It’s not really possible to reduce back fat directly. However, decreasing overall body fat through diet and targeted exercise can reduce back fat and benefit health. This article discusses the causes of excess back fat. But also eating habits and lifestyle to adopt to reduce body fat. It also explains how to perform targeted exercises that can help tone different areas and muscle groups of the back.

Is it possible to reduce back fat on an ad hoc basis?

It is not possible to exactly target the elimination of fat on specific areas of the body. People who want to look slimmer around their back will need to combine diet and exercise to reduce their overall body fat. This approach should also reduce fat around the back.
According to a 2020 study, reducing fat, especially around the belly, can prevent insulin resistance, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.

Tips for reducing back fat

To reduce overall body fat:

– Create a calorie deficit

The way to reduce body fat through diet is to create a calorie deficit. A calorie deficit occurs when a person consumes fewer calories than they need to maintain their current body mass. A calorie deficit can be created by a combination of decreasing daily calorie intake from food and drink and the expenditure of caloric energy through exercise and other physical activities.
Start by losing weight gradually and steadily. Aiming for one to two kilos per week to maximize the chances of maintaining weight loss.

Eat nutrient-dense foods

Nutrient-dense foods are those that are high in beneficial nutrients and low in calories, sugar, and fat.
Nutrient-dense foods contain good amounts of:

– protein
– fiber
– vitamins
– minerals

Here are some examples of nutrient-dense foods:
– vegetables, including leafy vegetables, starches
– fruits, such as apples and berries
– lean proteins, such as poultry, fish and lean cuts of meat
– beans and legumes
– nuts and seeds
– whole grains, including brown rice, quinoa, and whole-grain breads and pastas
– healthy fats, such as oily fish, avocados and olives

Avoid added sugars and saturated fats

Try to limit added sugars to no more than 10% of their daily calories. Be aware of added sugars in drinks, sugary foods and processed foods. Similarly, calories from saturated fat should not exceed 10% per day. Meat, full fat dairy products and processed foods can contain saturated fat.

Specific exercises for back fat

Studies suggest that endurance (cardio) exercise can promote weight loss, while resistance training can reduce body fat. Exercises that target the back help tone this part of the body.

The following exercises can help tone your lower, middle and upper back and decrease back fat

Beginners accustomed to resistance training should start with one set of each exercise and gradually progress to more sets as their muscle strength and endurance improve over time. It is also advisable to take at least 1 or 2 days of rest between workouts for a particular muscle group, especially in the beginning.

Exercises to tone the lower back

Some exercises that can help tone the lower back include:

Upside down hip raise

An exercise ball is helpful for this exercise, which targets the obliques and extensors. You can also use a flat bench.

1 Lie on your stomach on an exercise ball with your hands flat on the floor.
2 Squeeze the glutes to lift the legs while swinging on the ball.
3 Hold for a few seconds before lowering the legs. Repeat the operation several times.

Side elevation

This exercise helps tone the lower back, internal and external obliques and rectus abdominis.

1 Lie on your side with your legs on top of each other.
2 Extend the forearm along the floor for support and bend the forearm so that the hand touches the side of the head and the elbow is pointing up.
3 Squeeze the obliques, which are muscles in the abdomen, and lift the upper leg towards the upper arm, keeping a slight bend in the knee.
4 Repeat the operation several times, then switch to the other side.

Exercises to tone the middle of the back

Some exercises that can help tone your mid back include:

Bridge position

The bridge can strengthen and tone the muscles that run along the spine and help someone maintain good posture.

1 Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor, directly below your knees. The arms should remain at the side.
2 Raise the pelvis towards the ceiling while squeezing the buttocks.
3 Hold this position for 5 seconds before gently lowering it. Repeat the operation 12 to 15 times.

The position of the cobra

The Cobra is a yoga pose that strengthens and tones the muscles around the spine.

You may find it difficult at first, not to stretch beyond what is comfortable.

1 Lie face down with your hands flat on the floor below your shoulders.
2 Engaging the muscles of the buttocks and legs, lift the head and then the chest off the floor.
3 If possible, straighten your arms when your back bends.
4 Hold this position for 20 to 30 seconds before gently returning to the floor. Repeat the stretch 2-4 times.

Exercises to tone the upper back

Some exercises to tone and strengthen the upper back include:

Lateral raise with dumbbells

Lateral raises can improve shoulder and back shape.

1 Either stand or sit with a dumbbell in each hand. Slowly raise the weights to the sides until the arms are parallel to the floor.
2 Bring the arms towards the body, controlling the movement.
3 Repeat 10-12 times.

With weights

1 Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and bend over from the waist, keeping your back flat and your neck aligned with your spine.
2 Pressing your shoulders together, lift the weight toward your chest.
3 Slowly lower the weight, then repeat the exercise 10 to 12 times.

Other tips to reduce back fat

In addition to changing their diet and exercising regularly, other lifestyle measures help them reduce their body fat levels.

Use stress reduction strategies

Research indicates a link between prolonged exposure to the stress hormone cortisol and higher levels of body fat. When a person feels stressed, they may also turn to unhealthy foods or comfort foods. It helps to have strategies to relieve stress. Try various practices, such as yoga, meditation, mindfulness, or gentle exercises, to see what works for them.

get enough sleep

Lack of sleep can contribute to weight and fat gain. A large prospective study from 2013 indicated that non-obese adults had a 40% higher risk of developing this disease if they got less than 5 hours of sleep per night.

Reducing overall body fat through diet and exercise is the best approach to decreasing back fat. People may try dieting with nutrient-dense foods that puts them in a calorie deficit. Exercises that target different back muscles can also tone this area. Other factors, such as sleep and stress, are important to consider as they can influence body composition and weight.


Chait, A., et al. (2020). Adipose tissue distribution, inflammation and its metabolic consequences, including diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Drewnowksi, A. (2017). Uses of nutrient profiling to address public health needs: From regulation to reformulation [Abstract].

Drewnowksi, A., et al. (2019). A proposed nutrient density score that includes food groups and nutrients to better align with dietary guidance.

Hall, KD, et al. (2011). Quantification of the effect of energy imbalance on bodyweight.

Jackson, SE, et al. (2017). Hair cortisol and adiposity in a population-based sample of 2,527 men and women aged 54 to 87 years.

Miller, T., et al. (2018). Resistance training combined with diet decreases body fat while preserving lean mass independent of resting metabolic rate: A randomized trial [Abstract].

Swift, DL, et al. (2013). The role of exercise and physical activity in weight loss and maintenance.

* criptom strives to transmit health knowledge in a language accessible to all. In NO CASE, the information given can not replace the opinion of a health professional.