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Jaime Longval, M.S., C.S.C.S.

Jaime Longval graduated in 1999 with her Bachelor's of Science from the University of Rhode Island with a degree in Exercise Science.

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person doing calf raises

Trimming Upper Back and Calves

Ask the Expert


I'm getting married soon. I want to lose some weight and trim my upper back and calves. What exercises will target these areas?


Exercise will help trim your upper back and calf muscles, but unless you burn the fat around those muscles you won't be able to see them.

To lose that fat weight without reducing calorie intake, you should gradually work up to doing moderate intensity cardiovascular exercise (such as brisk walking or biking) for about 60 minutes daily on at least five days of the week. You can lose weight with just 30 minutes of activity on at least five days of the week if you cut the amount of calories you eat and/or increase the intensity of your physical activity.

Target the upper back and calves with these exercises:

Calf raises:

  • You may want to hold on to something to keep your balance.
  • Stand straight with your knees slightly bent and your abdominal muscles tight.
  • Roll up onto your toes so that your heels are off the ground. Then slowly lower heels back to the ground. Repeat.
  • Work up to three sets of 12 repetitions each, performed at least three days per week.
  • Once 12 repetitions become too easy for you, add intensity by holding a five-pound hand weight, gallon of milk or any similar household item. Use both hands to hold one weight loosely in front of you or hold a weight in each hand.
  • Leave at least one day of rest between the days you do this exercise.

Seated row (for upper back):

  • Using an exercise band, sit on the floor with your feet out in front of you and your legs slightly bent.
  • Wrap the band around your feet so you are holding one end of each band in each hand.
  • Your palms should be facing each other with your arms fully extended in front.
  • While keeping your upper body erect and not moving, pull the band back toward your chest. As you pull, keep your elbows in, next to your ribs.
  • Straighten your arms in a slow and controlled motion. Repeat.
  • Work up to three sets of eight to12 repetitions, three days per week. Once 12 repetitions become too easy, hold the band further down to increase its tension.
  • Allow at least one day of rest between the days you perform this exercise.

Consult your health care professional before starting any exercise or weight loss program. Also, a nutritionist can be a wonderful resource to help you develop a healthy way to cut calories.

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