Exercises for Upper Back Fat for Women

Target back fat with a set of light dumbbells.

Target back fat with a set of light dumbbells.

According to the American Council on Exercise, there is no way to spot reduce or target one specific area of the body for weight loss. But with a plan of action that includes regular cardiovascular activity, strength training and a healthy diet, you'll be on the right track to shedding the layers of fat on your back. Choose cardio exercises that involve repetitive upper body movements, such as kickboxing, elliptical training, swimming and rowing. Perform cardio activity three to five times per week for at least 30 minutes per session. Add two days of strength training to tone and strengthen the underlying back muscles.

Lat Pulldown

Sit in front of a lever pulldown exercise machine. Position the thigh bar directly over the top of your thighs.

Set the amount of weight. The weight is appropriate if you can get through 12 to 15 reps with moderate challenge. If you can breeze through 15 reps with ease, increase the amount of weight you are lifting.

Reach up and grab the bar with both hands in an overhand grip. The hands should be slightly wider than shoulder-width. Pull the bar down to your chest.

Raise the bar back up -- smoothly -- to the starting position. Perform 12 to 15 repetitions, working your way up to three sets.

Dumbbell Shrugs

Stand up tall with a straight spine. Engage your core muscles by drawing your belly button in toward your spine.

Hold a dumbbell in each hand. Position your arms by your sides, with your palms facing each other.

Shrug your shoulders toward your ears as high as you can get them. Lower your shoulders back down to a neutral position. Perform 12 to 15 repetitions, working your way up to three sets.

Single-Arm Dumbbell Row

Hold a dumbbell in your right hand. Kneel on a weight bench with your left knee. Bend over and place your left hand on the bench, so your torso is in a table-top position.

Align your left knee under your hip and your left wrist under your shoulder. Extend your right arm down toward the floor.

Bend the elbow and pull the dumbbell upwards, toward the right side of the body. Keep the right arm and elbow as close to the body as possible during the entire exercise. Lower the right arm back down to the starting position.

Perform 12 to 15 repetitions, working your way up to three sets.

Modified Cobra Pose

Lie on your stomach on a yoga mat or other comfortable surface. Press the tops of your feet into the mat.

Position your arms straight down by your sides, palms facing the ceiling. Keep your arms glued to your sides throughout the entire exercise. Instead of using your arm strength, you'll rely on your back muscles to perform modified cobra pose.

Engage your upper back muscles to peel your head, shoulders and upper back off the floor. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds to one minute.

Items you will need

  • Two dumbbells
  • Weight bench or chair
  • Yoga mat


  • Some women avoid strength training because of a fear of developing bulky muscles. To encourage long and lean muscles, practice many repetitions with lighter weights.


  • There is a risk of injury associated with strength training. If you are uncertain of how to perform any strength training exercise, consult a certified personal trainer. Consult a doctor before starting an exercise program.

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About the Author

Nicole Carlin is a registered yoga teacher. Her writing has been published in yoga and dance teacher training manuals for POP Fizz Academy. Carlin received a Masters of Arts in gender studies from Birkbeck University in London and a Bachelors of Arts in psychology from Temple University, Philadelphia.

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