Are you the guy who wears long sleeves in the middle of summer or hides your body under a T-shirt at the beach? No one’s body is perfect, but when you’re a guy with flabby arms in a world where guys spend hours building their arms, you may naturally feel a little self-conscious. While you know there’s muscle under there, your “guns” may be hiding under a thick layer of flab. Just like some guys gain weight in their gut, others may see it show up as a layer of not-so-welcome jiggly fat that hides your biceps and triceps from the world. Unfortunately, there isn’t a way to target your body’s fat-burning ability to a specific area in your body, but there are certain aerobic and weighted exercises that will burn off the flab while toning and building muscle.
1. Up the cardio
You may want to immediately hit the gym and focus on building muscle, but before anything else you need to realize that the thick layer of flab hanging from your arm is just a sign that you have fat to lose. In addition to bodyweight and weighted exercises to add definition, you’ll need to ramp up your aerobic commitment. Pick your favorite form of aerobic activity (or whatever form of cardio you dislike the least) and dedicate 30 to 60 minutes three days a week to it. Get creative, but think along the lines of stationary biking, the elliptical, running, rowing, road biking, or a heated yoga flow class.
2. Gym time
In addition to regular cardio, the gym will play an important role in building and growing your currently hidden biceps and triceps.
Push-up: You may have guessed this go-to exercise would make the list. The push-up is as simple as it is effective. To put it simply, it works. Not only does it give your pectoral and triceps a much-needed burn, but your abs, quadriceps, and lower back will reap the benefits of regular push-ups. Your triceps hold a large majority of your flabby arm problem, so make sure that you feel each push-up on the back of your arms where your triceps are located. Keep your elbows in close to your sides and your body as flat as you lower down. For a little extra burn, hold when you’re a couple inches from the floor before pushing back to the starting plank position.
Triceps kickback: To specifically target those pesky triceps, give the dumbbell-weighted kickback a try. Start with a dumbbell in each hand with your palms facing your torso. Keep your back straight and allow for a slight bend in the knees as you bend forward at the waist so that your torso is almost parallel to the floor. Your upper arms should be parallel to the floor with a 90-degree angle between your forearms and upper arms. Keep your upper arms stationary as you use your triceps to lift the weights until the arm is fully extended. Pause before slowly lowering the dumbbells back to the starting position.
Biceps curl: The standing biceps curl is one of the most common arm exercises that has stood the test of time and still produces results. Find a dumbbell weight that you’re comfortable with but still adds an element of challenge. To build bulk, go for high weight and perform a lower number of reps, and to tone your arms, pick a manageable weight that will allow you to perform 12 to 20 reps. Keep your elbow tight to your side and grip the dumbbell with your palm facing you. Slowly and with control, bring the dumbbell toward your bicep before slowly returning to the starting position. Use the mirror at the gym to make sure that you are keeping your back straight and not using your upper body or momentum to lift the weight.
3. Cut out excess calories
Even though you’re building muscle and toning your arms using bodyweight and weighted exercises, the results may be slow to show themselves if you still have excess fat covering the muscle. To get rid of the fat, your diet will play a large role. If you are eating a high-fat diet or simply just eating too much, no amount of cardio or hours spent focusing on your biceps and triceps at the gym will solve your problem. Start with the obvious bad habits by cutting down (or eliminating) your soda consumption, nixing sweets from your diet, and avoiding fried foods. By using your common sense, you can avoid the dreaded calorie-counting and still lose unwanted flab from your arms and other trouble spots.