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A back fat combatting combo

Personal Trainer Julien Bertherat.

We tend to focus a lot on what we can see when we exercise. We look in the mirror and we easily see the front of our bodies. What happens at the back gets less attention, for obvious reasons.

Bodybuilders tend to pay more attention to the backs of their bodies (particularly the major muscle group as well as their glutes), but for the rest of us, less so.

Taking this into account, the following combo routine is designed to target the back (and particularly back fat) with three combo exercise sets of two exercises per set. These exercises taken together are great for toning the back and targeting fat but are also useful for building stability as well.

It’s a set of mini combos within a combo!

Mini combo 1:

Seated military dumbbell press

Personal Trainer Julien Bertherat.

  1. Take two dumbbells and sit on an incline bench.

  2. Ensure the back of the bench is set at a 90-degree angle.

  3. Once seated, rest one dumbbell on each thigh. Sit with your lower back firmly against the back of the bench. Keep your shoulders and back as straight as possible.

  4. Raise the dumbbells from your thighs and bring them to shoulder height. If you have heavy dumbbells, raise your thighs one at a time to help lift the dumbbells.

  5. With the dumbbells at shoulder height, rotate your palms so that they face forward. If you prefer, you can also complete a dumbbell press with your palms facing your body.

  6. Make sure your forearms are perpendicular to the ground.

  7. Begin to press the dumbbells above your head until your arms fully are extended.

  8. Hold the weight above your head for a moment, and then lower the dumbbells back to shoulder height.

  9. Perform 10 reps.


Personal Trainer Julien Bertherat.

  1. Get down on the floor on all fours, placing your hands slightly wider than your shoulders.

  2. Straighten your arms and legs.

  3. Now lower your body until your chest nearly touches the floor.

  4. Pause, then push yourself back up.

  5. Repeat.

  6. Perform 10 reps.

Mini combo 2:

Bent over one arm lateral raise

Personal Trainer Julien Bertherat.

  1. Begin by grabbing a pair of dumbbells, standing with your feet shoulder-width apart and a slight bend in your knees.

  2. Your shoulders should be directly over your hips with a neutral head and neck position.

  3. Your chin should remain tucked throughout the movement as if you were holding an egg under your chin.

  4. Evenly distribute your weight and grip the floor with your feet to create a stable position.

  5. While maintaining a neutral spine, hinge your hips back.

  6. Your shins should be vertical and your upper body should be at a 45-degree angle.

  7. You should feel your legs working to support your position.

  8. Keep your arms long with a slight bend in your elbows and your palms facing each other.

  9. Rotate your shoulders outward to engage your lats. Your shoulder blades should be in a neutral position. All repetitions should start from this position.

  10. While maintaining your alignment and a slight bend in your elbows, squeeze your posterior deltoids to initiate the upward movement.

  11. Lift your arms until your upper arm is even with your back.

  12. As you raise the dumbbells, your shoulder blades should retract.

  13. Your hands should be lower than your upper arms.

  14. Pause at the top of the movement.

  15. Slowly lower your arms until the dumbbells are back in the starting position.

  16. As you lower the dumbbells, your shoulder blades should protract.

  17. Lower the dumbbells only as far as you can maintain tension on your posterior deltoids.

  18. Perform 10 reps.

Bent-over reverse fly

Personal Trainer Julien Bertherat.

  1. Remove all attachments and set the cable pulley at the bottom of the pole.

  2. Stand centred between the cables, facing inwards, and grasp the left cable end in your right hand, and the right cable end in your left hand.

  3. Take a small step backwards and plant your feet on the floor shoulder-width apart.

  4. Hinge forward from your hips so that your torso is parallel to the floor, ensuring that your shoulders are aligned with the poles.

  5. Bend your knees slightly and extend your arms to hold the cable ends directly below your chest. This is your starting position.

  6. While maintaining a slight bend in your elbows, raise the cable ends outwards and upwards from below your chest until they reach shoulder height. You should feel a small squeeze between your shoulder blades.

  7. Gently lower the cable ends to return to the starting position.

  8. Perform 10 reps.

Combo 3:

Dumbbell front raise

Personal Trainer Julien Bertherat.

  1. Grab two dumbbells and stand up straight. The dumbbells should be in front of your thighs with your hands facing down. This is the starting position.

  2. While keeping your torso stationary, lift the dumbbells to the front.

  3. Your elbows should be slightly bent. Lift the dumbbells until your arms are slightly above the level where they would be parallel to the floor.

  4. Exhale as you do so, and pause for a second when you get to the top.

  5. Lower the dumbbells back to the starting position, inhaling as you do so.

Swimmer floor exercise

Personal Trainer Julien Bertherat.

  1. Start on the floor lying face down with your arms stretched out overhead.

  2. Lift your upper body into a back arch by lifting your chest away from the floor and contracting your glutes and back muscles.

  3. Keep your chin tucked so that you are looking towards the floor.

  4. Lift your right arm away from the floor and at the same time lift your left leg away from the floor.

  5. Aim to lift both limbs approximately one foot off the floor.

  6. Then as you lower your right arm, lift your left arm.

  7. Similarly for the legs, as you lower the left leg, lift your right in a controlled swimming-like motion.

  8. Make sure you keep your glutes engaged during this exercise and don’t over lift your legs as this can cause you to overarch your lower back.

  9. Perform 10 reps.

So there you have it, a combo made up of three mini combos to target back fat and strengthen stability.

As always, ensure you understand each exercise and what you can deliver before attempting the full routine and if you have any queries about this or any of the combos’ on my blog, let me know.


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