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Flabby Upper Arm

Syndrome

It is common knowledge in training circles that you can’t ‘spot reduce’ fat from specific areas of the body; you have to take it off all over. So, if you see someone spending their time at the gym performing endless crunches on a daily basis in an attempt lose their gut and create a 6-pack, please be aware that they are wasting their time!

Fitness

Eat a clean, healthy diet, consistently perform weight-training (for the whole body) and interval-based cardiovascular training and you’ll remove fat from the entire body whilst building lean muscle and creating a pleasing bodyshape.

Many of my clients are interested in losing bodyfat, especially from areas like the hips, thighs, bottom, waist and face.

Another popular target (especially for my female clients) is the upper arms, which means working the biceps (on the front of the arms) and the triceps (on the back of the arms).

In this article I’ll show you the most effective exercises to use to strengthen and build the upper arm muscles. Some ladies may be put off using these exercises or weights in general by the word ‘build’, so I’ll go on record now as saying that ‘toning’ muscle is exactly the same thing as building muscle. It involves creating new muscle tissue whilst reducing bodyfat, so there’s no need to panic and every reason to use weights and these exercises.

Exercise Description:

Click on the tabs below for a description of that exercise

Tricep Exercises:- 1) Close-Grip Press-Ups

 

Close-Grip Press-Ups (3 x 12 reps)

Lie flat on floor and place hands close together in a triangular shape. This will focus the exercise more on the triceps and less on the chest.
Don’t have them too far in front of the body as this overworks your shoulders.
Have feet and knees together, come up onto your knees and up onto your toes into the start position.
Maintain a straight line from the feet to the back of the head during this exercise.
Breathe in, set belly button, hold breathe as you lower yourself down to the floor then breathe out on the way up.
Don’t let your head drop during the reps.
If you get tired during a set and start to lose the form, then carry the set on from the knees (i.e. bend knees to 90-degrees and carry the set on).
If full-length press-ups are currently too hard for you, try them ¾ length, from the knees or against the wall. Pick whichever style you’re challenged by and then look to progress it.

Close grip Press-ups, hands position
Close-Grip Press-Ups, start and finish position Close-Grip Press-Ups, middle position
Close-Grip Press-Ups
Hands position
Close-Grip Press-Ups
start/finish position
Close-Grip Press-Ups
mid position
Tricep Exercises:- 2) Close-Grip Bench Press or Dumbbell Press

 

Close-Grip Bench Press or Dumbbell Press (3 x 5-8 reps)

Lie flat on your back on a bench or Swiss Ball so your body’s supported. Keep legs at 90 degrees & feet flat. Hold barbell or dumbbells above chest with a medium-grip (no wider than shoulders).
Breathe in and set your belly-button (BB) and pelvic floor (PF) by gently contracting them.
Keeping the elbows close to the side of the body, lower the weights to your sternum holding your breathe as you do so. Push weights back up and breathe out. Reset breathing and belly and continue. Lower weight down slow, push it up fast (but controlled).

Close-Grip Bench Press or Dumbbell Press - start and finish position
Close-Grip Bench Press or Dumbbell Press - middle position
Close-Grip Bench Press
start and finish position
Close-Grip Bench Press
middle position
Close-Grip Dumbbell Press - start and finish position
Close-Grip Dumbbell Press - middle position
Close-Grip Dumbbell Press
start and finish position
Close-Grip Dumbbell Press
middle position

 

Tricep Exercises:- 3) Upright Dips

 

Upright Dips (3 x 8-10 reps)

Place hands on PARALLEL dips bars with palms facing each other.
Keep elbows pointing backwards throughout reps. Draw head back in line with body, breathe in and set BB and PF, hold breathe and lower yourself down till arms are no lower than 90-degrees. Pause briefly then breathe out as you push yourself back up to the start position. Reset breathing and continue. Lower yourself down slow and controlled, then push back up fast.
Note: If you’re gym has an assisted dips machine, perform this exercise on it if you’re not yet strong enough to lift your own bodyweight.

Upright Dips - start and finish position
Upright Dips -middle position
Upright Dips
start and finish position
Upright Dips
middle position
Tricep Exercises:- 4) Bench Dips

 

Bench Dips (3 x 8-10 reps)

Sit on a bench or steps with your hands at your sides. Extend legs out as far as you can whilst keeping good form during the reps (i.e. at least to 90-degrees).
Breathe in and set your BB and PF. Hold your breath as you lower your bum to the floor. Stop lowering when your arms are at 90-degrees. Breathe out as you push back up to the start point.

Bench Dips - start and finish position
Bench Dips - middle position
Bench Dips
Start and finish position
Bench Dips
Middle position
Tricep Exercises:- 5) French Press

 

French Press (3 x 8-10 reps)

Lie on bench or Swiss Ball in the same position you’d use for a bench press. Hold an EZ bar or dumbbells above face at arms length. Breathe in, set core, lower bar or DBs to forehead and breathe out as you straighten arms..

French Press - start and finish position French Press - middle position

French Press
start and finish position

French Press
middle position
Dumbbell French Press - start and finish position Dumbbell French Press - middle position

Dumbbell French Press
start and finish position

Dumbbell French Press
middle position

 

Tricep Exercises:- 6) Tricep Pushdown

 

Tricep Pushdown (3 x 8-10 reps)

Stand facing a cable machine.
Take an overhand grip that’s about shoulder-width apart.
The forearms should be about 1-inch above horizontal at the start position.
Keep the wrists in line with forearms.
Breathe in, set BB and PF, hold breath and push bar down (i.e. straighten arms and squeeze triceps) and breathe out as you return bar to start position.
Keep head in line with spine, relax shoulders and neck.
Don’t hunch or let shoulders round. Keep chest up and shoulders back..

Tricep Pushdown - start and finish position Tricep Pushdown - middle position
Tricep Pushdown
start and finish position
Tricep Pushdownt
mid position
Bicep Exercises:- 1) Standing Barbell Curl

 

Standing Barbell Curl (3 x 5-8 reps)

Stand with feet and knees together. Hold barbell with a shoulder-width grip so hands are just outside your thighs with palms facing forward. Breathe in, set BB & PF, hold breathe as you curl the barbell up and breathe out as you lower them..

Standing Barbell Curl - start and finish position Standing Barbell Curl - middle position
Standing Barbell Curl
start and finish position
Standing Barbell Curl
middle position
Bicep Exercises:- 2) Standing Dumbbell Curl

 

Standing Dumbbell Curl (3 x 5-8 reps)

Stand with feet and knees together. Hold dumbbells at either side of the body with palms facing forward. Breathe in, set BB & PF, hold breathe as you curl dumbbells up and breathe out as you lower them.

Standing Dumbbell Curl - start and finsh position Standing Dumbbell Curl - middle position
Standing Dumbbell Curl
start and finsh position
Standing Dumbbell Curl
middle position
Bicep Exercises:- 3) Cable Curl

 

Cable Curl (3 x 5-8 reps)

Stand with feet and knees together. Hold a cable attachment with a shoulder-width grip so hands are just outside your thighs with palms facing forward. Breathe in, set BB & PF, hold breathe as you curl the cable attachment up and breathe out as you lower it down.

Cable Curl - start position start position - mid position
Cable Curl
start position
Cable Curl
mid position

With regards to sets & reps I’ve made some suggestions for you. Arms are best left to the end of a weights workout rather than the beginning.

Be aware that any time you perform a back movement like a pull-up, pulldown or row, you work the biceps to some degree.

Likewise, any time you perform a chest or shoulder press you work the triceps too.
For this reason I recommend picking just one exercise each for triceps and biceps, and performing them 2-3 times per week for 6 weeks before swapping to new exercises.

As ever consistency is the key.

Cristian Ramis
RAMIS Health & Fitness, Westcliff near Southend-on-Sea

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