By Glenn Baja
Feeling a bit self-conscious about those flabby arms? It’s not uncommon to have excess fat on your arms if you’re carrying a little extra on other parts of your body. The triceps area, or the back of the upper arm, is the part of the arm that most prominently shows extra fat. The good news is that if you want to get rid of flabby arms it’s doable, and the bonus is you will feel so much better overall!
Toning your arms – and the rest of your body – isn’t a quick fix, especially if you live a sedentary life. But if you stick with it, you’ll start to see results within a few weeks.
The key is motivation. You will need to motivate yourself to exercise and eat right until these new behaviors become habits. After that, it’s easy. Like every other habit, lifestyle habits become automated and effortless with a little bit of patience and perseverance.
Here are 5 ways to get rid of flabby arms. The perfect combination consists of three arm-toning exercises and two weight-loss habits. You can shape and tone your arms with the right exercises. However, as you build muscle in your triceps, you will also need to lose the excess fat that hides your muscles.
Focus on weight loss and strength training to tone your arms and make them look strong and youthful.
Toning Your Arms: Tips 1, 2 & 3
You’re probably curious about which exercise is the best. Scientists at the Exercise and Health Program at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse conducted a study to determine the single best flabby arm exercise. They used 70 female participants and recorded the women’s real-time muscle activity to determine which arm exercises produced the most muscle activity. The result: the triangle push-up.
Don’t get stuck on one exercise as the perfect fix. You need to tone the rest of your arm muscles too (like your biceps and deltoids, to develop good muscle balance and arm shape! However, in this article we will focus only on triceps exercises so you can quickly lose the flab around your triceps.
Watch a few videos to see how these exercises should look, so that you practice proper form for injury prevention and faster results. Do these exercises every other day, giving your arm muscles a chance to recover and build on your off-day.
1. Triangle Push-up
You can perform this effective exercise even if you haven’t exercised in a long time.
- Starting on your hands and knees, bring the tips of your left and right index fingers together on the ground. Then bring your thumbs together. You know the upside-down heart shape people make in photos? That’s the shape you’re making with your hands.
- As in a traditional push-up, keep your core stable and your body in one straight line; you can do this exercise on your knees or on your toes (I recommend starting on your knees until you develop strength and stability).
- Slowly lower yourself as close to the ground as you can, and slowly back up to the starting position.
- Do as many as you can, to fatigue.
2. Tricep Kick-Backs
You will need weights for this; but you don’t have to invest in weights. You can use a water jug, heavy hammer, or pipe wrench––anything with some heft to it––that you can hold comfortably in your hands.
- Starting on your hands and knees, bend the elbow of your right arm so your tricep is parallel with your body.
- Raise your elbow slightly, and press back and up with your weighted hand (as if you were a horse kicking backwards, except you are ‘kicking’ with your arms)
- Do as many as you can, to fatigue.
- Repeat with the other arm.
3. Tricep Dips
You need a stable chair, bench, or stairways to perform this exercise. This exercise is slightly more advanced and is not suitable for people with shoulder injuries.
- Place your hands shoulder-width apart on the sides of the chair. Your bum is just in front of the chair. Your legs are either flat on the floor with your knees at a 90 degree angle, or if you’re more advanced, straight out in front of you with your weight on your heels.
- Raise yourself using your arms, until your arms are nearly fully extended. Now, slowly lower your body toward the floor until your arms are at about a 90 degree angle. Slowly press your arms until you are in the arms-extended position.
- Do as many as you can, to fatigue.
REST is an important part of strength training. You MUST give your muscles a chance to repair and build. DO NOT PERFORM THESE EXERCISES EVERY DAY! Skip a day and do cardio or lower-body strength training instead.
Strength is built by creating small tears in the muscle fibers (through resistance) and then giving the muscle a chance to repair itself stronger. Your muscles will hurt a bit in the beginning, but remember, in two or three weeks you’ll start to see a real improvement!
Losing Weight: Tips 4 & 5
The second reason you have flabby arms is excess body fat. Please note that while we can give general nutrition suggestions here, please consult a qualified nutritionist for a detailed nutritional plan that suits your unique needs.
4. Add cardio exercise
In addition to strength training, you need to rev up your metabolism and burn calories through low-impact sports like fast walking, cycling, or swimming.
The good news is you don’t have to spend money to do cardio exercise. We do not recommend running as a beginner-friendly exercise since most people overdo it and end up injured. However, fast walking burns nearly as many calories, it’s relatively low-impact, and you don’t need special equipment other than supportive footwear.
Quite simply, start walking (fast) every day. 10 minutes on your lunch break… park farther from the store or work… take a walk after dinner instead of flopping down on the couch… adopt a dog if you need motivation (people who have dogs walk 20% more than those who don’t)… and at least once or twice a week, take a longer 1-2 hour walk at a good pace you can sustain.
If you walk briskly for 30 minutes a day, you’ll start to lose arm fat almost immediately as well as tone and slim the rest your body!
5. Adopt healthy eating
As much as we love the convenience of processed foods, they are filled with substances that promote weight gain that contributes to arm fat: salt, sugar, and various chemicals.
You don’t have to make drastic changes. You can start modestly, and as you get used to eating well, you’ll naturally crave more healthy food instead of craving carbs, salt and sugar.
As you lose weight everywhere, you’ll notice it really fast when it comes to arm fat!
- The best possible nutritional advice that anyone will give you is to eat more vegetables. If you’re veggie-lite right now, start by adding one vegetable to every meal (yes, even breakfast). If possible, eat your veggies raw for maximum nutritional value. The powerhouses are dark leafy greens. Try having sweet potatoes and eggs on a bed of spinach for breakfast, or make a spinach omelette a part of a healthy breakfast.
- Cut your meal portions in half. The fiber in the vegetables helps you feel fuller so you’ll eat less. Even better, your body will receive the nutrition it needs and that in itself helps reduce hunger pangs. Your body is crying out for more vitamins, but it doesn’t speak English, so instead of eating something loaded with calories, feed it raw or minimally cooked vegetables. Keep this up and you’ll feel a noticeable difference in no time!
- Drink more water. Most of us are chronically dehydrated. Dehydration increases the crepey, flabby look of the skin. Drink at least an eight 8-oz glasses of water first thing every morning, and when you feel hungry, drink a glass of water first. The body’s signals for thirst and hunger are virtually identical, so you may be mistakenly feeding your body when it’s really asking for water. Drink a full glass of water (add a squirt of lemon for flavor and vitamins), wait 15 minutes, and see how you feel. Water boosts your metabolism, improves organ function, and flushes out toxins. But, you may ask, doesn’t drinking more lead to water retention? No. Your body retains water when there is a sodium overload in the body. In an effort to bring the sodium into balance, the body has to dilute it so it hangs on to every bit of moisture it can. Processed food is loaded with salt, so by decreasing the amount of processed food you eat, you’ll help eliminate water retention.
- Reduce or eliminate sugar. Sugar contributes to weight gain and a host of health problems, but it also contributes to poor skin tone – which is an important part of eliminating flabby arms.
You don’t have to be embarrassed to wear sleeveless tops if you use these 5 ways to get rid of flabby arms. While you can’t spot-remove fat from your body, these tips help you reduce excess fat from your entire body, boost your metabolism, tone flabby arms, and boost your body image. The better you feel about your body, the more motivated you are to keep it looking great!
Remember: if you’re new to exercise, please consult your doctor before starting any exercise routine.