Underarm Flab Frustration: The Gym Mistake That’s Keeping You From Sexy Arms

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If I?ve heard it once, I?ve heard it a thousand times?women want sexy, sleek, toned arms and are willing to do just about anything to get them. But what if I told you doing that 10th set of tricep extensions was NOT, in fact, going to reduce the amount of flab under your arms… but instead would just develop the muscle and potentially grow the area? It?s actually true!


One of the biggest mistakes I see most women making with their arm workouts is trying to reduce their underarm flab by doing excessive tricep extensions. Ahhh?when I see this, I want nothing more than to scream from the mountaintops: No amount of weight lifted or number of reps completed will get rid of flabby arms! In fact, the heavier the weight, the more muscle you will build?making the tricep region appear even larger than it did before! Seriously, by?doing this, you are just expanding the muscle?you are NOT burning the fat in that region?so that same pesky layer will be there no matter what tricep-focused lifts you do.

Unfortunately, you can’t spot reduce fat. Trust me, I wish I was lying about this one. But don’t lose hope?there are plenty of ways to get those sexy sculpted arms of your dreams… AND it’s surprisingly simple. The key to decreasing that underarm flab….(you ready for this?)…. is all about what you eat and about building the muscles around the underarm flab to create the illusion of slimmer triceps.

We often get so fixated with the old-school body building mentality that we need to do bicep curls and tricep extensions to sculpt those limbs, all the while, we are neglecting the most important muscle groups that actually help create the appearance of a slim and sculpted arm: The shoulders and the back. By focusing more on compound movements that fire your back and shoulder muscles first, you will automatically (and secondarily) work the appropriate bicep and tricep muscles without risking overdeveloping your arms.

Think about it like this: The nicer the shoulder boulder, the slimmer the arm appears. I?ll bet you?ve never seen a woman with nice shoulders who didn?t have amazing arms as well?they go hand-in-hand! Same goes for your back. The more sculpted your back, the nicer your arms AND the slimmer your waistline will appear. Who knew it was all about the optical illusion?? (wink, wink)

Time to graduate from?old-school to new-school, and start sculpting that?upper body look you’re dreaming of…toned underarms and all.

Here are a few of my fave compound shoulder and back exercises:

Upright Row
Lateral Pulldown (or Pull Ups)
Push Ups (or Bench Press)
T-Bar Row
Shoulder Press

Aim for 3 sets of 12 of each exercise on your upper body days, and don’t work out these muscle groups two days in a row. That day or two of rest in between will help those muscles become even stronger AND more shapely.



Related reading:

Carb Cycling 101
5-Minute Workout for Sculpting Sexy Arms
Sexy Summer Shoulders
Commercial Break Workout: Total Body Blaster
Powell Pack Workout of the Day

55 Responses

    1. Hi,
      I also love the shoes. Went to the site, but can’t find them. Could you please tell the name of the shoe? I realize Reebok FuryLites, but they are not there, other FuryLites are, but not these.
      Thank You,

  1. Hi Heidi!
    What’s the best way hint to eat or drink before a work out? Recently I started an int nose workout called Orangetheory and I’ve been burning around 600 calories but when I leave I’m starving! What should I eat or drink to get ready?
    Ps thanks for the arm advice!!

    1. Click on the exercise names in the article and it will take you to a video demo of each exercise

    1. Hi Angie: How each person’s skin reacts to weight loss can be very different, but working and building those muscles underneath the skin can definitely help! πŸ™‚

  2. Oh thank God for you Heidi! I dislike strongly tricep extensions! ? cant wait to focus more on back and shoulders. Struggle a lot with my back, so ill try these moves more than the lamo biceps and tricep curls! Yay!

  3. I don’t have a gym membership. Is it possible to do these upper body exercises at home? If so, how?
    Thanks for your time.

    1. Yes! If you have this equipment (which is minimal), you can totally do these at home!

  4. So are you saying that we should never do bicep curls and tricep extensions? Because I love doing tricep extensions.

    1. I’m wondering the same. Although I hate triceps extensions so I’d be happy to never do them again haha.

  5. You are so awesome! My daughter is 13 and I got her wkg out we go together! She also swims so I am getting her ready to swim for high school next year at Corona Del sol and I love that you are from AZ! I was wondering when you are free sometime if we could meet up and you can show me some stuff at the gym I am still learning and I want to teach my daughter the right way of training! We live in Tempe and I work for the Kyrene school dist in the preschool at Kyrene De Las Manitas school! I love it! Thank you for being so awesome and I hope to hear from you soon! And I am on Facebook to I am one of your friends Tracie Conway Radawec! Thank you, Tracie πŸ™‚

    1. Hi Marie: You can substitute a different type of row – using dumbbells – that mimics the same movement without the T-Bar. πŸ™‚

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