Not a big fan of underarms that continue to wave long after you’ve stopped? Us either. But, for women, fat loves to cling to your underarms as it is a prominent storage area. And if you've become more sedentary lately, that just gives fat more opportunity to set up camp in that area.
Yikes! But the situation is not hopeless. It will require some effort on your part, of course. One thing you must first realize is you can’t “spot reduce.” Only regular exercise training, both aerobic and strength, in conjunction with a sensible diet can eliminate excess body fat.
With that said, however, there are some very specific and helpful exercises you should focus on to tone your underarms (a.k.a. triceps). Here are four underarm-blasting exercises to shape up those triceps. Do 3 sets of 12 for each exercise. Do the exercises slowly and deliberately and make sure you are really struggling with the last rep.
You’re going to do a traditional push-up (either with knees bent or standard with toes on the ground and a straight line from your head to your feet). To really focus on the triceps, move your hands closer together and keep your elbows closer to your body. As always, keep the abdominals tight – muscle multi-tasking – while doing this exercise.
Stand with feet shoulder-width apart. Keep arms and elbows close to your waist and bend forward to 90 degrees. Hold a dumbbell or a cable handle in a neutral position and extend your forearm straight back as far as possible (using the elbow as a pivot point). Do not move the arm. Return and repeat.
Overhead Triceps Extension
Stand with feet firmly planted on the floor and spaced hip-width apart grasping a dumbbell with both hands behind your head, palms up. As you exhale, slowly extend the dumbbells directly overhead elbows pointing forward but not completely locked. Lower the dumbbell until your elbows reach a 90-degree bend or until your upper arms begin to move backwards. Avoid touching your head and keep the rest of your body very still. (Maintain the contraction of your core muscles throughout this exercise to avoid hyperextension in your lower back.)
Stand with feet hip-width apart in front of a cable machine. Position your upper arms parallel to, and close to, the sides of your torso with the elbows bent so that the forearms are parallel (or near parallel) with the floor. As you exhale, slowly push down the bar, contracting your tricep muscles until your arms are fully extended (don’t lock your elbows). Return and repeat.
- Don't use weights that are too light. Try taxing the triceps with some weight that the body will respond to.
- Don't be inconsistent in your training. Working the triceps once a week probably won’t get you results you are seeking. Commit to twice a week and completing the entire workout. On the other days, complete your cardio (30-45 minutes most days of the week), work other body parts and do some stretching.
- Rest. The arm muscles are used throughout the entire day and can get sore the first few times you work them out, so avoid working them out if they are significantly sore. Let the muscle fibers rest, recover and come back stronger.