Having flabby elbows often has social and psychological effects, leading to depression or anxiety in social situations. It also contributes to serious health complications such as high blood pressure, gallbladder disease and respiratory problems. Elbow fat is stubborn and oftentimes difficult to get rid of. Although it is impossible to lose fat just in the elbow area, it does respond well to overall weight-loss measures.
Your body can adapt if you eat the same amount of calories each day, putting a halt to weight loss. Combat this by varying the amount of calories you eat each day. For example, eat 1,200 calories one day and 1,500 the next. This will keep your body guessing and help you to continue burning fat around your elbows.
Your body can go into starvation mode if you allow too much time to lapse between meals. Prevent this by eating six small meals a day rather than three large ones. This will keep your metabolism going and give your body the fuel it needs to burn fat and build muscle in the elbow area.
Alter your caloric intake, reducing it by around 1,000 calories a day to lose 2 pounds of excess fat a week from your entire body, including around the elbows. Do this gradually by eliminating 100 calories or so each week until you reach 1,000. This helps prevent your body from going into starvation mode and keeps your metabolism roaring, which will make burning fat easier.
Do strength-training exercises for the triceps, which connect to and help extend the elbow. Strength training burns calories and builds muscle, which means your body will burn more calories every day. Do exercises that specifically target the triceps such as the triceps kickback, dumbbell overhead triceps extension and triceps pushdown. Or try the triangle pushup, which is performed like a traditional pushup only you place your hands in a triangular formation by touching the tips of your thumbs and pointer fingers together. Aim for one or two sets of 12 repetitions of each exercise.
Strengthen the biceps, which also attach to and flex the elbow, with weight-training exercises such as biceps curls, barbell bent-over rows and chinups. Or do the hammer curl by standing with a dumbbell in each hand, palms facing your body. Bend your right elbow and lift the weight toward your chest, keeping your palm facing your body so that the dumbbell is vertical, not horizontal as it is when doing a biceps curl. Alternate arms for a total of 12 repetitions on each side.
Add interval training to your cardiovascular workout to help burn fat from the entire body, including the elbow area. For example, alternate walking for two minutes with 60-second sprints or skipping bursts. Interval training boosts the intensity of your workout and prevents your muscles from adapting to exercise.
- ACE: Arm Exercises
- Shape magazine: Ask the Celebrity Trainer: How Do I Get Rid of Arm Flab?
- ACE Fitness: Terrific Triceps
- Shape magazine: Ask the Celebrity Trainer: The Best 15-Minute Cardio Workout
- MayoClinic.com: Weight Loss: 6 Strategies for Success
- Bodybuilding.com: 9 Ways to Burn Fat Fast
- Bodybuilding.com: Anatomy of the Triceps
- Bodybuilding.com: Anatomy of the Biceps
- Dieting for Dummies; Jane Kirby, RD and The American Dietetic Association
Rose Erickson has been a professional writer since 2010. She specializes in fitness, parenting, beauty, health, nutrition and saving money, and writes for several online publications including The Krazy Coupon Lady. She is also a novelist and a mother of three.