If you've had enough of the back fat that gives you a self-conscious feeling when you're wearing a strapless dress, you don't need a gym membership to take action. Working out at home has several perks, and with minimal or no equipment, you can tackle your back fat and build your muscles through a combination of aerobic exercise, body-weight exercises and strength training.
Burning Fat and Building Muscle
Contrary to what you commonly hear on fitness infomercials, you can't perform an exercise that will burn fat in a chosen area. This concept, known as spot reduction, is so prevalent that CNN Health calls it an "exercise myth that won't go away." As such, no exercise will specifically help you burn your back fat. You can, however, target your back muscles through a wide range of exercises and burn fat all over your body by committing to consistent aerobic exercise.
Aerobic exercises have many health benefits, including helping you burn calories rapidly. The more vigorous you can keep your workout, the more calories you'll burn. Ideal aerobic exercises to perform at home include jumping rope, jumping jacks, running on the spot and dancing. If you'd rather exercise outside your home, consider jogging, swimming and cycling. Through repeated dedication to aerobic exercise, you can decrease your back fat and let your muscles stand out.
Although many people turn to gym equipment to help strengthen their muscles, you can sculpt your back at home through a variety of body-weight exercises. A simple but challenging exercise to perform is the front plank, which strengthens your back and abs as you hold the pose. Other back-building body-weight exercises include the bridge, in which you lie on your back and push your torso in the air, and Y-T-I raises, a three-part body-weight exercise that you perform facedown on the floor. Raising your arms in the shape of a Y, T and then I -- 10 reps for each letter -- provides a significant challenge for your back.
Exercises with Equipment
Sure, you probably don't have a full gym in your basement, but you can target your back muscles with a few pieces of basic exercise equipment. With a barbell or dumbbell, try bent-over rows, each of which you can perform with several variations. If you have access to a weight bench or something sturdy that can double as a weight bench, lying rows are also an ideal back exercise to perform with a barbell or dumbbells. Try three sets of 8 to 10 reps with a short rest between sets, and choose a weight that fatigues your muscles by the end of each set.
- American Council on Exercise: Why Is the Concept of Spot Reduction Considered a Myth?
- CNN Health: 10 Exercise Myths That Won't Go Away
- Harvard Medical School: Calories Burned in 30 Minutes for People of Three Different Weights
- Cleveland Clinic: Aerobic Exercise
- Human Kinetics: Learn Three Phases of Rope Jumping
- ExRx.net: Front Plank
- ExRx.net: Rear Decline Bridge
- Shape: The Ultimate Hotel Room Workout
- ExRx.net: Barbell Bent-Over Row
- ExRx.net: Dumbbell Bent-Over Row
Toronto-based journalist William McCoy has been writing since 1997, specializing in topics such as sports, nutrition and health. He serves as the Studio's sports and recreation section expert. McCoy is a journalism graduate of Ryerson University.