BlogHealthHow to get rid of flabby arms without surgery?

How to get rid of flabby arms without surgery?

Taisiia Dobrozorova
Written by Taisiia Dobrozorova on July 14, 2021

Table of contents

One way or another, we are all familiar with localized excess weight that defies our attempts to get rid of it once and for all. Unfortunately, not all of our efforts bear fruit, but we must not give up. There are at least three reasons for this. 

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One, flabby arms are one of the telltale signs of your poor body management. They can appear for several reasons, including genetics and environmental factors(1), as we will discuss later in this article. However, factors that directly depend on your lifestyle can also cause flabby arms - aka “bat wings”. 

Two, and no less important for any of us, it’s just the appearance of our arms that we do not want to conceal under baggy garments and long sleeves out of embarrassment. Nobody likes to see his or her body unfit or out of shape. 

A potential hormonal imbalance(2), which is common in women after pregnancy and might suggest more severe health concerns(3), is another reason to watch for drooping underarms. 

So, flabby arms can develop for a variety of causes, some of which are even related. You need to carefully monitor your body to know for sure what triggered this process. That’s what we are going to do right now!

What causes flabby arms?

There are differing viewpoints on what factors most influence skin flabbiness: extra weight accumulated due to a lack of workouts or natural bodily processes? Among other things, other additional factors indirectly exacerbate upper arm fat. Their combined impact is less visible but also damaging for the skin.

Flabby arms can be caused by a variety of reasons | Shutterstock
Flabby arms can be caused by a variety of reasons | Shutterstock

Weight disbalance

Flabby arms can be the result of weight imbalances(4) in the body. Not only the excess weight provokes a jiggly tummy and flabby forearms. Your body shape is also affected by any weight loss you have when the skin does not have time to gain elasticity and reshape following the disappearing pounds.

A strict diet or weight training can cause unexpectedly adverse effects, so think again before resorting to these methods. A holistic, gentle approach is much more suitable for this purpose.

Lean muscle mass

It is possible that you simply lack muscle mass for toned arms. The firmness in the armpits and forearms is the result of regular exercise and stretching. One can never deny the effect of everyday workouts. Indeed, in the long run, they keep your body in shape when skin's elasticity is already decreasing.

There are various ways to gain muscle mass and lose fat simultaneously, so rest assured that flabby arms are only a temporary problem. If you put in the effort, you can get rid of them at almost any weight and age.

Weights lifting 

Frequent lifting of weights can also cause loose skin on your hands. With excessive loads, the muscles do not tone up, but on the contrary, they strain, which leads to drooping underarms. Nevertheless, the effect can be the opposite with the appropriate amount of weight and load balancing. For instance, dumbbell curls and biceps exercises with the proper training schedule can be highly beneficial.

Sun damage

Photoaging or sun damage is an often forgotten cause of sagging skin on the arms. The appearance of damaged skin and an increased risk of skin cancer are the two primary issues associated with photoaging. Sun damage heals faster in younger skin because epidermal cells cycle at a higher pace(5), but as people age, their skin thins, and their epidermis turnover rate(6) for cell repair slows down, potentially causing damage to the dermis layer.

So, how should we deal with the inevitable process of photoaging? Sitting indoors all the time? This is not an option. Fortunately, scientists discovered that sunscreens and topical retinoic acids(7) may prevent photoaging while still allowing natural healing to occur. Therefore, when leaving the house for a long time or sunbathing on the beach, do not neglect simple sunscreens.

Natural reasons

Of course, sun damage plays a decisive role in your skin condition, but perhaps the most constant factor for flabby arms is genetics and aging itself. It is impossible to deny the significant contribution to health and appearance by natural processes in the body. Although, this does not mean that we cannot influence them at least a little.

Studies(8) show that aging affects the skin's elasticity. Dermal elastic fibers thicken and fracture as people become older. Between the ages of 30 and 70, a minority of elastic fibers begin to disintegrate, but after the age of 70, the changes become more pronounced, impacting most fibers.

Why do women gain bat wings?

There are a couple of reasons behind this. Hormones are one of them. Because women have lower testosterone and higher estrogen levels(9) than males, they are more inclined to retain fat. Furthermore, women are more prone than males to accumulate fat in their upper arms (as well as in their hips and thighs).

Excess fat in the arm region isn't necessarily the cause of bat wings. They appear in some women after they have lost a significant amount of weight. Not fat, but the extra, sagging skin causes the drooping underarms. Sagging bat wings can be caused by the natural aging process, which induces the skin to lose elasticity.

What diet will help you to tone your arms?

The first thing to remember while attempting to get slimmer arms is that you must begin controlling your calorie intake. The U.S. Department of Agriculture(10) proclaims in its Food and Nutrition Information Center that it takes roughly 3,500 calories to burn a pound of fat. While the sum may appear intimidating, there is a straightforward approach to attain this aim.

If you remove 500 calories from your daily diet, you'll be able to burn 3,500 calories for a week. To keep count of your consumption, jot down everything you consume, including the calorie content. In addition, add and remove foods from your diet that will help you to lose arm fat.

Well-planned diet may help you to get rid of the flab | Shutterstock
Well-planned diet may help you to get rid of the flab | Shutterstock

Protein-based food

Protein-rich foods can help you gain muscle mass and increase your metabolic rate, allowing you to burn more calories. 

Lack of sugar

Everyone knows that high-sugar foods (cakes, soda, candies, gums, etc.) are harmful to your health, so it’s better to choose no-sugar products.

Fiber intake

Adding a few extra fiber servings to your diet may help you lose weight and excess body fat more quickly.

Best exercises to reduce arm fat

Nothing can handle flabby arms better than regular workouts. To reduce arm fat quickly, you should follow a complex of exercises. A fix for flabby arms is in the stretching, push-ups, triceps and biceps dips, etc. Set aside a convenient time for you, find a comfortable place in the house, and devote at least 20 minutes to get rid of the flab. Remember that you should engage all muscles in the arms, shoulders, neck, and chest area. 

Disclaimer: check with your trainer and doctor before starting weight training. This is especially relevant for those who have problems with sagging skin due to weight loss(11) and weight lifting.

3 best exercises after weight loss

  • Regular and Modified Push-Ups: push-ups are a great way to strengthen and tone your arms and chest muscles after weight loss. Modified push-ups are performed on the knees, while regular push-ups are done using only the toes. To do a modified push-up, kneel face down and place your weight on your hands and knees. Do several sets of push-ups, remembering to keep your back straight. Try to straighten your arms as much as possible. Lower your torso so that it almost touches the floor. Repeat the exercise several times. If you feel your arms are toned, try adding another 10-15 regular push-ups.
  • Bicep Exercises: stand up with your back straight. From this position, take two dumbbells in each hand. Keep your hands close to your sides, palms up. Gently bend your elbows until your biceps are fully bent. Stay in this position for a few seconds, then relax your arms by lowering the dumbbells down to your pelvic area. Repeat the exercise, trying to increase the number of seconds in the bent position.
  • Triceps Extension: while standing, grab a weighted ball or dumbbell. Raise it above you, stretching your arms as far as possible. Then, bending your elbows, slowly move your weight behind your head. After a few seconds, return your arms to their starting position. Repeat the exercise 10-13 times to consolidate the effect.
Modified Push-Ups | Shutterstock
Modified Push-Ups | Shutterstock

3 best exercises after weight gain

  • Arm and Shoulder Stretches: raise your arms above your head, holding them so that the wrist of your left hand is in your right hand and vice-versa. Fasten this grip of the hands and begin to smoothly pull your left hand down with your right hand, behind your head, so that the wrist of your left hand is near the scapula, and the elbow is directly behind your head. When you feel a stretch in the muscles, hold this position for a few more seconds - then relax, returning everything down to the starting position. After that, repeat the same with your right hand. It is advisable to do several sets for each hand 15-20 times.
  • Dumbbell Tricep Kickbacks: pick up two light dumbbells and bend your knees slightly. From this position, lean forward so that your torso is almost parallel to the floor. Hold the dumbbells firmly in your hands. The back should be straight and tense. Look straight ahead with your head. Hold this for a couple of seconds - then return to the starting position.
  • Tricep Dips with a Chair: place your hands on a chair with your pelvis slightly forward. Stretch your legs in front of you on the floor. Slowly lower your body down without touching the floor. Your elbows should be at your sides and bent 90 degrees. Try to ensure that the weight is transferred to the triceps during exercise. Lift your body back up, continuing to lean on your hands. Repeat several times.
Tricep Dips with a Chair | Shutterstock
Tricep Dips with a Chair | Shutterstock

4 extra exercises for slimmer arms

  • The Windmill (helps to strengthen your shoulders, neck, and upper arm muscles).
  • Arm Prayer Stretch (arms reaching upward pose, an excellent exercise for toning up both biceps and triceps).
  • Plank Hand Slaps (in addition to the upper arms and shoulders, it will tighten your buttocks and back).
  • Hug a Tree Exercise (an exercise with light dumbbells, named by movements reminiscent of hugging a tree. This pose sculpts biceps, shoulders, and chest and works with the armpits).
Arm Prayer Stretch | Shutterstock
Arm Prayer Stretch | Shutterstock

Surgical way to deal with weight: pros and cons

Surgery can also help you get rid of flabby arms. There are a vast number of clinics ready to help you right now. But first, consider all the options and find out the pros and cons of surgical treatment.

The main advantage of the surgical way to deal with flabby arms is speed. But can we put it a priority if there is even the slightest chance of harming health? Nowadays, there are many different procedures to help get rid of flabby skin. A brachioplasty, often known as an arm lift, may be a preferable alternative if your bat wings are caused by loose skin and fat in the upper arms. Liposuction(12) may be appropriate if your skin is still relatively elastic and all you're dealing with is a small amount of excess, undesirable fat. The cons of surgery include high risks and costs of treatment and rehabilitation. Therefore, our final advice: first, consult with your doctor – then make a decision.

Summing up

To sum up, we can say that it is unnecessary to resort to surgery, heavy loads, and strict diets to slim down your upper arms. First, understand the reason for their appearance, and then find the exercises that work for you. Make an individual plan containing proteins and fibers because any techniques for getting rid of the flab work only in combination. And do always remember: seven days without exercise makes one weak! Do not be scared to start right now and get the result as soon as possible!

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