As we age, it can become difficult to battle the negative thoughts; the ones that make us feel like the aging process will take its toll, and there’s nothing we can do to fight it. While there are occasionally people who look great for their age without much effort, the truth is that most people who look amazing for their age put in consistent effort. When you see a person at the age of 70 who has been routinely healthy in their nutrition and exercise, the difference is like night and day.
One of those signs of aging that is a bit harsher on women than it is for men is the flabby underarm area. Commonly referred to as “bat wings,” both men and women can develop flabby arms as they get older. For most people, it’s the jiggly area at the back of the upper arm. The flabbiness that happens in this back, upper part of the arm is due to a combination of poor muscle tone and the thinning of the skin and underlying connective tissue. The batwing effect particularly affects women after menopause.
Why are bat wings more prominent in women than men?
Women are more likely to develop subcutaneous fat than men. Subcutaneous fat is the kind that lies in a layer just beneath the skin. Combine this layer of fat just underneath the skin with the fact that aging skin is thinning and losing elasticity, and you’ve got a perfect combination for a drooping and movement-prone (flapping) action under the arms.
3 Things You Can Do To Begin Your Anti-Bat Wing Journey
While you may think that specific exercises are the best way to counteract bat wings, the most significant thing you can do is to layer your approach. Here are three things you can do in combination with physical exercise:
1. Use a skin firming cream
Skin-tightening cream can encourage the production of collagen and elastin fibers. The best skin tightening creams will not only tighten your skin but improve its overall look and feel.
2. Practice Better Nutrition
Notice I didn’t say, “Practice perfect nutrition.” I’m going to give it to you straight. Often, when you’ve got things on your body that are jiggling and flapping, it’s exacerbated by excess body fat, especially the subcutaneous type. If you have an overabundance of subcutaneous fat, especially in an area of your body that falls with gravity, aging skin simply will not be able to hold it firmly in place.
It’s easy to become discouraged by the idea of an extreme diet or a nutrition plan that isn’t sustainable. Begin by making the most critical changes first. If you’re diving into a pint of ice cream every night, or find yourself in the drive-through line several times a week, replace those habits with foods and drinks that you already know will be better for you, i.e., lower in simple sugars and carbohydrates.
Work on a sustainable nutrition plan – one that you can practice on most days rather than off and on (or more off than on). Even the best exercises will still only provide firmness underneath most of your body fat rather than on top of it. It’s essential to keep a lean, healthy physique so that your fitness efforts are noticeable.
3. Add a collagen supplement to your nutrition plan
Studies have shown that daily collagen supplements can help make your bones denser, slowing the aging process that makes them brittle and helping your body produce new bone. Imagine how your fitness efforts are improved when you feel younger from the inside out! Oral collagen supplements have been shown to improve skin hydration and elasticity for older people, and they might also help lessen wrinkles. Having this type of nutrition support for your skin is a critical piece of the puzzle when you’re tackling the batwing predicament. Here are our top picks for a collagen supplement:
How Building Muscle Changes The Appearance Of Your Arms
It’s common for women to say things like, “I want to look more toned,” or “I don’t want to look bulky.” The reality is, these are simply not things to be concerned about when it comes to exercises that will change the look of your arms for the better. You must understand that the most aggressive (yet safe) approach to weightlifting and resistance exercises is what will get you the results you desire. Do you want to firm that area underneath your arms to eliminate bat wings? Then first, eliminate the idea of looking “toned” and start focusing on exactly what you can do to build muscle. This means that we will intentionally use the heaviest amount of weight or resistance to BUILD MUSCLE.
3 Dumbbell Exercises To Eliminate Bat Wings
You will quickly learn that to improve the look in one area of the body, it’s important to work an opposing or surrounding muscle group. For example, you will have more defined biceps if you’re also working your shoulder muscles. Working the shoulders will increase the appearance of the dip between the shoulder and bicep, thereby creating those coveted curves in your arms. The most dynamic change happens when you work a targeted group of muscles rather than focusing on one specific one.
1. Dumbbell Diagonal Raises
The dumbbell diagonal raise is an isolation exercise that strengthens the entire shoulder region. It is a shoulder-strengthening exercise that helps tone your shoulder muscles and part of the upper back.
How to do a Dumbbell Diagonal Raise:
- Stand tall with your feet hip-width apart.
- Hold a dumbbell (start with low weight and increase the amount as you progress) in one hand in front of your opposite side hip.
- Your palm should be facing inwards toward your body
- Raise the dumbbell across your body and out to the side
- Pause with your hang slightly higher than shoulder height
- Return to start position
- Do 8-10 reps on each side
- Do at least 3 sets of 8-10 reps on each side
2. Dumbbell Bicep Curls
The bicep curl is a single-joint move and is a perfect way to isolate the biceps. Remember that although you may not be directly working the triceps muscles, working this opposite group will also improve the area under your arm.
How to do Dumbbell Bicep Curls:
- Begin by standing with a dumbbell in each hand. Your elbows should rest at your sides, and your forearms should extend out in front of your body.
- Bring the dumbbell all the way up to your shoulder by bending your elbow.
- Reverse the curl down to your start position.
- Perform this action with one arm, then alternate to the opposite arm.
- Do 8-10 reps (each side counts as 1, so you’re doing 8-10 total on each side).
- Do at least 3 sets of 8-10 reps.
Tip: If you have to use your lower body in any way to “bounce” the weight up as you bend at the elbows, the weight is too heavy. Focus on slow, controlled movements to ensure you’re targeting the bicep muscles and not compensating for a dumbbell weight that’s too heavy.
3. Overhead Triceps Extensions
The triceps extension exercise might possibly feel like the most fulfilling exercise for getting rid of bat wings or that flabby area under your arms. That is because an overhead triceps extension is an isolation exercise that targets your triceps muscles.
How to do Overhead (dumbbell) Triceps Extensions:
- Hold a dumbbell with both hands with feet shoulder-width apart and core tight.
- Lift the dumbbell until your arms are fully extended with palms facing the ceiling and elbows pointing forward/
- Bending at the elbows and squeezing your triceps, slowly lower the dumbbell behind your head.
As with most things in life, the best approach to getting lean, firm, and flab-free arms is a multifaceted approach. Keep your focus on doing this combination of action items for the quickest and most noticeable results. There’s never going to be one simple solution, but it sure is encouraging knowing that you have a lot of control and responsibility for a healthy aging process. There’s no need to resign yourself to “come what may”; rather, layer yourself with the knowledge and action for the best life-long outcome.