This part of the arm is notoriously hard to firm up - unless you know the key muscle-building moves for your triceps, biceps and shoulders. Here you go!
Let’s start with a reality check: There’s no such thing as “spot reduction” when it comes to exercise, no matter how many magazine covers promise you can whittle your thighs.
What is entirely possible, however, is shifting your body composition to the point where your percentage of overall body fat drops and your muscle mass grows. The result? A noticeable physical change.
A perfect example of this body composition shift happens when you focus on building up the muscles in your arms and shoulders. As your triceps, biceps and shoulders get stronger, your underarm jiggle (and we all know what we're talking about, right?) is minimized.
While this can lead to a firmer look — and maybe buying more tank tops — another key advantage is that greater strength in the arms is a big advantage when it comes to healthy aging.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has noted that regular strengthening exercises, including the arms and shoulders, can help prevent osteoporosis and frailty by stimulating the growth of muscle and bone. You may even boost your mental and emotional health, the CDC adds, since greater muscle mass can help you feel physically stronger.
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How to Do the 5 Best Exercises for Underarm Jiggle
These moves primarily help strengthen the triceps, which is the large muscle at the back of the arm that attaches from the elbow into the shoulder. (Fun fact: The muscle gets its name from having three points of attachment to the bone.)
The exercises also work your shoulder muscles and your biceps, on the front of the arm, to balance out the effort.
Be sure to get your doctor’s OK before beginning any new exercise program, especially if you have any chronic conditions like osteoporosis or arthritis. With upper body moves, it’s particularly important to make sure you have no shoulder injuries or concerns before targeting this area.
What you need:
- Space to move
- Comfortable clothing
- Hand weights (optional)
- Flat weight bench or sturdy chair for support
- Water to sip, as needed
Aim to do this exercise sequence two to three times a week on non-consecutive days. Good form is important, so try not to speed through the movements. For each move, keep your core engaged to support your spine - and don't hold your breath. Rest 30 seconds between sets and again between exercises.
Choose weights that are heavy enough to challenge your muscles for the full set without breaking good form. If you’re struggling to complete the set, try a lighter weight — or do the movements without the weights. Your muscles will still get a good workout.
Tip: Start and end with an easy warmup and cooldown routine.
Exercise #1: Triceps Kickback
How to do it:
- Grab a weight in your right hand and stand to the right side of a flat bench or sturdy chair.
- Place your left hand and knee on the bench as you lower your torso until it’s almost parallel to the floor.
- Extend your right arm down with palm facing in toward the bench.
- Bracing your core and keeping your back flat, row the weight up to your waist. Now you're in position.
- Keeping your upper arm stationary and elbow tucked close to your side, straighten your right arm to raise the weight directly behind you.
- Pause, then slowly bend your elbow to return to starting position. Esa es una repetición.
- Perform three sets of 12 to 15 reps on each side, or as many as you can with good form.
- Perform the exercise without a bench. Instead, take a split stance with one foot in front of the other, and brace your hand on your front thigh for support.
- Try a single arm overhead triceps press. From a standing position, raise one arm overhead. Place the opposite hand on the working triceps for support. Complete two sets of 8 to 10 reps on each side.
Exercise #2 Biceps Curl
How to do it:
- Stand tall with your feet hip-width apart. Hold a dumbbell in each hand with arms at your sides and palms facing forward.
- Keeping your torso stationary and elbows tucked close to your sides, bend your elbows (not your wrists) to curl the weights up to your shoulders.
- Pause, then slowly return to starting position. Esa es una repetición.
- Perform three sets of 12 to 15 reps, or as many as you can with good form.
- If that’s too easy: Slow down each rep’s lowering phase, counting to four as you lower the dumbbells to your sides.
You can also try: If you prefer, you can do this exercise using a machine or resistance band. See how with these biceps curls variations.
Recommended FREE SilverSneakers On-Demand Workout: Tone Your Arms in 4 Minutes
Exercise #3: Scaption Shoulder Raise
How to do it:
- Stand tall with your feet hip-width apart. Hold a dumbbell in each hand with arms down at your sides, palms facing in, and elbows slightly bent.
- Bracing your core and keeping your torso still, lead with your thumbs to raise the weights diagonally in front of your body until your arms are parallel to the floor. Your arms should form a wide V.
- Pause, then slowly reverse the movement to return to the starting position. Esa es una repetición.
- Perform two sets of 12 to 15 reps, or as many as you can with good form.
- Make it harder: Pause for two or three seconds at the top of each rep.
Exercise #4: Bent Over Row
How to do it:
- Grab a pair of dumbbells and stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
- Pushing your hips back and allowing your knees to bend slightly, lower your torso until it’s almost parallel with the floor.
- Let the dumbbells hang at arm’s length from your shoulders, palms facing in.
- Squeeze your shoulder blades together as you row the dumbbells up to the sides of your torso, keeping your elbows tucked close to your sides.
- Pause, then slowly lower the dumbbells. Esa es una repetición.
- Do eight to 10 reps, or as many as you can with good form.
Variation: Try an Upright Row: Stand tall with feet hip-width apart. Hold a weight in each hand and let your hands rest on your thighs. Bring the weights up to your chest, pause, then lower to your starting position. Haga 10 repeticiones.
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Exercise #5: Dumbbell Row With Triceps Kickback
How to do it:
- Grab a dumbbell in your right hand and stand with your feet shoulder-width apart to the side of a flat bench or sturdy chair.
- Manteniendo las rodillas suaves, coloque la mano izquierda en el banco y gire desde las caderas para que su torso quede casi paralelo al suelo. Deje que la mancuerna cuelgue a la distancia del brazo de su hombro, con la palma hacia adentro.
- Apriete los omóplatos mientras rema con la mancuerna hacia el costado de su torso, manteniendo el codo pegado al costado. Luego, manteniendo la parte superior del brazo estacionaria, extienda el brazo derecho hacia atrás.
- Haga una pausa, doble el brazo hacia la posición de remo y luego baje la mancuerna. Esa es una repetición.
- Do eight to 10 reps per side, or as many as you can with good form.
See our sources:
Healthy aging benefits of regular strength training: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
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