If you want to get rid of flabby upper arms, follow a two-pronged program consisting of strengthening exercises and cardiovascular exercise to burn fat. While spot reduction is a myth, losing the fat in your upper arms will also require a healthy diet to shed excess weight. The ideal exercise to target flabby arms combines aerobic and strength training, such as boxing. However, if you’re stuck in front of a computer at the office, you can perform isometrics, or muscle contractions that don’t require any joint movement, to tone your triceps and biceps.
A heavy bag routine combines a cardiovascular workout with resistance training in which you simultaneously burn off fat while strengthening your upper arms. Depending on your body weight, punching a bag for 30 minutes can burn anywhere from 175 to 260 calories, according to the State of Wisconsin Department of Health and Family Services. The resistance training helps to build not only muscle mass but also bone density. To keep your hands and feet moving, perform a variety of combinations -- left jab and right cross, right jab and left cross, right uppercut and left hook or left uppercut and right hook. Use boxing gloves and wraps to avoid injury to your hands.
Biceps curls using resistance -- dumbbells, soup cans or an elastic band -- can tighten your biceps, or the muscles in the front of your upper arms. Your biceps consist of two heads -- long and short -- and are responsible for flexing your elbows. Begin curls by sitting on the edge of a chair with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor and hip-width apart. Holding the weight in your hand with a palms-up grip, lean forward and put your right elbow on your right thigh for support. Inhale and slowly straighten your right arm, lowering the weight. Exhale and slowly curl the weight up and toward your chest. Hold the peak position of the curl for a second, squeezing your biceps. Inhale and return to starting position. Perform 10 reps for three sets. Repeat the exercise on the left side.
To tone your triceps and get rid of the flabbiness under your arms, you can perform dips at home. Begin by sitting on a sturdy chair, bench or even the rim of your bathtub. Hold the edge of the seat, palms down and fingers pointing in front of you. Extend your legs in front of you, slightly bending your knees with feet flat on the floor. Move your body forward so your tailbone slides off the seat. Exhale and lower your buttocks toward the floor. Inhale and push your body back up to starting position. Perform 10 to 20 reps for two to four sets.
Because isometrics only involve muscle contractions and no joint movement, they're ideal for upper arm toning in confined situations where you're unable to move freely or can't use weights. For example, to condition your biceps, form your hands into fists. Keeping your right elbow pinned to your right side, lift your right forearm so it is at a 90-degree angle. Place your left fist on your right arm and below your right wrist. Using your left fist as resistance, exhale and pull your right arm upward as if you’re performing a biceps curl. Hold the biceps contraction for a count of six, hissing as you exhale. To work your triceps, stand and form a fist with your right hand. Position your right fist vertically in front of you and in the palm of your left hand about three inches below your waist. Your arms should be flexed at a 120-degree angle. Inhale and push your right fist into your left palm. Exhale and hold the contraction for a count of six. Reverse hand and arm positions and repeat the exercise on the other side.
- Working Mother: Firm Up Your Arms; Deborah A. Wilburn
- Men’s Health Best The 15 Best Exercises; Joe Kita
- Men's Health The Book of Muscle: The World's Most Authoritative Guide to Building Your Body; Ian King and Lou Schuler
- Young For Life: The Easy No-Diet, No-Sweat Plan to Look and Feel 10 Years Younger; Marilyn Diamond and Donald Schnell
- World’s Best Beauty Tips; Cherry Maslen and Linda Bird
- Get Moving! Live Better, Live Longer; Ruth K. Anderson
- The Ultimate Fitness Boxing & Kickboxing Workout; Ross O’Donnell
- State of Wisconsin Department of Health and Family Services: Calories Burned Per Hour
Kay Tang is a journalist who has been writing since 1990. She previously covered developments in theater for the "Dramatists Guild Quarterly." Tang graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in economics and political science from Yale University and completed a Master of Professional Studies in interactive telecommunications at New York University.