8 Strengthening Moves to Get Rid of Your Arm Jiggle
Last Updated: Oct 26, 2016
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Arm flaps, granny arms, bat wings, whale flippers: Whatever we call them, they’ve haunted our tank top-loving bodies for too long. Stephanie Thielen, American Council on Exercise certified personal trainer in Omaha, Nebraska, says the best way to rid yourself of the jiggle is to incorporate a consistent exercise regimen (like the one below) while reducing fat and caloric intake without risking muscle loss. Arm flaps consist of stubborn fatty tissue, so to eliminate them, challenge yourself with compound moves (exercises working two or more major muscle groups at once). Staying hydrated is key: Drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses a day to cleanse your body and shed those pounds. These fat-blasting exercises, along with a healthy diet, will have you well on your way to getting the toned, sculpted arms of your dreams. And all you’ll need are some five-pound weights (lighter if you need to modify) and a can-do attitude!
ELEVATED BICEP CURLS
Although arm jiggle appears to lurk on your triceps, you’ll need to build your biceps before you can target those tough spots. Elevated biceps curls will warm up your shoulders, keeping your arms lifted away from the body. Setup: Hold a five-pound weight in each hand. In either a standing or seated position, raise straightened arms to shoulder height with your palms facing the ceiling.
HOW TO DO ELEVATED BICEP CURLS
Curl the arms so the forearms are perpendicular to the floor and hands are directly over the elbows. Keep the elbows lifted up and in line with the shoulders. Do three sets of 15 reps (more if you are able).
SHAVE THE HEAD
Conquer your flaps by shaving your head (not literally). This exercise targets your shoulders, triceps, forearms and biceps — all muscles that you’ll need to really pinpoint your arm flab. Setup: Take a five-pound weight in each hand. Bring them behind the back of the head, with palms facing the base of the skull and elbows out low and wide.
HOW TO SHAVE THE HEAD
Imagine your weights are two razors that will shave the back of your head as you slide the palms upward until arms are straight (hands together at the top) and back down. Repeat. Keep your head directly in line atop your spinal column, and focus on elongating your neck and spine. Don’t let your spine sag or collapse, and maintain a strong core (sitting in a chair may help). Do three sets of 15 reps (more if you are able).
TRICEPS KICK BACKS
Triceps kick-backs are one of the three most productive exercises for shredding arm flaps (stay tuned for the other two), according to a study commissioned by the ACE. When done properly, they’ll shape and sculpt your arms as they crush the flaps. Setup: Standing with feet hip-distance apart and knees bent, tilt your torso 30 degrees forward, keeping your spine long. With your chest proud and shoulders back, take your arms back and high (with five-pound weights in hands) until the elbows are level with the shoulders (if the elbows drop the exercise becomes less effective).
HOW TO DO TRICEPS KICK BACKS
Face the palms back, forward or in toward each other (or switch their orientation between sets), but keep your elbows fixed and level with your shoulders. Bend at the elbows and bring your hands toward the shoulders, and then straighten your arm back behind you. Do three sets of 15 (more if you are able).
Triceps dips are another of the top moves for busting arm flaps, according to the ACE study. “Be careful not to overstretch the deltoids by dipping too low,” Thielen says, “and as you become fatigued, relax your lower body. Don’t be tempted to use the legs to push up. Use the hands and full arms to maximize this exercise.” Setup: Back up to a sturdy chair or bench. Squat down and place your palms down with the fingers forward on the edge next to your legs.
HOW TO DO TRICEPS DIPS
With feet hip-distance apart and ankles right below or slightly out in front of the knees (harder), begin to dip the body up and down. Try to keep the elbows going straight back (in line with the shoulders and wrists) as opposed to opening out to the sides. Do three sets of 15 (more if you are able).
Yogis have been doing this powerful exercise for ages. Cobra push-ups engage and strengthen the triceps while boosting the superficial muscles at the front of the deltoids. Setup: Lie prone on the floor in a push-up position. Bring the thumbs of each hand in close toward your armpits and keep your elbows glued to your ribs.
HOW TO DO COBRA PUSHUPS
Either in a full plank on the toes (don’t let the pelvis sag low; keep the core engaged) or a half plank on the knees, do a push-up while maintaining the elbows tight to the ribs and the head and neck in line with the spine. Don’t allow your pelvis to sag, and tighten the core to keep the pelvis lifted and stop your traps from taking over! Repeat. Do as many as you can. Rest. Repeat.
SUPINE TRICEPS EXTENSION
This variation offers all the same benefits as regular triceps extensions while also engaging your neck and shoulders. You can do these when your arms are fatigued because they also utilize the your back, biceps, chest and shoulder muscles. Setup: Lie flat on the floor with your legs extended out and feet hip-distance apart. Keep your upper back (toward bottom of shoulder blades) pressing into the mat or floor and your shoulder blades gliding down your back.
HOW TO DO SUPINE TRICEPS EXTENSIONS
With five-pound weights in both hands (or a single 10-pound weight), bring hands together straight above your chest. Keeping the elbows pointed straight up toward the ceiling, bend the arms and bring the hands toward the face. Then extend the arms back up to straight to the starting position. Try not to let the upper arms move at all. Do three sets of 15 (more if you are able).
SIDE PLANK TRICEPS EXTENSION
We love this compound move for purging arm flaps because, in the process, you’ll also trim your waist, strengthen your core and improve your balance! Setup: Come into a side plank on your forearm, keeping the line of your body straight. Stack the feet or the knees. If on your knees, thighs should be back and flush with your trunk, so your body forms a straight line from head to knees. With a five-pound weight in your top hand, raise the arm straight up toward the ceiling with the palm facing forward.
HOW TO DO SIDE PLANK TRICEPS EXTENSIONS
Bend at the elbow and bring your hand toward your head, and then straighten your arm, always keeping the elbow fixed. Thielen says, “Engage the core to keep the hips lifted, and push away from the bottom arm, keeping space between the ear and the shoulder.” Do three sets of 15, alternating sides (more if you are able).
We’ve saved the mack daddy of all bat-wing-busting exercises for last! The ACE found more real-time muscle activity in the arm-flap area during triangle push-ups than during any other exercise, making them the No. 1 move for eliminating the jiggle. Setup: Come into a push-up position (on your knees if you need to modify) with the hands turned in toward each other and the forefingers and thumbs touching, forming the shape of a triangle (or diamond).
HOW TO DO TRIANGLE PUSHUPS
Position your hands so that, as you perform a push-up, your chest is directly on top of your hands. “Be sure to bend all the way down so the forearms are parallel to the floor or the chest touches the hands,” says Thielen, “creating a highly mechanical load on the triceps.” Do three sets of 10 (more if you are able).
WHAT DO YOU THINK?
How do you battle arm flab? Will you be adding any of these exercises to your routine? Which of these exercises do you feel is the most effective? What part of your body is the most difficult to target? Let us know in the comments section!
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