When it comes to weight loss, it’s hard to be precise. Changing your diet is a huge step, and effective when it comes to losing weight from all over your body. Maybe your face slims, your pants fit better, someone who hasn’t seen you in a while notices you’ve trimmed down, and all of that is great; it’s the external proof of the internal changes you’ve made to better your health. But after you’ve gotten your new habits in place and you’ve hit a weight-loss plateau, what then? What can you do to target specific areas better, like how to lose back fat? Fat in certain areas can be stingier than others so we’re helping you form a plan to take the weight off your back (literally).
What Causes Back Fat to Stick?
Whether you’ve got love handles you don’t want, general back fat and folds, or persistent bra bulge, and even though you eat right and work out, you may still find excess fat on your back. Without a personal trainer who can direct you through back exercises specifically meant to target the area, you may be out of your depth. Here are a couple of the factors that can make back fat so stubborn.
Your weight can have a mind of its own. Just as some people tend to be naturally more pear- or apple-shaped when they put on weight, it doesn’t matter how much extra weight you have on your bones, it’ll go wherever it pleases. A lot of people have the legs of their dreams, but difficult belly fat that just won’t budge. Alternately, someone might have the torso they want but saddlebags on their thighs that no machine in the gym can seem to shift.
It’s an annoying truth that if you have any extra weight on you (and who doesn’t?), it’ll settle wherever it wants to, and sometimes in a way that’s maddeningly out of proportion. Thunder thighs but a flat butt? Sure, makes sense to that extra weight! Wildly generous weight on your hips, but no balance in your shoulders or chest? Of course, why should anything be even or fair?
Even if you don’t have proportions that displease you, the level of exercise that kept you in ship-shape condition in your 20s might not be serving you so well by your 40s, and if you’ve never had body fat like love handles or a muffin top before, how do you start getting rid of them now? Read on for a few of our suggestions.
Attempting to “Spot Reduce”
When most people see a problem spot, they try to spot reduce it. It’s logical, but it’s not how our bodies always work. For muscle building it’s a bit closer to the mark: if you want to build a specific muscle, then yes, you must exercise that specific muscle. But even in bodybuilding, overworking any one muscle will lead to pains and weaknesses novices don’t know to expect, and at the end of the day it’s true that you can’t “fix” one part of your body while ignoring the rest. It’s all one system.
Trying to target belly fat loss with only crunches, while you ignore back and core strength exercises? That won’t do the trick. Trying to spot reduce your legs by working them out on a leg-press machine constantly? You’re more likely to bulk them up with muscle. When it comes to lower back fat people might try crunches, and for upper back fat they might try push-ups or a chest press machine, but the placement of fat doesn’t mean that’s the energy source that will be used to fuel nearby muscle groups. Ultimately, it’s an all-in affair: you need a proper diet, good strength training exercises, a decent measure of cardio, and a reduction of overall body fat if you want to get rid of back fat.
How to Lose Back Fat
So you’ve got trouble spots with back fat and you’re looking for simple ways to improve them? No problem, but it’s going to involve full-body fat burning, starting with diet and exercise, and yes: specific workouts for your back that will help improve posture, strength, and ideally a loss of persistent back fat. Let’s get started!
1. Eat Clean
If you want to see fat leave your body, the quickest way to start is to change your diet. Whether you want to do a complete weight-dropping overhaul by starting a keto diet, or you just need to start eating better so you can work out at peak performance, the advice is clear across the board: fewer sugars and fewer carbs. And when you do eat carbs, make them count by choosing whole grains.
You’ll also want more fruits and vegetables, healthy fats, and lean protein. To get your body to burn fat and build muscle, you have to deny it the quick energy of carbs and sugar, and force it to deal instead in vitamins, healthy fats, and proteins. That’s step one to reducing fat everywhere, including your back.
2. Keep Moving with Cardio
Cardiovascular exercises burn calories quick and are great for blasting off body fat. The CDC recommends over 2 hours of cardio per week. Get your cardio on in and outside of the gym: walk, run, dance, bike, do cartwheels, jumping jacks, jump rope…just get moving! High-intensity interval training or HIIT workouts can also be done at home and can take your cardio workout to the next level.
3. Strengthening Exercises
It seems like fitness tips 101, but you’ve got to strengthen your entire body, not just one area, if you want your workouts to be effective. Strengthening one area and ignoring the rest is like always checking the oil in your car but never bothering with the tires—you have to do both if you want a functioning vehicle!
Your body is your forever vehicle, and so when you want to pay extra attention to your back, that’s great, but don’t forget that the muscles in your legs, arms, and core all burn more calories when they’re more toned. Even if it’s just light weights for your arms, squats for your legs, and some time on the balance ball for your core, don’t forget to give the whole team a workout!
4. Try a Back-Fat Blaster Workout
If you’re eating well and working out evenly, but still need a little something extra, here’s a quick routine you can use to focus on your back muscles and target your back fat for elimination. This is a quick, four-moves-only workout that you can do to wake yourself up in the morning, get energized on your lunch break, or whenever you find the time and desire. It’s bodyweight only, so you don’t have to have any equipment on hand to get this extra exercise in.
- Move #1 – Plank row: From the plank starting position, pull your right arm up to the side of your ab muscles, then repeat on the left side. Do 15 reps.
- Move #2 – Side plank scoops: From a side plank position, slowly scoop the elevated arm under your body. You can modify this by placing a knee on the ground for added stability. Do 15 reps for each side of your body.
- Move #3 – Breaststroke: With the tops of your feet on the floor, use your back muscles to lift up and perform the breaststroke with your arms. Do 15 reps.
- Move #4 – Swimming: While lying on a mat, lift all four of your limbs, and paddle up and down through the air. This is an excellent workout for your abdominals as well. Do 15 reps.
Lose Back Fat, Gain Fitness
So there you have it: the tips you need to lose weight off your back, plus area-specific exercises if you want to go the extra mile. Strengthening your back and losing excess weight will only lead to improving your overall health, physique, and well-being, so go for it!