Excess weight in the arms and back can lead to the ‘batwing’ arm appearance that many people dread. While spot reducing (trying to lose fat in a certain area) isn’t effective for batwing arms, a more effective approach is overall weight loss and toning the upper body. Cardio and strength training exercises, as well as a healthy diet are key ways to combat flabby arms. If you’re looking to tone your arms and banish batwings for good, check out these 7 exercises to tone flabby arms.
What Causes Flabby Arms?
1. Aging and Weight Gain
As you age, your muscle tone diminishes and you start to carry excess weight in different parts of your body. Skin starts to relax and if you don’t work on toning your arms and keeping active, flabby arms are almost inevitable. Body fat may increase by up to 30 percent as you grow older, so it’s important to maintain a healthy diet and exercise regime as you age.
If your mom and grandma have batwing arms, it’s likely that you will too. All of us store weight in certain places based on our genetics, and the combination of aging, less activity and genetics can be the perfect storm for weight gain in that area.
3 Tips to Prevent Flabby Arms
1. Focus on Strength Training
Strength training is the best workout you can do to burn fat. Although you can’t spot reduce batwings, you can work toward toning your arms and getting fitter overall. Increasing muscle mass helps boost your metabolism, meaning you’ll burn more calories from your workouts. If you’re looking to tone your arms, focus on lower weights and higher repetitions. Tricep exercises can make a big difference in eliminating batwing arms.
2. Smart Cardio
When it comes to cardio, it’s best to choose high intensity cardio exercises like boot camp classes or HIIT training instead of running on a treadmill. Running burns calories while you’re exercising, but as soon as you’re finished, your calorie burn goes back to normal. With HIIT and boot camp, there’s an after-burn effect up to 24 to 48 hours post workout, plus they help decrease fat around the muscles.
3. Eat a Healthy Diet
Focus on eating a healthy diet rich in lean protein, fruits, veggies, and whole grains and low in saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, salt and added sugars. Changing your diet is a huge part of weight loss. Replace processed food with real food whenever possible and combine with exercise for the best results!
7 Batwing Exercises to Banish Flabby Arms
1. Tricep Dips
For tricep dips, you can use a stable chair, table or bench or simply use the floor. Place your arms behind your back, gripping whatever you’re holding onto, or with your palms flat on the floor. Place your legs straight out in front of you (if you’re doing these on the floor, bend your knees into a table top position). Slowly lower yourself keeping your body upright and your elbows tucked close to your sides. Your arms should bend to form a 90 degree angle. Push your body back to starting position using only your triceps and repeat.
2. Tricep Extensions
For this exercise, you’ll need a dumbbell at your preferred weight. Start with your feet shoulder-width apart and hold a dumbbell with both hands. The dumbbell should be held behind your head with your upper arms close to your head and your elbows perpendicular to the floor. Lower your arms until the weight is touching the upper part of your back, making sure not to move your elbows. Use your tricep to raise the dumbbell up until your arms are fully extended over your head. Repeat the movement.
3. Pilates Overhead Press
You’ll need two dumbbells for this press exercise. Sit upright on the floor with your feet in a loose “butterfly” position. Lean slightly forward at the hips, engaging your core and untucking your tailbone from the floor. Hold a dumbbell in each hand at chest level with a wide grip. Pull your shoulder blades down your back, then push the weight upward away from your body. Instead of moving your arms straight overhead, move them diagonally, keeping the rest of your body in a straight line.
4. Deltoid Raise
Stand with your feet hip-width apart and your knees slightly bent. Lean forward 20 degrees at the waist and engage your core. Hold dumbbells down beside your body with your palms facing your thighs. Raise your arms out to the side in a ‘T’ position until they reach shoulder level. Return to starting position and repeat.
5. Tricep Pushups
Tricep pushups are challenging but they’re an amazing way to tone your arms. You can do them from a full plank position or from your knees. Place your arms directly under your chest and turn your hands inwards so your fingers form a triangle. Slowly lower yourself to the floor, engaging your core and keeping your body in a straight line. Push back up to starting position, squeezing through the back of your arms and mid-back, pulling your shoulders away from your ears.
6. Bent Over Row
Start with your feet shoulder-width apart and hold a dumbbell in each hand with your palms facing in. Bend your knees slightly and bend forward, keeping your back straight. Your torso should be parallel to the floor and your head pointed up. Keep your elbows close to your body and pull the dumbbells toward your chest just below your ribs. Return to starting position and repeat.
7. One Arm Side Push Up
Lie on your side with your knees slightly bent. Place the hand from your top arm down on the floor in front of your chest. Bend that arm at the elbow and place the other arm on your top shoulder so it’s out of the way. Push your top arm hand into the floor and straighten that arm to lift your body off the floor, while keeping your legs and hips on the floor. Repeat on the other side.
These arm exercises will help you tone up and get rid of unwanted arm flab. Along with a healthy lifestyle and diet, you’re sure to banish your batwings in no time.