If you have sagging arm skin you'd like to get rid of, you're not alone. The triceps muscle is known for being a problem area for many people. And while targeted fat loss or spot reduction does not work, following a healthy diet and exercise plan can help you tone up and reduce that sagging arm skin.
Cardio Exercise for Fat Loss
Short of having surgery to remove excess skin, your next best choice to reduce fat and build muscle is exercise and diet. Cardiovascular or aerobic exercise burns calories, boosts your heart health, improves mood, reduces your risk for certain health conditions and helps reduce sagging skin.
To get the most out of your sweat sessions, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends getting at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity cardio exercise each week. For increased benefits, consider bumping that number up to 300 minutes a week.
If 150 minutes seems like a lot to squeeze in during the week, you can still meet the guidelines by performing 75 minutes a week of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity such as high-intensity interval training or HIIT.
While any type of cardio exercise will count towards your total for the week, if you want to firm up some of that sagging skin, consider adding heart-pumping activities that also use your upper body. At the gym, you can try the rowing machine, elliptical machine with handles, exercise bike with moving arms or VersaClimber.
You can also hop in the pool and swim laps or take a water aerobics class with aquatic dumbbells, or head outdoors for a trail ride on your mountain bike. And if you're really adventurous, take an indoor rock-climbing class.
Read more: Can Doing Daily Cardio Help You Lose Weight?
Firm Up With Strength Training
Performing isolation exercises such as bicep curls and triceps dips can help boost your strength and give your arms a more toned appearance. But if you really want to decrease body fat, sculpt a muscular physique and boost your metabolism, the American Council on Exercise says the best resistance-training program for fat loss prioritizes compound movements.
Compound movements such as squats, deadlifts, loaded kettlebell carries, pull-ups and push-ups are exercises that work multiple muscle groups at the same time. To target sagging arm skin you should also include compound exercises that work the upper body such as chest press, lat pulldown and shoulder press. You can round out your resistance training workouts with arm-specific exercises such as dumbbell bicep curls, barbell curls, tricep kickbacks and dips.
Aim to hit the weights at least two to three days each week. These workouts should include exercises that involve all the major muscle groups for two to three sets of eight to 12 repetitions at a moderate resistance. If you're doing full-body workouts, the National Strength and Conditioning Association recommends allowing at least one day (but not more than three) between workouts that stress the same muscle groups.
Read more: 10-Minute Arm-Sculpting Workout
Reduce Sagging Skin With Diet
The final piece to the puzzle when it comes to trimming fat is your diet. You can exercise all you want, but if you consume more calories than you expend or you choose to fuel your body with unhealthy food, then you may see very little progress in the muscle-toning department.
When it comes to losing weight and reducing body fat, your first order of business is to make sure you're eating a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, lean protein, complex carbohydrates, and healthy fats, while also reducing the amount of added sugar and processed food.
The next step is to cut back on portions and reduce the number of calories you eat. To lose one to two pounds each week, try to consume 500 fewer calories each day and burn 500 calories through exercise.
It's important to note that weight loss alone may not reduce your sagging arm skin. Following a resistance training program that focuses on exercises for the arms as well as compound movements, performing cardiovascular exercise that also uses your arms and changing up your diet will all help to give your arms a more toned appearance. But if you're still unhappy with the appearance of your arms, you may want to talk with your doctor about other options to remove sagging skin.
- American Council on Exercise: "Spot Reduction: Why It Doesn't Work"
- The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: "Physical Activity Guidelines for Adults"
- American Council on Exercise: "The BEST Resistance-Training Program for Fat Loss"
- The American Council on Exercise: "5 Compound Exercises You Should Add to Your Workout"
- The National Strength and Conditioning Association: "How to Firm Sagging Arm Skin"
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: "Dietary Guidelines for Americans"