As part of my “Why Oh Why are Aging and Gravity So Cruel?” series I discussed treatments for “batwing” arms, AKA underarm flab, AKA bye-bye arms … or as I like to call them: sagging fat slabs that hang from my arms — that didn’t used to be there — and I can’t seem to get rid of.
To make matters worse, I’m a tank top addict and this whole, “I may take flight” feeling every time I wave, is making me search for a TTA (tank tops anonymous) meeting. That said, the first line of defense against sagging underarm flab due to weight loss, aging, and/or gravity is exercise.
Though exercise isn’t hugely effective for spot training, it can tone you up a bit and a bit is better than a droopy pit. Hmmm are you thinking what I’m thinking? Embroider that on a pillow?
If that fails (the toning, not the pillow) you can determine if you want to take further steps in reducing jiggle (those steps are listed here: Wave Bye-Bye to Bye-Bye Arms). That said, these are the top 3 exercises to tone up your triceps according to a study that used EMG (electromagnetic) electrodes to access which movements had the highest muscle response (Therefore, most effective).
1. Triangle (or Diamond) Push-ups
This is the NUMBER 1 exercise for toning under arm flab.
It’s like a traditional push-up. You can be on your knees or toes but the key is to make a diamond or triangle shape with your hands — where your first fingers and thumbs come together directly beneath your chest. Keep your body aligned, inhale and lower as close to the ground as you can get and with your core tight. On the exhale, come back to a straight position with elbows extended. Do 10-15 repetitions with 3 sets (if possible).
Dips are another highly effective exercise that you can do without purchasing a thing (assuming you already own a chair). Sit on the edge of said chair or bench with your legs extended (or knees bent at 90 degrees — based on comfort and strength). With your hands gripping the chair on both sides of your body, lower your upper body off the chair and towards the ground until your arms are bent at a 90 degree angle (while inhaling). Then exhale and lift your body back up to chair height using your triceps (don’t let your elbows flair out and make sure to extend your arms until the elbows are straight, but not locked). Repeat this action 10-15 times with 3 sets (if possible).
3. Triceps Kickbacks
Also found to be highly beneficial, kickbacks will require weights (or a variation with bands or as I like to use when in need two full bottles of water). While standing and holding a weight in each hand, bend your knees slightly and your torso at the waist to face the ground. Your arms should be tucked to your sides with your elbows bent at 90 degrees, then extend your arm backwards until they’re straight but not locked (on the exhale). Hold the extension for of a couple seconds and then bend your arms back down on the inhale. Do this 8-12 times with at least 2 sets. Work with a weight that is comfortable.
The exercises that people commonly do to tone triceps that were not found to be very effective: Triceps Extensions, Triceps Presses, and Rope Pulls! I’m not gonna teach you how to do those. I say, skip em!
MY TRICEPS TRICKS – Here are some easy home moves that I love (love is a strong word) … they weren’t studied, but they need no weights and can be done while doing other things, like talking to your family at dinner or ignoring your family to watch The Bachelor:
1. The Windmill:
Raise your arms parallel to the ground and sweep them around like a windmill 25 times forward and then 25 times backwards. So easy and it’ll burn.
2. Bye Bye Wave:
Raise your arms to shoulder level bend your elbows at 90 degrees and pretend you’re on a float in a parade. Wave as fast as you can for a minute without moving your arms (only palms turning back and forth).
3. The Praying Mantis who Wants Less Flabby Arms (yes, i made the name long, but descriptive)
Put your hands in a prayer pose with elbows at chest level. Bring your joined palms and elbows above your head and back down. Repeat 30 times. To really add a sting, clap your hands when you raise them, while keeping your elbows and wrists together at chest height.
Work these into your routine for a period longer than a week or two and see what kind of residual flab, sag, and jiggle is left over … and buy a sleeveless shirt (you deserve it).
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