Get tank top ready from home with this upper body workout designed by certified trainer Jessica Smith. All you’ll need is a set of dumbbells (3-10 pounds) or similar weighted objects (such as two 16-ounce water bottles). Do each exercise back-to-back with little to no rest in between, repeating the circuit three times. To get nicely sculpted arms in as little as five weeks, do this routine every other day, plus 30-45 minutes of cardio on most days and eat a healthy diet.
This exercise doubles as a warm up and vital workout for your arms, shoulders, chest and abs. Get into push-up position, only on your forearms. Brace the abs tight and lift your hips, creating a straight line from heels to head. Push off and straighten your left arm so that you’re holding yourself up with the right forearm and left palm. Straighten your right arm so the body is in a full push-up position. Lower back down to your right forearm, then left, to return to start. Do four repetitions leading with your left arm and then four leading with the right. If the full plank is too much, use a modified plank position by bending your knees.
Kneeling reverse fly
Sculpt your upper back, arms and abs with this multi-muscle move. Kneel on all fours, holding a dumbbell in your right hand . Engage abs and raise right arm out to shoulder height (elbow should only be slightly bent), palm facing down . Lower to start. Do 15 repetitions; repeat on opposite side.
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Inverted grip biceps curl and press
This double-duty combo move sculpts your shoulders and arms while also strengthening the often-overlooked muscles in your forearms and wrist. Stand with feet together holding dumbbells, palms in front of thighs. Pull abs in tight, and without moving your torso, curl the dumbbells up toward your shoulders, palms facing forward . Then extend arms overhead . Return to starting position and do 15 repetitions.
This is the perfect back-of-the-arms sculptor. Stand with dumbbells in hand, feet hip-width apart and knees slightly bent. Hinge forward from the hips until your chest is almost parallel to floor and bend your arms so that your elbows are behind your body and the dumbbells are by your chest . Extend arms behind you, rotating palms up to ceiling . Keeping arms straight, raise arms a few inches higher. Bend elbows and return to start. Do 15 repetitions.
Create a more defined cleavage line and a flatter tummy with this multitasking exercise. Lie face up on the floor, with knees bent and together, feet flat on the floor. Arms should be straight out from the shoulders with a dumbbell in each hand. Keep your arms just above the ground, palms facing up . Draw your knees up into chest, bring your arms together so they are hugging the outside of your knees, and lift your head and shoulders off the floor – yes, all at the same time. Return to start. Do 15 repetitions.
A version of this article originally appeared on iVillage.
Question: I noticed the article “Firming a flabby stomach” in the Denver Post. Not sure what a transverse abdominus is or how to strengthen it, but I’ll research that.
A year ago this old lady joined a gym after my doctor suggested taking up kickboxing to help reduce what she termed “extreme stress” in my life. Instead I joined a gym, and with minor guidance from the owners began a workout regime.
I’m happy to report the results are good all around. The stress is still there, but I’m too tired to worry about it. I have developed these wonderful muscles in my arms. However, I still have the batwings. This looks rather strange with muscles on top and hanging skin below. Can you suggest anything that might get rid of these batwing areas? When I flex my arms I have a great “don’t mess with me” look, with a petticoat hanging out beneath. Any suggestions would be appreciated.
Trainer Doug Quinlivan answers: The transverse abdominal muscles are the deepest-lying abdominal muscles, and they run horizontally across your abdomen.
These are important, as they act like a girdle to hold everything together, providing quite a bit of your upper-body stability. Keeping these strong can really help in preventing or reducing lower-back pain.
Planks are great for strengthening them, but one of the easiest things to do to work them is just suck your gut in! This is called an abdominal vacuum, and all you have to do is pull your belly button toward your spine and hold for 10 to 30 seconds, relax and repeat three to five times.
As for your batwings, I’m assuming you are referring to your triceps, and what we call lunch-lady arms (no offense to actual lunch ladies!). This is just fat deposits on the backside of the arms, and is a very common problem. The best thing you can do for them is to build your triceps, along with reducing your overall body fat. Your triceps’ job is to straighten your arm, so all of the exercises that you do for them will involve just that. Dips, narrow-grip pushups, dumbbell kickbacks and cable triceps extensions are some of the best exercises to target this problem area.
Keep in mind that no matter how much you develop your muscles, the best way to actually see them is to reduce your body fat. Unfortunately, there is no way to spot reduce, contrary to what infomercials and ads in magazines may claim.
Just as with your belly, an overall reduction in body fat is the only answer. The biggest factor in changing your body composition is your nutritional habits, followed by your caloric expenditure.
So, eat less (and better), and exercise more! And keep in mind that the first place you add fat is the last place for it to leave, which is typically hips and butt for women and stomach for men.
Doug Quinlivan is a personal trainer and owner of Ascent Fitness in Denver, ascent-fitness.com. Please direct questions for Ask the Trainers to [email protected]
Have long sleeves become your go-to? Instead of covering wobbly upper arms it’s time to firm up. Celebrity trainer Caroline Sandry has devised a 30 day challenge that will become your ultimate banish bingo wings plan!
The straightforward exercises will whip your biceps, triceps and deltoids (that’s the shoulder bit) into shape in no time. All you need for arms to rival Michelle Obama’s is your own body weight and a pair of light dumbbells (around 2-5kg). Don’t have any dumbbells to hand? You can also just use a pair of tin cans from your cupboard!
So, what are you waiting for? Here is your exclusive plan for the 30 day challenge to banish bingo wings:
- Banish bingo wings: Four fab arm firming moves
- TRICEP DIPS
- BICEP CURL
- Related: There Are 6 Types Of Body Fat—Here’s What You Need To Know About Them
- Related: 9 Quick Ways to Lose Your Thigh Fat
- Related: This Is Your Best Weight Loss Strategy, According To Your Zodiac Sign
- 5 ways to reduce horrible arm fat
Banish bingo wings: Four fab arm firming moves
Here are our top four bingo-wing-banishing moves. Plus, we’ve included four extras to complete later on in the challenge. The mixture of exercises and repetitions will ensure an even sculpt across your whole arm.
With your back facing a chair, rest the heels of your hands on the edge of it, knees bent. Keep spine straight and your bottom close to the chair. Inhale to lower your bottom down, pointing your elbows directly backwards. Exhale and tighten your abs as you push back up, straightening your arms.
After you’ve placed your arms on the back of the chair, straighten one leg and lift the other foot up off the floor and keep it in the air as you perform a tricep dip, then swap legs. This will also really work your abs!
Begin on all fours with your hands out wide and your knees under your hips. Inhale to lower your chest (not your face) between your hands, keeping your abs tight and your back straight. Exhale to push back up.
Begin as before, but either place your knees further back or go up on to the balls of your feet to form a straight line from your head to your toes. Then perform the move as before.
Hold a dumbbell in your left hand and rest your right knee and hand on a chair (or bench). Your back should be flat and your should create a right angle at the supporting shoulder and hip. Keep your core tight and bring your left elbow to the side of your chest. Switch sides and repeat.
Perform the above move, but when the weight is at the side of your chest, press the weight out behind you until your arm is completely straight. Reverse the move to return to the start. Switch sides and repeat. This move is also great for your upper back.
Stand with your feet hip-width apart, holding dumbbells in front of your thighs, palms facing up. Exhale to curl the weights to shoulder height.
Perform the above move, then add in a shoulder press. When your dumbbells are at shoulder height, inhale and rotate your hands so that your palms now face forward. Exhale and press the dumbbells straight up overhead. Pause, before reversing the movement to the start position.
Check out our video below for on a guide on those booster moves from days 16-30…
So, how did you get on? Have you given the 30 day challenge a try yet?
“Arm fat” is such an ugly phrase for something so common: that little bit of flab that hangs from our arms or sticks out of our sports bras. But such a small part of our bodies can be a major sore spot for so many women.
In fact, so many women hate their upper arms that they’re actually seeking surgery to get rid of it. Nearly 25,000 women received upper arm lifts—a cosmetic surgery procedure that reduces drooping skin and tightens the underlying tissue to give the arm more definition—in 2016. That number is up 4,959 percent since 2000, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.
(Torch fat, get fit, and look and feel great with Women’s Health’s All in 18 DVD!)
But here’s the most important thing to remember about arm fat: It’s totally normal. So many women have it because, thanks to our higher estrogen levels, we store more fat than men. On average, women carry 6 to 11 percent more body fat than men do, according to Australian research. After all, women need a certain amount of fat to be healthy—a minimum of 12 percent of their total weight, to be exact, should come from essential fat, which is found in your heart, lungs, liver, kidneys, intestines, muscles, and tissues of the central nervous system, according to the National Academy of Sports Medicine.
Related: There Are 6 Types Of Body Fat—Here’s What You Need To Know About Them
“Body fat is structurally important,” explains Stefanie Mendez, R.D., co-founder of Matriarch, a women’s fitness and nutrition service. “It cushions our organs and insulates our body for temperature control and also is our body’s source of energy reserves. Beyond that, fat is needed for the production of hormones and reproduction functions.” And that fat can show up in your thighs, your belly, and, yes, your upper arms. Where it goes is partly due to genetics; if your mom has arm fat, science says you have a 62 percent chance of inheriting that trait.
Related: 9 Quick Ways to Lose Your Thigh Fat
The reality, there’s nothing you can do about about your hormones or your DNA, and spot-reduction just flat-out doesn’t work, Mendez says. For example, in one study of tennis players, researchers found that there were no significant differences in the amount of fat on their dominant and non-dominant arms.
The bottom line: Arm fat is natural. So stop stressing over it.
Get tight & toned arms with these 20 no-equipment moves:
Instead, focus on living the healthy, well-fueled and physically active lifestyle that you know you need to lead anyway. By doing that, you’ll see far greater results in the arm department, anyway, Mendez says. Through a combination of balanced eating (hit all three macros at every meal!) and performing a combination of high-intensity interval cardio and strength training, you’ll naturally shed fat all over, including around your arms, explains Lauren Williams, C.P.T., a trainer at PROJECT Equinox.
Related: This Is Your Best Weight Loss Strategy, According To Your Zodiac Sign
You’ll also build muscle to fill out your arms and firm them up. “Generally, when people are complaining about underarm jiggle, they’re usually referring to the area that is governed by the tricep,” says Williams. “If the jiggle or looseness in that part of your arm is due to a lack of muscle, then strengthening and building muscle in your tricep will also create some change in the aesthetic of that area.” She recommends performing triceps push-ups, extensions, and dips to hone in on that area and add some muscular definition to your arms.
But, no, they aren’t going to zap your arm fat. At least now you know the truth of what you’re dealing with!
Ashley Mateo Ashley Mateo is a writer, editor, and UESCA-certified running coach who has contributed to Runner’s World, Bicycling, Women’s Health, Health, Shape, Self, and more.
5 ways to reduce horrible arm fat
Have you stopped wearing sleeveless just because you have heavy arms? Now, there is no need to be upset.
Follow these easy tips and you can have the toned arms you wished for…
The most effective way to tone arms is being physically active. This doesn’t mean that you need to hit the gym every day, but there are many household activities that requires intense arms movement, mopping, cleaning, rolling to name a few. But to melt down the bulky plump, you need determination and focus. You need to start with cutting down on unhealthy and high-calorie food, eating fresh to stay healthy and look healthy. Here are a few more tips.
Go for skipping
If you think it’s irrelevant, then you are wrong. Skipping is the best cardio workout and it’s inexpensive as well. It doesn’t just help you sweat out the fat from your body, but gives you sleek and tone arms too. “Skipping rope affects arms muscles as you lift your body’s weight as well as move your arms in circular motion. This increases the activity in the arms. Count seconds instead of skipping repetitions to make the process more effective,” says Gautham Kumar, a fitness expert.
Don’t wait for the evening or morning fitness regime and stretch your arms as and when you get time. This will not only keep you active, but also release the tension. Gautham says, “Stretching tones the arm muscles and brings them back in shape. Do it in the office, post meeting or after finishing a report.” He suggests these exercises that you can do in your office.
– Interlock your fingers behind your head and stretch your arms up. Make sure the elbows are behind your head. Now, bend your waist right for a few seconds and repeat the same on the left. Keep arms stretched and straight.
– Hold both your palms together behind the lower spine and interlock the fingers. Stretch both your arms backward so that chest comes forward. This is also beneficial to relieve the back stress.
Wrist rotation affects your shoulders and lower arms which are the plumpest areas. “Hold one to two pounds of dumbbells in each hand and stand up. The gap between your feet should be equal to your shoulder length. Extend both the hands forward and keep them firm. Now, swiftly rotate your wrist upward and inward as far as possible. This will help tone the arm muscles,” says Gatuham.
Lift your body up
Do you remember how you used to do pull-ups in the park as a kid? You have to just follow the same. Hold a sturdy strong rod that can bear your body weight. Grasp it firmly and pull yourself up the floor. When you go up hold the position for a few seconds and let your arm muscles take all the strain. Do a set of 20 and after a two-minute break, repeat the set. In case, you are doing it for the first time, then, do as many pull-ups as you can, but don’t strain yourself.
Triceps with one arm
Sit on the floor and place your hands almost a foot behind your hips; your fingers should point towards the butt. Your legs and feet should be pressed together, knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Keep your arm straight to raise your hips above the floor. Bend your left elbow only with one arm and lower your butt as close to the floor as possible without actually touching it. Repeat it with right elbow.