How to Get Rid of Bat Wings (Upper Arm Fat) for Life!

How to Get Rid of Bat Wings (Upper Arm Fat) for Life!

Many women struggle with getting rid of upper arm fat (also known as bat wings) and it’s often a pain point for many! As a personal trainer, I’ve helped numerous women begin to get rid of their upper arm fat with success!

It can be done, but make sure that you understand these few things first:

  1. It takes time. 
  2. You can’t spot check where to lose fat. In theory, fat comes off first the last place you put it.
  3. You will have to build up some degree of lean muscle mass (just enough to tone). 

Throughout this article, I will briefly touch on the important points of what to expect during your journey to toned upper arms. Then, we’ll dive into some of the best exercises to tone your upper arms!

What Causes Upper Arm Fat?

Upper arm fat often becomes a problem area as women age and this is due to a few factors.

The first is due to the metabolism slowing down with age. With this, the arms are also a place where women store excess fat. 

The second is the loss of muscle mass as a result of aging. Less muscle mass will result in less tone and shape in the upper arm. The two muscles of the upper arm you will want to train are the triceps and biceps.

Many will choose to focus primarily on the triceps, which is a good decision, but the biceps can’t be discounted. Some added size to these muscles will tighten and tone your upper arm area without you looking like a female bodybuilder! 

Lastly, as we age, we lose elastin in the skin. Elastin is protein that gives skin its bouncy, stretchy properties.

Have no fear though! You can combat and work to get rid of bat wings regardless of your age and even gender!


How Long Does it Take to Get Rid of Bat Wings?

To get rid of bat wings, it takes a two part approach: 


Total Body Fat Loss as a Result of a Calorie Deficit + Building muscle mass in the Upper Arms


If you begin to follow this simple approach, you will begin to see and even obtain significant results in 4-12 weeks. 


Arm Exercises for Bat Wings

Below I have laid out what I believe are the best exercises for toning the upper arms. Better yet, all of these exercises can be done from home!

You can perform these exercises up to three times weekly and should allow up to 24 hours of rest in between workouts. I would recommend starting with 12-15 reps on each exercise if possible.

When you’re not doing upper arm toning exercises, you can absolutely add other workout days to your training schedule that target other muscle groups. 

Even something as simple as walking is a great way to burn extra calories throughout the week! In this case, working out 3-5 days a week is a great place to be at. 

Always listen to your body and make sure your wellness approach is maintainable!


Upper Arm Exercises With Weights

Grab those old dumbbells or kettlebells and give these exercises a shot!


Tricep Kickbacks

Tricep kickbacks are a classically great exercise to build the triceps! 

Instructions: Start with a light dumbbell. Three to five pounds usually makes a good starting place. With a staggered stance, place your hand on an elevated surface or your thigh. Keep a straight back, and try to maintain a 45 degree angle with your upper body. It’s important to keep the leg opposite of the hand you are holding the dumbbell in forward. 

From here, bring the arm holding the dumbbell up and extend the arm at the elbow; control the weight on the descent. Every part of this movement should be controlled. 

Common Mistakes: Commonly, I see my clients swing their upper arm or let their arm fall downward as they do this exercise. Keep the arm up. The upper arm should be still at all times!


Dumbbell Skull Crushers

Yes, I know this exercise has a terrible name! Either way, it’s phenomenal for building the triceps!

Instructions: Grab a light pair of dumbbells. Three to five pounds typically makes a good starting place. Lie on your back with the feet on the floor and knees bent. From here, hold the dumbbells overhead. Slowly lower the weights to beside your head and extend the arms back up.

Common Mistakes: Commonly, I will see my clients swing their arms. You’re upper arm always needs to be still. The only movement will be occurring at the elbow!

Tip: If you feel pain or popping in the elbow, try a lighter weight or add extra warmup sets. If you still feel pain and popping, then this exercise option may not be the best for you which is ok! 


Dumbbell Bicep Curls

Although this exercise isn’t fancy, it’s effective and that’s what matters!

Instructions: Grab a light pair of dumbbells. Anywhere from three to five pounds can be a good starting place. Standing upright with a neutral spine, curl the weight up keeping the upper arm beside the body. Lower, then repeat the same process with the other arm. You should be alternating every rep. 

Common Mistakes: In this bicep curl variation, you do not want the upper arm to move behind the body.


Upper Arm Exercises Without Weights


Military Pushups

Military pushups to get rid of upper arm fat

This pushup variation emphasizes the triceps and can be adjusted to be appropriate for all fitness levels!

Instructions: Here, I will be explaining the variation done on the knees. 

Get into a pushup position with the knees on the ground. The body from the knees to the shoulders should be straight. The hands should be just under the shoulders for this pushup variation. 

From here, go into the descent of the pushup. At all times, keep the elbows tucked close to the body. When you come back up, push all the way through at the top of the pushup to the point where the shoulder slightly pushes forward. This will be important to engage a crucial muscle group called the serratus anterior. 

Common Mistakes: Oftentimes when this pushup variation is too hard, I will see my clients move too much at the shoulder into the descent and ascent of the pushup. In this case, regress by doing this exercise on the back of a chair or on the wall. 

Lastly, don’t forget to push the shoulder forward at the top of the movement!


Tricep Dips

This classic exercise is highly effective for building up all areas of the triceps!

Instructions: Find a bench, chair, or anything of resemblance. Place your hands just outside of shoulder width apart and make sure your lower leg and upper leg make a 90 degree angle. From here, slowly lower yourself until your upper arms are parallel with the floor. Once in this position, push back up and repeat.


Doorway Curls

This is a unique body weight exercise that is great for the beginner exerciser to start working out their biceps!

Instructions: Find a doorway with molding around it that you can grab onto. Grab the molding and position your feet next to each side of the door. Place your hands in a position so that when you are in the curled position, the upper arm is parallel with the floor.

Common Mistakes: If you place your hands too low, you will lose tension on the biceps. Don’t forget the upper arm needs to be parallel with the floor in the curled position (when you’re closest to the doorway)!

Tips: The lower you sink your body weight (add more bend in the knees), the harder this exercise becomes!


Nutritional Considerations for Losing Upper Arm Fat

Proper nutrition is an important part of the process to get rid of upper arm fat and is unfortunately neglected for various reasons. If you want the best results, and in some cases, results at all, you need to follow some type of nutritional routine that suits you. 

This can quickly become an in depth topic, but it doesn’t have to be. Let’s focus on the fundamentals. 

Fundamentally, you need to be in a calorie deficit to lose fat. To eat within a calorie deficit, you need to first find your maintenance calorie number. This is the number of calories that you can consume daily without losing or gaining weight in theory. 

Consuming any less than this will put you into a calorie deficit.

Here’s a simple mathematical breakdown to see what a calorie deficit in action can look like.  

250kcal deficit = 0.5 pound lost per week

500kcal deficit = 1.0 pound lost per week

750kcal deficit = 1.5 pounds lost per week

1,000kcal deficit = 2 pounds lost per week

For women, I highly recommend not pushing to lose more than a pound a week. 

For a simplified and effective approach to meeting your fitness goals, I highly recommend using an app such as MyFitnessPal or Spark People. They will help you set your nutrition goals in addition to providing you with nutrition tracking software!


How to Get Rid of Bat Wings – Wrap Up! 

Overall, to get rid of bat wings, you need to utilize the two part approach:

Total Body Fat Loss as a Result of a Calorie Deficit + Building muscle mass in the Upper Arms

Understand that various factors will affect your results, but this area can definitely be tightened and toned! Stay consistent with your training and be true to yourself. The results will come!

If you have questions or need extra help, Personal Trainers at Home is here to help! We are a team of in home personal trainers in Raleigh North Carolina that can help you reach your fitness goals online or in-person in our local area!