Women tend to have a lot more problem areas than men, including the pooch, thunder thighs, butt, hips and the armpit area. If you lack muscle tone or have extra fat hanging over your bra behind your armpits, you might feel miserable in tighter-fitting clothing and have a hard time feeling confident in swimsuits. Fat-blasting cardio exercise combined with strength training can tune up this spot.
Burn the Fat
Although you have a specific spot on your body that you want to target, there is no way to spot reduce body fat. If you really want to tighten up the back of your armpit area, you need to set your sights on lowering overall body fat. For every 3,500 calories you burn with activity, you lose 1 pound of body fat. Instead of trying to burn it all at once, try to lose 500 calories a day with cardio exercise to lose a pound of fat per week. According to the Mayo Clinic, a 160-pound person could burn over 500 calories in an hour with high-impact aerobics, playing basketball or flag football, rollerblading, jumping rope, running at 5 mph or faster and playing tennis. Focus on activities that use all of your major muscles and work at a moderate to moderately fast pace for at least 30 minutes each day.
The rhomboids are the muscles in your middle, upper back. Rowing exercises build muscle to define the area behind your armpits. Use dumbbells to perform bent over rows; if you don't have any free weights, grab a soup can or water bottle. Stand with your feet as wide as your hips, squat down and bend at the waist about 45 degrees. Keep your spine straight and your eyes looking forward. Start with your arms hanging to the sides of your legs, slowly pull the weights toward your stomach and slowly lower back down. Keep going until your arms tire out.
The lat muscles sit just below the rhomboids and also help define this problem area. Anytime you have your arms extended overhead while pulling weight downward or do pullups or chinups, you isolate these muscles. If you aren't strong enough to do pullups or chinups, try putting your feet on a chair or asking a friend to hold your legs to decrease how much weight you have to lift. The lat pulldown is done using an overhead bar attached to weights. Sit on the designated bench below the bar and grab the handles. Lean back slightly, keep your stomach muscles flexed and pull the bar downward in front of your body, then raise back up and repeat until you can't complete a full repetition.
The triceps muscles run along the back of your upper arm. You can do a variety of exercises with and without equipment to tone this area. At home you can do pushups or chair dips. If you have access to some weights, try overhead extensions. Stand up, hold a weight with both hands and start with your arms extended overhead. Bend your elbows, move only your lower arms and lower the weight behind your head. Slowly lift it back up to the starting position and repeat as many times as you can. Other helpful exercises include triceps kickbacks, reverse bench press and straight bar pushdowns.
- MayoClinic.com: Counting Calories: Get Back to Weight-Loss Basics
- MayoClinic.com: Exercise for Weight Loss: Calories Burned in 1 Hour
- ShapeFit: Middle Back Exercise Guides - Photos and Instructions For a Big Back
- Muscle & Strength: Top 10 Lats Exercises
- ShapeFit: Triceps Exercise Guides - Photos and Instructions For Big Arms
Ashley Farley has been a certified personal trainer since 2008. She is also a writer specializing in healthy living, fitness and nutrition topics. Farley has an Associate of Science in mental health services from the Community College of the Air Force and is pursuing her B.A. in English at Wright State University.