Plagued by "bat wings" and "bra bulge"? For many women, these problem areas are sisters under the skin, connected by the humble armpit. Fortunately, many of the same workouts and fat-burning methods are helpful to both kinds of underarm fat — flabby triceps and lack of strength in the chest/back area.
You don't have to invest in a gym membership or buy home equipment to fight underarm fatty tissue. Simple resistance moves, coupled with a few lifestyle tweaks, can help you slim down excess fatty tissue all over your body, including your underarms, and strengthen the muscles in that area to offer some definition — all without needing any specialized equipment.
Read more: How to Lose Back Fat and Armpit Fat
Blast Underarm Fat
A circuit of resistance moves that target your upper arms, chest and back will help strengthen the muscles near your underarm area from all directions. Among the best moves for this goal are triceps moves and chest/back workouts.
- Triangle push-up. The American Council on Fitness determined that the triangle push-up was the most effective move for strengthening triceps. Similar to a traditional pushup, the triangle variation is made more challenging by placing the hands closer together under the chest. Your thumbs should be touching, with the tips of your pointer fingers coming together in order to complete the top of the triangle.
- Traditional or pushup. If the triangle variation is too challenging for you, a traditional push-up is still an effective way to target the muscles in your chest arms. If you find it painful to do a regular push up, a bent-knee push-up will help you slowly build up strength.
- Triceps dip. The only "equipment" you need for a triceps dip is a sturdy chair or the side of the bed — or even a bench or blanket chest. By using your upper arms to lower your body from the sitting position and then back up, you're working muscles to firm up the upper arm area.
- Reverse snow angels. This move strengthens your upper back muscles. Instead of lying on your back as with traditional snow angels, you will be on your stomach. By pinching your shoulder blades together, slightly lifting your head and upper shoulders off the ground, and sweeping your arms in a wide arc, your lats are worked. If you like, you can hold a full water bottle in each hand. Doing so makes the workout even more of a challenge for your upper back, but doesn't require hand weights or other traditional workout equipment.
Make Dietary Changes
Working on burning allover body fat is also part of the process for dealing with excess fat all over your body — including underarm fatty tissue. One key element of this goal involves examining your normal meal routine to see if dietary changes need to be made.
To work on losing more body fat, consuming fewer calories than you burn will help your body lose inches overall. Eat a good balance of whole grains, vegetables, fruits, lean proteins and healthy fats like avocados, seeds and nuts. Protein selections can help you feel fuller more quickly, so you don't feel the need to eat as much, and also helps with building muscle.
Read more: The 7 Principles of Fat Loss
Count on Cardio
Adding cardio to your resistance training can also bolster your efforts to firm up your underarm area. By working in about 30 minutes of aerobic activity a day, most people are able to increase muscle mass while also losing body fat. If you already own a paddleboard or bicycle, you won't have to invest in the necessary equipment for these fat-burning options. If not, there are still plenty of equipment-free aerobic activities to try.
Running, cycling and brisk walking are all examples are fat-burning cardio. Each will burn calories, while also ramping up your metabolism. But for even better results when the area under your arms is a concern, try swimming, paddleboarding and aerobics classes. These all require your arms, chest and back to be in motion, which will strengthen those muscle groups.
- Harvard Health Publishing: "Calories Burned in 30 Minutes for People of Three Different Weights"
- American Council on Exercise: "No Equipment Chest and Back Exercises"
- CNN: "How to Lose Underarm 'Batwing' Fat"
- American Council on Exercise: "2011-2012 ACE Study Identifies Best Triceps Exercises"
- Mayo Clinic: "Metabolism and Weight Loss"
- PubMed: "Protein Intake and Muscles"
- Office on Women's Health: "Weight Loss and Women"
- American Council on Exercise: "15-Minute Upper-Body Workout"