your core tight and shoulders back.

Repeat.

3. Reverse Fly

woman in a reverse fly position

The reverse fly is an excellent back workout targeting the rhomboids, lats, trapezius, or "traps" in your back. It is a perfect routine to strengthen your shoulders and upper back to improve posture and balance.

Steps To Get It Done

Here's how to do a reverse fly, according to Cathy Dean, founder of Avocadu and expert on low carb diets:

Position by standing with your feet shoulder-distance apart, legs slightly bent.

Hold a dumbbell in each hand. Next, lean your upper body forward, and let your arms hang straight forward.

Start by raising your arms to the sides until they are parallel to the ground. Let the weights hang towards the floor, palms facing each other. Keep your abs tight, back straight, knees slightly bent.

Then, lower them back to the starting position.

Repeat

4. Pull-Ups

man using a pull up bar in a gym

Pull up is an upper body exercise that primarily works on your lats. It also engages the lower traps in your back to improve body strength.

Steps To Get It Done

Start by dangling on a pull-up bar with your palms facing forward, with your entire body extended. Pull your body up and stop until the bar is over your chin.

Then, lower yourself down slowly and pull back up.

Repeat.

5. Lateral Leg Raises

back view of a woman doing side leg raises with a band

The lateral leg raise is a powerful exercise that works on the hip abductors to strengthen the hips and lower back. It helps support your balance and good posture.

Steps To Get It Done

Stand with your toes pointing forward, feet hip-width apart. Place your hands on your hips. Next, flex your right foot and lift your right leg out to the side.

Shift your weight into your left foot. Then, slowly bring your right leg back down.

Repeat and switch to work your left leg.

6. Sperman

man in a superman position

The superman exercise is an excellent exercise that works your lower back. It strengthens muscles that support the spine to promote good posture.

Steps To Get It Done

Position by lying flat on your stomach, arms and legs extended, and keeping a neutral spine. Start by raising both your arms and legs off the floor. Hold this position for a few seconds.

Return to the starting position and repeat.

7. Bridges

shirtless man in a bridge position on a yoga mat

The bridge exercise is a perfect low-impact workout that targets your lower back. It helps to stabilize the back and improves hip mobility.

Steps To Get It Done

Start by lying flat on your back, knees bent to make a 90-degree angle, and feet flat on the ground. Next, lift your buttocks to form a straight line.

Hold the position briefly, then slowly lower your body to the ground.

Return to the starting position and repeat.

8. Seated Resistance Band Row

woman using a resistance band seated on the floor

The Seated Resistance Band Row is a safe exercise for people with lower back problems. It targets the rhomboids and lats and helps define the upper and middle back to promote good posture.

Steps To Get It Done

Position by sitting down on the floor, legs extended forward. Loop your resistance band around your feet, keeping them straight and flexed.

Next, grab on the other end of the band, with arms straight, and pull it towards your ribcage.

Squeeze your shoulder blades behind you as you flex your back muscles, then straighten back your arms in a controlled manner.

Return to the starting position and repeat.

9. T.Y.I. Exercise

man flat on his stomach on a yoga mat

T.Y.I. exercise is a fun and creative back exercise that works your upper and lower back muscles. It utilizes hand movements to shape the letters T.Y. and I. and aims to firm and slim your back.

Steps To Get It Done

Position by lying flat on your stomach with your arms bent close to your body. Extend them to your sides so that your body will look like a letter "T."

Raise your chest and hold the position for a few seconds. Next, lower your body and move your arms to form a "Y." Lift your chest and sustain briefly.

Then, lower them down and move them to shape an "I." Lift your chest, hold for a few seconds.

Return to the starting position and repeat.

10. Single-Arm Dumbbell Row

man in a gym using a dumbbell

Single-Arm Dumbbell Rows is a great exercise that works primarily on your lats. It also engages your rhomboids and traps to strengthen your back and upper body.

Steps To Get It Done

Position by bending over to place your left knee and left hand on a bench and holding the dumbbell with your right hand close to your body.

Next, extend your right arm towards the floor to lower down the weights. Keep your body stable and your back as level as possible.

Then, pull the dumbbell to your armpit and continue by lowering down and pulling up the weights.

Switch to the other side and repeat.

Lifestyle Changes To Help You Lose Weight

A man working out at the gym to lose weight

In my coaching experience, I've come to appreciate that small efforts can spark significant changes that can make weight loss goals more viable.

Here are some lifestyle shifts you can try to burn fat:

  • Be physically active. Lack of exercise may result in muscle atrophy which causes fat build-up. Simply walking to buy groceries instead of driving might do the trick. You may also include weights in your back exercises and be consistent with your workout routine.
  • Plan your diet. If you're complementing those workouts with high-calorie foods, there's no way you can break off with excess body fat. It's vital to get low-calorie foods high in nutrition and a daily dose of vitamins and minerals.
  • Rest and Relax. Chronic stress and poor sleep affect your hormones which slows down your metabolism and impairs your digestion.  According to Muscle and Fitness, taking weekly getaways may help to recharge your mind and body [3].

References:

  1. https://www.muscleandfitness.com/muscle-fitness-hers/hers-workouts/7-exercises-burn-your-back-fat/
  2. https://betterme.world/articles/lower-back-fat/
  3. https://www.muscleandfitness.com/workouts/workout-tips/11-reasons-why-you-cant-lose-your-back-fat/
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About The Author

James Cunningham, BSc, CPT
Staff Writer & Senior Coach
James Cunningham, BSc, CPT holds a BSc degree in Sport & Exercise Science from University of Hertfordshire. He's a Health & Performance Coach from London that brings a unique blend of academic knowledge of health supplements and practical exercise experience to the table for his readers.
Learn more about our editorial policy
Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC
Staff Writer & Senior Coach
Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC is an ex-National Soccer player turned MMA and Kickboxing champion, with ACE CPT and PN1-NC certifications. His advice is rooted in education and experience, ensuring that readers receive scientific and battle-tested insights. His mission is to empower his clients and readers to realize their potential and become the best versions of themselves.
Learn more about our editorial policy
Dr. Harshi Dhingra, MBBS, MD is a published peer-reviewed author and renowned physician from India with over a decade of experience. With her MBBS from Bharati Vidyapeeth and an MD from Rajiv Gandhi University, she actively ensures the accuracy of online dietary supplement and medical information by reviewing and fact-checking health publications.
Learn more about our editorial policy

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