How to Slim Down Upper Body

Ripe apple on tree
When you have upper-body fat, you fall into the category of having an apple-shaped body. (Image: Digital Vision./Digital Vision/Getty Images)

When you have upper-body fat, you fall into the category of having an apple-shaped body. This means anything from your belly upward contains fat, and fat in the belly tends to develop into deep, visceral fat, which has been linked to metabolic disturbances and increased risk for cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes, according to Harvard Medical School. Your best bet for reducing belly fat, and fat throughout the rest of your upper body, is to make lifestyle changes.

Step 1

Woman's hands typing
Use an online resource such as the Daily Plate for help with tracking calories. (Image: Pixland/Pixland/Getty Images)

Restrict your food intake and change unhealthy eating habits. Replace sugary and processed foods with lean meats, fish, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products and beans. Drink water rather than beer, alcohol and sugar-filled beverages. Eat smaller and more frequent meals and include a portion of complex carbs and protein with each one. Oatmeal with low-fat milk and blueberries is a breakfast example. Baked chicken breast with steamed broccoli and brown rice is an evening meal example.

Step 2

Woman on rowing machine
Perform cardiovascular exercise that involves your upper body. (Image: Jupiterimages/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images)

Perform cardiovascular exercise that involves your upper body. To lose weight, 60 to 90 minutes of cardio is necessary, according to the American College of Sports Medicine. Being that you want to lose weight in your upper body, choose a type of full-body cardio such as elliptical training, swimming, versa climbing, rowing or kickboxing. Work out on three nonconsecutive days a week.

Step 3

Lift weights to work your upper body muscles. Do shoulder presses by standing straight and holding a barbell in front of your shoulders. Extend your arms to lift the weight above your head, then return slowly to the starting position.

Step 4

Perform bench presses by lying face up on a bench with a barbell above your upper chest. Press the barbell straight up toward the ceiling, then lower it under control to the starting position.

Step 5

Lie on your back to do bicycle crunches. Position your fingers on the back of your head and then extend and lift your legs. Bring your right knee toward your chest as you lift your torso and try to touch the knee with your left elbow. Straighten your right leg and move your left knee toward your chest as you twist your torso and touch the knee with your right elbow.


Aim for 10 to 12 reps and four to five sets of each exercise. Work out on three alternating days, trading off with cardio.

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