It’s one of the peskiest problem areas women of all sizes and shapes can wrestle with: back fat. Slimming back fat is essential if you want a smooth silhouette under tops and dresses (as well as a sexy look for open-back outfits). But figuring how to slim back fat is a little tricky, and takes time and intention.
With the right tools and strategies, you can tone up, straighten up and smooth out your back and feel confident every day.
Here’s what you need to know about how to lose back fat like a pro.
Eat a Nutritious Diet
Like all fat, back fat is essentially just excess calories that your body stores away. Different body types store fat in different places.
To attack excess fat storage, your diet should primarily consist of whole foods that include lots of complex carbohydrates, lean proteins and healthy fats. Too much sugar and other empty calories are often the culprit—often these come in drinks, so be sure to primarily consume water!
Eat 5 to 6 small, nutrient-dense meals per day that will keep you satiated and prevent overeating. Plan your meals and snacks in advance so that you’re not scrounging for food when you’re tired and lack the willpower to prep something healthy.
Talk to a health professional about nutrition strategies that may be specific to your body. Avoid fad diets.
Does Back Fat Go Away with Weight Loss?
When you lose weight, you will burn excess fat throughout your body, including your back. However, it may not completely go away, as it’s healthy to have some amount of fat on your figure.
This is why it’s important to incorporate exercise and other strategies in order to minimize the appearance of back fat, even when you’re a healthy weight.
Do the Right Kind of Exercise
One way to reduce the appearance of back fat is to build muscle and tone in your upper back. This will give your back more toned texture. Plus, strength-building exercises are effective at burning fat, so you can change your body’s composition with a combination of diet and exercise.
For the best results, do a combination of medium- to high-intensity cardio exercises along with strength training. You can get more bang for your buck with HIIT, or circuit training, which incorporates intense cardio with strength building. While you should use a balanced approach, you can focus on exercises that strengthen your upper body in order to improve your back.
You can use weights or use your own body weight for resistance training, depending on your ability level and fitness goals. Some of the best upper body exercises that target the back include:
Reverse fly: standing with feet shoulder width apart, with a dumbbell in each and lean forward so that your back is flat and you’re looking at the ground. Starting with the weights hanging towards the floor with your palms facing each other, raise your arms out to the sides and squeeze your shoulder blades together until your arms are parallel with the floor. Repeat.
Bent over rows: start with the same position as the reverse fly, holding either dumbbells or a barbell. With palms facing your legs, bend your elbows and lift, keeping your elbows close to your side. When your elbows are 90 degrees, return to the starting position and repeat.
Back extensions: lie flat on your bellow, with your elbows bent and fingertips resting just behind your ears. Engaging your core, lift your torso and your legs simultaneously while squeezing your shoulder blades together. Lower and repeat.
Pull-downs: using a resistance band or a weight machine, reach up and grasp the middle of the bar or the band so your arms are fully extended upwards. Bend your elbows and pull towards your chest. Return to the starting position and repeat.
Kettlebell swings: with your feet shoulder width apart, hold a kettlebell or dumbbell with both hands in front of you. Bend your knees into a squat and let the weight swing in between your legs. When you push up, use the momentum to swing the weight up to shoulder height, keeping your elbows straight and contracting your core, glues and legs. When the weight comes down, bend into a squat again and repeat.
Planks of all varieties: whether your face down or on one side, lifting your hips or twisting, plank exercises engage your core and your back, building strength and muscle.
Improve Your Posture
You may not need to change your fat composition at all to improve the appearance of your back. Improving your posture will naturally help your back look smoother and more toned.
There are several ways to improve your posture. The first place to start is being mindful about it. Sitting or standing with your shoulders tall and in a position in which you can breathe deeply will help when you’re conscious of it.
Doing the upper body strength exercises listed above will also help, as will strengthening your core. Yoga stretching and breathing exercises will help you both build strength and mindfulness.
You can also improve your posture by wearing a compression garment like a waist trainer that helps you pull in your belly and sit up straight. Wearing one regularly will help you get into the habit and grow accustomed to what good posture feels like.
Wear a Bra That Fits
Some women struggle with the dreaded “bra bulge”—or back fat that is accentuated by bra straps. This problem is often easily remedied with a well-fitting bra.
Your breasts change in size and shape over time, especially if your weight fluctuates. Take measurements periodically to make sure you’re still wearing the right size. Take a measurement directly under the bust for the band size, and then take a measurement of the fullest part of your bust. The difference in inches between those two numbers will be your cup size.
If you are especially curvy, be sure to wear a bra that is designed to provide extra support and coverage. The band of the bra strap should rest comfortable over the surface of your back and not dig into it.
How to Slim Back Fat with Shapewear
If you desire further concealment of your back, you can find more coverage with shapewear. A vest-style waist trainer will give your full torso a makeover, including coverage for your back and slimming and smoothing of your whole midsection.
The Latex Waist Trainer Vest by Hourglass Angel HA103 features high-compression latex, reinforced with flexible steel boning for maximum effectiveness. It instantly sculpts your midsection, while the vest-style design helps you to stand taller and straighter for a more confident posture.
You can also achieve similar results with other styles of shapewear that feature whole body coverage and straps for support. The Lilian High Back Underbust Body Shaper by Vedette 138features a unique high back which eliminates bra bulge and give an overall more attractive shape. It also has wide comfort straps for maximum comfort and support and provides slimming and shaping from the back to the hips.
How Do I Lose Lower Back Fat?
While the upper back is what many people first think of when it comes to back fat, you may struggle with the lower back as well, particularly around the waistline. It can show up in the form of “love handles” and “muffin top,” causing frustration when you put on pants and skirts.
Just as with upper back fat, you can make progress on lower back fat with a healthier diet and a variety of exercise. In addition to upper body strength exercises, you’ll want to engage in fat-burning workouts that strengthen your core and your butt. Squats, lunges, deadlifts and HIIT training are all effective strategies.
Waist training can also be an effective way to eliminate bulge around your midsection, including your back. Wearing a waist trainer during workouts helps amplify the intensity and sweat so you can have a more effective routine. An everyday waist training regimen as well can help you on your journey to a healthy lifestyle and slimming down.
The Best Waist Trainer by Hourglass Angel HA102 instantly shrinks your waistline by up to 3 inches. The latex core stimulates heat around your midsection and increases your perspiration.
Flexible steel boning works together with the latex to help you maintain an hourglass shape, while still allowing you to bend and move easily. Three rows of large hook-and-eye closures create a strong, secure fit.
The right attire also goes a long way in eliminating lower back bulge. Choose pants and skirts with a higher waist band, which will prevent muffin top and help create a more flattering shape. You can also layer your clothing over high waist shapewear like shaping underwear, which will help you conceal any trouble areas in a variety of styles.
No matter what your body type, there’s always a solution when it comes to creating a smooth and sexy back. Love the body you have, work towards good health and wear what makes you feel great—and you’ll be well on your way.