Workout to lose arm fat: everything you need to know

Looking for ways to workout to lose arm fat? We tell you how it works and give you exercises to target your upper body

Workout to lose arm fat
(Image credit: Getty)

Want to tone up your arms and find a workout to lose arm fat? Well, we have just the plan for you. With just two sessions of strength training a week, alongside aerobic exercise, you can sculpt leaner arms with relatively little kit.

It is easy to do this in the comfort of your own home and it's a great way to get fitter overall whilst focusing on one particular area.

Whether you’ve got one of the best exercise machines to lose weight, you want to use dumbbells, household items or even your own body weight, you can develop a workout to tone up your arm muscles without having to join a gym.

But remember, if you want to lose fat, then strength work alone won't achieve this. It will simply tone or build muscle under your fat. In order to burn fat your exercise routine must include moderate or high intensity training which increases your heart rate over a sustained period of time.

Workout to lose arm fat: how does it work?

Personal trainer Georgia Turner sees many clients wanting to shed arm fat and tone up. But her first piece of advice is to look at why fat has built up and develop a change in lifestyle which includes more vigorous exercise, healthy eating and reducing alcohol consumption.

Turner explains, "Muscle and fat are two completely different tissues. It is a myth that fat turns into muscle. If you just do strength work you could end up looking bigger because you will be building muscle underneath the fat."

It's also not possible to lose weight from one specific part of the body but burning fat all over will make it easier to tone up muscles in one place.

Research shows aerobic training, which raises your heart rate, is the best form of exercise for reducing body fat whilst strength work is needed when it comes to muscle toning.

Turner says, "A good starting point is to find out your fat percentage so you have data you can go back to, to track your progress. It is all about making positive changes, changing your diet and increasing your activity levels. 70% of losing fat is about your diet."

Workout to lose arm fat

(Image credit: Getty)

Workouts to lose arm fat

Once you have a cardio plan in place to reduce fat, you can look at muscle toning by using relatively low weights for a high number of repetitions.

Studies have shown that strength training can assist the prevention and management of type 2 diabetes, reduce blood pressure and promote bone development. It may also be effective for reducing low back pain.

Consult a doctor if you have any injury or illness concerns before doing vigorous activity or strength training, advises Turner.  

Also ensure to do an appropriate warm-up to activate the muscles before any strength work followed by a cool down and stretch afterwards. A warm-up could be a gentle jog around the block, or a set of explosive exercises like star jumps and fast feet for four to five minutes.

It is also important to work on the opposing muscles in order to maintain balance rather than just concentrating on the area you want to tone.

Turner explains, "Muscles work antagonistically, so if you want to build triceps then you also need to work on your biceps."

Running

Research shows that running is a great way to reduce body weight and far more effective than walking. A six-year study in the US found a 90% greater weight loss for those that ran, compared to walkers.

Running for 20 minutes, four times a week, is a great way to start to lose body fat. You can increase the calorie burn by mixing up your runs with the following sessions:

  • Run at a slow pace for 20 minutes but at minutes five, 10 and 15 run very fast for 10 seconds. 
  • Start with a five minute warm-up at a pace where you can talk. Then run slowly up and down a hill for 10 minutes, before finishing with a five minute gentle cool down run. 
  • After a five minute gentle warm-up run, alternate running fast for one minute, followed by walking for one minute. Repeat this five times. Finish with a five minute gentle run. 

Workout to lose arm fat

(Image credit: Getty)

Tricep dips

 

You can use any elevated surface or a piece of furniture for this exercise such as a step, chair, a bench or a box.

  • First place your hands on the raised surface behind you with your fingers facing forwards. 
  • Keep your feet together, flat on the floor and your knees bent. 
  • Slowly lower yourself down as far as you can and then push back up again. 
  • To make it harder try moving your feet further away so you are lifting more of your body weight. 
  • You can mix things up by doing the exercise with bent knees, straight legs or with your feet raised on a box. 
  • Complete 12 to 15 repetitions, three times. 

Skull crushers

For this exercise you will need a pair of dumbbells and a comfortable surface to lie on. 

  • Lie down on a flat surface such as a yoga mat with your knees bent and firmly plant your feet on the ground. 
  • Hold the dumbbells above your chests with straight arms and your palms facing each other. 
  • Breathe in and slowly bring the dumbbells down just behind your ears making sure you only use your elbows as a hinge but do not move them. 
  • Breathe out and move the dumbbells back up to an arm straight position. 
  • Complete 12 to 15 repetitions, three times. 

Workout to lose arm fat

(Image credit: Getty)

Bicep curls

This exercise can be done anywhere as long as you have a pair of dumbbells, or objects, of the same weight. 

  • Stand tall on a flat surface with a straight back, shoulders relaxed and knees slightly bent. 
  • Hold a dumbbell in each hand with your arms relaxed at your sides, palm facing upwards. 
  • Bring the dumbbells all the way up to your shoulders by bending your elbows and hold at the top for one second.
  • Slowly lower the dumbbells back to the starting position. 
  • Remember to engage the core by holding your stomach tight. 
  • Complete 12 to 15 repetitions, three times. 

Workout to lose arm fat

(Image credit: Getty)

Hammer curls

This exercise is similar to a bicep curl but your hands face inwards rather than upwards. 

  • Stand tall on a flat surface with a straight back, shoulders relaxed and knees slightly bent. 
  • Hold a dumbbell in each hand with your arms relaxed at your sides, palm facing inwards. 
  • Bend at the elbow and lift your forearms towards your shoulders whilst holding the weights. Hold at the top for one second. 
  • Slowly lower the dumbbells back to the starting position. 
  • Remember to engage the core by holding your stomach tight.  
  • Complete 12 to 15 repetitions, three times. 

Lily Canter is a freelance money, health and lifestyle journalist with more than 20 years' experience. She writes about fitness for Runner's World and Trail Running magazines and focuses on personal finance for Yahoo! Finance UK, Metro, The Guardian, and the Mail on Sunday. In her spare time she is an ultra-runner, canicrosser and running coach. She also co-hosts the award-winning podcast Freelancing for Journalists.