Everyone has their problem area — the place where you just can't seem to lose that stubborn bulge or roll. Unfortunately, you can't target a specific area to lose fat. All you can do is continue eating healthy and doing regular cardio and strength training exercise, and eventually your problem area won't be a problem anymore.
The more you exercise, the quicker you'll be rid of back fat. Working out at home saves time (for more exercise) and you can get just as good a workout as you can at the gym.
Cardio That Fits Your Space
Cardio is the quickest way to burn calories and fat. Doing back exercises is not going to help you shed the layer of fat covering your back muscles in the short-term, although back exercises are important. More on that later.
If you have a stationary bike or treadmill in your home, ride it for at least 30 minutes a day at a moderate pace. Make sure you get your heart rate up and work up a nice sweat.
A better option is to do sprints. This type of workout is called high-intensity interval training and it's actually better for burning fat than slower steady state cardio, according to a 2009 study in Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism.
To do it, warm up at an easy pace for 5 minutes. Then, kick it in to high gear, sprinting as fast as you can for as long as you can -- 30 seconds to 2 minutes is a good goal. Come back down to an easy pace to recover for 30 seconds to 2 minutes, then repeat. Do six or eight rounds, then cool down.
You can also run sprints outside on your lawn, if you have one, or on the sidewalk or street outside your house, as long as it's safe. Just run as hard as you can in the space you have -- if it's a lawn, run back and forth, relay-style. Recover, then repeat. Your neighbors may wonder what you're doing, but who cares. You're going to have a really nice back, and they're not.
For you apartment dwellers without equipment, don't despair. You've got options for small spaces. Jumping jacks, jumping rope, jogging in place, skipping across your living room and back — all of these burn calories if you do them hard enough and long enough!
Online cardio classes are another great option. Choose one that meets your needs, equipment-wise, and just remember to work hard.
Again, the secret to burning your back fat is to burn calories on the regular. You have to be burning more calories than you're taking in daily, and cardio is going to help you achieve that.
Home-Style Strength Training
If you're serious about losing your back fat, you have to build muscle. We're not taking about the bulging back muscles of a bodybuilder — we're just taking about overall lean muscle. Because the more muscle you have, the better your body is at burning fat.
Back exercises are part of the plan, but not the whole plan. If you just do back exercises, and skip cardio and training other muscles, you'll build strong back muscle but you won't be able to see it underneath the fat you still have. You also won't be building the total-body lean muscle that really optimizes fat-burning.
Two or three times a week, do a total-body routine that targets your back muscles, as well as your shoulders, arms, chest, core muscles and legs. You can split it up and do upper body exercises one day and lower body exercises the next, or just hit it all in one workout.
Having some equipment, such as dumbbells or kettlebells, resistance bands, a suspension trainer and a pull-up bar is nice, but it's by no means necessary. You can hit all your major muscle groups with no equipment at all.
For your upper body do:
Push-ups: There are 100+ variations from beginner to advanced. Work on good form and progress to different variations as you get stronger.
Pull-ups: It's nice to have a pull-up bar for these, but you can improvise with a sturdy table, sitting underneath the table and pulling yourself up with your body in an L-shape. You can also use the corner of a kitchen counter or breakfast bar.
Rows: Dumbbells, kettlebells, resistance bands or a suspension trainer let you perform any variation of row you could dream of. Or, you can use a sturdy table. Just position yourself underneath the table, grasp the edge with your hands wider than shoulder-width and pull your chest up to the table.
For your lower body do:
Squats: You can do bodyweight squats, or you can add resistance with weights or any heavy object you have around the house. Big jugs of water, laundry detergent, or bags or boxes of (clean) cat litter work well.
Lunges: Perform side, forward and reverse lunges with no weight, or holding a heavy household object.
Step-ups: With or without weights, step up on a sturdy chair or bench.
Jump squats: This plyometric variation requires no weight and is a great calorie-burner.
Combine these exercises in a circuit, including bouts of intense cardio, and you'll get a serious workout that rivals anything you could do in a gym.