How to Get Rid of Back Fat with Key Exercises and Tips - Dr. Axe

Evidence Based

This Dr. Axe content is medically reviewed or fact checked to ensure factually accurate information.

With strict editorial sourcing guidelines, we only link to academic research institutions, reputable media sites and, when research is available, medically peer-reviewed studies. Note that the numbers in parentheses (1, 2, etc.) are clickable links to these studies.

The information in our articles is NOT intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice.

This article is based on scientific evidence, written by experts and fact checked by our trained editorial staff. Note that the numbers in parentheses (1, 2, etc.) are clickable links to medically peer-reviewed studies.

Our team includes licensed nutritionists and dietitians, certified health education specialists, as well as certified strength and conditioning specialists, personal trainers and corrective exercise specialists. Our team aims to be not only thorough with its research, but also objective and unbiased.

The information in our articles is NOT intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice.

How to Get Rid of Back Fat


How to get rid of back fat - Dr. Axe

Having a sexy back can give you more confidence this summer, but that annoying bulge just above your hips or where your sports bra lines your back can be frustrating. And this is not only a nag for women — many men feel this frustration, too. If you feel this way, you’re not alone. Lots of people want to know how to get rid of back fat.

Most people have one area of their bodies or another that they want to target for more toning or fat loss, such as arm fat or back fat. However, while you can do some specific exercises to help tone certain muscles, the reality is that you melt away the fat by combining cardio, strength training and a healthy diet.

The body works together as a whole to burn fat, and the great part is that you see results all over! The idea is to help define your muscles while incorporating a smart cardio plan, such as running, elliptical, cycling or swimming, as well as strength training, such as burst training, high-intensity interval training (HIIT workouts) or high-intensity circuit training (HICT). This is how you can get the results you want and keep those results long-term.

If you want to learn how to get rid of back fat, let’s look at the backside specifically. Interestingly, we often forget about the back because it’s not what we can easily see in the mirror every day. But, have you ever noticed how bodybuilders pose while showing you their backs? You see muscles you probably never knew existed! That’s because they have toned, strong backs and cores, which is the key for those wondering how to get rid of back fat.

Strong Core vs. Back Fat

The back is a big component of what we commonly refer to as the core. Your lower back and the outer-middle part of your back, often referred to as your lats (latissimus dorsi) or lateral back muscles, are part of your core muscles. Strong back core muscles support your abdominals, which aid in everything we do from sitting to walking and, of course, exercises and sports-related activities.


Without a strong core, it’s likely you’ll have issues in some other parts of your body. However, working the back can help define those muscles, provide a strong core, and it’s how to get rid of back fat and get that sexy back at the same time.

Another benefit is that it helps you perform posture exercises to have good posture overall. We know that good posture makes you look taller and more confident.

Studies have been conducted regarding the effects of fat distribution and the vertebrae. Researchers found notable differences in the health of the vertebrae based on fat mass index and reduced intervertebral disc height. More fat led to unhealthy vertebrae, which shows that back fat is more than just unsightly — it can also be a detriment to your posture and more.

So for the ultimate sexy back, you need to activate your back muscles. It’s also how to get rid of back fat. Having lean, strong muscles produces a sexy back that’s strong and able to support your day-to-day activities. Below are some important keys for how to get rid of back fat.

How to Get Rid of Back Fat

1. Get Moving with Cardio

If you’re serious about getting rid of back fat, you need to incorporate cardio workouts into your weekly routine to make a difference. Interval training cardio — such as burst fit, HIIT workouts, HICT or bootcamp-style workouts — can give you cardio and strength training at the same time because it alternates between periods of pushing your body with high intensity and short recovery. This also increases your back fat-burning process throughout the day, even at rest.

There are other effective cardio choices, such as running, elliptical, cycling (spin workouts), rowing or using a rowing machine, and swimming. Swimming, for example, uses every major muscle group in your back, including the deltoids, lats, trapezius, spine extensors, teres and rhomboids. You can perform a combination of swimming strokes, or you can swim freestyle using a pull buoy and paddles to make the muscles in the back work harder.

To get the best and lasting results on how to get rid of back fat, perform at least 30 minutes of cardio four to five days of the week to get optimal results.

2. Let’s See Those Muscles

If you really want to make a difference, add specific muscle toning to your routine. Adding moves that sculpt your back helps reveal your strong muscles, and it’s how to get rid of back fat for the long haul.

There are numerous machines at the gym that work all of the back muscles as well as exercises you can do right at home with a set of hand weights. What’s important to understand is that, regardless of how much strength training you do, you won’t see those muscles if you have a lot of fat covering them up. That’s why combining strength training with fat-burning workouts and healthy eating is what you need to get there.

Something else to keep in mind is that if you keep it easy, it won’t be effective. Sure, you want be careful and work your way up to more resistance, but if you don’t push the muscles to work harder, you won’t see them. I have seen numerous people go to the gym and not even break a sweat because the weight they use is too light. Again, use caution — but also use your muscles!

3. Watch Your Diet

Many think that more exercise means eating whatever you want. That’s not going to give you a healthy body or how to get rid of back fat. It’s important to have a healthy diet filled with organic fruits and vegetables, lean protein, healthy fats and whole grains so the nutrition works together to help you have optimal fitness and a fat-free backside.

There are few things that may contribute to the loss of back fat more quickly. Animal research has been conducted on the use of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) as a supplement to help decrease fat. It revealed that it may serve as a powerful anti-obesity agent, specifically noting that there was a decrease in back fat when supplementing with CLA.

Research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition was conducted demonstrating the effects of diet through interventions, noting the adverse effects of age-related loss of skeletal muscle and fitness. The functions include increased physical activity using age-appropriate exercise and nutritional supplementation, together, through the use of whey protein, essential amino acids and vitamin D. The studies found that it boosted fat-free mass and strength while enhancing other aspects that contribute to well-being in the elderly dealing with sarcopenia.

4. Yoga and Pilates to Decrease Back Fat

While incorporating strength training and cardio is important, you’ll be amazed at what yoga can do to help you get rid of back fat and have a sexy back that you want to show off this summer.

Wearing a “muffin top” over the top of your jeans or workout clothes does not produce a good feeling. Pilates and yoga can help you build confidence and lose the back fat. They can also help fight that bra bulge, while strengthening and toning your entire back and shoulders and helping you get rid of fat on the backs of your arms.


5. Wear Clothes that Fit You

Wearing tight clothing can make back fat more noticeable. Of course, the goal is get rid of the back fat and wearing fitted clothing is OK, but make sure it fits in a way that makes you feel good. It gives you more confidence as you move throughout your day.

In addition, tight clothing can cause digestive issues, including undergarments like body shapers and compression-like garments that are designed to smooth out the bulges. A condition called meralgia paresthetica can develop due to restrictive clothing.

This is nothing new. It’s been a problem since the days of girdles and is an even bigger problem since these types of garments are major fashion accessories today. Symptoms of meralgia paresthetica include burning, pain, tingling in the thigh area and hypersensitivity to the touch, which are just more reasons to avoid tight clothing.

Exercises for back fat - Dr. Axe

Best Exercises

If you want a sexy back, incorporate some of the cardio suggestions I have made above combined with a healthy diet and this workout three times a week or every other day. When performing the workout, do three sets of each exercise with a one- to two-minute rest between each set.

1. Superman Lifts

Lie on your belly with your arms extended straight out in front of you. Look down at the floor, keeping your head aligned with your neck and upper body. While engaging your abs, lift your arms, chest and feet at the same time as you inhale. Hold for five to 10 seconds, then slowly release your body back to the floor.

You can also perform this exercise holding a stability ball between your feet, squeezing the legs together to further engage the inner thighs and glutes.

2. Tricep Push-Ups

Push-ups are great for your entire upper body and core — however, the tricep push-up works the back while toning the triceps. Get into a standard push-up position with hands on the ground close to your body and next to your chest.

This is great because as you lower your body, you can engage your core muscles. Lower slowly while focusing on the abdominals, chest and backs of the arms. Hold at the bottom for three to five seconds, and then slowly push back to the starting position.

You may perform this exercise on your knees until you get stronger.

3. Warrior Three Yoga Pose

Stand at the front of your mat with a tall posture and both feet together. Shift your weight onto your left leg while taking your right leg behind you. Focus on balancing while keeping your torso parallel to the floor. Extend your arms straight in front of you or out to the side. Draw your navel toward your spine and hold for three to five deep breaths.

If you fall out of the pose, try to go back into it. Don’t get discouraged. This is a great exercise that takes practice to master. Repeat the exercise three to five times.

4. Dumbbell Row

Place your left knee on your mat and your right knee up at a 90-degree angle. Using light to medium weights, place the weight in the left hand with your arm down at your left side. Bending forward slightly with a flat back and abs tight (you can rest your right forearm on your right thigh), pull the elbow up in a row motion, contracting your upper back and skimming the side of the body with your arm as it moves.

Do a full set of 12–15 on one arm, then switch arms.

5. Side Plank Rotation

Begin by sitting on the floor on your side. Extend both feet out. You can place one foot on top of the other or place your top foot in front of the bottom one. Place your lower arm underneath you and bent at the elbow for support. The elbow should be right below the shoulder. Stretch the other arm straight up in the air. While engaging your abs, lift your hips so your body is in a straight line. Hold the hips up and tighten the abs.

Now do a rotation. Bend the upper arm as you start to reach underneath your body as you rotate.  Hold the rotation for two to three seconds, then rotate the arm and body back to the starting position. Continue this exercise for 45–60 seconds, then repeat the exercise on the other side.

Option: If you don’t feel strong enough for this exercise yet, you can do it with the bottom leg bent and knee on the floor and top leg extended, but still keep hips lifted and abs engaged for the duration of the exercise. You can also opt for a standard plank exercise.

You can also incorporate exercises to prevent lower back pain.

If you experience in pain associated with performing any of these exercises, discontinue immediately. You may need to build strength slowly in order to perform the entire routine.

Final Thoughts

The reality is that you melt away the fat by combining cardio, strength training and a healthy diet. Here’s some tips on how to get rid of back fat:

  • Get moving with cardio workouts, including HIIT, HICT and bootcamp-style workouts,
  • Add muscle-toning, strength-training exercises.
  • Watch your diet and eat fat-burning foods.
  • Practice yoga and/or Pilates.
  • Wear clothes that fit you, not overly tight-fitting clothes.

More Fitness