Wellness & Fitness
These workouts will keep your arms flabby-freeSaturday June 11 2022
As people age, many a time there are those who start gaining excessive weight in different parts of the body with the midsection, upper body and the arms most affected.
Excess weight in the arms, especially in women, can cause the dreaded bat wing appearance or what is referred to as “flabby” arms which may lead to poor body image and self-esteem.
Trizah Mudengani, a fitness trainer with AVI Fitness Centre in Kilimani, Nairobi, says that a flabby arm is an indication of accumulation of excess fat in the body which can manifest itself in the arm area.
The flabbiness is caused by gaining fat while losing muscles leading to loss of skin elasticity as it is being pulled apart but is not able to go back to its original state.
The excess fat comes along because of poor nutrition, lack of exercise, sedentary lifestyle, and age with some people tending to gain with age, she explains.
“One accumulates fat but does not lose it with the arms suffering alongside the rest of the body. This could be due to being a poor feeder” says Ms Mudegani.
Another reason, she says, is linked to hormonal imbalance in women which can be brought about by the use of family planning after choosing a method that does not fit with one’s body type, or simply because of age as one steps into menopause.
However, the trainer points out that it is possible to lose the excessive fat through a good exercise routine and a proper diet.
“Working out creates calorie deficit leading to fat loss while proper diet involves eating foods high in protein as they are the building blocks of muscles.”
Exercising, especially resistance workouts, help build muscles while burning fats and since it is impossible to only shed fat from specific parts of the body, in what is known as spot reduction, it is therefore important to incorporate exercises that will lead to a reduction of fat percentage in the entire body but with focus on the arms.
Ms Mudegani says that to replace the fats with muscles on the arms, an individual can perform several exercises with body weight or external equipment.
The exercises include bicep curls, triceps kickbacks, triceps dips, scissors of the arms, side planks, pushups, overhead or lying triceps extension, deltoid raise, reverse fly, and bent-over rows.
This can be done with or without weights. In a normal sitting position on a bench or a chair, place your hands besides the hips then take a step ahead as if straightening them. Pull yourself off the sitting surface while holding on the seat using the arms.
Suspend the lower body as if sinking to the floor and then back up pulling yourself using the arms.
“This workout targets the triceps muscles, the muscle at the back of the arm or what people call goodbye muscles,” says the trainer.
Using a dumbbell, stand or sit, depending on the weight of your body, with legs straight and soft knees, not locked the knees.
With the weight on the hand, palms facing forward, engage the mid-section by holding it tight. Bring the weight towards the shoulder through curling.
“This exercise builds the muscle in front of the arm, commonly known as the biceps.”
For a beginner, Ms Mudegani advises, they should start with basic pushup as they build their confidence and endurance.
The advantage of pushups, she notes, is that they not only target the arms but also the chest and the shoulders.
Side plank with arm raises
Lie on the side with both knees together, plant the elbow down on the floor leaving a space between the underarm all the way down to the knees.
Use the planted elbow to give power to lift yourself up while the free arm should be brought to the floor and then extended it back. But if confident enough, put both legs straight, plant elbows down so that the entire body is suspended up.
“The workout does not only target the arms and the stability of the shoulders, it also works on the love hands or oblique muscles, those on the side of your belly,” she says.
Overhead or lying triceps extension
The exercise can be done using a dumbbell or an activity band. For the overhead one, stand legs straight, soft knees, braced core by engaging the tummy.
Hold the dumbbell, take it over and behind the head with bicep part of the arm rubbing on the ears. Pull the weight up by straightening the elbow and dropping it back.
“At the point of the elbow falling, you can feel the biceps rubbing against your ears with the part that changes is from the elbow to the arms. It targets purely the triceps.”
The trainer for better results, an individual can do three days of arm exercises or also incorporate the exercises in their daily activities.
For a beginner, they can start with two sets of each exercise and do as many reps until they cannot do anymore. To build endurance, reduce the weights and increase the reps.
Down the line, one can add a set every two weeks until they have reached five sets of each exercise.
“Do between 12 and 15 and then strategically increase the reps as they build endurance and strength to less than 10 and give more.”