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7 Best Strength Exercises To Melt Your "Armpit Pooch"

Eliminate the tricky fat below your armpits with these expert-backed moves.
FACT CHECKED BY Justine Goodman

Are you dealing with a stubborn "armpit pooch?" If so, strength training is an effective method for tightening and firming excess body fat, specifically fat below the armpits. Tailoring your strength training routine to the areas of your body you'd like to work on is the name of the game, because building muscle there will support your body's fats, bones, and muscles efficiently, says Kelly Najjar, NBC-HWC, a personal trainer on Fyt. Today, we have some of the best strength exercises to get rid of your armpit pooch, so gear up to melt some underarm fat.

"In the case of underarm fat, strong muscles surrounding the armpit will improve your posture and add a beautiful shape all around the area," Najjar explains. "Strong muscles will support any fat that remains preventing rolls and flabby wings in the area." Below are seven top-recommended exercises from Najjar that will help melt your armpit pooch and get your body into shape. Keep reading to learn all about them, and when you're finished, be sure to check out the 10 Strength Exercises To Eradicate Underarm Fat in Your 40s.


fit woman on the elliptical, concept of worst exercises for weight loss

"Sure, any form of cardio will burn calories, but only some forms of cardio will work to tone the upper body at the same time," Najjar tells us. Ditch the bike, and opt for the elliptical, rower, or treadmill instead so your arms and upper body can soak up the benefits of light movement. "This will boost your results and get you to your goal quicker," Najjar adds.

Tricep Dips

woman doing tricep dips

To set up for tricep dips, sit on the edge of a workout bench with your hands planted flat on the surface; your fingers should point forward toward your toes. Hold onto the edge of the bench as you lower or "dip" your body down, bending at the knees, before lifting yourself back up. Make sure your back stays close to the bench. Complete three sets of eight to 12 reps.

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Tricep Push-Downs

tricep rope extensions exercise

The tricep push-down requires a cable machine or resistance band. You'll begin by standing in front of the machine and keeping your knees soft. Take hold of the band or pulley with both hands. Make sure your upper arms remain glued to the sides of your body. Then, pull the cable down toward your upper thighs until your arms are fully extended. Bend your elbows in order to return to the start position. Complete three sets of eight to 12 reps.

Tricep Extensions

overhead dumbbell triceps extension exercise, arm-strengthening exercises for seniors

You'll need a dumbbell or resistance band for tricep extensions. "If you are using a band, anchor the band under your foot behind the back," Najjar explains. "Extend your arms straight above your head holding the dumbbell or band. Flex the elbows, and bend your arm behind your head toward your back. Extend back to the starting position with arms extended above your head while squeezing the back of your arm." Complete three sets of eight to 12 reps.

Chest Fly

illustration of dumbbell chest flye

For the chest fly, start by lying on a workout bench, holding a dumbbell in each hand. Extend your arms over your body with your palms facing inward. Maintain a slight bend in your elbows. Then, open your arms out to the sides before pressing them back together. Complete three sets of eight to 12 reps.

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middle-aged woman using rowing machine, concept of exercises to shrink your waistline after 40

You can use a cable machine or resistance band anchored at the height of your chest for rows. Grab onto the pulley or band, and row it toward your chest. "Once your hands have reached your chest, imagine a small coin between your shoulder blades and squeeze together to prevent the coin from falling," Najjar explains. "Release and return your arms to full extension in front of you." Complete three sets of eight to 12 reps.


middle-aged woman doing pushups

A classic pushup engages your chest, arms, and back. It's a stellar strength exercise to work into your routine if you want to eliminate your underarm pooch. To begin, position your hands below your shoulders, and lie flat on the ground. With your arms at your sides, push away from the ground. Your core should be tight and your body should be kept straight. Then, descend. Perform three sets of eight to 12 reps.

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