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Firming Flabby Arms Through Strength Training in Senior Citizens

author image Raina Casarez
A fitness professional since 1997, Raina Casarez is an experienced group fitness instructor teaching a variety of formats. As a member of The Exergaming Network (TEN,) she specializes in the burgeoning field of Wii fitness. Casarez has received certifications from the Aerobics and Fitness Association of America (AFAA), SCW Fitness, and completed Georgia State University's tai chi program.
Firming Flabby Arms Through Strength Training in Senior Citizens
Tossing a ball will help you tone and sculpt the muscles of your arms and shoulders. Photo Credit Marcy Maloy/Lifesize/Getty Images

Firming flabby arms is accomplished through regular resistance or strength training, regardless of age. Senior citizens who perform targeted tricep exercises as well as other upper body and total arm-strengthening exercises will not only see the results reflected in more muscle mass, more defined arms muscles and less flab, but they will also feel the effects of increased upper body strength.

Seniors and Strength Training

As you age, sarcopenia -- age-related loss of muscle mass -- occurs and it becomes more important to incorporate strength training into your weekly fitness regimen. In "Aging: What To Expect As You Get Older," the staff at MayoClinic.com report that it's normal for muscles to weaken and become less flexible as you age, and that by incorporating strength training at least twice a week, you can strengthen your muscles and reduce the risk or effects of osteoporosis and increase your bone density as well.

Strength Training Basics

Correct posture, form and technique must be maintained throughout your movements for strength training to be effective and to avoid injury. Even though your focus is on flabby triceps, the National Institute on Aging recommends that you train all major muscles groups at least twice per week. Make sure you rest the muscles trained for at least 24 hours before the next session, to give the muscles a chance to repair and rebuild. If you can afford it, you might want to hire a personal trainer to create a plan that will help firm up your flabby arms.

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Targeting Triceps

The triceps are responsible for the arms' ability to extend and straighten. A three-headed muscle, its main extensor runs along the bottom of the arm. This is what you will feel contract and relax when targeting triceps with strength training exercises. It's important to perform a variety of tricep exercises to keep the muscle challenged. Some tricep exercises include standing or sitting overhead tricep presses, push ups, tossing and catching a ball, and tricep dips from a chair or bench.


Roger Fielding Ph.D., director of the Nutrition, Exercise Physiology, and Sarcopenia Laboratory at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University, reports findings that though incremental loss of muscle mass begins at 30 years of age, muscle strength remains stable until 50 years of age. His team explores possible interventions to reduce or reverse sarcopenia through exercise and nutrition. Dr. Fielding has identified the power of the muscle -- it's ability to react speedily -- as an indicator of functional fitness and is assessing whether rapidly lifting weights sustains the power of the muscle more effectively than the traditional slow and steady weight lifting model.


Spot reduction, or just focusing on flabby underarms, is not recommended. Commit to a fitness program that includes cardio, strength and flexibility training for your entire body and then incorporate extra attention for those areas you really want to improve. Eating a healthy and balanced diet is essential to maintain energy levels. It takes time to build muscle, so be ready to stick with your strength training program.

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