Many of my patients are interested in esthetic skin care. A common question is “what can I do about these bat wings” or “bingo arms” as they’re commonly called. Whatever you call it, all that loose skin under your arms, it can really give your age away. Like my patients, you too may be wondering, is there cosmetic surgery to reduce it (yes, but I don’t recommend it). However, you are not stuck with it either. Allow me to give you a pretty simple solution to reduce, and eventually get rid of all that loose skin, and flabby muscle under your arms.
Banish Boomer Bat Wings with Exercise
“Bat wings or Bingo Arms” are humorous names for a not-so-funny condition in many people – especially women over 50. Typically, that’s about the age, around menopause, when your triceps muscle, that muscle that supports the skin underneath, on the back side, of your upper arm, starts going slack. As a result, the skin overlying that muscle has nothing to do but slacking and hanging as well. It can make for a very unattractive, flappy upper arm that can hang like a drape that many women are ashamed to show in public. Yes, there is a surgical reduction procedure for that excess skin, saggy triceps, – called a brachioplasty – but it can have many drawbacks, side effects, expense, and may not ultimately solve the real problem.
The real problem is a little used tricep muscle – especially in women. Men also can develop the problem, though they are less likely to. I want to focus on the good news about the triceps and the skin overlying it. Like every other muscle in your body, the triceps responds to exercise and can be re-tightened and toned to significantly reduce this condition.
Being overweight can accentuate the problem as fat tends to collect under the arm. So, don’t forget to add some fat-burning cardio like High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) to your workout regimen to help you burn more fat and calories. Mineral wraps can also help decrease the look of cellulite and facilitate inch loss. While you’re on your way to a normal weight, here are 4 of the best triceps arm exercises to create a more youthful, toned upper arm.
1. Airplane wings: Sitting or standing, hold the arms out straight to both sides, not bending the elbows. Circle in one direction 20 times, and then switch to the other direction 20 times. Repeat a set of 3 in both directions. You should feel the pull underneath your arm each time you circle your arms.
2. Overhead triceps extension. Start with a 5 lb dumbbell, and then increase to 15-20 lbs over a period of a few weeks. Stand holding the dumbbell over your head, keeping your arms straight; slowly let the dumbbell lower behind your head to about the mid upper back. You should feel the pull under your arm in the triceps. Repeat for 3 sets of 12.
3. Triceps kickback. Kneeling your right knee on a chair or weight bench, hold your weight in your left hand at an angle, elbow back, as in Figure A. Extend your forearm/weight backward as shown in Figure B. Repeat this 15 times on one side, and then switch sides, kneeling on your left knee for your right arm.
4. Tricep dips. Leaning against a sturdy chair, in a semi-seated position, place your hands at the outer edge and lower your bottom to touch the floor. You should feel this pull in the upper arms, underneath in the triceps, and on the top of the arm in the biceps. Start with 10 dips, then progress to 2-3 sets of 10.
Just because you’re getting older, doesn’t mean your upper arms have to show it. Look at Jane Fonda – over 70 and looking fit with good muscle and skin tone and firm, strong upper arms. With a little effort on your part, you can reclaim attractive, slimmed down, toned arm muscles that you’ll no longer be ashamed to go sleeveless in public. As a bonus, a stronger upper arm – both bicep and tricep – will help you stay flexible as you get older, assisting you in lifting, and all your daily activities.
Jay Brachfeld, M.D.
Natural Health News