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Your Guide to Eliminating “Flabby Arm Syndrome”

Posted November 17, 2010 by

“Flabby Arm Syndrome” (or FAS for short) is a condition that affects many women. Ok… so maybe there is no medical term known as FAS, but I think we can all agree that toning up the arms is a major priority that most women share when it comes it improving their body composition.

Flabby arms are caused by a combination of a lack of muscle tissue and an abundance of body fat in the area. If you think about it, it makes a lot of sense—unlike our legs, which we use to move around on and hold our bodyweight up every day, our arms don’t get used much at all unless we consciously work them out using resistance. Additionally, most women’s bodies prefer to deposit fat in the back of the arms over many other areas of their body, and unless we are on a nutrition plan that is controlling body fat levels, we are going to see a significant amount of body fat deposited in that area.

Thus, if you take the typical female trainee—someone who is new to training and has been inactive for a large portion of their adult life—you’re going to see a recipe for arm flab—a low level of muscle from to disuse, and a high level of body fat from an improper (or nonexistent) nutrition plan.

Most of you won’t want to hear this: the number one way to reduce arm flab is to adopt an exercise program, control your daily caloric intake and to eat a balance of lean protein, complex carbohydrates and healthy fats. This will help reduce your body fat and consequently, your arm flab. Fortunately, this is pretty straight-forward. Unfortunately, this means there is no magic “5 Minute” product or exercise to buy, nor a magic pill to spot-reduce your fat. Any such products for sale are scams and need to be avoided.

Complimentary to reducing your body fat levels would be increasing your muscle mass to provide a toned, defined look to your body rather than a muscleless, “skinny-fat” look that is associated with someone on a low calorie diet, who performs no exercise. The following exercises can target your triceps (the large muscle that makes up the back of your arm) and/or biceps (the smaller muscle positioned on the front of your arm) very efficiently, with very little equipment needed and when combined with the proper diet, can mold your arms into shapely, asthetically-pleasing parts to your body that you are proud to show off.

Close Grip Push-Up – Demonstration

The close grip push-up is great because it is a functional, full body movement that mimics the close grip bench press (one of the most-effective tricep-building exercises in existence) without the need for a ton of expensive equipment. To perform these effectively, you’ll want your hands angled in to create a sort of “diamond” shape between your index fingers and thumbs. Keep your elbows back as you lower to the floor, and press straight up keeping the torso and hips inline. Work up to 20 total repetitions per set (you may only be able to do 2 or 3 at first—that is ok!). The exercise can be made easier by dropping to the knees, or harder by elevating the feet onto a platform of some sort so that your body is angled downward.

Bench Dip (Heels on Floor) – Demonstration

This exercise is another great movement that targets the triceps, but also works the back, chest and shoulders. You’ll want to perform these dips on a bench or chair that is approximately knee height. Place your hands on the close edge of the surface, and position your feet straight out in front of you, so that you’re on your heels. Lower your body, keeping your elbows pointed straight back, till your upper arms are parallel to the floor, making sure to keep your body near the bench (if you move out to far, you will start to strain your shoulders) and then raise yourself up by straightening your elbows. Work up to 20 total repetitions per set (you may only be able to do 2 or 3 at first—that is ok!). The exercise can be made easier by bending the legs at a 90° angle, so that your feet are flat on the floor, or harder by elevating the feet onto a platform of the same height as the one your hands are placed on.

Underhand Chin-Up – Demonstration

This exercise is a great functional movement that targets the biceps, but also works the back and shoulders. You’ll need a pull-up bar to perform these. Grab the bar at about shoulder width with an underhand grip (palms should face towards your face). Pull your body up with your arms until your chin passes the bar, and then slowly lower yourself back to the starting position. Work up to 20 total repetitions per set (you may only be able to do 2 or 3 at first—that is ok!). The exercise can be made easier by standing on a chair or bench and allowing some of the force to be transferred to from your arms to your legs, or harder by performing one-handed chin-ups.

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