The best exercises for flabby arms!
If you’ve been struggling to lose jiggly arm fat and tone up the back of your arms, you’ve come to the right place!
Losing your arm fat isn’t effortless. But if you arm yourself with the right plan, you can certainly lose it all.
To lose arm fat and get rid of flabby arms, two things have to happen:
- Reduction of your overall body fat percentage. You can’t spot reduce fat from one area of your body such as your arms. In order to lose arm fat, weight loss and overall fat loss need to happen.
- More lean muscles in your arms with arm workouts. Arm strength and definitions can come from targeting the right arm muscles with exercises.
Once fat loss and development of arm muscles happen, you can see a reduction in arm fat and bat wings.
One of the biggest mistakes many women often make when trying to lose arm fat is they focus on doing only arm exercises.
This is with a notion that you can spot reduce fat just from your arms.
But the path to lean, toned arms comes in two parts: fat loss and arm muscle development.
So if you want to lose arm fat and get rid of flabby arms, you need to address both points. Otherwise, you won’t lose arm fat or see lean arms.
But don’t worry this article addresses both. After reading this post, you’ll learn:
- what causes arm fat
- how to lose arm fat
- 7 great exercises to help you boost fat loss and tone your flabby arms
Let’s dive right in.
Anatomy of Your Arms – Exercises for Flabby Arms
Before we get into the arm exercises, it’s important for you to understand the anatomy of your arm so you can focus on proper form for fat loss.
There are four muscles located in your upper arm between your shoulder and elbow joint (4).
3 are located in your anterior compartment:
- Biceps brachii – in charge of supination of the forearm, flexes your arm at the elbow and shoulder
- Brachialis – flexion of your elbow
- Coracobrachialis – flexion of your arm at the shoulder
The 4th muscle is located in your posterior compartment, your triceps brachii.
Your tricep muscles are responsible for the extension of your arm at the elbow.
Moving up your arm, next is the shoulder complex (5).
The largest muscle in your shoulder is your deltoid. This muscle stretches across the top of your shoulder from your clavicle to your scapula and your shoulder blade.
Its most important function is preventing joint dislocation.
Especially helpful when you’re carrying heavy objects.
Your rotator cuff is made up of 4 muscles:
- Teres minor
Your rotator cuff stabilizes your shoulder and holds your humerus in place.
Your shoulder is made up of 4 more additional muscles that I want to bring to your attention.
- Pectoralis major – stretches from your armpit to your collarbone and across your lower chest region
- Pectoralis minor – fans from the upper ribs to your shoulder area.
- Teres major – rotates your upper arm
- Latissimus dorsi – a muscle on your back that helps rotate the arms and move them closer to and away from your body.
As you can see, your shoulders and arms are a bit complicated. But knowing where your muscles are and what they do is the best way to help you learn how to tone arms and effectively, your entire body.
7 Best Exercises for Flabby Arms: Lose Arm Fat and Get Rid of The Bat Wings
The following exercises require equipment such as a pair of dumbbells, kettlebells, or a resistance band. You will also need a chair or a weight bench.
Choose an appropriate weight for your fitness level, even for simple exercises.
Naturally, as a beginner, lighter weights are a good place to start. As you gain experience and muscle, add more pounds.
As a personal trainer (NASM), I love circuit training! These 7 exercises are ordered so you can complete them back to back.
Take adequate rest before the next move. Aim 5 – 7 reps if you’re a beginner, 7 – 10 reps for the more advanced. Shoot for 3 circuits.
Disclaimer: consult a medical professional before starting any weight exercises or attempting to lose body fat or general weight loss.
Take a deep breath and don’t forget to exhale on exertion.
1. Biceps Curl
The biceps curl targets the upper front of your arm, that bump you think of when you flex your arm.
- To perform, grab a set of dumbbells or kettlebells and hold one in each hand, palms in.
- Stand tall, feet hip-width distance apart. Have a slight bend in your knees and engage your abdominals.
- Exhale while bending both your left and right elbow, curl the weights toward your shoulders. Remember to keep your elbows tucked in, shoulder blade neutral.
- Squeeze your biceps at the top of the repetitions.
- Inhale and with control, lower the weights back to the original position.
You can also perform one arm at a time. Start with your feet hip-width, weight in your right hand. Get an even number of repetitions on both sides before moving on to the next exercise.
Modification: you can also use a barbell or EZ bar for your curls. Or flip your grip on the barbell for a reverse curl and bring the height of the bar to your chest level.
You can also stand on resistance bands, the end of the band in each hand, and curl.
Muscle Groups: Biceps brachii, brachialis, and brachioradialis
Reps: 5 – 7
2. Triceps Kickbacks
The tricep kickback is an isolation exercise that will hit the back of the arm, where those pesky “bat wings” are.
- Again, start standing in a neutral position with your feet shoulder-width distance apart.
- Feet hip-width is also acceptable. Have a slight bend in your knees, a pair of dumbbells or kettlebells in your hands.
- This time, your palms will be facing in, towards your body. Bend elbows, shoulder blade neutral.
- Hinge forward at your hips until your torso is parallel with the ground or your lower back. Engage your abs.
- Bring the dumbbells towards your chest, elbows at a 90-degree bend. With your elbows glued to your rib cage, extend your arms behind you.
- At the top of the rep, squeeze triceps. Return to the start position.
- Complete the same number of repetitions on both sides before moving onto the next exercise.
Note that this movement may feel complicated. If so, use a single dumbbell, one arm at a time in a lunge until you master the movement, or try the triceps extension.
This arm exercise can also be performed with a resistance band. Hold the end of the band in each hand with the middle under your left foot in a lunge.
Pull your left hand back, then return to the original position.
Muscle Groups: triceps brachii muscle which is made up of 3 heads: your lateral head, your medial head, and your long head
Reps: 5 – 7
3. Lateral Raise
The lateral raise will work to give your shoulders, lats, and back muscle tone!
- Standing in a neutral position, feet hip-width apart, hold a dumbbell in each hand by your sides, have a slight bend in your knees. (If using kettlebells, it’s a kettlebell lateral raise.)
- Keeping a straight spine, engage your core, and with control, slowly lift the weights out to the side.
- You want to aim for shoulder height, chest height, or parallel to the floor. Do not raise your shoulder blades during this movement.
- Again, this is all about control, slowly lower the dumbbells down by your hips to the start position.
Trainer modification: if working both arms with a pair of dumbbells at the same time is a bit too intense, try a single-arm variation.
- Stand with your feet hip-width. Hold a dumbbell in your right hand by the right side of your body, palm down.
- Raise to the height of your right shoulder. Repeat on the opposite side with your opposite arm in an even number of reps before moving onto the next exercise.
Also, consider using a resistance band. Stand in the center and hold the end of the band in each hand. Raise both arms to the side. Return to the original position.
Conversely, you can kick it up a notch with the kettlebell lateral raise!
Muscle Groups: your deltoids (anterior, medial, and posterior), your upper and middle trapezius muscles
Reps: 5 – 7
4. Diamond Push-ups
This bodyweight pushup variation is an amazing exercise that works not just your arms but essentially your whole body, including your quads, glutes, and core.
- Begin in the standard push-up position, however instead of your hands shoulder-width apart, they will be centered with your forefingers and thumbs connected creating a diamond shape with your hands.
- Rotate your shoulders out to engage your lats.
- In a controlled manner, bend at the elbows, separating your scapulae, bringing the front of your chest toward your hands, your forehead toward the mat.
- Press back up to the start position. That is 1 rep.
Tips: For an easier version of the diamond push-up, separate your hands or lower to a 45-degree angle instead of the full range of motion.
Lower down before returning back to the original position.
For an advanced version, add a stability ball!
Muscle Groups: pectorals, deltoids (anterior)
Reps: 5 – 7
5. Chair Dips
Chair dips are a compound exercise often called triceps dip and boy will they light the back of your arms on fire!
- Start seated in a chair on a stable surface. Grip the outer edges of the chair firmly with each hand. Walk your feet out in front of you as you slip your glutes off the seat and they are hovering in front of the chair.
- Bend knees. Your thighs should both be at 90-degree angles, hip-distance apart, feet flat on the ground. Make sure your left foot is in line with your right.
- Engage your core muscles. On an exhale, lower your hips, bend elbows at the arms to a 90-degree angle.
- Press through your hands, using your arm muscles to bring your glutes back to the initial position. That is one rep.
Muscle Groups: Triceps, Pectoralis major, Serratus anterior, and your trapezius muscles
Reps: 5 – 7
6. Lateral Plank Walk
The plank sidewalk is a full-body exercise that amps up your high plank and activates your lower body by adding movement.
This increases the number of calories your body burns!
The Plank Walk is another exercise that is not just an arm workout. This exercise will work your arm muscles, back muscles, obliques, and abdomen.
- Begin in the high plank position with your wrists approximately shoulder-width. There should be a straight line from the tip of your head to your heels the entire time.
- Walk your right hand out to the left. The right leg follows. Repeat with your left hand and left foot returning back to the plank position.
- Take 5 “steps” with your right arm, then back to the left returning to the starting position. Take the same amount of steps with your left hand and left foot in your repetitions.
Tips: For beginners or those with wrist injuries, perform on your forearms instead of the high plank position. Start with your right forearm, followed by your left arm.
For a harder version, cross your arms as you “walk” or use a stability ball.
Muscle Groups: Deltoids, Biceps, Triceps
Reps: 5 – 7 “steps” per side, 3 times per set
Grab your resistance band for one of my favorite resistance training exercises that will tackle the major muscles in your upper back!
- Stand on the center of a recovery band, with your feet shoulder-width distance apart. Hold the handles at the end of the band in the palm of your hand, arms by your sides. Bend knees slightly.
- Hinge forward until your torso is parallel with the mat.
- Squeeze shoulder blades together as you pull each end of the band to your sides, elbow up in a 90-degree bend.
- Engage the backs of your upper arms. Return to the start position. That is rep.
Modification: You can also focus on one side by substituting the resistance band with a dumbbell, kettlebell, or handle cable attachment on a resistance machine or sturdy object.
Muscle Groups: your traps, lats, and rhomboids
Reps: 5 – 7
What Causes Arm Fat or Bat Wing Arms?
Bat wings arms occur when there is excess fat in your body.
If your arms are your problem area, that’s because it happens to be where your body stores extra fat.
Typically, where you carry the fat is determined by genetics.
While some women carry more fat cells in their hips or belly, others store them in the upper arms.
Regardless of your fat distribution, the root cause of your bat wings is excess body fat.
The Benefits of Exercises for Flabby Arms
The good news is that the benefits of strengthening and toning your arms are endless.
First off, having strong arms and bigger biceps makes it easier to perform your everyday tasks (1).
Think picking up your kids or grandkids or carrying groceries into the house.
We’ve all tried carrying everything inside in 1 trip. Every step of the way is tough. Stronger arms will make that feat even easier!
Plus, they’re one of the most versatile training targets.
You can do arm exercises anywhere and with little to no equipment, without an expensive gym membership.
If that’s not enough, let’s bring science into it! (2)
- Using weights can boost your heart health
- Improve your posture.
- Reduce the risk of injury
- Protect your bones
Lastly, muscle is metabolically active and burns more calories than fat tissue (3).
This means the more muscle you have, the more calories you burn while at rest aiding in faster weight loss. Even more so when you add cardio to your strength training!
To really aid in fat loss, consume a healthy diet with a mindful caloric intake. Extra calories if you’re working harder, of course.
How Long Does It Take To Tone Flabby Arms?
Exactly how long it takes to lose flabby arms depends on how much excess fat you start with.
What’s more, how often you work out and how you eat start to matter.
To start, train your arms along with the rest of your body several times a week and improve your diet. When you begin to achieve weight loss, you can start to see major improvements in your upper arms in as little as 6-8 weeks.
The more excess body fat you start with, the more time it takes to lose it.
The less fat loss you need to achieve, the faster you can see toned and defined arms.
Lastly, other factors such as hormones, sleep, and stress may affect your weight loss and fat loss. Be sure to consult experts in your local area for customized plans to reach your goals.
Can Flabby Arms Be Toned? Exercises for Flabby Arms
Flabby arms can be toned and arm fat gets burned off but not with exercises alone.
Arm exercises can help build arm muscles and bring out definitions. However, the fat layer that hangs from your upper arms can only be treated with body fat reduction.
This means doing arm exercises alone won’t help get rid of arm jiggles.
Like any other fat loss and weight loss, it takes a clean diet and full-body exercises that burn calories and fat.
The Final Take on How To Lose Arm Fat and Flabby Arm Exercises
Getting rid of arm fat and jiggling bat wings happens in two parts.
- Reduction of your overall body fat and weight loss
- Building the muscles in your arms, and
Your body will not spot reduce fat from the arms. Instead, it’ll lose fat whenever it decides to lose.
When you lose body fat, you also start to see a reduction in all areas of your body including the arms.
To see definitions and build toned arms, you will need to pair healthy eating with workouts.
You need to achieve weight loss with a healthy diet and calorie reduction.
You also need resistance training to develop lean arm muscles.
Other similar articles:
- Biceps and Triceps: The Best Exercises to Toned Your Arms
- The 8 Best Exercises to Get Rid of Hip Dips
- 10 Best Compound Exercises for a Total Body Workout
- Holmes, Lindsay. “6 Reasons a Strong Upper Body Is Essential to a Healthy Life.” HuffPost, HuffPost, 11 May 2016, www.huffpost.com/entry/reasons-to-exercise-upper-body_n_57309a6de4b0bc9cb04753dc.
- Firstbeat. “5 Things to Know about Burning More Calories.” Firstbeat, 18 Aug. 2020, www.firstbeat.com/en/blog/5-things-to-know-about-burning-more-calories/.“
- Muscles of the Upper Arm.” TeachMeAnatomy, teachmeanatomy.info/upper-limb/muscles/upper-arm/.
- Team, the Healthline Editorial. “Shoulder Muscles Anatomy, Diagram & Function | Body Maps.” Healthline, Healthline Media, 24 Jan. 2018, www.healthline.com/human-body-maps/shoulder-muscles#1.