Skip to content

10 Ways to Lose Stubborn Arm Fat

Don't shy away from sleeveless tops because you're ashamed of your arms. Shape them up with these tips.
Woman holding arm fat

Have you looked at a photo of yourself with your arms hanging at your side only to realize that your fat upper arms are wider than your body? You're not alone. Arms are one of the most-cited problem areas, leaving countless people suffering through long sleeves in the summertime to disguise their insecurity, leaving them wondering how to lose arm fat.

Just because you're not walking around with cut arms just yet doesn't mean you can't get there, though. Whether you're looking to get rid of saggy arms after weight loss, slim your arms after weight gain, or tone excess arm flab that just hasn't been a priority for you in the gym, these tips will all help you learn how to lose your arm fat.

These 10 evidence-backed diet tips and exercises for how to lose arm fat will have you handing out tickets to the gun show in no time.

1

Target arm fat with bicep curls.

Woman holding dumbbell bicep curls
Shutterstock

One of the easiest ways to get rid of arm fat is by toning your arms. To do that, you'll want to incorporate some bicep curls into your routine. Simply raising and lowering a weight in a 180-degree range of motion, starting with your arm extended along your side, and bringing it up toward your shoulder, can yield serious definition in a hurry. Fortunately, this exercise doesn't require a fancy gym membership or even special equipment; while it's not hard to find a set of dumbbells for under $10, you can also use household products, like gallon jugs of water or soup cans to get the same result.

2

Bulk up your protein intake to increase muscle synthesis.

Breakfast bento box high protein with hard boiled eggs fruit nuts cottage cheese cucumber
Shutterstock

Toning your arm muscles will certainly get you the definition you seek, but increasing your protein intake will get you there even faster. Research published in The Journal of Nutrition reveals that adding more protein to your diet increased muscle synthesis by as much as 25 percent, meaning that you can build stronger muscles faster, right in the privacy of your own home.

3

Do dips to define triceps.

Tricep dips
Shutterstock

Want to see those arms getting leaner in a hurry? Try adding some dips to your routine. While there are resistance machines that can help you tackle this exercise, it's also easily accomplished using parallel bars or even a sturdy chair at home. With your arms shoulder-width apart by your waist, grip whatever surface you're dipping on. Bend your elbows at a 90-degree angle, bringing your whole body down, and extend to straighten your arms again. Not only does this help build strong triceps, it can also help you define your pectoral muscles, making your whole upper body look and feel stronger.

4

Make lat pulldowns part of your routine.

Woman doing lat pulldown at gym
Shutterstock

Think you can't get a good workout while you're sitting? Think again. In fact, the seated lat pulldown is one of the best exercises for toning those arms in a hurry. Using a pulldown machine, grip the bar and pull to chest level, and then raise again. This exercise makes it easy to build your biceps quickly and helps strengthen and tone your shoulders, which can make your arms look leaner, as well.

5

Lose arm fat by losing body fat with a better diet.

Broiled salmon
Shutterstock

The easy answer to how to lose arm fat is to get rid of excess fat on your body. The biggest issue most people face in terms of the appearance of their arms isn't a lack of muscle definition, it's excess fat. So if you want to learn how to lose arm fat without gaining muscle, the answer lies within losing overall body fat. This means that what you're eating is as crucial for fixing the arm fat problem as the amount you're exercising.

More on How To Lose Arm Fat

While no one food will help you lose weight, it is true that overhauling your diet to include multiple fat-burning foods can. For example, salmon is rich in protein as well as anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids, which fuel fat burning and aid weight loss. Plus, the one-two punch of protein and healthy fat will helps to stave off hunger and reduce cravings, which can help you lose weight in the long run. Fortunately, when you lose fat, it disappears all over your body, so a healthy diet can help you ditch those batwings for good.

6

Incorporate more cardio into your exercise routine.

running
Shutterstock

While building strength will get those arms more defined, cardio is still king when it comes to shedding the fat that's causing your arms to wiggle. Researchers at Duke University studying 119 overweight, sedentary subjects found that those who stuck to a cardio program lost twice the weight of those who did strength training, despite the fact that the cardio group spent 47 fewer minutes exercising every week than their weight-training peers. So, if you're ready to make your upper arm fat turn into toned and tight muscle, make sure you're making time for cardio, too.

7

Increase your reps.

Woman straining and struggling to lift weights at gym because of lost muscle mass
Shutterstock

Not feeling up to heavy lifting? Try doing more reps at a lower weight instead and you'll be kissing that arm fat goodbye in no time. Researchers at Canada's McMaster University studied a group of 20-something men over a 12-week period, with half the study subjects lifting heavy weight and doing low reps, and another group lifting lighter weights for higher reps. The Journal of Applied Physiology study found that both groups increased their strength and muscle size by approximately the same amount, so if you're relatively new to lifting or don't feel up to hitting the heavy weights just yet, don't worry; lighter lifts will still help you ditch the fat while gaining muscle tone.

8

Push-ups will target fat upper arms.

Woman doing pushups at home
Shutterstock

Push-ups aren't everyone's cup of tea, but when you're trying to get rid of that excess arm fat, they're a pretty killer workout. Push-ups not only tone your biceps and triceps, they're a great way to build muscle on your chest, making you feel stronger and look leaner in the process. If the thought of doing traditional plank push-ups has you feeling nervous, try doing the same motion at a 45-degree angle against a wall; you'll get a similar workout, but without the intensity of a traditional push-up.

9

Tricep presses will help tone back-of-the-arm fat.

woman doing tricep press
Shutterstock

That stubborn back-of-the-arm fat is some of the hardest to ditch, but making tricep presses part of your routine can help tone and tighten that area fast. While seated, extend a dumbbell over your head, holding it with both arms. Next, bend your elbows and bring the dumbbell behind you until it's parallel with your shoulders, straighten your arms and lift the weight, and repeat.

10

Start your days earlier.

Couple on an early morning walk
Shutterstock

Starting your day with a workout could be the key to getting rid of those jiggly upper arms at record speed. Researchers at Northumbria University found that, among a group of physically active male study subjects, those who hit the gym before eating breakfast burned nearly 20 percent more fat than those who fueled up before exercising. So, if you're eager to shed that fat fast, a fasting workout can help you achieve those goals right on schedule. When you're back home post-workout, nourish your muscles with the best breakfast foods for weight loss and you'll keep your metabolism going strong all day.

She Lost 100 Pounds—And Shows You How!

Registered Dietitian and Nutritionist Ilana Muhlstein lost her weight and kept it off—and in You Can Drop It!, she'll show you how to lose it, too. More than 240,000 clients have chosen her program—and now it’s yours to keep.