Here's What Actually Reduces Fat in Your Arms (Hint: It's Not Just Push-Ups)
If you're googling "how to lose arm fat," I'm sorry to say that unfortunately, you can't spot-reduce fat in your arms or from any one area of your body. There are no magical arm exercises to lose arm fat, and doing arm workouts alone won't work. You need to lower your overall body fat percentage.
Experts agree. "While working out a particular area is beneficial for the muscles, this doesn't translate to targeted fat loss. Instead, it naturally comes off the whole body during exercise," Amanda Russell, an ACE-certified personal trainer for Valeo Fit, told POPSUGAR.
How to Lose Arm Fat
If you want your arms to look leaner, you need to create a balanced exercise routine to lose overall fat that's equal parts cardio and strength training. For cardio, instead of endless hours on the treadmill, high-intensity interval training workouts (HIIT) are particularly effective for fat burning. As a bonus, they take less time. Combine HIIT workouts with the strength-training moves listed here that Russell recommends to help build stronger arm muscles. So as you lose body fat, you'll reveal your toned, sculpted arms.
Biceps curls are one of the most effective toning exercises you can do with some simple dumbbells, Russell told POPSUGAR. "Make sure to keep your elbows tight to your sides and your arms curling in front of you, not to the sides," she said.
How to do biceps curls:
- Hold a dumbbell in each hand, with your arms either at your side or resting in front of your thighs, palms facing up.
- Slowly raise the dumbbells toward your chest, keeping your elbows close to your sides and your shoulders down.
- Squeeze your arms at the top of the move, then slowly lower the dumbbells to complete one rep. Repeat for 12-15 reps.
The push-up is a classic move that will never lose its reputation for toning your arms. "For a modification, you can start with arms shoulder-width apart and knees on the floor, and then proceed through the movement the same way," Russell said.
How to do push-ups:
- Start in a high plank position with arms shoulder-width apart, shoulders directly over your wrists, and feet slightly spread apart.
- Bend your elbows, lowering your chest toward the ground until your shoulders are about even with your elbows and your nose nearly touches the floor. Engage your core and squeeze your butt to keep your body flat throughout this movement.
- Push back up to complete one rep. Repeat for 12-15 reps.
How to do triceps kickbacks:
- Holding a dumbbell in each hand, hinge forward at the hips, with your knees slightly bent.
- Bend your arms, raising the dumbbells so they sit close to your chest, with your palms facing inwards.
- Kick your arms back until they're fully extended and parallel with the floor; squeeze your triceps.
- Bring your arms back to starting position. Repeat for 12-15 reps.
Overhead Shoulder Presses
"To efficiently tone your arms, your workout should include multi-joint movements recruiting large muscles and maximizing your caloric burn," Audrey Handelsman, an ACSM- and ACE-certified personal trainer in Austin, TX, told POPSUGAR. This includes overhead shoulder presses with dumbbells.
How to do overhead shoulder presses:
- Hold a dumbbell in each hand just above the shoulders, with your palms facing in.
- Straighten your arms above your head.
- Bend your elbows as you return to starting position. Repeat for 6-8 reps.
How to do pull-ups:
- With your palms facing away from you, grip a pull-up bar with arms extended.
- Keep your core tight while engaging your back and lats and bring yourself up until your chin passes above the bar.
- Finally, lower yourself down into the starting position. Repeat for 10 reps.