Workout Routine 6 MIN READ 219 VIEWS January 28, 2023

Causes, Nutrition Tips and Best Exercises for Back Fat

Written By HealthKart
Medically Reviewed By Dr. Aarti Nehra

Exercises for Back Fat

Eating more calories than what you typically burn is stored in the form of fat. The levels of sex hormones in the body determine body fat distribution. The butt, belly, thighs, arms and back are the favourite fat-storage spots. While burning fat requires a conscious effort, burning back fat is most frustrating as one can’t spot-reduce. Exercises for back fat thus concentrate on different aspects of muscle building.

What Causes Back Fat?

Accumulation of back fat happens slowly over time. It is linked to the natural ageing process and becomes more noticeable as we age. In women, the receding levels of the hormones make it difficult to make new muscles and maintain the existing ones. This causes the one’s-back muscles to wear out and turn into back fat and upper body fat. The other main upper back fat causes include:

  • Excessive consumption of salt and sugar 
  • High-calorie intake
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Poor sitting and standing posture

Nutrition Tips to Reduce Back Fat

The first and foremost requirement to reduce back fat is to get into a caloric deficit diet. A calorie deficit diet is one in which you burn more calories than you eat throughout the day. Once there is a consistent difference between calorie intake and calorie expenditure, the body begins to burn fat to generate energy. This leads to the melting down of body fat.

 To create a caloric deficit diet, you can:

  • Cut your calorie intake by 300-500 calories per day by swapping high-calorie foods with low-calorie options.
  • Eliminate salt and sugar from your diet
  • Avoid processed foods and refined grains
  • Drink plenty of water

Exercises for Back Fat

In addition to cutting calories, toning up back muscles through specific exercises for back fat can help you target upper and lower back fat. These include:

1. Reverse Hip Raise

This is one of the easiest exercises to tone up your back muscles. You will require a Swiss ball to perform this exercise. The steps include:

  • Place a Swiss ball on the floor and start by lying with your belly on the exercise ball. Place your palms flat on the floor, your legs stretched out and your toes touching the ground. 
  • Slowly squeeze your gluteal muscles together. Raise your feet off the ground and bring them in a straight line with your spine and balance on the ball. 
  • Hold the position for a few seconds. Lower your legs to get into the start position. Repeat the exercise several times.
  • Slowly increase the number of repetitions and duration of hip raise.

2. Side Jackknife

One of the best lower back fat exercises, this exercise targets the obliques, the muscles that run along the sides of the core. Side Jackknife thus helps you tone your ‘love handles’ and reduce lower back fat. The steps include:

  • Lie down sideways with your legs stacked over each other.
  • To start with the right side, let your left side touch the floor. Place your left hand under your head and raise your head slightly. Fold your right arm and place your hand on your head. Gently interlock the fingers of both hands behind your head.
  • Squeeze your obliques and raise your right leg towards your right arm while keeping your head stable. 
  • Slowly bend your right knee to touch your right elbow. 
  • Repeat several times.
  • Switch sides and repeat.

3. Superman

This exercise is the perfect one to reduce back fat and tone up gluteal muscles. The steps include:

  • Place a yoga mat and lie down on your stomach.
  • Stretch your arms and legs outwards.
  • Slowly lift your hands and feet off the ground at the same time. Try to reach at least six inches off the ground. Hold the position for a few seconds before your return.
  • Repeat several times. To graduate to the next level, try lifting your belly button off the floor too. Increase duration and repetitions gradually.

4. Reverse Fly

Reverse fly helps you tone up the muscles in your upper back. It is a perfect exercise for rhomboid muscles located in the upper back and shoulder region. The steps include:

  • Stand upright with your feet shoulder-width apart. 
  • Hold dumbbells in both hands. 
  • Bend forward, pushing your pelvis back until the chest comes parallel to the floor. 
  • Let the palms face each other as the arms hang towards the floor.
  • Tuck your chin out, tighten your core, straighten your back and slowly lift your arms sideways until they come parallel to the floor. 
  • Exhale and raise your arms outwards. Inhale and get back to the starting position. 

5. Back Extension

Back extension helps you tone up muscles in the lower and upper back. The steps include:

  • Lie down on your stomach.
  • Place your hands on your temples with the elbows pointing outwards.
  • Keep your feet hip-width apart.
  • As you tighten your gluteal muscles and core, lift the shoulders and chest off the floor. Coordinate this by lifting your legs off the floor. 
  • Hold the position for a few seconds before you slowly get back to the starting position. 
  • Do several repetitions.

6. Lateral Raises

Among the exercises for back fat, lateral raises help get rid of back fat in the upper body. The exercise helps tone up the shoulder and back muscles. The steps include:

  • Stand upright with dumbbells in each hand. Prefer lighter weights and more repetitions for better results.
  • Slowly extend your arms sideways lifting the weight until the arms reach parallel to the floor. 
  • Remember, not to squeeze your shoulders while performing the exercise. Hold the position for a few seconds.
  • With full control, get back to the start position. 
  • Do 10-12 repetitions for each set. Perform at least 3 sets.

7. Rowing

This exercise is best performed in a gym using a seated cable row. It helps tone up back muscles, especially the lats, muscles that stretch to the sides, and behind the arms. The steps include:

  • Sit with your back straight. Gently grip the row machine handle.
  • As you slide and lean back, draw your arms in and bend your elbows to pull with your full weight.
  • Slowly return to the starting position.
  • Do several repetitions quickly.

8. Speed Bag

The list of back fat workouts is incomplete without a speed bag exercise. This exercise for back fat helps tone up the arms and upper body. Although the best way to perform the exercise is to punch a bag mounted to a ceiling, the exercise can be done even without hitting the bag. The steps include:

  • Stand in a fighting stance with your fists closed and held high at jaw level. 
  • Keep your feet hip-width apart with one leg placed slightly in front of the other.
  • Stand at an arm’s-length distance from the bag. 
  • Set a timer for up to 2 minutes.
  • With the start of the timer, start punching the bag with your knuckles. 
  • Concentrate on the speed to do as many as you can.
  • Once the timer goes off, re-start and do up to three sets.

9. Dumbbell Swing

The dumbbell swing targets the upper and lower back muscles. It also helps tone core muscles. The steps include:

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Hold the dumbbell with both hands and place it in front.
  • Keeping your back straight and bending your knees slightly while pushing your hips back, gently swing the dumbbell in between your legs.
  • When the weight is in front of you, contract your glutes, quads and core. As the weight swings backwards and is behind the body, contract your glutes and push your hips forward.
  • Do several repetitions.

10. Resistance Band Pull Down

The resistance band pull-down helps tone up the lats. The steps include:

  • Set a resistance band hanging from the ceiling. 
  • Stretch your arms upwards at a 45-degree angle to hold the middle of the band with both hands.
  • Bend your elbows as you pull the band towards your chest.
  • Slowly set your arms straight as you return the band to the starting position.
  • Do several repetitions.


Accumulation of fat in the back is slow and gradual. The natural ageing process, excessive consumption of salt and sugar, high-calorie diet, sedentary lifestyle, and poor sitting and standing posture are the main lower and upper back fat causes.

As back muscles are least used in daily chores, it requires a concentrated effort to reduce back fat. Remaining calorie deficit and adopting a healthy lifestyle are thus essential for burning body fat. Exercises of back fat target back muscles which help tone up lower and upper back muscles.

Consistency is the key. Remember to follow a strict workout regimen and focus on mindful eating to reap healthy results.

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