Batwings -- they are the bane of middle-aged woman everywhere. The flaccid and flabby underarm tissue is an unsightly nuisance. When you wave, it waves back. It wrinkles and crinkles, and jiggles and shakes. It ruins your finest short-sleeved attire, and ages even the fittest physiques. Yet there is hope for your underarms. Try using flexible, multicolored resistance bands. Portable, affordable and convenient, grab bands to tone your batwing zone – that is, the triceps and shoulders.
Test bands before buying, or using them in the gym. Find a strength -- or color -- that tires your triceps by the eighth to 12th rep of each exercise. Stick with that band until your muscles adjust. Switch to a higher tension once you're able to go beyond 12 reps without feeling muscle fatigue.
Hit the showers. Loop a resistance band around a shower rod or a stable, exposed beam. Make sure you can easily reach the band's ends. Grab and hold the ends, keeping your arms shoulder- to chest-width apart. Tighten your abs, hold your head high, keep your shoulders backs and check your posture. Remember -- a straight back is a safe back. Bring the bands to your chest, tucking your elbows in. Hold the bands with your fingers curled under and the tops of your hands facing you. Pull straight down on the bands, straightening only your lower arms as you exhale. Raise the lower arms to chest level to complete a rep. Control your movements, contracting the upper arms as you lower and raise the lower arms. Do eight to 12 reps, or until these triceps pushdowns leave your arms fatigued.
Switch your band to a doorjamb for triceps-friendly overhead extensions. Place it midway down the door at chest height. Grab hold of the band in each hand; spread the band's ends and kneel between them on your left knee. Place yourself facing opposite the door, and work your abs by slightly bending your upper body forward. Raise your arms, bringing them alongside your head. Keep your upper arms still as you lower your forearms, dipping them behind your head. Extend and lower the forearm to complete one rep. Do three sets of 12 reps, pausing for 30 seconds between each set.
Move your band higher up in the doorjamb, making sure it's secure before doing side plank pulldowns. Lie on your left side with the band in your hand, feet facing away from the door. Stack your feet and tighten your abs and glutes. Bend your left elbow, lifting your upper body, and raise your hips. Stay in a plank position as your lift the right arm, pulling the band down to your right hip. Complete 10 reps, doing three sets with a 30-second pause between each set. Rest your shoulders and alternate sides between each set.
- Be creative. Replace hand weights and dumbbells with resistance bands in other batwing eliminating exercises -- like upright rows and pullbacks.
- Check with your doctor before starting a new workout routine, especially if you are unconditioned or have a chronic health condition. Stop the activity if you feel pain or discomfort.
Having studied at two top Midwestern universities, Catherine Field holds degrees in professional writing and patient safety. Writing since 2000, Field has worked with regional newspapers while publishing fiction online. She conducts medical communication research at a Midwestern medical institution and is slated to write a book based on her research findings.