Many exercises can strengthen the triceps and reduce the appearance of bat wings. Our step-by-step instructions explain how to tone arms at home or in the gym.
Many people have excess fat and low muscle tone in the upper arms. A person may notice the skin in this area starting to wobble or droop. Some people refer to this as having “bat wings.”
The main muscles in the upper arm are the triceps and biceps. The biceps are at the front of the arm, and the triceps are at the back.
The triceps are often the weaker of the two because the body does not use them as directly in lifting or carrying.
Strengthening the triceps can reduce the appearance of bat wings. However, to make a lasting difference, a person may need to make broader changes to their exercise routine and diet.
Bat wings are more common in older adults and people who are overweight.
As the body ages, muscle tone diminishes, but many exercises can restore this tone.
Different people carry weight in different areas. Bat wings can result from excess weight in the upper arms.
Targeted exercises can help to reduce weight in this area, though a person is likely to experience more satisfying results from a full-body workout.
The exercises below focus on building muscle tone in the upper arms. A person can do them at home or in the gym.
Warming up for 10–20 minutes before exercising can prevent muscle strain. A simple warm-up could include:
- marching in place
- rolling the shoulders in circles
- lifting alternating knees
- stretching the arms above the head
- bending gently from one side to the other
Some exercises below require small hand-held dumbbells. As an alternative, a person could fill two plastic water bottles and use these as weights.
It is important to select weights carefully. The American Council on Exercise recommend starting with a weight that only becomes challenging during the final few repetitions of an exercise.
Training with weights, or strength training, has wider benefits for health. In addition to strengthening muscles, it can improve bone density, which grows more important with age.
Also, raising and lowering weights slowly may be more effective for building muscle.
Choose four or five of the following exercises to create a workout for the triceps. A person may wish to perform the workout a few times each week.
Repeat each exercise 10 to 15 times.
If a person is overweight, tricep exercises alone may not reduce the appearance of bat wings. In general, good ways to lose weight include eating a healthful diet and doing regular exercise that raises the heart rate.
Losing weight in just one area of the body, or spot reduction, is unlikely to work.
The most effective way to tone muscle may be to take up exercises that use the whole body, such as swimming or jogging. Over time, these activities tone muscles in every area of the body.
When a person is looking to get fit, it can be tempting to focus on isolated areas of the body. However, a person is most likely to see results when they develop an exercise program that engages all the body’s muscle groups.
It can be hard to find the time or motivation to exercise. Starting with realistic goals, a regular time slot, and building to more challenging exercises gradually can help.