How Do You Lose Arm Fat?

lose arm fatIf you want to finally get rid of flabby arms, and the sooner the better, this is how to do it. A nice lean set of arms will naturally happen as your overall fitness improves, but there is one specific exercise for flabby arms that I want to share today. This exercise, along with reducing overall body fat, will bring those arms into super shape and make you look forward to going sleeveless.

Here’s a common question I hear that will get this topic started off nicely…

Ray, How Do I Get Rid Of Flabby Arms And A Belly At Home?

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Before I answer the question, we need to know this:

The muscle that we are mostly talking about when it comes to flabby arms is called: The Triceps

The triceps is the back of the arm, the biceps on the front of the arm is not where the majority of the fat is, and we want to get the most bang for our buck when it comes to results from exercise time invested.

There are really two big ideas or steps to fixing up the lack of shape and definition in the triceps area.

First, get the idea out of your head that you’re just going to do ‘spot reduction.’ Meaning, if you do certain exercises for that area, the fat will only disappear exclusively in that area. While some people in the 11%-14% bodyfat range can get minuscule results from spot reduction…. you’ll need to go the “whole-body, fat burning route” if you have more than an inch of fat on an area.

It’ll be MUCH quicker…. trust me.

Exercise is step one to get rid of flabby armsYour body stores fat in general areas that are common to you as a male or female. Most men store the majority of their fat in the abdominal area. Women tend to store it in their thighs, hips and buttocks (but arms are a problem too of course).

This is the MAJORITY of your fat. As you gain more and more weight, you can and will store fat all over your body. So the first thing you want to do is…

Reduce the body fat period!

A solid plan of big, full body exercises and eating clean is the key. Don’t bother with creams and rubs and all the other supposed short cuts. Trying to spot reduce is like trying to empty your tub with an eye dropper when you could just do a set of squats or sprints and pull the stopper plug.

I have a short list and a long list of how to get rid of flabby arms… lets do the short list first.

You Get Rid Of Flabby Arms By:

1) Losing fat as a whole over your entire body.
2) Building the triceps muscle so there is something to see once the fat is gone.

Great. How do you do those two things?

First: To reduce body fat, go into a caloric deficit through a combination of dieting and exercise.

Second: Build muscle in the back of the arm using any of the great exercises out there…

For the sake of this article, we will use my favourite flabby arm buster… pushups.

Member Question: (started on the right track… now lets tweak it a bit)

“Hey Ray, I’m not fat, but I do have a bit of a belly and flabby arms going on! Now I have started
doing cardio “exercise bike” 30 minutes a day, that’s going to burn the fat! But I was wondering
how do I shape up these trouble areas? I have a hard time doing press-ups, so what stuff could I
do at home to help me get rid of flabby arms and tone up the abs?”

Answer From Ray:

First, what I am about to tell you will only work when used with a total approach to getting in shape. That means proper diet, cardio and resistance training.

The easiest exercise you can do to tighten up flabby arms and a droopy chest is the press up. I know you have difficulty with them, but that’s because they are hard, but they also work VERY well.

We will call the press up a pushup from now on just because that is the term that most people use. The pushup has many variations and I am sure that one of the ones I give you will be well within your ability to do until you get to the full military pushup variation and beyond 🙂

A quick word on pushup form. You want to keep your core tight. What you do not want to happen is that when you push up, you look like you are peeling yourself off the floor. I call this “worming”.

A lot of people do it when they get tired. First you will see them raise their heads, then their chest and finally their hips leave the floor. What should happen is that you contract your core so that everything from the base contact point (feet or knees) is lifted off at the same moment.

The other important point to consider when doing pushups is the arm and shoulder angle. A common mistake when doing the pushup is having your shoulders and arms too close to your head. If you are lying on the floor in the proper pushup position and someone looked down on your from above, you would want to look like an arrow head and not a “T”. Your hands should be below your shoulders or even a little further back towards your hips. The farther back you go the harder the pushups becomes. This sets up your arms so they are slanted back on a 45 degree angle if viewed from above.

Here’s how you can work yourself from square one into being able to do a full pushup.

Pushups against the wallThe first and easiest version of the pushup is the wall pushup. This is simply standing face into a wall and doing your pushups by pushing against the wall until you are standing straight. You lower and push over and over. If you can do 15 to 20 reps of these two to three times then it is time to go onto the second version.

The second version on the scale of difficulty in pushups is the box pushup. Instead of pushing against the wall, you will push against something that is 1-2 feet off the floor.

You should probably do these with your base being your knees instead of your feet like in the full military pushup. The couch will work and so will the coffee table. Make sure you position yourself so that when you touch the couch (or whatever) in the bottom position your lower chest is the contact point.

Aim for the nipples if you want an exact spot. After you can do 3 sets of 15 on this version, you
are ready for the next step in your pushup evolution!

Pushups for flabby arms on the kneesThe third version on the scale of difficulty in pushups is when the pushup is done on the knees.

Everything about this version is the same as the regular full pushup except that your knees do not leave the ground. This cuts out the extra weight from the knees to the toes making the pushup a little easier than the full version. Again, when you get 3 sets of 15 repetitions, you are ready to move on.

The fourth version in your journey to a full pushup is the knee pushup with a full pushup negative. Now we are getting somewhere! The trick with this version is to do your pushup as in the above version and lower yourself in the regular full pushup version. The reason you do this is because you are always stronger in the negative or lowering portion of the movement than in the positive or raising portion. So we do the heavy full pushup to lower and the easier knee pushups to raise your self up.

When you get your 3 sets of 15 repetitions here, you are now ready to do full military pushups!

If you find yourself in a place a couple of months from now where pushups are like butter then you can keep the ball rolling. In the beginning we took the upper body from the wall to the box and then to the floor. We made it harder by adding more weight over the chest area in little bits. To make it more difficult, we do the exact opposite.

First put your feet on the box, then at 45 degrees on a wall and before you know it, you will be doing handstand pushups! By raising the feet slowly over time, you shift even more weight onto the chest until you hit a point and the working muscle flips to shoulders.

Once your feet get high enough and you are almost vertical, feet up, you will be putting most of the tension square on the shoulders. By this point you won’t need to get rid of flabby arms any more (they were gone at the full pushups 🙂 This is very hard but you can do it if you put in the time.

Now For The Long List: The Top Ten Ways To Get Rid Of Flabby Arms

1) Eat at least three healthy meals a day
2) Build the triceps muscle so there is something to see, once the fat is gone.
3) Drink at least 2 litres of water a day
4) Cut out the sugar. Sugar is NOT a normal thing.
5) Get 6-8 hours of sleep a night and a nap if you are on the lower end of 6 hours.
7) Work out your whole body with multi joint exercises like squats, deadlifts, dips and chin ups… or the scaled down version of those exercises that you are capable of.
8) On your off days from the weights, do quick bursts of cardio called interval training. Use 5 exercises. Do each one for 10 seconds on and 20 seconds off, repeated 8 times before moving onto the next exercise. This will take all of 4 minutes and kick your butt.
9) Don’t stress the small stuff. (catabolic stress hormones lead to fat gain)
10) Set yourself up for success. Schedule everything in and make it a commitment. Nothing bumps your “you” time of self improvement.

…moving right along…

HOW TO GET RID OF BELLY FAT AT HOME (Just to completely answer the question above)
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If you are just starting out, the best way to safely get into training off that belly is the simple crunch.

You’ll hear a lot of experts jumping on the bandwagon saying the crunch isn’t the most effective ab exercise. It’s not if you are a gymnast and you have been training for years and are an athlete. If you can’t do a couple of sets without your abs burning though, it’s a great place to start without killing yourself!

Here is how I teach my clients to do them. Place your hands behind (support, but don’t pull) your head. I like to support my head by using the finger tips to cup the ears. It’s a light support but it keeps you from cranking your neck forward.

From here, curl your upper torso forward. As you do this you want to keep your lower back in mind and push it into the floor. Bring your rib cage toward your pelvis until you feel a contraction in your abs. Holding your hands down by your hips is an easier version. Pause for the contraction and slowly return to the starting position. Exhale on the contraction – this breathing advice applies to all abdominal exercises.

Three sets of crunches for 20 reps a set is a nice place for a beginner to start. You can rest anywhere from 30 seconds to a minute depending on how hard of an effort that was for you. If that’s not a problem then superset each set of crunches with the next exercise called hip rolls.

Superset is just a fancy term that means the first set of crunches is immediately followed by a brief 30 second rest to let the burn fizzle a bit. Do three sets of this combination.

To do hip rolls correctly you lie on the ground pushing down on the floor with your hands by your sides. Keep your feet off the floor and bent 90 degrees at the knee the whole time. You then raise your pelvis off the floor so the tail bone comes right up and squeeze the abs! You should now be rolled into a ball with your knees over your chest. At the top if you get really good, not only will your pelvis be off the floor but also a portion of your lower back.

NOW STAND ON ONE FOOT AND PAT YOUR HEAD..(just
kidding)

If you watch your diet and do your cardio along with your full body workout, you will see that six pack come out. The last step in the beginner ab routine is to add in some bridges or “planks” as the yoga folks like to call them.

This is basically a top pushup position hold. You can rest on your forearms and just hold it for 30 seconds (make it harder if you can go longer) but it wont get rid of the flabby arms.

Don’t let your lower back sag! Keep a slightly inverted c posture like your trying to pull your hips toward your chin.

Now to combine all these fine ab exercises into an abdominal workout you can do at home and get a little sweat on.

Beginner home abdominal workout
Crunches x20
Hip rolls x20
Planks for a 30-60 second hold

So there you go. If used with proper diet, cardio and full body training this will tighten up flabby arms, a saggy chest and a muffin top/pot belly in the comforts of your own home.

Many people are caught up in the idea that in order for them to get rid of a trouble body spot, they only need to work it out and do some exercises to target that area.

But that’s only half of the solution as you’ve read.

The key is…

Work out the area specifically AND reduce body fat through:
1) Diet and…
2) Big full body exercises such as squats, deadlifts, chins and dips. You will progress at twice the speed and make twice the visual difference, not only to your triceps, but your whole body as well.

Let’s suppose you only worked out the back of the arms. The muscle would be stronger and firmer but it might not show IF your level of body fat is such that the muscle is still covered up.

As you see, by doing both, you will tone up (build) the tricep and make it more visible when the layer of fat that covers it up is reduced.

If doesn’t matter if it’s men wanting a six pack, or women who want to get rid of flabby arms. Once you understand that it’s a combination of body fat in that area, and a lack of shape (which means size), then you can get after what needs to be done.

Again…

1- Reduce body fat as a whole.

2- Do specific exercises to build muscle in the back of the arm so that once the fat is gone, you’ll have a tricep with 3 dimensions, creating the shape you want to see.

Further Reading On How To Get Rid Of Flabby Arms

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Comments

  1. Hari says

    I just wanted to say thank you for all the great information you put out free of charge for the general public. I can only imagine the amazing info that must be in your books! From a fellow Canadian, trapped on the southern side of our border, it’s refreshing to see a sense of humor and light heartedness about a subject that generally gets too serious for most to handle.

    Your ideas and programs are easy to follow and a fun addition to any routine, basic or advanced. I’m very glad I found raymondburton.com!!!

    Thanks again!
    Hari

  2. says

    Sweet! Thanks for reading and the kind words Hari. I really appreciate it when someone like yourself takes time out of thier day to write down a few complimentary words.

    -Ray

  3. Wendy says

    HI!
    I really appreciate the information you provided in your article, and I think it’s fantastic that you are offering techniques for all levels of abilities. Nobody was born an athlete…it’s progressive as you know.

    When I first started reading, there was a pop up that offered a free email from you. Being anti-commital, I closed it, but after reading the info, I’d like to join and receive your tips and advice.

    I looked around the site, but wasn’t able to find where I would sign up. I even closed out and re entered the site hoping it would pop up again, but it didn’t.

    You have my email, so if you can, please put me on the list.

    Thanks for all that you do!

    Wendy

  4. says

    Awesome, I’m glad you dropped me a line because if it happens once, it will probably happen twice.

    So after reading your email, I added you to the newsletter and will put up a permanent newsletter signup box so if won’t happen to any one else!

  5. Wendy says

    Hi again!

    Ray, I’m getting frustrated and discouraged at lack of results. I’m 43 and I’ve always been in exceptional shape (I work out regularly – 3 – 4 times a week – though I don’t follow a program I basically do whatever I think I need to do), however this year I’ve put on 5 lbs that will not move. I’ve been 122lbs for 10 years but now am 127 and I feel horrible with the extra weight.

    I haven’t been as disciplined this year – I’ve been bored at the gym, cutting out early and not working as hard, and that’s what I attribute the gains to (gains in fat, losses in muscle). I’ve put the weight on in my lower abdomen/waist, tricepts, and inner thighs and my underarm area is looking flabby — geez, it’s all over by the sounds of it!

    I’ve increased my cardio to an hour 3 – 4 times a week (I hate cardio…I get bored and restless so I hit a few different machines). I’m getting back on track with my weight training…and I’m hitting those tricepts as you’d recommended to firm up my upper arms. I almost think my abdomen is bloated-it just will no flatten out. It feels tight when I suck it in, but there’s fat on top…are there foods that I should avoid to see if this is bloat or fat? I eat fairly well, ie, if I’m guilty of anything, it’s eating prepared foods (heat n serve) and alcohol – though I try to keep that down.

    Ray, I’ve never felt/looked so out of shape, and I need to get back to my svelt self asap. I hate to think any of this is attributed to aging….!!! I’ve realized how attached my self confidence is to my weight….and I want to get back to exceptional. I appreciate any direction you can offer. I think the abdomen responding the least, and that’s frustrating me. It’s just flab!! Help!

  6. Dennis Brown says

    Ray,

    I’ve only just started exploring your web sites and I’m new to your newsletter. I just finished reading your “Get Rid of Flabby Arms and Belly” article. I was pleased to see your advise on starting where you are and work into the full on exercises. Because I have been out of shape for years and have and since last year I have ssslllooowwwlllyyy worked at the intemediate type exercises. Since I work away from home on a tight budget I have been studying body weight exercises (I’m not fond of gyms any way) . I felt like a whimpy marshmellow last year when I puffed out to 270 -290 lbs (while eating at restraunts) and had trouble doing half push ups and curls. I kept at it and although I haven’t progressed through all the steps you suggest, I can now do shallow military push ups and sit ups again and have dropped down to a mear 230 lbs. Last year I wore size 46 pants and now size 42 is getting loose on me.

    I am looking forward to reading more of your articles and watching your videos online. I’m sure I need to improve my exercise techniques and try new exercises as my strength improves. My first goal is to become functinally fit; I have an active six year old son who needs a fitter father. I would like to loose the rest of my paunch in the process and I would like to see the scale stop at 200 lbs in the near future. I hope to drop even more than that and eventually hit 185-186 lbs again (that was my weight going into and coming out of USAF bootcamp about 30 years ago. I know the weight was put on slowly and will come off a little at a time as well as long as I keep working at it.

    Thanks for putting your info out there.

    Dennis.