Oftentimes, women ask me, “how do I get rid of this,” pointing to the back of their arms. Some women even wiggle their arms for me to emphasize the point. I was most amused when a young lady in one of my weightlifting classes specifically asked: “how can I get rid of my “jiggly, wiggly” arms!” Loving her terminology, I decided to write a little blog about it.
So what are “jiggly, wiggly” arms?
Well, simply put, they’re ‘fatty’ arms.
Let me break this down a bit.
The arms (and legs) are primarily comprised of bone, muscle, and fat tissue, more specifically, subcutaneous fat. Muscle tissue and, obviously, bone are very dense while subcutaneous fat is not at all dense. As such, when there’s excess accumulation of subcutaneous fat surrounding the muscles of the arms, this area will look and feel ‘flabby’.
Some people tend to carry excess fat in the upper body and abdominal regions and these folks are generally more prone to developing jiggly, wiggly arms, particularly when they gain weight. In this case, burning excess body fat is one way to reduce the appearance of jiggly, wiggly arms.
Now, excess subcutaneous fat is just one part of the equation as muscle atrophy also plays a significant role. Atrophy basically means that muscles have lost their strength, firmness and tone due to reduced use.
Jiggly, wiggly arms most commonly result from atrophy of the biceps (muscles on the front of the arms) and triceps (muscles on the back of the arms) in addition to the deltoids (muscles of the shoulders). The main cause of such atrophy is a lack of resistance training.
Unfortunately, a lot of women simply don’t perform resistance training of any sort, which is why jiggly, wiggly arms is such a common problem. But, in order to build up the biceps, triceps and deltoids in a way that enhances the appearance of the arms, this type of training is an absolute must, plain and simple.
So, now that you have an understanding of what exactly causes the appearance of jiggly, wiggly arms, I’ve compiled a list of three simple strategies for getting rid of them for good.
Tip 1: Lift Weights to Sculpt the Arms
Perform resistance training exercises that specifically target atrophied arm muscles with the goal of enhancing strength, firmness, and tone. You can do this by performing 2-3 sets of 8-12 repetitions of the following exercises on 2-3 non-consecutive days each week.
- Dumbbell overhead triceps extensions and dips to fully develop the back of the arms.
- Dumbbell curls and concentration curls for developing the front of your arms. That’ll give the appearance of ‘guns’.
- Arnold shoulder press and reverse flys to cap off the arm workout giving the deltoids as well as the triceps more definition.
Start with weights that fatigue your muscles between 8 and 12 repetitions (translation: 8 should feel like you are not going to make it to 12 but light enough for you to get there).
Tip 2: Stop Accumulating Excess Fat in the Arms
This’ll require you to burn excess body fat with regular cardiovascular (cardio) exercise. Since spot reduction isn’t possible when it comes to fat burning, you’re going to lose fat around your arms as well as the rest of your body.
Now, although you can’t spot reduce fat, you can certainly choose cardio exercises that give your jiggly, wiggly arms a fat-burning boost. I recommend performing one or more of the following exercises daily for at least 30 minutes, ideally at a moderate-to-high intensity.
- Jogging or running with a powerful arm swing
- Cross-training on an elliptical trainer or stationary bike
- Cardio-boxing or similar group exercise formats
- Breaststroke swimming
- Arm cycling
In addition to performing cardio exercises on a regular basis, it’s also important to eat sensibly. Ensure you’re consuming a wide range of foods rich in high-quality protein along with substantial amounts of “good” carbohydrates and healthy fats. Monitoring your daily calorie consumption and expenditure is also critical to avoiding unwanted weight gain.
Tip 3: Perform Full Body Resistance Training
It may be tempting to focus your resistance training efforts on your arms but training shouldn’t be limited to this area. In the absence of full body training, all the body’s muscle groups are at risk of atrophy and excess fat accumulation. This’ll make your whole body appear jiggly and wiggly.
As such, you should also perform 2-3 sets of 12-15 repetitions of the following exercises designed to target other upper and lower body muscle groups.
- Incline bench press and standard or modified pushup to fully tone your chest (pectoral) muscles as well as your deltoids and triceps.
- Dumbbell pullover and bent-over rows to develop your back muscles as well as your biceps.
- Squat, lunge, and stiff-leg deadlift to fully develop your thighs and legs while preventing any appearance of a “saggy butt”.
In addition, to these exercises you should perform 2-3 sets of 20-25 repetitions of core exercises (back extension, plank, crunch, and bicycle) on 2-3 non-consecutive days per week.
And there you have it!
Three simple ways to get rid of jiggly, wiggly arms. If you execute these steps properly you’re off to a great start. In fact, you’ll notice results in as little as a few weeks.