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9 Firming Exercises To Get Rid of Underarm Fat

Achieve the strong, defined muscles you desire.

If you're hoping to get rid of that pesky underarm jiggle and tighten things up in time for spring, you've come to the right place. We spoke with Michelle Ditto, training development manager at Pure Barre, who breaks down the benefits of sculpting strong inner arm muscles, along with the nine best exercises to get rid of underarm fat.

Ditto explains that your underarm/inner arm is made up of your triceps, biceps, rotator cuff, and chest muscles. Each one of these muscles attaches to your shoulder joint. By strengthening your inner arm muscles, you're providing your shoulder joints with much better mobility.

"As the most mobile joint in the body, shoulder mobility is key to allowing freedom of movement and less pain when doing daily activities," Ditto explains. "When you can better maneuver your shoulder through its full range of motion, you are allowing your muscles to optimally function, increasing strength and mobility."

Unfortunately, targeting one specific area for fat loss—aka "spot reduction"—is a total myth. The good news? You can hone in on certain muscle groups to boost their strength and work on "muscular activation," which is key in altering your body composition as time passes, Ditto says. "Focusing on the major movers of the upper body is key," she adds.

Now, let's get into Ditto's top-recommended firming exercises. Begin with eight to 12 reps, three to five rounds, depending on what you feel most comfortable doing and how heavy the weights are that you're working with. "Consider that you want to reach a point of fatigue without losing proper form," Ditto explains.

It's time to get rid of underarm fat and achieve the strong, defined muscles you desire. Keep reading to learn more, and next, don't miss 6 Best Exercises for Men To Get Bigger Arms.

Triceps Dips

woman completing tricep dips

For tricep dips, you'll start sitting with your hands below your shoulders and your fingers pointing forward. Press your body up so that it's hovering above the ground. Then, switch between bending and extending your elbows to bring your body down and then up.

If you'd like to modify this exercise, Ditto instructs, "Consider keeping your seat on the floor and bending your elbows from there to take some of the weight out of the shoulders/triceps. To challenge this position, consider extending a leg to the ceiling (be sure to even it out on the other side)."

Chair Pull

You'll need a chair or something you can easily and safely pull off of and hold onto for this exercise. Bend both knees so that they form 90-degree angles. Keep them over your ankles. Make sure your arms and your chest are straight, and line your shoulders up with your hips. Then, "pull" your shoulders back and down. "This in and of itself engages your arms," Ditto says.

To up the challenge, begin to bend and lengthen your arms and hinge forward just a bit to activate your biceps and chest.


mature woman demonstrating pushups exercises for wrinkly elbows

Next up, get ready for this "tried and true" exercise: pushups. "Consider variation in hand placement, as you want to maintain your posture and neck alignment throughout the movement," Ditto explains. "Think of a pushup as a 'plank in motion'; your core should stay tight throughout, and squeeze your glutes to take the weight out of your lower back!"

If traditional pushups are too difficult, feel free to perform pushups on your knees while working through the total range of motion in your upper body.

The Ultimate Free Weights Workout To Eradicate Underarm Fat

Isometric Chest Press

When lifting and lowering your elbows in the isometric chest press, Ditto instructs you to "think of squeezing the heads of the weights continuously together to engage your chest muscles throughout." She adds, "Focus on maintaining proper poster and alignment to keep your neck long and shoulders down and away from your ears without depressing your shoulder blades."

For a greater challenge, incorporate two pulses of your elbows toward each other as you bring them both down. Doing so can further engage the muscles of your inner arms.

Top-Recommended Exercises To Regain Muscle Mass in Your Arms

Supinated Chest Flies

To perform this exercise, have your palms facing upward as you open and close both arms. According to Ditto, "Think of isometrically flexing your biceps throughout, and close the arms by thinking of leading with your elbows to maintain your shoulder stability."

If necessary for your shoulder mobility, feel free to lower both arms just a bit and opt for a smaller range of motion.

Goal Post

Next, it's time for the goal post. Bend both elbows to form 90-degree angles. Stack your wrists over your elbows. When opening and closing your arms, lead with your elbows and flex your triceps.

For an added challenge, incorporate an arm extension out to the side when you open your arms laterally to further activate your shoulders, biceps, and lats.

Lateral Reach

Begin in a bent elbow position, keeping your elbows by your ribcage. Then, straighten out both arms to the side, keeping them lined up with your shoulders. Next, squeeze your elbows back to the starting position by your ribcage. Consider flipping your palms upward to further engage your biceps.

Banded Pull Apart

resistance band pull-apart exercise

You'll need a resistance band for this exercise. Bring your arms forward, pulling the resistance band as wide as you can while keeping your core activated and maintaining proper posture.

For an added challenge, form an isometric hold, keeping as much tension on the band and in your muscles as you're able to.

Triceps Extension

Last but not least, we'll wrap up these exercises to get rid of underarm fat with triceps extensions. Ditto instructs, "From a hip-hinged position with a flat back and soft knees, extend and bend your arms. You want your elbows slightly above your ribcage to engage the triceps effectively while keeping your neck long and avoiding rounding the shoulders forward (shoulder adduction)."

Feel free to play around with the intensity by bringing your arms down just a bit, or performing this exercise without weights.

Alexa Mellardo
Alexa is the Mind + Body Deputy Editor of Eat This, Not That!, overseeing the M+B channel and delivering compelling fitness, wellness, and self-care topics to readers. Read more about Alexa