The back is one of the hardest places to tone and decrease body fat when you’re trying to lose weight.
Sorry to be the bearer of bad news but the truth is you CANNOT “spot treat“.
If your goal is to get rid of back fat then your diet and exercise program MUST support both toning your upper body and decreasing TOTAL BODY fat.
You can’t just lose weight on one specific area of your body.
…..what you CAN do is focus your strengthening and toning exercises on one muscle area to isolate a trouble spot and really define those muscles—which, when combined with the right cardio and diet changes, will get the results you want.
If back fat is your biggest body hang-up then jump on over to my blog and I’ll share with you 10 steps to helping you
STEP 1: Strength Training
If back fat is one of your biggest body hang-ups, focusing on strengthening that area is key—and yet, it’s often overlooked by most women.
When it comes to weight training, women neglect their lats and their upper back more than any other muscle group. We’re always more concerned with what we immediately see in the mirror, which is the front of the body. Your back is probably the last part of the body that most women really think about.
But strengthening your back muscles is incredibly important—and not just for aesthetic reasons.
Working your back muscles also improves your posture. Rounded shoulders is something I see quite often when women first start training with me. The minute I start helping them focus on specific back exercises their posture improves. By helping them correct their posture we can actually create the illusion that they no longer have back fat, all because they are now standing up straighter, which their shoulders back and chest pushed forward.
Here are my Top 4 Strength Based Exercises to ‘target’ back fat:
EXERCISE #1: Pull-Ups
Pull-ups are your number one defense against back fat. When women hear the word pull-up anxiety quickly sets in, because they seem (and are) hard to do. But there are so many other ways to mimic the movement of a pull-up, which I will share with you below. Plus, there are some other very basic strength training moves you can do, both at home and at the gym, to attack your back fat.
Your back is made up of many different muscles, and a pull-up is an all-encompassing exercise that tones and sculpts them all. But they’re hard, so most women tend to shy away from them. If you can do a normal pull-up—gripping the bar with your palms facing out—that’s ideal. That’s going to work more of your lat muscle and back.
A chin-up where palms are facing you, is an easier option and it’s still going to work your back a bit, but it hits the biceps more, so make chin-ups your second option.
Here are a more ways you can modify a classic pull-up:
Negative Pull-ups: Stand on something to hoist yourself up into the end pull-up position against the bar. Slowly lower your body down in a controlled movement.
Assisted Pull-up Machine:
Every gym has an assisted pull-up machine and it’s unfortunately usually empty because it looks big and scary. But it’s a great tool for doing pull-ups if you can’t master them on your own. This video
will give you a good idea of how to use one.
Cable Lat Pull Downs:
For a Lat pull down, grab the cable bar, gripping it wide and in an overhand position. Position your thighs beneath the support, get your legs straight, and place your knuckles facing upwards. When you stretch up, the bar should be just within your reach. If it’s not, adjust the height. Pull the bar down to your chin (all the while keeping your back straight) in one fluid movement, feeling your shoulder blades coming together. Slowly release the bar to its original height and repeat. This video
should also help you master this move.
Exercise #2: Dumbbell Bent Over Row
Place one knee on a bench, couch or table with a 10-15 pound dumbbell in the opposite hand, slightly bending forward with back flat. Pull the arm back straight in a row motion, contracting your upper back, elbow tucked into the side of your body as it moves. Do a full set of 12 and then switch arms. This video
should also help you master this move.
Exercise #3: Renegade Row
Get into a plank position, arms out straight directly beneath your shoulders, squeezing your butt and pulling your abs tight into your spine. Hold a 5-10 pound dumbbell in each hand. Starting with one arm at a time, pull the weight back into a row movement, engaging the upper back and delts. This video
should also help you master this move.
Do 3 sets of these exercises 2-3 times a week. Or just pick two or three of your favorites and focus on them. Not only will you see results, but you’ll feel them too. With a sexy, tones back and better posture, everyone will notice you standing just a little bit taller when you walk into the room.
STEP 2: Step up your cardio
For best results, sweat it out for at least 30 minutes at a time, 3 or 4 days a week.
- Rowing, boxing and swimming are particularly effective for getting rid of back fat. They will burn calories and strength your back muscles at the same time.
- Other cardio exercises you can include are: running/jogging, skipping, or biking.
- As mentioned at the start of this blog post you cannot “spot treat” or lose weight in only one particular area of the body. You need to lower your overall body weight and decrease body fat to see a reduction in one particular area. Cardio exercises will help support this.
My Personal TOP Cardio Pick for Attacking Back Fat…
Rowing Machine: There’s a reason rowing is so popular these days: It’s truly an amazing back workout. Which makes sense because it has that basic row movement that perfectly targets your back. Hop on a rowing machine at the gym at the beginning or your workout for 5-10minutes, add in 3min intervals between your strength based back exercises and finish with another 10minutres.
STEP 3: High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
Interval training is an excellent way to burn fat more quickly. It will not only tone your back, but tone and trim fat from all over your body.
- Doing higher intensity interval training can help burn more fat and increase your fat burn long after your have completed your workout
- One way to do interval training is by running: Run at a vigorous pace for several minutes, return to a more comfortable pace for 5 minutes, then speed up your routine for another 2 minutes. Continue your entire routine in this manner for 15-20 minutes.
- Consider High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). HIIT can best be described as exercising at a high intensity for 30 seconds to several minutes with bouts of either no or low intensity exercise for a minute or two in between. Doing this actually amplifies the benefits seen in doing regular, steady-state cardio exercises. It will also improve your cardiovascular health and raise your metabolism.
STEP 4: Reduce Your Daily Calorie Intake.
If you cut out 500 calories a day and exercise regularly, you will lose about a pound every week. This will also help you reduce your back fat.
- Use a food diary or online food tracker such as MyFitnessPal to help you cut out 500 calories daily.
- These food trackers in addition to online calculators can give you a estimated total daily caloric intake to help you lose weight. Everyone’s needs will be different, so using a calculator can help give you a more specific calorie range.
- Do not cut out too many calories. This can slow weight loss, lead to nutrient deficiencies or make you feel tired and fatigued. In general, I recommend women eat a minimum of 1300 calories
- Cutting calories will help you lose weight, but without the cardio and back strengthening exercises, your back muscles will not get toned. It’s important to include both diet and exercise to get your desired result.
STEP 5: Fill up on calorie dense, satisfying foods to cut down on hunger levels.
When you’re trying to lose weight and cut calories, managing hunger can be an issue. It’s hard to stick to a diet plan, if you’re felling hungry.
- Combining certain types of foods an including the right types of foods at each meal and snack can help you stay satisfied longer after meals and decrease your overall hunger level.
- I highly recommend that you eat a high portion and healthy fat diet. Healthy fats and lean proteins are a great addition to a weight loss diet. Fats and protein take longer to digest compared to foods rich in carbohydrates and helps keep you satisfied longer. Include 2-40z of protein with each meal. Such as poultry, seafood, eggs, yogurt and protein powder. As fir healthy fats aim for 2-3 servings per day. Try: olive oil, avocado, nuts or nut butters, flax seeds, olives, salmon, tuna, sardines or mackerel.
- Pair your proteins and fast with fiber-rich vegetables like kale, spinach, green beans, asparagus, mushrooms etc.
STEP 6: Limit treats and indulgences
Part of healthy, lifestyle based approach to eating is including the occasional treat or special indulgence. But when you’re trying to lose weight, you’ll need to limit and monitor how often you treat yourself.
- When you indulge too often, you may consume too many calories. This may slow or even stop your weight loss.
- If you really want a treat, plan for it, enjoy it and get right back on track with your healthy eating and workout plan.
Making small modifications to your diet and performing the right type of cardio and strength training can help you get rid of back fat while also seeing results all over.
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If you have a specific fitness related questions please share in the comments below and I’ll answer your Q in a future blog post.