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Fat reduction from targeted body parts is probably the worst nemesis of most health enthusiasts. Depending on the individual body type, gender and genetics, a person can gain more weight in thighs, belly or arms. As easy it is to put on, it becomes a part of the stubborn fat that simply refuses to go.

Numerous exercises are suggested to tone and strengthen these muscles and we end up spending more than a fair share on commercialised products. But scientific evidence says otherwise. You mean all of that is a lie? Well, yes and no. It’s more or less a play. While targetted exercises may help in toning your muscles, they don’t necessarily burn fat in specific areas.

So what can be done to fight specific fat?

For starters, a healthy diet and lifestyle would be helpful in remedying weight issues. It is better to go for a full body exercise regimen that will gradually melt down all the extra fat from the body. Such exercises can then be coupled with toning exercises for specific muscles to obtain a well-defined body shape and muscle tone.

  1. Scientific evidence about specific fat reduction
  2. Exercises to reduce arm fat
  3. Yoga to reduce arm fat
  4. Diet for losing arm fat

When it comes to research, spot reduction is a much-debated topic.

In a clinical study, 104 volunteers, both men and women, were subjected to resistance training for a single arm. The study reported no significant fat reduction in the target arm.

Another study suggests that there was no significant difference in fat deposition in the dominant and non-dominant arm of tennis players. Confirming the fact that targetted exercise doesn’t burn fat from a specific region of the body.

According to a study published by the Ameican Physiological Society, repeated contractions in a specific set of muscles (exercise-induced) does improve fat break down in those muscles as compared to the muscles in the rest of the body. However, fat loss was not as significant. It was further added that this fat may find its way back to the target tissues soon after the work out session.

Regular exercise is the best way to get rid of flabby arms. It needs constant effort and time to get perfectly toned arms. Rome wasn’t built in a day!

So, get into your work out clothes and be ready to devote those precious minutes aside for your arm goals.

  1. Cardio for burning arm fat
  2. Exercises for toning arms
  3. Losing arm fat with weights

Cardio for burning arm fat

Cardiovascular exercises as the name suggests are a type of aerobic exercise which work by increasing the oxygen demand and supply of the body. It burns calories much faster than any other form of exercise.

Regular cardio practice improves metabolism which, in turn, slows down fat deposition in the tissues. Cycling, walking, skipping, running are just some of the cardio exercise that you can add to your daily routine to lose weight.

According to the American Heart Association, 150 minutes of moderate exercise and around half as much rigorous exercise can be done every day for about half an hour. If you are having difficulties in exercising for a continuous stretch of time, you can also break this routine into smaller rounds of 10 minutes each.

Exercises for toning arms

Once we add a whole body exercise, the next goal is to do specific exercises that target the arm and shoulder muscles. This would cut away any loose or flabby skin which is usually caused by a loss in elasticity, leaving behind perfectly toned arms.

Push-ups

Push-ups target the whole set of muscles in your arms, shoulders and chest. They can be easily practised at home without any special equipment. Here is how to perform these:

  • Put your palms flat on the ground, almost at the width of your shoulders.
  • Balance the rest of your weight on your toes.
  • Your body must be parallel to the ground with your weight equally balanced between your palms and toes.
  • Slowly, lower your chest towards the floor while inhaling.
  • Try not to bend your knees or hips while doing so.
  • Exhale as you come back up.
  • Repeat.

You can do 2-10 push-ups a day depending on your strength and endurance. However, it is best not to overstrain your muscles and gradually increase these repetitions.

Triangle push up

This is just a slight variation of your usual push-ups. In this, your arms are kept closer than shoulder width to form a triangle. The rest is same as that in a normal push up. It works your underarm muscles along with toning the shoulder and arms.

Some people find this type of push up easier to be done easier upright, along a wall rather than lying down.

Dips 

Dips are another classic exercise which can be done with or without specific equipment. It specifically trains the shoulder and arm muscles. You’ll need a chair to do this exercise at home. But, make sure it is sturdy and is able to balance your body weight. Here is how to do it:

  • Place your buttocks at the end of the chair and your elbows over the chair surface.
  • Your elbows should be at a right angle to your body.
  • Straighten your legs so that your heels are touching the ground.
  • Slowly lower yourself towards the ground.
  • Once you are as close to the ground, push yourself back to the first position.
  • Repeat 2-3 times without overstraining your muscles.
  • Gradually, you’ll notice an improvement in strength and an ease in performing repetitions.

Plank

Planks usually target the abdominal, back and shoulder muscles but they can also have some benefits for the arms. Here are the steps for a good plank:

  • Get down on your fours.
  • Stretch your legs so that they come parallel to the ground and your weight is balanced on your forearm and toes.
  • Your arms should be close to your body.
  • Hold this position for a few seconds, then repeat.
  • You can do 2-3 reps at a time.
  • Both the holding time and the number of repetitions might increase with each session.

Losing arm fat with weights

Apart from the aforementioned exercises, you can include dumbells or weights in your arm training routine. Below are a few exercises which you can practice with weights.

Lateral arm raises

This primarily exercises your shoulders (deltoid muscles) since it is important to tone them along with your arms. It can be done in the following steps:

  • Hold the dumbbells in both your arms and stand with your legs at the width of your hips.
  • Raise your right arm as you inhale and bring it horizontal to the ground.
  • Try not to strain your elbow muscles. You can bend them a bit if it's straining.
  • Bring your hand down while exhaling.
  • Repeat for the other side.
  • Perform 8-10 sets.

Bicep curls 

Bicep curls, as the name suggests, target the bicep muscles along with deltoids (shoulder muscles) and wrist muscles. Here is how you can do bicep curls:

  • Hold a dumbbell in both your hands and stand with your feet hip-width apart.
  • Your palms should be facing outside.
  • Slowly flex your right forearm towards your shoulder.
  • Hold this position for a few seconds and stretch it back straight.
  • Do not rush or strain your arm/elbow too much.
  • Repeat with the other arm.
  • You can do 10 to 15 flexes for both arms.

Tricep kickbacks

You can do this exercise while standing, sitting or on a bench. It strengthens the triceps and the upper arm. Here are the steps:

  • Hold a dumbbell in one hand (right or left).
  • Stand straight on a mat.
  • Extend one foot forward so you are standing in a split stance.
  • Bend your hips and knees and lean your upper body forward. This will make sure that your triceps are worked out perfectly.
  • Your elbows should be at a 90-degree angle to your body.
  • Move the arm with dumbbell backwards while exhaling simultaneously.
  • Slowly bring your arm back as you inhale.
  • Repeat for the other arm.
  • You can do 5-10 repetitions for each arm.

If you are more into yoga asanas, there is a whole set of yoga poses that you can try for reducing arm fat. You can go for the yoga push up and plank but there are some other asanas that can help tone your arms. Let’s explore some of these.

Sahajbhav asanas 

These are a set of easy asanas that can be practised anywhere, without needing any special space or equipment. Some of sahajbhav asnas are as follows:

  • Interlace your fingers and hold your hands near your chest.
  • While breathing in, push your arms outwards until they are straight and parallel to the floor.
  • Do not overstrain.
  • Bring your palms back in as you exhale.
  • Repeat for 5-10 times.

Another way to perform sahajbhav asana:

  • Stretch your arms up towards your head.
  • Bend your elbow over your left shoulder so your palm goes behind your neck.
  • Bring your opposite arm from the back and try to interlace the fingers of both your hands.
  • It’s all right if you are not able to do it the first time, you’ll definitely get better with practice.

Downward facing dog (Adho mukha svanasna)

One of the most common yoga asanas. It works out the whole body including your spine, shoulders, hips, and arms. It also improves digestion.

  • Come on all your fours. Your knees should be in line with your hips and your arms should be stretched a bit beyond your shoulders.
  • Your palms should lie flat on the floor.
  • Slowly, pull your knees off the floor while exhaling. Push your chest a bit towards your thighs
  • Your rear should be facing the ceiling. The balls of your feet and toes should be on the floor.
  • Your neck should be in line with your spine and your face should be facing your navel.
  • Hold the pose for a few seconds before relaxing back.
  • You can repeat the asana 2-5 times or more with practice.

Vinyasa 

Vinaysa is a set four poses which flow into each other along with breathing practices. This is a well-known practice taught in most yoga classes. Usually, vinyasa includes chaturanga (push up), downward facing dog and upward facing dog. Here is an easy vinyasa sequence picked up from the traditional Surya Namaskar:

  • Start in the plank pose with your arms close to your torso and your whole body parallel to the ground. While you come into this pose, inhale.
  • The next pose would be while simultaneously exhaling. Touch your knees and chin to the floor while keeping the rest of your body above the ground in the plank pose.
  • Pull yourself forward while inhaling. Your chest should be above the ground but the lower ribs should still be touching the floor. Your legs should be a bit stretched too.
  • Come back to the downward facing dog as you exhale.

(Read more: Anulom Vilom benefits)

As already mentioned, it is difficult to burn specific tissue fat by exercising or eating specific foods. It depends on the individual body type and genetics. Though, you can incorporate certain foods into your diet that can help you cut down those extra kilos.

It is the best to eat less and more frequently. Instead of taking 3 full meals a day, you can opt for 6-8 small meals. Also, taking meals on time may be of immense help. According to popular belief, skipping breakfast could lead to a faster weight gain but studies don’t support this. On the contrary, taking the first meal of the day at home has been found to be effective in reducing the chances of weight gain.

Mentioned below is a list of foods that can help you lose weight easier:

Fibre

Taking fibre rich food is probably your best bet against the extra weight. Foods like flax seeds, whole grains, nuts like almonds and peanuts, oatmeal, wheat bran, potatoes and apples with skin are rich in both soluble and insoluble fibres. They make you feel full for long, thus, increasing the gap between meals. This stops overeating and taking extra calories which otherwise would have lead to weight gain.

Water

Did you know that losing weight is as easy as drinking enough water throughout the day? Studies suggest that keeping yourself hydrated leads to a reduction in total calorie intake along with the loss of extra fats from the body. Drinking a glass of water in the morning is believed to be the healthiest. It helps you feel energised throughout the day. And taking water in between meals can significantly reduce your meal portion. Water does not have any calories, so it does not add up to the total calories of the meal.

(Read more: Benefits of drinking water in the morning)

Coffee

Yeah, we are talking about your regular coffee. It has repeatedly been proven to aid in weight loss by controlling blood sugar levels. However, the exact mechanism has not been known yet.

Fish

Both fatty and lean fish have been found to promote weight loss in a clinical study. A further study reported that the consumption of fish leads to a reduction in triglyceride levels in the body, which is a type of bad cholesterol. Additionally, fish contains PUFA (polyunsaturated fatty acids and CLA (conjugated linoleic acid), both of which are good for health.

Apart from these foods, it is an excellent practice to include lots of green vegetables and healthy foods in your diet while reducing processed foods and sugar.

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