One would think that we would have evolved and learned the ability to fly by now based on the wing-like appearance our back-upper arm can have. However, this stubborn flab serves no purpose, other than driving us nuts and making us thankful sweater season is here. Traditionally this region is problematic for most women’s physiques, so you are not alone in this fight.
But why us? Why don’t men have flabby arms?
Genetics and the hormone estrogen affects our patterns of fat distribution, and one of the areas where fat gets heavily distributed in a woman’s body is over the triceps; the muscle located on the back-upper arm. Great — so with this working against us how do we fight the flab?
Problem spotting is impossible. In order to lose fat in a particular area of the body you must lose fat over the entire body. However by practicing these 3 steps you may reduce the flab by the next tank-top season.
Step 1: Clean It Up
As stated before, in order to lose stubborn fat over the triceps you have to lose fat all over. In order to successfully do that you need to clean up your diet first and foremost. Remove the excess sugars, starches, sodium, and junk! Clean eating principles such as consuming whole foods, lean proteins, complex carbohydrates and eating 4 to 5 small meals per day will help eliminate some of the unwanted fat. Check out our Dietician Corner for more tips to clean it up.
Step 2: Use Your Arms
This means it’s time to stop holding on to the treadmill ladies. Let those arms go and maybe some of that stubborn flab will go with it. When it comes to choosing your cardio workouts go for those machines or classes that actually work your arms. Use the elliptical with arm resistance and be the one to dust off the row machines in the gym.
Some other cardio activities that can improve the look of your arms include, swimming, kickboxing, battle rope work and other forms of mixed martial arts, and rock climbing.
Step 3: Flex the Fat Off
Your triceps are the muscle underneath all that flab on the upper back of your arm. The triceps’ get it’s name from Latin, which means the three-headed muscle. The three-heads are the three bundles of connective tissue that make up the entire muscle. To effectively train this region all three heads need to be targeted.
Training the opposing muscle, the bicep will also help improve the appearance of the arms. By focusing on the opposite muscle you will eliminate muscle imbalances that can occur when people simply problem spot train. But, by building the front of the arms this will also aid in the appearance of loose skin after weight loss.
Here is a list of effective exercises to target both the biceps and triceps:
- Tricep push-ups
- Dumbbell curls
- Bench (or chair) dips
- Dumbbell hammer curls
- Kneeling dumbbell kickbacks
- Overhead dumbbell tricep extension (on ball)
Create a strength training routine that isolates the arms at least once per week and includes at least 6 exercises. You will begin to see changes quickly but remember that as you get stronger will have to increase the resistance used to continue to see changes.
Now that you are armed with the steps to fight the flab it’s time to put it to the test. Measure the circumference of your upper arm and record the number. Set a goal to have a slimmer arm by next summer and be sure to re-measure every 2 to 4 weeks to check your progress. So when the sweaters finally come off, you can proudly sport your arms minus the wings.