Contrary to what many people believe, there is no such thing as exercises for back fat. Similarly, there are no exercises that specifically target belly fat or butt fat, either.
Various factors, including genetics, age, gender, diet, and lifestyle, determine where your body stores fat. Those same factors also dictate from where your body burns fat when you eat less or exercise more.
That said, that doesn’t mean you CAN’T lose back fat; you’ll just need to lose fat from all over your body, too.
In this article, we reveal the strategies you can employ to get rid of back fat once and for all.
How to Get Rid of Back Fat
Fat is stored energy, and we get our energy from food. When you eat too much, your body turns the unused calories into fat and stores it around your body. This is called a calorie surplus or positive energy balance. Typical fat deposition sites include your waist and abdomen, thighs, chest, lower, and upper back. One pound of fat is roughly equal to 3,500 calories.
To lose fat, you need to eat fewer calories, do more exercise, or a combination of both these actions. This will create a calorie deficit, also known as a negative energy balance.
When you eat less or exercise more and create a negative energy balance, your body is forced to make up the shortfall by burning fat for fuel. Maintain your calorie deficit for long enough, and you’ll lose fat from all over your body, including your back.
You may lose back fat quickly, or it may come off slowly; it all depends on things like genetics, hormones, gender, etc. However, if you persevere, you will lose back fat (and belly fat, and butt fat…!).
So, to lose fat, you need to:
- Eat less to create a calorie deficit
- Exercise more – including cardio and strength training
There are a few other things you can do that will reduce the appearance of back fat, all of which are explained below.
1. Create A Calorie Deficit
Losing fat is largely a question of mathematics – you need to supply your body with fewer calories so that it’s forced to burn fat for fuel. Think of this as going overdrawn at the calorie bank; you need to spend (burn) more calories than you earn (eat).
However, rather than just eating less, you can take a more precise approach to calorie restriction so that you can lose fat without starving yourself. Follow these steps to determine how much you should eat to lose fat.
1- Calculate your TDEE
TDEE is short for your total daily energy expenditure. This includes the number of calories your body uses at rest and the calories burned during exercise. There are several ways to determine this number, but the easiest way is to use our tdee calculator.
2- Create a calorie deficit
Once you know your TDEE, subtract 300-500 calories from this number to create your negative energy balance. This is the number of calories you need to eat each day to ensure that your body burns fat. Remember, no deficit means your body has no reason to burn fat from your back or anywhere else, for that matter.
3- Eat for fullness
Eating less can lead to hunger and cravings. You can largely avoid hunger and cravings by sticking to the suggested 300-500 calorie deficit. This is enough to trigger fat loss, but not so much that you’ll feel deprived or starving.
That said, you can make things easier by eating for fullness. That means:
- Eating protein at every meal
- Filling up on high fiber veggies
- Eating healthy fats with most meals
- Eating less sugar
- Eating healthy snacks between meals
- Eating slower and more mindfully
Related: Nutrition facts analysis for over 247,326 foods items to search
4- Track your progress
We all respond to calorie restriction differently, and as accurate as TDEE calculators are, they’re only an estimate of your caloric needs. Monitor your progress and adjust your food intake accordingly.
Ideally, you should lose about 1-2 pounds per week. If your rate of weight loss is much less than this, increase your calorie deficit. If you are losing weight faster, you can reduce your deficit slightly.
Don’t worry if weight loss is uneven or stalls for a few days or even a week. Losing weight is rarely a linear process. Instead, look for trends. So long as your weight decreases at an average of 1-2 pounds per week, you’re doing fine.
Don’t be tempted to slash your food intake to lose weight faster. That’s seldom a good idea. Very low-calorie diets invariably lead to severe hunger. You might be able to ignore your appetite for a few days and even a week or two, but eventually, you’ll give in and break your healthy eating streak. This will undo all your hard work, and you could even end up gaining more fat than you have lost.
When it comes to weight loss, slow and steady is generally best; be patient!
5- Eat healthily
While you could lose weight by eating junk food, it’s not a good idea. Junk food is invariably high in sugar, fat, and salt and low in essential nutrients like vitamins and minerals. Your body needs more than just calories to sustain itself; it requires an abundance of micronutrients too.
A healthy diet leads to a healthier organism (you!), and the healthier you are, the better your body will be able to burn fat. Also, you will find that you have more energy for exercise and recover better from your workouts when you eat less junk food.
You don’t need to follow a specific diet to lose back fat, such as keto or paleo. Instead, just try to eat less processed food and more natural food. Natural foods are usually lower in calories, more filling, and higher in nutrients than junk food.
Read also: Our List of 40 Great Protein-Packed Foods
2. Exercises to Get Rid of Back Fat
While there is no such thing as back fat exercises, working out will contribute to your calorie deficit and tone and strengthen your muscles. To lose back (and butt and belly) fat, you need to do cardio and strength training.
1- The Cardio
Cardio is short for cardiovascular and includes activities like swimming, running, cycling, and group workout classes. You can do steady-paced cardio, interval training, or both. This type of workout burns calories and fat while you are doing it. It’s also very good for your health.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, most people should try and accumulate 150 minutes of cardio per week (1). This will not only help you lose weight but also provides protection against a host of illnesses and diseases, including coronary heart disease, diabetes, and some cancers (2).
Both steady-paced and high-intensity cardio can help you burn fat and lose weight. Steady-paced workouts are generally easier but longer, while high-intensity interval workouts are challenging but brief. Try both and see which one you prefer.
2- Strength training
Strength training is every bit as important as cardio for getting rid of back fat. Lifting weights will tone and strengthen the muscles that lie beneath the fat, giving your body a more pleasing shape. If you don’t lift weights, you risk becoming skinny-fat, where you look slim but have very little muscle mass and no muscle definition or tone.
There are lots of workouts that will produce the results you want, including free weight, resistance machine, bodyweight, resistance band, and kettlebell workouts. Providing you overload your muscles, it doesn’t really matter what tools or devices you train with.
Most people need at least two strength training workouts per week to get noticeable results, but 3-4 will probably get the job done sooner.
While there is no such thing as back fat exercises, it’s worth including at least a couple of back training exercises in your workouts to make sure that your back muscles are firm, toned, and strong. That way, when you lose your back fat, you’ll look even better!
Five of The Best Back Exercises
Tone and strengthen your back with these five excellent exercises!
1. Stability ball reverse hypers
When most people talk about back fat, they’re usually referring to the fat around their upper back. However, lower back fat can be an issue too. This is one of the best lower back fat exercises, and it also targets your butt.
How to do it:
- Lie on your front on an exercise ball. The ball should be directly under your hips. Hold onto something with your hands to maintain your position. With your legs straight, place your feet on the floor.
- Using your glutes and back muscles, lift your feet and legs up until your body is straight. Take care not to overextend your lower back.
- Lower your feet back to the floor and repeat.
- Wear ankle weights or hold a dumbbell between your feet to make this exercise harder.
2. Band pull-apart
The great thing about band pull aparts is that you can do them almost anywhere and anytime, even at home. All you need is a resistance band. You can even do them while sitting at your desk or between sets of your regular strength training workout.
Band pull aparts target the muscles between your shoulder blades and the back of your shoulders. It’s an excellent postural exercise. Better posture makes back fat less prominent, making this one of the most beneficial exercises to lose back fat.
Learn how to do band pull aparts in our detailed guide.
3. Lat pulldown
Lat pulldowns are a gym training staple. They work the latissimus dorsi muscles of your upper back, as well as your biceps and the backs of your shoulders. Lat pulldowns are easy to learn, and most gyms have at least one lat pulldown machine. You can also do this exercise using a resistance band.
Read more about lat pulldowns here.
4. Seated rows
This is another common gym machine exercise that you can also do using a resistance band. It combines many of the benefits of lat pulldowns with band pull aparts, making it a great workout twofer.
Whether you use a machine at the gym or a resistance band, make sure you sit up tall while doing this exercise and do not round your lower back, as doing so could lead to injury.
Learn how to do seated rows here.
While real swimming is a great cardio workout that could help you lose back fat, this swimming exercise will also be beneficial. It works your entire back and also involves your glutes. It’s also an excellent posture exercise. Requiring no equipment, you can do this exercise at home.
How to do it:
- Lie on your front with your legs straight and arms extended in front of you. Rest your forehead on the floor.
- Lift your left arm and your right leg a few inches off the floor.
- Lower your arm and leg and then repeat on the opposite side.
- Keep alternating sides for the duration of your set.
- You can also do this exercise while kneeling (AKA bird dogs) or lying face down across a stability ball.
Exercises for Back Fat – Wrapping Up
If you came here looking for exercises to get rid of back fat, you’re probably disappointed. Unfortunately, there are no exercises that will preferentially target back fat; sorry about that!
However, you can get rid of your back fat by adopting a holistic approach that includes eating less and exercising more. The good news is that you won’t just lose back fat, but fat from your hips, thighs, and abdomen too.
While we can’t promise that you’ll lose fat overnight, if you follow the advice in this article, you will eventually reach your body composition goals, toning your muscles in the process. So, forget about exercises that burn back fat, as no such thing exists. Instead, eat healthily and train all your major muscles to sculpt the body of your dreams.
1 – Centers for Disease Control: How Much Physical Activity Do Adults Need https://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/basics/adults/
2 – Centers for Disease Control: Benefits of Physical Activity https://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/basics/pa-health/