I used to work with a girl who would complain about having “back fat”.  You know…the unsightly rolls that appear on the sides of your back, right above and below your bra.  I had never really heard the term used but it quickly became a part of my vocabulary.  Back fat or bra fat not only looks unattractive, it can also be uncomfortable.  Not to mention, it’s hard to rock a snug or fitted shirt with confidence when there are bumps and bulges spilling out from under your bra.  The good news is that there are things you can do to rid yourself of that despised back fat and I’m not talking about investing in a pricey bodyshaper.

Here’s the scoop…back fat and the accompanying bulges are primarily the result of ill-fitting bras.  Besides going in for a bra fitting, the only other way to reduce back fat is to lose weight and reduce your overall percentage of body fat by burning calories and building muscle.  Unfortunately, you can’t target your weight loss to one specific area but you can work the problem spot so that when the pounds are shed, what’s left is great looking!

The spots to target are the latissimus dorsi muscles, or Lats, which are your upper back muscles.  Latissimus dorsi literally means “broadest muscle of the back” and is the larger, flat, dorso-lateral muscle on the trunk.  The latissimus dorsi muscles make extension and adduction possible, working to pull the arm towards the pelvis and the body towards the arm when the arms are fixed (ex. chin-ups).

A few simple exercises you can do that work the Latissimus Dorsi are One-arm Dumbbell Rows, Bent Over Dumbbell Rows and Lat Pull Downs w/an Exercise Band.


  • kneel down with one knee on a bench or exercise ball with the same hand on the bench or ball for support and the opposing arm holding the dumbbell
  • keep the opposite leg on the ground with the knee slightly bent
  • stretch your shoulder down and forward before slowly bring the dumbbell towards your waist, keeping your elbow tight and close to the body
  • slowly bring the weight back down and forward to starting position

***do not hunch your back, keep lower back arched to protect from injury and activate the lats***


  • stand feet shoulder-width apart with knees bent and at a 60 degree angle
  • extend arms straight and forward
  • bring the weights straight up towards your chest, bending at the elbow and squeezing shoulder blades together
  • slow return to starting position


  • tie exercise band around an object close to the ceiling, stretch the band and sit with your back straight
  • bring the handles of the band to your sides, bending at the elbow and
  • release to starting to position


6 thoughts on “Back Fat aka Bra Fat

    • Give the muscles worked at least 24 hours rest before working them again if you’re doing anything more then bodyweight exercises. As for what weight to use, that depends on your goals and current fitness level.

      • Start off with 3 sets of 8 or 12 reps with light weights if you’re just beginning (3, 5, or 8 lb. dumbbells).

    • These exercises are good, take it from someone who gained and lost 45 lbs. with pregnancy, BUT…..diet is far more important. Exercise builds muscle so when you eat right and lose the fat, you are toned. Try the Paleo “diet” which is more of how I live now. Its what Victoria’s Secret models do year round. I lost 1 lb per week and it has ALWAYS been impossible for me to lose weight. Now I am below my prepregnancy weight. Do these too, try 2 sets of ten per arm with a 10 lb weight. If you arent sore, increase each rep and weight.

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