How to Lose Arm Fat: Best Exercises and a Reality Check

Some call it “flab”, others call it “sag”, or even “jiggle.” Whatever it is that you call the excess fat on your arms, know that you’re not alone. A lot of us have found ourselves in the dilemma, wondering how to lose arm fat and why it’s even there in the first place. Is it something I ate? Is it something I did or didn’t do? What shirt can I wear to hide to cover those parts?

Though there are many ways in which you can improve the appearance of your arms, we need to let you in on a little secret — arm fat is totally normal — especially with regards to women! The reason for this is quite natural, as women have higher levels of estrogen, which means there is a physiological need for some extra fat to remain healthy (actually, a whole 6-11% more fat than men). This fat is particularly useful for women who are expecting, as it ensures that the baby has enough reserves to sustain itself.

But back to why you’re here. While there’s no magic trick for how to get rid of arm fat, there are certainly some ways help you along your way to the defined arms you desire. The 8fit Pro app also has workout programs that target specific body parts like your arms. See it as a form of pottery; you’re looking to shed the excess material before you get into chiseling the fine, intricate details. We’ll go into more detail below.

How to lose arm fat

Before we get down to the nitty-gritty on how to lose arm fat, let’s touch a bit more on the process of losing weight. As we previously mentioned, it’s more about an overall effort to begin with, rather than trying to lose weight from a specific body party, which is called spot reducing.

In a nutshell, spot reducing doesn’t work. So before it gets you down, just know that this is not a realistic approach for anyone. Spot reduction is a  big misconception that still incorrectly holds precedence out there in the world of fitness, but here at 8fit we’re all about the science, and science tells us loud and clear that you can’t pick a spot on your body and work the fat away. The reason for this is that fat cells are stored all over the body, and where it seems like the fat cells gather/congregate is often due to genetics.

So, before you venture into your arm weight-loss attempt, first try to understand your body as a whole, and ask yourself what your goal is, how you can achieve this and is it realistic. Do you really want to lose fat, or do you want to tone-up the muscles in your arm?

how to lose arm fat

Arm weight-loss tips

If it’s about the fat, then your goal should be to lose weight overall, rather than focus on specific areas. Your best bet is to start with your nutrition. Eating a healthy and balanced diet will maximize your chances for weight loss. If you’re using the 8fit meal plan, then getting the right amount of veggies and whole grains shouldn’t be too much of a problem.

Additionally, make sure you stay active and keep moving to get your cardio up. When working out, focus on bigger muscle groups like the quads, glutes, back, and chest, rather than the smaller muscles like the triceps, or biceps. This will lead to a higher expenditure of energy, which will, in turn, lead to increased fat loss. Once you’ve achieved your desired approximate silhouette, the tips below will help refine your shape further.

Once you’ve reduced your overall body fat, and you notice that you still have that sag around your arms, then it’s time to tone up, as that ‘looseness’ is untoned muscles. Use targeted exercise to tone and sculpt your muscles for shapely arms.

The primary muscle you want to focus on is the tricep, which is the rear part of your upper arm. Strengthening and building muscle in your triceps will promote shapely arms and help you achieve that lean, sculpted look you want.

Best arm exercises / without weights

Now that those muscles are uncovered and ready to work on, it’ll be easier for you to see your progress, as the muscles will start to show up through the thinner layer of body fat. Arms are made up of two different muscles — the biceps in the front, and the triceps at the back. The main one to target when toning arms up is the tricep, but working out the bicep at the same time will lend your arms a more balanced structure.

We have some arm and shoulder sculpting workouts, but we’ve got even more you can add to your repertoire.

The following exercises don’t require any weights, which makes them super practical for doing arm workouts at home. Here are a couple directly targeting the triceps:

Dips (with straight legs)

Muscles involved: Triceps, shoulders, upper back

Count: Count one every time you return to the start position

Directions

  1. Put your hands on top of the surface with arms extended and shoulders directly above wrists
  2. Keep your legs straight in front of you with your heels on the floor (or do the modification shown above)
  3. Bend your elbows to lower your hips to the floor
  4. Straighten your arms and press your body back up to the start position

Tips

  • Keep your neck long, shoulders back and down away from ears
  • Keep your core engaged
  • Keep your elbows tight to your body at all times
  • Keep your body close to the chair

Tricep extensions (wall)

Muscles involved: Triceps, shoulders, core

Count: Count one every time you return to the start position

Directions

  1. Stand facing a wall, with straight arms, place your hands at chin-level, shoulder-width apart
  2. Engage your core and lower your elbows until your entire forearms touch the wall
  3. Keep your fingers pointing up and elbows pointing down, and lean your body forward against wall
  4. Press into your palms to straighten your arms and push your body back to the start position

Tips

  • Keep your neck long, shoulders back and down away from ears
  • Keep your core engaged
  • Keep your hips aligned so your body forms a straight line from the head through to heels

To balance and refine your arm’s overall shape, here are some bicep exercises:

Towel curls

Muscles involved: Biceps, chest, shoulders

Count: Count one every time you return to the start position

Directions

  1. Sit upright, loop a towel under the middle of one foot and hold towel ends in each hand
  2. Keep your arms tight to your sides, apply resistance with your leg and your bend arm while directing your hands close to your shoulders
  3. Continue to contract your biceps and lower back down to the start position

Tips

  • Keep your neck long, shoulders back and down away from ears
  • Keep your arms tight to sides from the shoulder down to elbow throughout the entire movement

The following exercise is helpful to improve your posture on top of toning up your arms:

Plank (inverted)

Muscles involved: Shoulders, abs, triceps, hamstrings, glutes

Count: Complete for the indicated time

Directions

  1. Sit on a mat with your legs extended and heels on the floor
  2. Place your hands directly under shoulders
  3. Lean back on your hands and raise your hips off the floor
  4. Tense every muscle in your body to form a straight line from your head to heels
  5. Hold the position for the indicated time

Tips

  • Keep your neck long, shoulders back and down away from ears
  • Don’t sink down into your shoulders
  • Keep your core engaged, hips up and body in a straight line
  • Breathe slow and steady, don’t hold your breath

Best arm exercises / with weights

These two equipment based exercises focus on the triceps:

Standing tricep kickbacks (standing with dumbbell)

Muscles involved: Triceps, abs, lower back, hamstrings

Count: Count one every time you return to the start position

Directions

  1. Stand with feet hip-width apart holding the dumbbells in each hand
  2. Hinge at the hips until your chest is almost parallel to the floor, with knees slightly bent, arms tight to sides and a 90-degree bend in your elbows
  3. Press the dumbbells back by straightening arms, squeezing the tricep muscle and pause for a second
  4. Slowly lower the weights back down to start the position

Tips

  • Keep your back straight and neck in line with your spine
  • Keep your shoulders back and down away from ears
  • Make sure to always do the full range of motion
  • Slowly lift with control; 2 seconds up, hold 1 second, 2 seconds down

Overhead tricep extension (standing with dumbbell)

Muscles involved: Triceps, shoulders, abs, lower back

Count: Count one every time you return to the start position

Directions

  1. Stand with your feet hip-width apart and hold the dumbbells behind your head with elbows bent and tight to your ears
  2. Keep your elbows tight, straighten your arms to slowly lift the dumbbells towards the ceiling
  3. Squeeze your tricep muscles at the top of the movement and hold for 1 second
  4. Slowly lower your hands back down to the start position

Tips

  • Keep your back straight and neck in line with your spine
  • Keep your shoulders back and down with your elbows tight to your head
  • Slowly raise and lower the weight and never use momentum
  • The tempo should be 2 seconds down, hold for 1 second, 2 seconds up

Try this workout to sculpt your biceps as well:

Standing bicep curl (standing with dumbbell)

Muscles involved: Biceps, forearms, abs

Count: Count one every time you return to the start position

Directions

  1. Stand straight with weight in your hands and arms at your sides
  2. Rotate your forearm do your palms face the front, thumbs facing out
  3. Bend your elbow to lift the weights towards the shoulder
  4. Squeeze your biceps at the top for a second
  5. Lower your hand back down to your sides to the start position

Tips

  • Keep your arms tight at your sides.
  • Keep your back and neck straight
  • Raise and lower the weights slowly and never use momentum
  • Tempo, 2 seconds up, hold for 1 second, 2 seconds down