Get rid of those trouble spots once and for all. Jiggly arms and rolls that spill over your bra line or back of your waist can be burned off with exercise, but perhaps not with the approach you would expect.
No magic back workouts or arm workouts will whittle your specific fat storage spots, but a comprehensive exercise plan can lean you out and, when you attend to your arms and back with strength work, reveal toned muscle.
Fat Loss Primer
Your body stores fat where it wants; this seems exceptionally unfair, but it's the way every body works. In simple terms, when you take in more calories from food and drink than you use up, your fat cells start to swell. Which ones fill up first is dependent largely on genetics and hormones.
To lose fat, you will need to consume fewer calories than you burn. Of course, you can cut down your caloric intake — but only so much before you become famished and nutritionally deficient. Exercise helps create a higher calorie burn rate, creating a caloric deficit that makes it easier for fat loss to occur. It takes about a 3,500-calorie deficit to lose 1 pound.
When you exercise and eat less to lose weight, your fat cells begin to shrink back down. Which ones shrink first is again dependent on hormones and genetics, not your wishes. Suffice it to say that if you tend to gain weight in your arms and back first, you'll lose it from these places last — but it will eventually yield when you become lean enough.
Do Cardio First
Twists, rows and curls target your back and arm muscles, but not for fat-burning. These exercises are important for your health and muscle tone, but won't really assist you in fat loss.
Instead, get out your sneakers and go walking, hiking, jogging, biking or kick boxing. Pretty much any activity that gets your big muscles moving, raises your heart rate and causes you to break a sweat counts. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic exercise just to maintain your current weight.
Once you've built up the stamina to do this moderate-level intensity exercise, kick up the intensity at a few workouts per week. Go at a faster rate or add intervals —alternating bouts of all-out effort and rest — to turn on fat-burning mechanisms.
Include Strength, Too
Strength training doesn't burn as many calories as cardio while you're exercising, but it does help create lean muscle mass to make your back and arms look firmer. Plus, the more muscle, or lean mass, you have on your body, the higher your metabolism — which means you use more calories all day long.
Participate in compound exercises that move multiple joints at once to get the most lean muscle-build out of each effort. Squats, lunges and chest presses are some of the best to include a couple times per week in a fat-loss workout.
You'll want to target your arms and back as well, not to melt fat specifically from this region, but to tone the muscles so they pop when you do slim down. Muscle tissue is firmer than fat and gives your whole body a healthier, fitter look.
Exercises to include specifically for the arms and back include:
- Bent-over, cable or machine rows
- Barbell or dumbbell curls
- Triceps dips or triceps extension
- Lat pull-downs or pull-ups