Top 12 Tips to Lose Arm Fat

by John Staughton (BASc, BFA) last updated -

Flabby arms can be unsightly or embarrassing, but they affect millions of people all over the world. Depending on your particular genetic makeup, your body will choose to deposit fat in different areas. For some, this is the gut, the thigh, the neck or the hips, but in many people, the fat seems to immediately be directed to your arms. This is particularly true in women, who seem to struggle with arm fat more than men. Furthermore, fat in your arms seems to be some of the most difficult to eliminate.

Whether you are overweight, or have already lost the weight, but can’t seem to get rid of your flabby arms, it is important to understand the causes, as well as potential solutions, for your pesky arm fat. [1]

Causes of Arm Fat

There are quite a few causes of arm fat, including a poor diet, too much-refined sugar and a lack of exercise, among others. While you can’t necessarily control where the fat in your body gets deposited, if you know where it comes from, it makes it easier to avoid.

Two women doing light weight lifting indoors

If you are doing weight lifting, light or heavy, be sure to consume the right amount of proteins. Exercise training breaks down the muscles, while proteins help build them back up. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Refined Sugar: When you eat an excess of processed foods and refined sugars, it can be difficult for those foods to be processed directly into energy. Instead, excess carbohydrates are stored as fat, and there is little control as to where that fat may be deposited. [2]

Calorie Restrictions: The basics of losing weight consists of consuming fewer calories than you burn, which will lead to a calorie deficit. On average, losing one pound is equivalent to a calorie deficit of 3,500 calories. Mathematically, this means that if you have a 500-calorie deficit per day, you can lose one pound per week. If you don’t cut back on your calories, fat accumulation is inevitable, which will only make arm fat worse. [3]

Lack of Exercise: In addition to restricting your diet, losing any kind of fat will typically require exercise to build muscle and burn fat. If you solely restrict your diet, you may lose weight, but you won’t firm and tone your body, which is required for the elimination of arm fat. [4]

Hormone Levels: Changes in hormone levels can have a major effect on your body’s ability to burn fat effectively. Testosterone tends to be associated with males, but it can also play an important role in female’s health, primarily in the ability to build muscle. If you are suffering from hormonal imbalances, it could inhibit your muscle growth and lead to arm fat. [5]

Aging: As we age, muscles begin to break down at a faster rate, and when they remain unused for long periods of time, they can even atrophy. When your muscle tone begins to disappear, the fat will begin to “hang” a bit looser on the arm, which can be unsightly for men and women alike. Furthermore, over time, gravity has a slow and steady effect on the arms. Since that fat is somewhat loose and often unsupported (unlike breasts, which are typically supported with a bra), it can gradually be pulled down by the natural effects of gravity. [6]

Tips to Prevent Arm Fat

Some of the best ways to prevent arm fat are to use targeted exercises, swimming, a fat-burning diet, and additional stretching.

Targeted Exercises

A specific exercise regimen is required to keep your arms in shape and shed any excess arm fat when it develops. There are two primary muscles in the upper arms – triceps, and biceps – so be sure that you include workouts for these muscles on a regular basis.

Fat-burning Diet

Eating healthy isn’t enough; you also need to eat foods that specifically burn fat and help your body utilize energy more effectively, without storing excess fat in the arms. Adding foods like avocados, green tea, and dark chocolate to your diet is all linked to increased passive fat-burning by the metabolism.


At the start and end of every day, you should stretch out, allowing your muscles to warm up and prepare for the day. This can also keep them from atrophying as you age, and prevent strains or injuries, which can lead to long periods of not using a certain muscle (e.g., your arm), which can lead to excess fat deposition there.


One of the best exercises to lose arm fat, due to its non-impact nature, is swimming. This engages your entire body and is known to help strengthen the core, legs, and arms, due to their constant activity keeping you afloat.

Effective Exercises to Lose Arm Fat

The best ways to lose arm fat obviously involve exercising that area of the body, so using exercises like push-ups, pull-ups, dips, bicep curls, tricep kickbacks, and arm circles, among others will be beneficial.


Excellent for strengthening the shoulders, biceps, back muscles and triceps, which can increase muscle tone in the arms and reduce arm fat. [7]


These exercises are ideal for boosting both bicep and tricep strength, depending on the direction your hands are facing, while also stimulating your core, back, and lats. [8]

Tricep Kickbacks

With your left knee on a workout bench, and your left arm bracing down, extend your bent right arm behind you with weight. Then, straighten your right arm, kicking the weight back into a straight plane with your back. This is exceptional for tricep strength and the elimination of arm fat. [9]


One of the best ways to lose arm fat is to try dips. Standing in front of and facing away from a chair, place your hands on the seat and extend your legs. Now, lower yourself carefully to the ground and lift yourself back up.

Bicep Curls

Using a 5-pound weight (heavier if you desire), concentrate on stabilizing your arm and performing simple bicep curls. For best results, you want as much of the work as possible to be done by the arm, rather than the back or shoulders. [10]

How to Lose Arm Fat for Women?

Since arm fat is particularly difficult for women to eliminate, a comprehensive approach is required to lose arm fat, including changing your diet, adding cardiovascular exercise, strength training, and eating smaller and more frequent meals, in addition to the exercises listed above.

Changing Diet

To see rapid results and lose arm fat effectively, you need to increase intake of whole-grain foods, as well as fresh fruits and vegetables, and lean protein, as this can help boost the metabolism and increase muscle growth.

Drink More Water

Hydration is the key to every bodily process, including communication with your muscles, which allows you to work out harder and burn more fat. [11]

Eating Patterns

Many women have found it helpful to eat 5-6 smaller meals per day, as this keeps the metabolism engaged for longer, and keeps the calorie-burning processes happening all day. [12]

Cardiovascular Exercise

Aside from targeted exercises for the arms, cardiovascular exercise like running or biking will also help to burn some extra calories, as well as improve your metabolism and muscle density. This, in turn, will help you burn even more calories and tighten up arm fat. [13] Protection Status
About the Author

John Staughton is a traveling writer, editor, publisher and photographer with English and Integrative Biology degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana (USA). He co-founded the literary journal, Sheriff Nottingham, and now serves as the Content Director for Stain’d Arts, a non-profit based in Denver, Colorado. On a perpetual journey towards the idea of home, he uses words to educate, inspire, uplift and evolve.

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