woman with batwing arm and measuring tape

Banish Batwing Arms with These 5 Exercises!

batwing arm

Are you ready to banish batwing arms for good? The term “batwing arms” refers to the loose skin on the back of the upper arms that shakes when we move our arms vigorously. You might also be familiar with the term of endearment “bingo arms,” referencing a woman waving her jiggly arms as she shouts “bingo” upon winning the Bingo pot. 

Whether we call them batwing arms or bingo arms, most of us prefer they disappear so we can wear tank tops and spaghetti straps with a little extra confidence.

What Causes Batwing Arms?

Batwing arms can result from being overweight, as their jiggle is comprised partly of excess fat pulled downward by gravity. But unfortunately, losing weight doesn’t always fix batwing arms. Excessive weight loss can cause them too when our skin doesn’t shrink to fit our newly slender bodies.

Loss of skin elasticity as we age is another jiggle-causing culprit. Factors that contribute to premature skin aging, such as poor diet, not getting enough water, smoking, and excessive sun exposure also lead to saggy batwing arms.  

Building muscle is a great way to banish (or at least minimize) batwing arms. Not only do we lose skin elasticity as we age, but we lose muscle too. 

Muscle works to support the skin and fat that occupy the space on our upper arms. That means the more muscle we have, the less jiggle too!

Equipment

The only equipment you’ll need is a set of dumbbells. If you’re a beginner, make sure you start with the lightest dumbbells (1-2 pounds). The right weight should make the last few repetitions of a set feel challenging. 

If you don’t have dumbbells, consider holding a 16-ounce water bottle or soup can in each hand. Each 16-ounce water bottle weighs about a pound.

Technique

When you perform these exercises, make sure you’re not pulling your shoulders up toward your ear.  Keep them nice and relaxed. If you have to shrug, your weight may be too heavy.  You should also make sure your core is tight and your back is straight

So, let’s get started to banish batwing arms with these 5 exercises!

The Workout

1. Arm Circles

woman performing arm circle exercise

Arm circles work your trapezius and deltoid muscles. The trapezius muscle runs from your neck, across the top of the shoulders, and down to the middle of your back. The deltoid muscle forms the rounded part of your shoulder and is made up of three sets of fibers: the anterior (front), posterior (back), and intermediate (middle). To perform the arm circle exercise:

  • Stand with your feet hip-width apart and your arms extended horizontally in line with your shoulders.
  • Keeping your arms straight, move your arms in a circular motion, as if you were drawing a circle with a 12-inch radius.
  • Continue this motion in one direction for 30 seconds.
  • Rest 30 seconds and repeat in the opposite direction.
  • Repeat for three sets.

You can either perform this exercise as a warm-up without weights or add dumbbells for greater intensity. 

If you’re a beginner, don’t add weights until the exercise is no longer challenging without them.

2. Bicep Curl

woman performing bicep curl

As the name suggests, bicep curls work the front part of your upper arm between the shoulder and elbow, known as the bicep. To perform a bicep curl:

  • Stand with your feet hip-width apart and your hands down to your sides holding the dumbbells with palms facing out.
  • Make sure your spine forms a straight line from your head to your tailbone and tighten your tummy.
  • Slowly lift the dumbbells until they are at shoulder level and gradually lower them back down.
  • Keep elbows at your sides as you perform the curl.
  • Repeat 12-15 times.
  • Repeat for 2 more sets, resting 30 seconds to 1 minute in between sets.

3. Tricep Kickback

woman performing tricep kickback

The tricep is the large muscle on the back of the upper arm, which is opposed to the bicep. This exercise works the tricep to strengthen your upper arms. To perform a tricep kickback:

  • Stand with your feet hip-width apart and bend over, hinging at the hip.
  • Make sure your spine forms a straight line from your head to your tailbone and tighten your tummy.
  • Starting with elbows aligned with your back, and dumbbells at chest level with your palms facing inward, slowly raise the dumbbells backward, until your arms are straight, keeping your elbows in place.
  • Lower your dumbbells back down and repeat 12-15 times.
  • Repeat for 2 more sets, resting 30 seconds to 1 minute in between sets.

This exercise also can be performed in a split stance or on your knees.

4. Reverse Fly

woman performing reverse fly

Reverse flys target the posterior deltoids, which are the muscles on the back of the shoulder. But that’s not all! As a bonus, they work the trapezius muscle and the rhomboid muscles in the middle of the upper back to improve posture, sorely needed as we age! To perform a reverse fly:

  • Stand with your feet hip-width apart and bend over, hinging at the hip.
  • Make sure your spine forms a straight line from your head to your tailbone and tighten your tummy.
  • Start with your hands holding dumbbells, palms facing each other, in front of your knees.
  • Slowly raise your arms out to the side with elbows slightly (emphasis on slightly) bent until level with your shoulders and squeeze your shoulder blades.
  • Lower your dumbbells back down and repeat 12-15 times.
  • Repeat for 2 more sets, resting 30 seconds to 1 minute in between sets.
This exercise also can be performed while seated in a chair or on a bench.

5. Front Deltoid Raise

woman performing front deltoid raise

The front deltoid raise not only works the front of the shoulder, but it also works the muscle just above the ribs, the trapezius, the pectoral (chest) muscles, and the biceps. So, this exercise has it all! To perform a front deltoid raise:

  • Stand with your feet hip-width apart.
  • Make sure your spine forms a straight line from your head to your tailbone and tighten your tummy.
  • Hold your dumbbells down at your sides, palms facing your body.
  • Lift the dumbbells up with palms facing down and elbows slightly bent to shoulder level and slowly lower back down.
  • Repeat for 2 more sets, resting 30 seconds to 1 minute in between sets.

This exercise also can be performed one arm at a time.  Just be sure that each arm receives three sets each.

There you did it! You are on your way to banishing batwing arms!  

What More Can You Do to Banish Batwing Arms?

Now comes the part where I tell you that you can’t get rid of your batwing arms with spot reduction exercises alone! Regular cardiovascular exercise and all-over strength training at least twice per week is essential to burn fat for your newly sculpted arm muscles to really shine through!

The American Heart Association recommends adults get a total of 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise weekly, which comes out to about 30 minutes five times per week.  Moderate intensity exercise can include brisk walking, cycling or slow jogging.

Finally, you need to eat a healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables, low in refined carbohydrates, and high in protein to keep excess weight at bay.

And as always, consult your doctor before beginning any new exercise program.

For other great workouts see:

Best Butt Exercises for Women over 50

Five Best Ab Exercises for Women over 50

Get Fit After 50: 25 Minutes is All You Need!

 

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10 thoughts on “Banish Batwing Arms with These 5 Exercises!”

  1. Phenomenal article. My weight is down and I do triceps already, but I’ll add these exercises.
    You know what else I’m doing wrong? The weights I’m using are too light, I need to bump up to higher weights.
    Awesome, thank you!
    Wendy

  2. I tend to do a lot of counter-height pushups combined with walking and my bat wings aren’t too bad yet! But I know I need to do more to keep them at bay. Your exercises are very clearly explained, and I plan to get started today.

  3. great info Michele, my arms are not one of my best features and I akways look to hide them. Best to work at getting them in shape with these simple excerises.

    thanks for the tips

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