If a little extra arm fat is bugging you, there are a few ways you can try and help to shift it if that is one of your fitness or weight loss goals.
While it’s important to remember that it’s almost impossible to spot reduce fat, there are a variety of different exercises and lifestyle changes that may help to
In this article, we’ll run through
- How to get slim arms
- Which exercise burns the most arm fat
- How long it takes to lose arm fat
- How to lose arm fat in 7 days at home
- 9 ways to lose arm fat with and without equipment
- Other factors that affect arm fat
How can I get slim arms?
Here are our top tips on how to get slim arms...
Aim for weight loss in general
This is generally considered more effective than aiming for spot reduction (losing fat in a specific area).
This has been proven with multiple studies, where the participants focused on working one area of the body for 12 weeks.
The results highlighted that they were able to induce overall weight loss, but found there to be minimal impact on the precise area being exercised.1,2
So if you lose weight in general first, you can then focus on toning up your arm muscles afterwards.
Incorporate weight training into your schedule
Otherwise known as resistance training, lifting weights is a type of exercise that focuses on building muscles and growing your strength.
Specifically though, lifting weights may be able to increase your total level of fat loss, as well as build muscle, which could help your arms to appear slimmer and more toned.3
In addition to this, studies have shown that working on your lean body mass can help to speed up your metabolism, even during periods of rest.4
Up your protein intake
Protein is a key nutrient for maintaining muscle mass as well as building it when doing weight training.5,6
Not only this, but if you’re struggling to be in a calorie deficit, protein can help you to feel more full without eating more food.7
This is thought to be because protein reduces the level of ghrelin (the hunger hormone) as well as boosting the level of the YY peptide which can make you feel more full.8,9,10
Try adding more fibre to your diet
Another nutrient to load up on is fibre.
This is also effective at making you feel fuller for longer, as it moves through your digestive system a lot slower than any other kind of nutrient.11,12
Specifically, though, it’s best to opt for more viscous fibres to make the most of this effect. These include pectins, beta-glucans, psyllium, glucomannan and guar gum.13
Reduce your refined carbs
Much lower in essential nutrients, vitamins and minerals, refined carbohydrates may cause your blood sugars to spike and potentially cause hunger and cravings.14
In comparison, whole grain carbohydrates may be more beneficial as they have been linked to lower levels of weight gain and body fat.15,16
What exercise burns the most arm fat?
As we mentioned previously, spot reducing fat doesn’t always work.
What does work though is decreasing overall body fat with cardio activities.17,18,19
So some of the best cardio exercises for burning arm fat (and fat in other parts of your body) include swimming, jogging, rowing, skipping and dancing.
How long does it take to lose arm fat?
It’s tricky to answer this question as it can really vary from person to person.
Also, it depends on the person’s diet, exercise routine and other lifestyle factors like stress.
Depending on how much you would like to lose, weight loss generally happens at a faster rate when you’ve first started training.
But for healthy and sustainable weight loss, experts suggest that losing 1-3 pounds a week is the best course of action.20
However, it is important to state that weight loss looks different to each person, someone may struggle to lose weight initially and then the rate picks up or some people might plateau along the way.
The key is to stay consistent and motivated with your diet and workouts.
How can I lose arm fat in 7 days at home?
While you may struggle to lose just arm fat in 7 days at home, as weight loss should be a slower process, you may be able to do some exercises to tone up your muscle to make your arms appear more defined.
Check out our arm workout out suggestions below to get you started.
9 ways to lose arm fat
Ready to try some arm workouts to get you feeling more confident?
We’ve listed 5 exercises for losing arm fat with equipment (perfect for those who go to the gym) and 4 exercises for losing arm fat without equipment (ideal if you prefer working out at home).
How to lose arm fat with equipment
This is probably the exercise you think of first when planning an arm workout.
Using appropriately sized hand weights (between 5kg-15kg) make sure you’re in an area with plenty of space.
Here’s what to do, step-by-step:
Stand up straight with a dumbbell in each hand. Make sure your elbows are aligned with your waist and keep your feet shoulder-width apart with a slight bend in your knees.
Keeping your elbows tucked in, raise the dumbbells up to shoulder height and then hold for a second, squeezing your muscle.
Slowly lower the curl and then repeat an equal amount of time on each side.
You’ll probably need to head to the gym for this one, unless you have a lat machine in your own home gym of course!
Targeting your back and shoulders as well as your arms, here’s how to do a lat pulldown properly:
Sit comfortably on the seat, placing your feet flat on the floor.
Make sure that the bar is the right height by either shortening or lengthening the cable so that bar can be easily grasped with outstretched arms while remaining seated.
Pull down the bar so that it is in line with your chin, engaging your core as you pull.
Squeeze your shoulder blades, then slowly move the bar back up to the starting point, being cautious not to make a noise with the weights.
Repeat for as many reps as you feel fit, which for beginners can be anything from 6 to 12.
Otherwise known as overhead tricep extensions, these are another great exercise for toning your upper arms. Here’s how to do them step-by-step:
Stand up straight with your feet shoulder-width apart, engaging your core muscles while holding a dumbbell with both hands.
To start, lift the dumbbell so that your arms are fully extended, palms to the ceiling and with your elbows pointing forward.
Bend your arms backwards, hinging at the elbow so that the dumbbell is being held behind your head. Remember to squeeze your triceps too.
Slowly lift the dumbbell back up to start position and repeat as many times as you feel necessary.
Another arm exercise that targets your triceps, as well as your pectorals and deltoids, is the chest press. But how do you do it properly? Find out below:
Lie down on an exercise mat with your back to the floor, your knees bent, with your feet flat on the ground.
Hold a dumbbell in each hand, lift and extend your arms so that they’re directly in line with your shoulders, with your knuckles facing the ceiling.
Engage your shoulder blades, then slowly bend your elbows to lower your dumbbells out to the side, in line with your shoulders until your upper arm reaches the floor and your arms are forming a 90-degree angle.
Repeat between 8 to 20 times with between 60 and 90 seconds rest in between each set.
This is another one you may need to head to the gym for, but it’s worth the effort because it includes an arm workout and some cardio – win win!
Here’s how to use the rowing machine properly:
Sit with a straight posture, engaging your core, with the balls of your feet placed securely within the straps.
Push back with your lower body first, then use your upper back to pull the handle towards your chest.
Release some of the tension by extending your arms outward and let your lower body glide back to the starting point.
If you’re new to cardio based exercise, try working out on the rowing machine for 15-30 minutes each session.
How to lose arm fat without equipment
Read on for our best ways to lose arm fat without equipment...
While you can also do tricep dips with equipment, it can be just as effective without. Great for toning the backs of your arms, here’s how to do tricep dips at home:
On an exercise mat, place your hands shoulder width apart with your palms on the ground, fingers pointing towards your feet.
Plant your feet firmly on the ground facing forwards, then lift up your glutes so only your palms and feet are touching the ground.
Then slowly and in a controlled manner, bend your elbows backwards until your glutes are just hovering over the floor.
Lift yourself back up to the starting position then repeat.
While arm circles look easy, you will start to feel the burn if you stick at them. Here’s how to do arm circles to get the most out of your muscles:
Start standing up with your feet shoulder width apart. Lift and extend your arms so that they’re parallel to the floor.
Circle your arms in a forward motion, creating small, controlled circles with your hands.
Gradually make the circles bigger until you can feel a stretch in your triceps.
Then reverse the direction after 10 to 15 seconds.
Another classic exercise, push ups are great for toning your arms – there’s a reason why they’re still popular today!
If you’re not quite at the level of doing a traditional push up, here’s how to do a kneeling version:
Go on all fours on an exercise mat with your gaze facing towards the floor.
Place your hands shoulder width apart and your knees with a smaller gap between them.
Slowly lower your chest towards the floor, bending your elbows as you move and keeping your core engaged.
Wait here for a moment, then push back up using your elbows until you reach the starting position.
Try some cardio
While it’s not always targeted at your arms as such, cardio is a great way to improve your overall fitness as well as burning more calories.
Multiple different studies have shown that cardio is an effective way to lose overall body weight as well as increasing your lean body mass – which may contribute to slimmer arms.21,22,23
You can do any type of cardio you want! Try getting up and going on a run in your lunch break or even skipping in your garden - whatever you find fun!
Other factors that affect arm fat
We’ve gone through how to reduce arm fat through exercise and diet, but what are some other factors that can affect arm fat?
- Sleep. Getting enough good quality sleep is vital for your overall health, but studies have shown that it may also impact your feelings of hunger and how much weight you lose.24,25
- Hydration levels. In a similar vein, staying hydrated is also important for helping you to be in a calorie deficit as well as potentially increasing your metabolism.26,27,28
- Stress. We all know stress is bad for us, but how can it affect your body and your weight loss efforts? Studies have shown that stress makes our bodies metabolise slower as well as elevating your cortisol levels which stimulate your appetite.29,30
The final say
With a combination of a healthy diet, cardio exercise, and these arm strength workouts, you may be able to slim down your arms. Just remember – consistency is key, so don’t give up!
The advice in this article is for information only and should not replace medical care. Please check with your GP or healthcare professional before trying any supplements, treatments or remedies. Food supplements must not be used as a substitute for a varied and balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle.
Last updated: 18 November 2021