People ask me all the time how they can get rid of stubborn fat around their arms. This post addresses fat "spot reduction" and if it is possible.
For women, their upper arms, and mainly their triceps, are one of the common “trouble areas.” Much like their thighs and waist, the triceps are part of the body that tends to accumulate fat.
It’s one of the areas that women often want to “tone up.” Is it really possible, though, to lose fat with arm exercises?
Spot Reduction is Not Grounded in Reality
As many of you already know from my previous posts, I don’t buy into the whole spot reducing idea.
Just as you cannot acquire rock hard abs just from doing crunches, it is not possible to lose fat directly around your arms or elsewhere by specifically training the arms with isolation exercises like bicep curls and tricep extensions.
I totally understand why people believe spot reduction works; I was a believer myself during my early foray into fitness.
It would seem to logically make sense that you would see results in the body area you give the most attention to.
However, study after study has proven that this simply isn’t how the human anatomy works with respects to fat loss.
One study examined the physique of tennis players. Tennis, as you can imagine, is a sport that utilizes one arm almost entirely to the exclusion of the other.
You would think then, that the arm wielding the racket would be more toned and muscular than the other. Well, results showed no significant difference in muscle density and subcutaneous fat levels between the dominant and non-dominant arms.
Even though arm exercises alone are not feasible for losing fat, it doesn’t mean isolation exercises for the upper limbs are useless.
I believe they do have their place and can complement a total body workout that places compound movements first.
Here is a sample workout for the arms if you choose to target the muscles directly:
|Preacher curls||8-10 reps, 3 sets|
|Tricep pulldowns||8-10 reps, 3 sets|
|Forearm curls||8-10 reps, 3 sets|
The exercises may also be swapped out with other movements that target the corresponding muscles. In other words, feel free to switch out preacher curls with standing hammer curls or tricep pulldowns with upright dips.
Total Body Work for Fat Loss
With spot reduction debunked, it’s better to focus on fat loss in general than fat loss in a concentrated area.
As I outline in most of my programs, such as my Get Ripped Fast course, when you focus on following a complete fitness program, you will lose fat. .
This includes the flab under your arms.
Just stick to what has been proven to work. Arm exercises for fat loss is a myth; this doesn’t mean isolation exercises targeting the arms are useless; it means the bulk of your focus should be directed at what really delivers results (e.g. compound strength training, HIIT, etc.).