We all head an elderly teacher in school who would wear sleeveless or short-sleeved tops and you would see her arms waving in the breeze while she wrote on the chalkboard. Chances are that even though you made fun of her behind her back, you aren’t too happy about the fact that now it is you who has those very same arms! As we get older and often as we gain weight, the lack of muscle tone in our upper arms starts to show up and we grow a pair of wings that we don’t want.
There are several reasons why people (but mostly women) get upper arm fat. It may seem like an unlikely place for fat to be stored, especially if most of your fat is in your belly, but it happens to many women. First of all, the arm fat that you are seeing is not completely a “fat” problem, but is most often a lack of muscle tone issue.
When you were younger and fitter, you were simply more active and that meant that you did more things with your arms. If you enjoyed sports, you may have even had some triceps muscles that you didn’t mind showing off in your tank tops. However, as you stop working out and you gain weight, it is not unusual for that muscle tone to quickly disappear and so you are left with loose tissue that is very mobile.
However, if you are dealing with an issue regarding your overall body fat, then it is likely that not only are you suffering from lack of muscle tone, but you are storing a lot of body fat up there, too. So, here are five ways that can get you those toned arms you have always wanted.
1. Lose Body Fat
Everyone is pretty familiar with the equation that will allow you to lose body fat – eat less than you burn in terms of calories. If you have never had your body mass index (BMI) measured, then now would be a good time. If your BMI is higher than what is normally considered normal, then you should expect to have to lose weight and do exercises in order to firm up your upper arms. When you start to lose body fat, your arms will start to slim down, but that doesn’t really mean that they will be firm or muscular – you will have to work on that.
2. Arm Circles
The most common upper arm exercises is to stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your arms extended horizontally out to your sides. Then, start making bit circles with your arms, circling them both at the same time. Gradually, start making those circles smaller and quicker, and you will really feel the workout in your upper arms and your shoulders. This is something that you could do for a minute or so, several times per day, and if you are feeling energetic, then try to do these for one minute during every commercial break of your favorite show.
Since the primary muscles that will need to be tightened are the triceps, you can do triceps kick-backs or triceps dips. A kick-back is when you hold a small weight in your hand, making sure that the inner part of your elbow never leaves your side, and then kick back your lower arm. If you are doing this correctly, then you will really feel the muscle development in your arm.
A triceps dip can be done in a gym or you can even do it on the side of your bed or a stable chair at home. Simply sit on the edge of a chair with your hands on the edge so that they can support you. Push your feet out a little bit in front of you and then lift up your rear end. It is then up to you to decide just how far you want to dip your rear and bring it up again, using only the muscles in your arms. This can be even more challenging if you do it with straight legs.
Another exercise that all of us know how to do, but few of us enjoy is a push-up. You can do push-ups on your knees or your feet, or you can even do them standing up and pushing yourself away from a wall. It is important that you use different hand positions so you can be sure to exercise all of the muscles in your upper arm. If you want a real challenge, do a push-up with your two hands touching in front of you!
5. Topical Treatments
In recent years, there have been quite a few new products on the market that claim to be “firming” products. What this means is that they tighten the skin, usually through the use of aloe vera and caffeine-based ingredients, and the tightened skin helps to eliminate the visibility of cellulite, flabby areas, etc. Although these can work to a certain extent, they will never turn arms that are fatty into lean, sculpted arms. They will, however, help to keep your skin looking better which will be an improvement once your arms are down to a better size.
What many women are surprised by is that when they lose weight, their arms actually appear flabbier and this is primarily because there is a lot of loose skin there that needs filling up. It is then up to you to make sure that the mass below the skin is made of muscle and not fat. If you start to build lean muscle mass in your upper arms, they will begin to appear less flabby and you might even get to a point where you are proud of them!
When you are working toward your goal of having firmer, flab-free upper arms, remember that this is a hard area of the body to work on and you will really need to put in the time to see results. The triceps muscle (the back of the arm) is not the most powerful or the largest muscle in your arm and as such, it will grow fairly slowly. But, with regular exercise and more attention to your diet, you should be able to get rid of the flab and start wearing sleeveless tops again.