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The 9 Most Effective Exercises To Get Rid Of Back Fat, Trainer Says

Emphasizing strength training is key.
FACT CHECKED BY Alexa Mellardo

One of the most popular questions I receive from clients is how to get rid of back fat. This problem area can be tricky and undeniably frustrating to deal with. But as with any fat loss goal, it's imperative to pair your fitness routine with a healthy diet full of lean protein, fruits, and veggies. You also need to establish a calorie deficit. When you have a handle on controlling your calories, it's time to gear up for nine of the most effective strength exercises to get rid of back fat.

Performing strength exercises that directly fire up the muscles in your back will allow you to build muscle tone in that area while melting fat. When it comes to selecting just the right exercises to add to your routine, compound movements will get you the results you're looking for, as they activate multiple muscle groups at once and will torch more calories.

So if you want to get rid of back fat, listen up, and get ready to sweat. Here are the top exercises I recommend you incorporate into your regimen. Check them out below, and next up, don't miss the 9 Floor Exercises Women Should Do Every Day To Stay Fit & Firm.

Lat Pulldowns

trainer doing lat pulldown to demonstrate how to get rid of back fat
Tim Liu, C.S.C.S.

For lat pulldowns, grip the lat pulldown bar with your hands just outside shoulder-width. Your palms should face away from you. Lean back slightly, and pull the bar down toward your sternum with your elbows, squeezing your lats at the bottom. Resist on the way back up, maintaining tension in your lats. Let your shoulder blades come up at the top of the motion so you get a solid stretch. Complete three sets of 10 reps.

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Incline Rear Rows

incline rear rows to get rid of back fat
Tim Liu, C.S.C.S.

Incline rear rows are next. Set your workout bench to a 30 to 45-degree incline. Grab two dumbbells with a pronated grip, and position your chest on the pad. You can have your knees on the seat of the bench or your feet on the ground. Extend your arms. Maintain a tall chest, and bring the weight toward your body while flaring your elbows out. Flex your upper back at the end of the motion. Then, lower the weights until you get a solid stretch at the bottom. Complete three sets of 10 reps.

Cable Rows

wide grip cable row to get rid of a big belly
Tim Liu, C.S.C.S.

Begin cable rows by grabbing the attachment on a seated row machine. Place your feet firmly on the footpad. Pull the handle out, then completely extend your legs. Keeping your chest tall, drive your elbows back to your hips, squeezing your back and lats hard. Straighten your arms, and get a solid stretch in your shoulder blades before performing another rep. Complete three sets of 10 reps.

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Kayak Rows

trainer doing kayak rows
Tim Liu, C.S.C.S.

Start kayak rows by grabbing the EZ or straight bar cable attachment. Take a step or two back with your feet shoulder-width apart. Keep your chest tall and your hips back. Keeping your core tight, sweep the bar toward the left side of your body, squeezing your lat. Return to the top, then pull it in toward your hips, then come back up and finish by sweeping it to your right side. Complete three sets of six reps on each side.

Face Pulls

rope face pulls exercise
Tim Liu, C.S.C.S.

Next up on this list of the best exercises to get rid of back fat is the face pull. Start by attaching a rope handle to the cable pulley station—make sure it's at neck level. Grip the rope so that your thumbs face you. Pull the cable out, and take two steps back. Assume a split stance for balance with one foot in front and one foot behind you. Then, pull the rope toward your face, flaring your elbows back at the end of the motion. Squeeze the back of your shoulders and your shoulder blades together before returning to the start position. Perform three sets of 15 reps.

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Dumbbell Pullovers

dumbbell pullover
Tim Liu, C.S.C.S.

The dumbbell pullover begins with you lying flat on your back on a workout bench, holding a dumbbell. Position the weight above you in both palms so they form a diamond shape. Then, straighten your arms out with a slight elbow bend. Keeping your core tight, pull the weight behind you until you get a good lat stretch. Once you've reached a good range of motion, pull the weight back toward your eyes to finish. Perform three sets of 10 reps.


trainer performing chin-up exercise to get rid of back fat
Tim Liu, C.S.C.S.

To perform a chin-up, start by grabbing the bar just outside of shoulder-width with your palms facing away from you. Pull your shoulder blades down. Next, pull your torso to the bar so that your chin clears it, squeezing your lats and upper back. Make sure to lean back slightly, reaching from your sternum rather than your chin as you come up. Lower yourself back into the starting position before performing another rep. Complete three sets of six to eight reps.

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Dumbbell Rows

trainer doing dumbbell row exercise
Tim Liu, C.S.C.S.

For this exercise, position yourself parallel to a bench so that one hand and knee are firmly planted on the surface for balance. Grip a dumbbell with your opposite hand and your arm extended straight down toward the floor. Then, pull the dumbbell up toward your hip, squeezing your lats and upper back at the very end of the movement. Straighten your arm back down, and get a nice stretch at the bottom before performing the next rep. Complete three sets of 10 to 12 reps on each arm.


rowing on row machine to get rid of back fat
Tim Liu, C.S.C.S.

If you want a little more cardio or anaerobic work, you can add the rowing machine to your routine. Start toward the front of the machine with your knees bent and your hands grasping the handles. Then, use all the power in your legs to push your entire body backward in order to straighten your legs. Finish by leaning back and pulling with your arms and upper back until the handles are touching your chest.

If you're used to doing anaerobic activity, you can sprint hard for 500 meters for two to three sets, or start off building your endurance by rowing 1,000 to 2,000 meters.

Tim Liu, C.S.C.S.
Tim Liu, CSCS, is an online fitness and nutrition coach based in Los Angeles Read more about Tim