Arm fat is a common problem among women. They always find ways to make their arms look leaner and more toned. Excess fat brings a lot of health problems as well.
Particularly with ageing, the arm fat builds up, and it is hard for women not to feel self-conscious. No need to stop hiding your arms by wearing sleeveless tops now, this guide will help you get rid of arm fat.
There is no shortcut, though, getting rid of inches of fats stored in your arms needs focus and determination. However, it is not very difficult either to lose arm fat.
All you need to do is keep it simple and follow the steps given below.
Fitness guide to losing arm fat:
Most people have this misconception that fat can be burned from specific areas in the body. This, however, is not true at all. Get the concept of spot treatment away from your mind and focus on losing overall fat and gaining toned arm muscles.
Weight lifting has to be the necessary inclusion in your fitness regime. Start small by lifting dumbbells. Do not go directly to heavyweight as that can lead to injuries. Beginning with a minimum of 2.5 or 5lbs is a good idea.
Exercise 1: Dumbell Curls
- Lift comfortable weight dumbbells and begin by standing shoulder width apart.
- Turn the arms so that the palms face forward. Pull your shoulders back and curl the dumbbells towards your body till the shoulder level.
- Stop swinging your back, up while performing curls. Also, make sure your elbows are close to the torso. Keeping them close puts all emphasis on the biceps.
- Squeeze your biceps at the top of the movement. Perform 8-12 repetitions.
You can change the wrist position and hold the pair of dumbbells at a neutral position. These are called the “hammer curls”. The method is the same, the only difference being a different bicep head is being worked.
Remember to exhale while doing the tougher movement in the exercise, in this case, when you curl the weights up.
Instead of dumbbells, you can use resistance bands too. If you are tired of working with heavy weights, you must go for resistance bands. The best part about these bands are, they come in various resistance levels to give you an effective workout.
Remember the basic about muscle: it grows under stress, whatever be the load: dumbbells or resistance bands.
Exercise 2: Resistance band curl
- Space your feet shoulder width apart and stand on the band with your feet on it.
- Start curling the handles of the band towards the shoulder height without swinging your upper body too much.
- Keep the elbows close to the torso at all times. Curl in a slow and a controlled manner.
- Taking a wider stance can work the inner bicep heads while taking a narrower stance works the outer bicep heads. Rotate the handles and curl to do resistance band hammer curls.
You can perform bicep curls with a barbell too. Hold a straight barbell or an E-Z Barbell for curling. It is recommended that the curls be done first with dumbbells or resistance bands before moving on to barbells for women.
Bicep curls can be performed while sitting on a bench too. You can change the angle of the incline to hit the arms from different perspectives.
Exercise 3: Seated Incline Dumbbell Curls
- Sit on an incline bench holding a pair of dumbbells.
- Place your feet on the floor and make sure your palms are facing forward holding the dumbbells in the starting position.
- Start curling the dumbbells one by one towards your body. Exhale in this part of the movement and keep the elbows in a fixed position.
- Do not raise your head from the bench as this might put undue stress on the neck muscles. Pause for a second or two at the top and squeeze your biceps.
- At the bottom of the movement, extend your arms fully.
Continue for 8-12 repetitions.
Exercise 4: Cable bicep curls
You can either use a straight bar, a rope attachment or an EZ curl bar. It is recommended that you go to the straight bar.
- Take about a shoulder width grip, standing slightly back. Do not stand too far back, you will be injuring your back.
- With your arms slightly pointing outwards, start curling the weights up till the hands are about shoulder high. Coming back, aim for the full stretch of the arms.
- You can keep your knees slightly bent so that the curling action is a strict movement: no leg muscles are used to curl the weights.
One mistake many women do while performing this exercise is, they let their elbows swing, which takes out emphasis from the biceps and places it more on the deltoids. You can vary the grips in cable curls. An outer grip will work the inner biceps while an internal grip will work the outside of the biceps.
Tip: You can perform all three grips in the same day. Performing bicep 21s is a good idea for advanced gymmers. You can perform 7 reps with inner grip, followed by 7 reps with outer grip and finally 7 reps with a neutral grip, without any rest in between.
Exercise 5: Concentration curls
- This is a seated exercise. Sit on a bench, grab a dumbbell with one hand and space your feet shoulder width apart.
- You are going to perform this exercise one arm at a time. If you are doing with the right arm first, rest your left arm on the sides and place your right elbow at the inside of your right thigh. This is where the elbow is going to rest, without moving throughout the repetitions.
- Contract your core and curl, squeezing the muscles at the top of the movement. Try for a full range of motion and come back to the initial position. Stop swinging your upper body while doing the reps.
- Perform anywhere between 4-6 repetitions is good to build strength. Do more reps if you are aiming for good muscle size.
Exercise 6: Reverse curls
- Reverse curls work the brachioradialis muscles. Hold the barbell with a reverse grip.
- With your shoulders back, straight body and elbows tucked in at the sides, curl up the barbell aiming for a complete range of motion.
- Don’t work out with your ego in this exercise. You cannot function with a lot of weight in this variation. Lessen the weight if you cannot workout with proper form.
Do three sets of 8-12 repetitions.
Exercise 7: Preacher curls
It is an advanced exercise for women. Perform this only when you have the basic dumbbell curl variation mastered.
- Support the back of your arms on the padding support. Grab the EZ curl barbell with a shoulder width grip, with the palms facing towards the ceiling.
- Curl up the barbell till it is just at your chin level.
- Stretch your arms fully. Do not reduce the range of motion that would just mean you are cheating your muscle and just exhausting your energy without much workout efficiency.
Be careful with the weights that you use. It is recommended that you have a spotter to help you do this exercise in good form.
Exercise 8: Tricep dips
Here’s an effective exercise that you can perform at home. No need of fancy equipment, weights, all you need is a chair; that is it.
- Grab a bench, with palms facing down and hands on either side of the body, move your body away from the bench and support your weight on your feet that are planted firmly on the floor and arms on the seat. The butt stays close to the seat.
- Lower your body down by squeezing your arms until the upper arm and forearm is almost perpendicular to each other. Feel the contraction in your triceps muscles and shoot off from that position.
- Maintain a smooth up and down motion throughout the exercise. Perform anywhere between 8 and 12 reps.
You can advance the level of difficulty by moving the legs further away from the bench.
Exercise 9: Tricep dumbbell extensions
- Sit on a bench, with a slight incline in the bench to support your back.
- Grab a dumbbell, and make a triangle with your palms to grab the inside of one rim of the dumbbell.
- Hold the dumbbell straight up, behind your head in the starting position.
- Lower the weight vertically downwards. Explode from that position to continue the up and down motion. Squeeze your triceps in the uppermost position.
The elbows remain close to the body, firmly fixed in that position throughout the reps. The weight tries to pull your body behind, but with the firm elbow position, all the emphasis is on the triceps. Anywhere between 8 and 12 reps is a good rep range to start with.
You can perform this triceps exercise with resistance bands too.
- Stand on a resistance band and pull the handles upwards together such that they are straight above your head and behind your body.
- With the palms facing forward, and elbows close to the sides, extend your arms straight upwards and squeeze your triceps.
- Cross the bands for more resistance to this motion. Perform 8-12 reps.
Exercise 10: Tricep kickbacks
- Position yourself on the bench with one knee bent resting on the bench. Grab a light weight dumbbell with your right hand.
- Keep your left arm extended fully, resting on the bench and keep the other arm parallel to the floor.
- The upper arm will remain stationary throughout the movement. Kick the right forearm back, using the full range of motion, squeezing the triceps at the top. Bring it to the initial position and execute three sets of 8-12 reps.
Note: Do not rock your arms back and forth while carrying on the reps.
Exercise 11: Tricep cable pushes downs
- Hold on to a straight bar attached to a cable. Starting with the upper arms slightly higher and holding the bar, keep your elbows close to your body.
- Exhale and push the bar downwards with your upper arm, keeping the elbows fixed in the position. Contract your triceps at the lowermost position.
- Perform 3-4 sets with each set 8-12 reps.
You can also perform this exercise with a rope attachment. Try to push the ends of the V rope away from each other when squeezing your triceps in the downward movement.
Exercise 12: Pushdowns with resistance bands
- Attach the band on the hook. It is the home equivalent of the cable triceps extensions.
- Step about three feet away from the door and with a slight bend forward, grip the handles of the band with an overhand grip.
- Push the handles down and feel the squeeze in the muscles at the bottom. Perform 12-15 repetitions.
Exercise 13: Push-Ups
Body weight push ups is an amazing workout to tone your arms. This power-packed exercise can be done anywhere and with minimum equipment. Initially, however, most women do not have the strength to execute this exercise perfectly.
- Lie down on your stomach. Lift your body up by resting your arms fully extended on the floor.
- Starters can keep the knees on the floor, and start lowering the upper body gradually till the chest is as close to the floor as possible.
- Come up from that position and perform reps till failure. 8-12 repetitions are good enough to build some guns.
Once you have got used to executing this exercise on a regular basis, you can remove your knees off from the floor and do complete push ups. Remember, arm toning is a gradual process. Persistence does pay off in the end.
With a narrow hand grip, you can isolate the triceps. This is what we call “triceps push-ups” Most of the deltoid and chest recruitment is taken out, and the whole focus is on the back of the arms. Keep your butt down, forming a plank with the body. Assume a push-up position but this time with your hands close to each other and palms forming a diamond position. Lower the body and push up from the lowermost position. Inhale on the way down and breath out on the way up. Keep a cushion under the hands for better performance.
Sample arm toning workout
Here is a sample arm toning workout that you can easily perform at home with a pair of dumbbells.
1: Standing V shoulder raises: This exercise works the middle deltoids.
- With feet about shoulder width apart, chest up and high, shoulders back, hold a pair of dumbbells.
- Raise the dumbbells to the sides, with the elbows slightly up. Squeeze the delts at the top and bring back the dumbbells in a controlled manner.
If you are using too heavy dumbbells, you will need momentum with your body movements to lift them up. It is very easy to hurt your shoulders in the gym but very difficult to come back from a shoulder injury. Do the exercise with right form and you will be good to go. Do 15 reps.
2. Shoulder press:
Overhead arm movements have a significant effect in reducing arm fat.
- Stand with your knees slightly bent and shoulder width apart. Hold a pair of dumbbells and raise them overhead. This is the initial position of the exercise.
- Lower them till both the upper arms are parallel to the floor. Squeeze the deltoids and press the weights up again.
Do 15 reps of this exercise. Don’t bend your forearm towards or away from the torso. Keep the forearm and upper arm perpendicular to each other in the final position.
3. Tricep kickbacks: 15 reps with a suitable weight. You can do alternately or with both the arms together.
4. Double arm Tricep extensions: 15 reps
5. Dumbbell bicep curls: 15 reps
6. Bicep concentration curls: 15 reps. Sit on a bench, or bend your knees slightly and curl the weight inwards
7. Reverse flys: Flys primarily target the chest muscles. Reverse flys focus more on the upper back and arms. Start with light dumbbells, 3lbs for instance is good to start with.
1. Bend over maintaining a slight bend at the knees, with your back in line with the head position.
2. Grab a pair of dumbbells. Keep your chest and head up and start to raise the dumbbells sideways. Squeeze the shoulder blades together at the top of the movement.
Execute 20 repetitions.
8. Tricep dips: 15 reps
9. Close grip Push ups: 15 reps. Try doing these push ups on a small medicine ball. This will recruit stabilizer muscles and give you massive results. If you cannot lift your own body weight, start by doing wall push ups and gradually building strength.
10. Reverse curls: 15 reps
11. Curl holds: You are going to do bicep curls, fast on the way up, and real slow on the way down. The downward movement should take anywhere between 8-12 seconds. This really intensifies the burn you feel in your muscles. Keep at it, they are getting toned. Do about 5-6 repetitions.
12. Jumping jacks: Here is one fun exercise that is a really nice combination of cardio and strength training. Not only does this help shed extra fat, but also helps tone your arms specifically.
Hold a pair of dumbbells in line with the shoulders and keep your feet close together. Jump up spreading your legs away from each other and lift the arms upwards simultaneously. Jump again and bring your arms and legs back to the initial position. The exercise puts an adequate amount of strain on your triceps and biceps, with an added benefit of toning your leg muscles as well.
You can do these exercises with a resistance band too. In fact, it is recommended that you buy one because it is risk and injury free and better for muscle toning.
Note that general weight loss program should be followed along with these arm toning workouts. There is no way to remove fat from a particular area of the body. It is not sufficient to do just arm toning and muscle building exercises.
Since the tissue is covered with thick layers of fat, you have to work hard to shed the extra fat off. Aim to strike a balance between overall weight loss and arm toning programs. This means incorporating cardio sessions on a regular basis.
Arm intensive cardio sessions have to be included more in your regime. Spice up your workouts by making a few changes here and there. You have to challenge your body all these coming weeks by pushing it to the limits. Try using kettlebell workouts, cycling, skipping sessions, biking, circuit training in your routine.
Make sure your diet is in check. You apparently do not want to be in a position where you work out hard at gym or home but are careless as far as nutrition is concerned. Pay attention to your calorie count. Ensure that the energy you are getting is through healthy foods. Here are some quick diet tips:
- Eat more of protein-rich foods that are good for muscle growth.
- Add more of fibre-rich foods that give you a feeling of satiety and prevent you from eating more.
- Eat healthy fats, a thumb rule being consuming liquid fats more than solid fats. Avoid fat-free foods. They just have extra ingredients added that spike up your carb intake, which ultimately get converted to fat.
- Remember this proportion: Protein 40%, Fat 20%, Carbs 40%. Get your daily carbs from good carbs such as yoghurts, fresh fruits, whole-grain cereals and bread, etc. Do not go for processed foods such as cakes, biscuits, etc. They spike up your insulin levels and make you want to eat more.
- Maintain a diet log. Count your calories and see that you are not consuming unhealthy foods.
- Consume more meals in a day. Eat at least 2-3 hours. Divide your daily calorie intake into 6-7 meals. Consume less of carbohydrates just before sleep.