The 8 best exercises to get rid of back rolls, trainers reveal

HAVE you ever seen a photo of you from behind and been horrified?

We all have a specific area of the body that we want to shape up – and for some people it’s the back.

Back fat can be any spillover of excess fat at the top, around the back of the waist and on the hips.

Women often complain of what they call “bra fat”, because it folds over the top of their bra strap.

Dasha, a PT at Fitness First Tottenham Court Road, London, told The Sun: "The upper back is an area that can be prone to fat storage in females.”

Generally, “you can’t target fat loss”, says Ben Camara, a London-based personal trainer and owner of RemoteCoach – an app that lets people virtually train with PTs.

“You’d need to look to reducing body fat all over”, Ben said.

Losing body fat needs a combination of good healthy eating and exercising. But don’t jump straight onto the treadmill .

Dr Mayur Ranchordas, an exercise physiologist and sport nutritionist at Sheffield Hallam, said weight training should “never be neglected”.

He said: “When people are trying to lose fat, they focus on running, cycling and walking – they think cardio will help them lose weight and they won’t focus on weight training.

“I'd say the best way to lose fat is a combination of the two.

“Weight training improves muscle mass, and the more muscle mass you have, the more calories you’ll burn while resting, and then cardio will help you burn fat.”

What exercises should you do?

It’s normal to have fat on the body. But if it’s something that troubles you, there are some nifty tricks to help shift back fat.

Ben told The Sun: “If you wanted to really focus on the muscles and tissues in those areas, I'd definitely focus on moves that pull down from above your head. That will pull your posture up.

“If you stretch the tissues, those areas will start to change. 

“Stop focusing so much on the anterior side of the body, which is the front, such as your abs.

“Think about the posterior side of the body, which is the back, so your glutes, hamstrings and all the way up the back to the traps.

“Work those muscles 3-1, which is working on that side of the body three times more compared to the anterior.”

The trainers recommended:

1. Lat pull downs

This exercise targets the lats; the muscles that run down your side from under the shoulder to your hips, the trapezius; between the shoulders and up to the neck; and the rhomboids, around the shoulder blades.

Either use a gym machine or bands attached from above. Pull the bar or bands down towards your upper chest, squeezing the shoulder blades at the bottom. 

2. Cable pull downs

This exercise is great for the latissimus dorsi – a large, flat muscle covering the width of the middle and lower back. It’s also a killer for the abs.

Use a cable machine and attach the pulley to the highest point, above your head. Pull the attachment down to your thighs in a smooth motion keeping the arm straight.

3. Single arm row

This simple exercise targets the back and arms.

Kneel your left knee on a chair or bench while holding a dumbbell in your right hand. Bend over with a straight back, and pull the dumbbell up towards the side of your body. Switch sides after a few reps.

4. Russian twists

Rotations will strengthen the trunk of the body. 

Sit on the floor with your knees bent, feet on the floor, and lean back. Twist from side to side moving your hands from hip to hip. To make it harder, hold a light weight or lift the feet from the floor. 

5. Hollow plank

Between exercises, do a hollow plank while in recovery. 

The hollow hold helps strengthen the muscles that stabilise your lower back and improve core strength, beneficial both for every day activity and to make exercise easier. Begin in a plank position, with the hands directly under the shoulders, then draw the chest towards the spin, creating a rounded back.

6. Deadlifts

Deadlifts work the whole body. But done right, you will feel it in the back.

Snatch grip deadlifts and stiff leg deadlifts are more focused on the back, compared to leg-targeted deadlifts. Ask a PT to teach you how to do these.

7. Dead row

A dead row is a combination of a traditional deadlift and a bent-over row.

Start standing with a barbell. Tip forward at the hips while slightly bending the knees. Take the barbell down to the knees, then pull it towards the belly button. Squeeze the shoulder blades as you pull it up. Return it to your knees, stand up, then do it again.

8. Overhead press

This move primarily targets the shoulder muscles, but will be beneficial for the whole back.

Get a pair of dumbbells or a barbell. 

While standing with your feet hip-width apart, hold the bar on your upper chest, gripping it with hands just wider than shoulder-width apart. Press the bar directly overhead. Don't tilt your hips forward during the move.

It can also be done sitting with the back upright against a chair or bench using dumbbells (for beginners).

In all exercises, make sure the black is straight (no arching!) and you are bracing the abs during the movement, as this will protect the spine and prevent injury. 

How to eat to lose back fat 

To get rid of fat, you'll need to make sure you are retaining muscle mass, the experts said.

Dr Matur said: "If you have a lot of muscle, you have a higher metabolic rate and burn more energy. But if you lose muscle mass, your metabolism slows down because you are not burning as much energy.”

Dr Mayur it’s important to control blood sugar and insulin levels because if they are too high, it "blocks fat loss".

“Controlling your portions, carbs and sugars will control those and you'll maximise fat loss," he said.

He said the meal you eat three to four hours before you exercise makes a big difference to if you are burning your own fat, or sugars from your food.

“If you have some cereal or porridge before exercise, which contains carbs, you'll block fat utilisation because your sugar levels are up – and your body will use the sugars rather than your fat," Dr Mayur said.

“You’ll burn more fat if you don't have breakfast, then go to the gym and do a 45 minute workout. You'll be using fats very quickly because you have fasted."

If you work out in the evening, say after work, keep your lunch low in carbohydrates to ensure fat burning later.

Dr Mayur added: “You also have to keep protein levels high, because a lot of research shows that if you are trying to lose weight, in order to retain or gain muscle mass, a high protein diet supports that.”

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