Summer is fast approaching. The season brings arm-baring tank tops and bathing suits. When it comes to weight gain, it’s common to carry excess weight in different parts of the body, including the thighs, abdomen, and arms.

Excess weight in the arms and back can cause the dreaded bat wing appearance and may lead to poor body image and self-esteem.

You can’t spot-treat fat loss, but improving muscle tone in the upper body can help create a tight and toned appearance. Combined with proper diet and regular exercise, these seven exercises are a great start to getting the tank top arms you desire.

If you’re looking to tone your arms, aim for lower weights and higher repetitions. Include cardiovascular exercise like brisk walking or high-intensity training to help decrease fat around the muscles.

1. Pulley triceps extension

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  1. Stand facing an overhead pulley with a rope attachment attached.
  2. Place your hands on the end of the rope, palms facing each other.
  3. Stand with feet hip-width apart, knees slightly bent, and core engaged.
  4. Start with your elbows beside your hips, bent at 90 degrees, and extend your arms down toward the floor until they are straight.
  5. Squeeze into the back of the arms at the end of the movement.
  6. Repeat 10-15 times. Perform 3 sets.

2. Triceps pushups

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  1. Start in a plank position on your feet or knees. Place your hands directly under your chest. Turn your hands inward so your fingers form a triangle.
  2. Slowly lower yourself to the floor, making sure to keep your body in a straight line with your core engaged.
  3. Push back up into a plank position, squeezing through the back of your arms and midback, pulling your shoulders away from your ears.
  4. Repeat 10-15 times. Perform 3 sets.

3. Lat pulldown

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  1. Sit facing the weight stack of an overhead lat pulldown machine with a wide bar attached.
  2. Reach overhead and grab the bar with a wide grip, palms facing away from your body.
  3. Lean back 30-45 degrees and pull the bar down toward your chest.
  4. Engage your latissimus dorsi, the large muscles down the sides of your back. Feel as if you are tucking your elbows into your back pockets. Relax your shoulders and neck.
  5. Repeat 10-15 times. Perform 3 sets.

4. Pilates overhead press

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  1. Sit upright on the floor with your legs in a loose diamond position.
  2. Lean slightly forward at the hips, untucking your tailbone from the floor.
  3. Hold a body bar or dumbbell in each hand. Hold at chest level with a wide grip.
  4. Pull your shoulder blades down your back, engaging the latissimus dorsi and core muscles.
  5. Push the weight upward away from your body. Aim to keep the bar moving diagonally as opposed to straight overhead. Try not to shrug into your shoulder and keep the rest of your body in a straight line.
  6. Repeat 10-15 times. Perform 3 sets.

5. Lying triceps extensions

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  1. Lie on a bench, holding a straight bar with your hands shoulder-width apart.
  2. Extend your arms at 90 degrees away from your body, with your palms and elbows facing your legs.
  3. Keeping the upper arm stationary, slowly bend your elbows, and lower the bar down toward your forehead.
  4. Return to starting position.
  5. Repeat 10-15 times. Perform 3 sets.

6. Reverse fly

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  1. Lie on an incline bench with the bench slightly declined and your chest on the bench.
  2. Hold a dumbbell in each hand and let them hang toward the floor.
  3. Raise your arms out to the side in the shape of a “T”.
  4. Keep your shoulders down and core engaged, squeeze through the back of the shoulders and upper back.
  5. Repeat 10-15 times. Perform 3 sets.

7. Deltoid raise

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  1. Stand with feet hip-width apart, knees slightly bent. Learn forward 20 degrees at the waist and engage your core to prepare for the movement.
  2. Hold dumbbells down beside your body, palms facing your thighs.
  3. Raise your arms out to the side into a “T” position until they reach shoulder level.
  4. Return to starting position and repeat 10-15 times. Perform 3 sets.

Modifications

If you don’t have a pulley machine or dumbbells available, you can replicate many of the movements above with a resistance band. By anchoring the band on a pullup bar or under your foot, resistance bands can be great tools to provide the added resistance you need to see results.

Next steps

Strength training has many benefits, including the ability to:

  • increase lean body mass
  • increase metabolic rate
  • increase bone density
  • decrease the risk of injury by strengthening muscles

Muscle growth can help improve body composition and reduce body fat percentage. Start with the above exercises to sculpt a toned upper body and eliminate bat wings for good.

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