It is alarming and you need to come to the action! Yes, you need to get rid of those drooping back folds on your back that are showing up there due to excessive back fat accumulated in your body over the years.
Wondering how to start and what to do? I bet, you are not the only one who is looking for a solution. On average nearly 4000 people search for suggestions on this health issue every month, therefore I realized that it’s high time to discuss and look deep into this topic.
Let’s admit that there’s nothing to feel embarrassed about it as it is totally natural to struggle with back fat, however, we must take steps to remove the unwanted, stubborn fat from your body.
As we have read and heard from many doctors and nutritionists that back fat is particularly associated with insulin resistance, high testosterone, and low carbohydrate tolerance, as well as increased risk of diabetes, PCOS, and infertility, so it becomes all the more important to tackle this issue for a better future and a healthy lifestyle.
What causes back fat?
‘Back fat accumulates slowly over a period of time,’ explains Henry Barratt. ‘Each decade (10 years time period) starting from 30 years of age, it becomes more and more difficult to shift, especially around the “love handles”, “muffin tops” and behind the bra strap,’ Barratt explains who is an elite PT and former professional athlete. He further explains the phenomenon of declining growth hormone levels as women age. Lower amounts of growth hormone make it harder to build new muscle and maintain what we have already. In other words, what used to be back muscles, naturally turn into back fat and upper body fat due to lack of movement and exercise.
Let’s take a look at other lifestyle causes:
- Consume sugar or salt in excess which can contribute to inflammation in the body.
- Eating spicy, heavy, and calories loaded food and not burning them daily.
- Lack of any form of physical activity and sedentary lifestyle.
- Natural aging process
- Not maintaining proper posture. Moreover, neglecting your back muscles in day-to-day activities can contribute to a loss of strength and tone of the glutes, hamstrings, and back muscles –unless you consciously take care of them.
How much body fat is normal?
It’s impossible and pretty useless to advise on how much fat you should have on your back in particular, but it could be helpful to take stock of your body fat in total. The Royal College of Nursing advises that a healthy body fat percentage for women aged 20 to 40 is between 15% and 31%. As you get past 40, your ideal body fat percentage might get higher. ‘While healthy levels are usually between 15 and 31% for women, this is really individual,’ explains Dr. Rebecca Robinson, a consultant in sports and exercise medicine.
Remember: women need a certain amount of body fat for proper hormone function. It is also normal and necessary for women to carry slightly more body fat than men.
Now we all of us are mostly aware of healthy eating habits and the importance of exercise in our lives. This area also needs our focus while we plan our food and exercise routine. It would be better to know about the core muscles which support our spine and back, like – the lats, traps, erector spine, rhomboids, etc. These muscles help us in daily movements, strengthen our shoulders, chest, and core, and enhance our posture.
The best way to achieve a healthy body composition and deal with fatty deposits is by adopting healthy habits that make your life better, not smaller. This means not cutting out any food groups or suffering through a workout you hate (more advice on “back fat exercises” to come)
Here are 15 effective back fat exercises and a list of foods to eat and avoid to get rid of back fat. Read on.
Best Exercises to Reduce Back Fat
Now we all know that warm-up is essential before we get into exercise mode, Get a solid 10-minute warm-up to prepare your body for the workout blast. How can you warm up your entire body? Simply follow these stretching exercises:
- Head tilts, both sides, and then front and back. Start with 1 set of 5 reps which can be graduated into 10 as you show consistency.
- Neck turns, Arm, Wrist, and Shoulder circles along with Waist circles – 1 set of 10 reps
- Side lunges, Calf raises preferably 2 sets of 10 reps done with Jumping jacks 2 sets of 20 reps. You can always reduce the repetitions as per your comfort and stamina.
- Next is Spot jogging, which can be done for 3 minutes followed by Standing upper body twist – count till 20.
- Standing alternate toe touching and side crunches – 1 set of 10 reps. Making circles with ankle 10 times.
You are good to go! Now proceed with your back fat exercises.
1. Bent-Over Row
You will focus on – Lats, rhomboids, rear delts, traps, and biceps.
- Hold a dumbbell in each hand and stand straight with your feet close together.
- Bend forward, push your hips back so that your spine stays long, flex your knees a little, roll back your shoulders, open your chest, and look straight ahead. This is your starting position.
- Keeping your core engaged, flex your elbows, and partially curl your arms. Simultaneously, pull your upper arms back until your elbows reach just behind your shoulders.
- Bring your arms back to the starting position.
Sets And Reps – 2 sets of 10 reps
Tip – Do not round your shoulders and bend down. Roll your shoulders back and then do this exercise to target the back muscles.
2. One-Arm Dumbbell Row
You will work on: Lats, rhomboids, erector spine, lower traps, rotator cuffs, shoulder blades, biceps, and core.
- Place your right knee on a flat bench, and your right hand on the bench. Keep your palm flat, spine in line with your buttocks, left leg a little wider than shoulder-width apart, and left knee bent a little.
- Pick up the dumbbell with your left hand. Keep your left hand extended downward, and loosen up your neck. Keep your shoulders pinched back, look down, and keep your core engaged. This is the starting position.
- Flex your left elbow and pull the dumbbell up till it almost reaches your armpit.
- Slowly, lower your hand to the starting position.
- After finishing one set, do the same with the right hand.
Sets And Reps – 2 sets of 10 reps.
Tip –Keep your spine in a neutral position and your foot flat on the ground.
‘Pull-ups are fantastic for shaping the back as are reverse flies with dumbbells and cables,’ advises Barratt. There are six of the best exercises to sculpt a strong upper back below which will help with muscle build and ‘toning’ goals. These resistance training exercises will not only change your appearance but also help to lower the risk of injury
3. Reverse Fly
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, holding dumbbells at your sides.
- Push your pelvis back and bring your chest forward, hinging at the hips until your chest is parallel to the floor.
- Allow the weights to hang towards the floor, with a slight bend in your arms and palms facing each other.
- Make sure your core is strong, your back is straight, your chin is tucked and your knees are slightly bent.
- Exhale and raise your arms out to the sides while squeezing your shoulder blades together and ensuring you’re not hunching them up towards the ears.
- Inhale and lower the arms back to starting position.
4. Resistance band pull-down
Hold the middle of the band with both hands and arms stretched out at a 45-degree angle from your shoulders.
Bend your elbows and separate your hands as you pull the band towards your chest.
Return the band to the starting position with control. This will prove to be one of the best back fat exercises if you practise it on regular basis.
5. Bent-over Barbell rows
Make sure you’ve got the right amount of weight as too much will make you more likely to have improper form, meaning you’ll get less out of the exercise than doing it in a controlled manner.
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, bend your knees, and hinge forward from the waist, with your back straight and neck in line with the spine.
- Take hold of the bar with your hands, making sure your palms are down and they’re just wider than your shoulders.
- Ensuring you’re strong through the core, squeeze your shoulders together and lift (or row) the weight up until it touches the chest.
- Slowly lower it back down.
Also check: Susan Boyle’s Weight Loss Secrets and Diet Tips
6. Back extension
Lie on your front and bring your hands to your temples, with your elbows out to the sides.
Engaging your glutes and core, lift your shoulders and chest off the floor, squeezing your shoulder blades together. (And lifting your legs for a more intense workout.) Aim to lift your head at the same time as leaning forward, as opposed to aiming upwards and overstretching your back.
Lower back down slowly to the starting position.
7. Dumbbell swing
Top of Form
Bottom of Form
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and hold the dumbbell with one hand in front of the other.
- Keeping your back straight, bend your knees slightly, push your hips back and swing the weight in between your legs.
- Once the weight is behind the body, contract your glutes and thrust your hips forward, swinging the weight up to chest level.
- When the weight is at its highest point, contract your glutes, quads and core.
- Allow the weight to swing back between your legs.
8. Side Plank variations
Begin lying on your side with your elbow under your shoulder, and feet and knees stacked (try crossing them over so that both make contact with the floor for more balance).
Lift your hips up into a side plank, stretching your free arm straight up towards the ceiling.
Then bring the free arm down and thread it through the space underneath the body while you rotate the shoulder and hips to the floor.
So, these were some effective exercises to reduce back fat. As we all know that exercises are the only factor that affects our physique. We need to pay attention to our overall diet too! Let’s have a glimpse at the best fat reduction diet.
Diet Tips for Reducing Back Fat
‘Exercise is important to help change body composition, however, the most gains can be made by changing nutritional habits’, says Barratt. The old adage remains true; ‘you can’t out-train a bad diet.’
A key part of dealing with excess body fat is mindful nutrition, ensuring you’re eating a balanced diet full of vegetables and whole foods. To lose body fat, you need to be in a calorie deficit, something that mindful eating can really help with. The same goes for back fat.
It’s not dieting. We must keep in mind that we’re eating the correct number of calories for our height and gender, which for most women is normally between 1,450 and 2,000.
Not sure how many calories to be eating to be in a calorie deficit? Here’s how to calculate yours. Remember, the majority of your meals should be made up of whole, nutrient-dense foods. There’s always room for fun but moderation really is king here. Plus, as mentioned, calorie counting could be effective if you follow guidelines and have a health-driven goal, but otherwise, you’ll likely end up sabotaging your goals. It’s also not advised for anyone who has – or previously has had – a difficult relationship with food.
Focus on energy-driven food
‘Fuelling yourself with energy-dense foods is necessary to ensure sustainable and maintainable fat loss in the long term,’ says nutritionist Jenna Hope. One must include the following seven foods into his fat loss diet:
- Whole Grains: high fiber food to help with gut health. Brown rice, red rice, black rice, oats, buckwheat, wheat flour, and sorghum.
- Green leafy vegetables: high fiber and packed with micronutrients like Cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, Chinese cabbage, bottle gourd, ridge gourd, bitter gourd, scallions, eggplant, kale, spinach, chive, radish greens, Swiss chard, rocket spinach, carrot, and beetroot.
- Fruits: Watermelon, muskmelon (without sugar), apple, banana, pineapple, plum, peach, berries, and Avocados, help you feel fuller and more satisfied for longer.
- Protein: Eggs, fish, soy, tofu, mushroom, chicken breast, ground turkey, beans, chickpeas, and legumes. Helps in stabilizing blood sugar levels and reducing cravings.
- Dairy: The whey protein in milk contributes to satiety and balanced blood sugar Also beneficial is full-fat yogurt, buttermilk, homemade ricotta, and cottage cheese.
- Nuts And Seeds: Walnuts, almonds, pecans, pine, macadamia, hazelnuts, chia seeds, flaxseeds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds provide a combination of healthy fats and protein.
- Fats And Oils: Olive oil, rice bran oil, peanut butter, sunflower butter, and almond butter. Salmon fish oil supports healthy insulin function which contributes to a healthy weight.
- Herbs And Spices: Cardamom, cinnamon, star anise, mint, fenugreek, cumin, coriander, turmeric, cayenne pepper, black pepper, white pepper, mace, nutmeg, saffron, cilantro, rosemary, thyme, basil, oregano, and sage.
Foods To Avoid for Reducing Back Fat
- Frozen, Processed, Junk and no nutrition food
- Baked items made with refined flour and sugar
- High GI fruits like mango and grapes
- Hormone-treated meat
Points to remember: While these foods are helpful in contributing to satiety and managing blood sugar levels, in no capacity any food will cause fat loss. Fat loss is the right blend of diet, sleep, exercise, lifestyle, and stress. And most of all – take charge of your mind, body, and soul. Expand your creative horizon. Do not aspire to be a particular size, rather focus on being active and fit. Stay tuned to SoulnSpirit. All the best.