Nike master trainer Holly Rilinger talks about what works—and what doesn’t—when it comes to losing back fat.
If it seems like no matter what you do you just can’t get rid of that excess back flab, join the club. Genetics play a big role in where you store fat, so for many people, back fat is a major problem area—and it is S-T-U-B-B-O-R-N.
We’re not going to sugarcoat it: Getting rid of back fat isn’t easy. There’s no one secret move you can do to burn away your back fat. “Unfortunately you can’t spot reduce, that means you can’t lose fat in just one area of your body,” says Nike master trainer Holly Rilinger.
To trim the fat on your back, Rilinger recommends slimming down by to losing fat all over and building lean back muscles with specific, targeted exercises.
To lose weight, it’s important to take a good, hard look at your diet, and be sure you’re integrating exercises that promote fat loss into your lifestyle. Not sure how to start? Check out these tips from people who lost weight and kept it off.
As for the back exercises, Rilinger has three that will get you well on your way to a sleek back side: dumbbell bent-over rows, one-arm rows, and renegade rows. Here’s how to do them:
Dumbbell Bent-Over Rows
- Grab a dumbbell in each hand.
- Bend over at the waist, engaging your core and lower back.
- Drive your elbows up, so they’re by your sides and bent at roughly a 90-degree angle.
- Start bent at the waist, with one hand on your knee or on a stable surface (like a bench or chair).
- With a dumbbell in the opposite hand, drive your elbow up beside your body, also bent at roughly a 90-degree angle.
- Do reps for one arm first, then switch.
- Get in a high plank position, with a dumbbell in each hand and forefeet on the floor.
- With dumbbells in hand while maintaining a plank position, row your right arm up by driving your elbow up your side, then place the dumbbell back on the ground (still grasping it with the hand).
- Do the same with the left side and alternate.
“So instead of thinking of this as losing back fat, let’s look at this as an overall program where we’re building muscle, and we’re losing fat through diet, weight training, and cardio,” says Rilinger.
Coach, trainer, and 10-year veteran of the fitness world, Holly Rilinger is known as one of the most inspiring motivational trainers in the game.
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Whatever I do, I can never get rid of back fat.
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What can I do to get rid of it?
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So unfortunately you can't spot reduce.
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That means you can't lose fat in just one area
of your body.
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So what you wanna do is you wanna lose weight overall
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and you wanna strengthen the muscles in the area
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that we're speaking about.
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So to lose weight overall, it's important to look at
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what you eat nutritionally,
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so maintaining an excercise program that involves
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both cardio and weight training is a great way
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to lose overall body fat.
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Your back, you wanna do specific targeted
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So three exercises that I recommend are
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a dumbbell bent-over row.
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So you'll have a dumbbell in each hand,
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bending over at the waist, so engaging your core
and lower back,
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and rowing by driving your elbows up to your sides.
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The second exercise is a one-arm row.
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So you're gonna put a hand and a knee
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or just your hand on a surface.
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This could be a bench, it could be a chair,
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and you're going to be using one side of the body
at a time,
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which means you're going to have engage your core
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a little bit more on this one.
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You're going to row by driving your elbow up
aside your body.
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You'll do one arm first, you'll finish,
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and then you'll move to the other arm.
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The third exercise is called a renegade row,
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so for this exercise you'll get in a high plank position
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with your dumbbells in both hands.
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And while maintaining a plank position,
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you'll roll your right arm like driving your elbow up
to your side,
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placing it back on the ground and then doing the left side.
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So you alternate right to left for this entire exercise.
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So instead of thinking about this as losing back fat,
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let's look at this as an overall program
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where we're building muscle and we're losing fat
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through diet, weight training, and through cardio.
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