Looking to tone your upper arms? Here are the best exercises to get rid of bat wings! These at-home exercises, strengthen and tone the biceps and triceps to help reduce flabby arms and increase muscle tone.
Not sure what to do with the bat wing exercises? No problem. At the end of this blog post there's a wicked 10-minute resistance band workout for your biceps and triceps.
When it comes to body fat, the upper arms are a common storage spot for women.
As a Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist, they're also an area that most women are frustrated with.
The truth is: you can't completely spot train.
Meaning, you can't only do exercises for an area of your body and expect that area to be slimmer. If that worked, everyone would do 100 sit ups per night and have a six pack!
However, by strengthening the muscle of the area you'd like to tone (in this case the upper arms) and losing body fat, you can be rid of bat wings.
The Best Exercises For Bat Wings
The exercises below target the muscles of the upper arms. Specifically your biceps and triceps.
Though bat wings commonly refer to the triceps (the back of the arm), strengthening the biceps will help as well.
Below are 9 exercises to target flabby arms. In conjunction with losing excess weight, building up the muscle tone in the biceps and triceps will help sculpt your arms.
You can work these upper arm exercises into your current training program. Or, you can choose 3-5 and make a circuit of them for a wicked bicep and tricep workout.
Here's a back and bicep workout too if you really want to up your game.
Equipment You Need
The best equipment for these exercises are: resistance bands and a set of dumbbells. In fact, these are two of my favorite pieces of at-home workout equipment for weight loss because they're so effective and versatile. So, if you're just starting out with workouts, I'd recommend those.
I personally like prosourcefit.com for my training swag and if you use code “mamabearfit” you can snag some money off- double win.
Scroll down further to see a better breakdown of each bicep and tricep exercise as well as how to use them to reduce flabby upper arms.
- Seated bicep curl
- Skull crushers
- Standing hammer curls
- Tricep band pressdown
- Underhand kickback
- Single arm bicep curls
- Overhead tricep extensions
- Diamond push-ups
- Reverse grip push-up
Seated Band Bicep Curl
This exercise is a challenging one and most similar to a TRX bicep curl.
I like to have clients keep their arms held high (at shoulder height) to really hit the biceps and maintain contraction throughout the exercise.
The plus of performing these with a band is that the closer you are to the “sticking point” (the hardest part of the exercise) the more challenging the resistance.
Aim for a couple of sets of 8-10.
- Secure a resistance band around a beam, pillar, or deck post.
- Sit up tall and hold the resistance band in your hands with the elbows extended.
- Raise the elbows up to should height an keep them there.
- Curl the palms in towards your face, pause briefly and then slowly extend the arms back to the starting position.
These were always a favorite of mine when it came to training triceps and a classic tricep exercise for women.
This forces each arm to work individually and helps you figure out and tweak imbalances in strength or range.
For a fun finisher: perform skull crushers to your chin, your eyes, and then slightly above your head to hit various parts of the triceps. Go for eight reps for each target point without rest. Repeat twice.
- Lying with your back flat on the floor or a bench and a dumbbell held in each hand above your chest. Make sure the palms are facing each other.
- Keep your shoulders locked as you bend your elbows bringing the dumbells slowly towards your forehead. Against the resistance extend the elbows and engage the triceps to extend your arms and return to the start position.
Standing Hammer Curls
There is something that always made me feel cool when performing standing hammer curls. Perhaps they’re just such a classic!
Hammer curls are awesome because they also hit your forearms and help boost grip strength. Plus, they keep the shoulders in a neutral position which is crucial for injuries/shoulder issues.
Add in a couple of sets of ten at the end of your workout to catch a burn.
- Stand upright with your core muscles engaged (so you don't swing your torso).
- Hold the dumbbells in your hands with the palms facing each other.
- One by one bring the dumbbell head to your shoulder and slowly extend the arm back down to your side.
Single Arm Tricep Band Pressdown
I’m sure you’ve seen these at some point with a cable machine. Make sure to lock out the arms at the bottom and ensure you’re not swinging the shoulders while performing them.
I like to do these in higher volume so two sets with fifteen to twenty reps (depending on which band I use!).
- Sit back on your heels and grab a mini loop. Press one side of the loop into your shoulder and hold it there with your hand.
- Place the other hand in the mini loop with the elbow bent but at your side.
- Press the mini loop down toward your hip and fully unbend your elbow.
- Pause and slowly bring the hand back to the starting position.
Changing the grip on a classic tricep kickback is a great way to boost strength that you'd otherwise be overlooking.
Not only does this exercise work the triceps but the forearms too. Plus, because of the way the weight is held you are going completely against gravity. It’s a challenging one!
Rock out 2 sets of 10 and you should be about done.
- Come into half a tabletop position with your knee and hand on a table or couch.
- The other arm should be down by your side and holding a dumbbell with the palm facing up.
- Row the arm up so that the elbow is bent. This is the starting point.
- From there, unbend the elbow so that the hand reaches behind you toward your hip and the palm ends up facing the floor.
- Pause and return to the start.
Single Arm Resistance Band Bicep Curl
This is a fun variation because it’s a unilateral exercise (learn more about unilateral exercises and how they can help you prevent injuries!) but also because of the positioning.
Add in a couple of sets of 10-12 reps to your workouts.
- Secure a resistance band around a beam, pillar, or deck post.
- Sit up tall facing sideways to the beam, and hold the resistance band in one hand with the elbow extended.
- Raise the elbow up to should height and keep it there.
- Curl the palm in towards your face, pause briefly and then slowly extend the arms back to the starting position. Make sure to keep the elbow up.
Overhead Tricep Extensions
If you're performing them with a resistance band, hinge slightly at the hips to focus on triceps a bit more. If you have poor shoulder or thoracic mobility this is a helpful tip!
Finish off a workout with these at two sets for 15 reps.
- Standing upright with feet under the shoulders or in a staggard stance, hold a dumbbell with both hands behind your head with your elbows bent.
- Using both arms, extend the elbows to bring the dumbbell up overhead. Pause and return it to the start position.
Diamond Or Close Grip Push-Ups
This is one of my favorites because in addition to being tricep dominant, it actually works the entire upper body musculature!
That said, you’ve got to have a strong push up to complete it (learn how to do push ups when you're abeginner). It doesn’t count if your torso goes to sh*t in the middle of the movement.
Aim for two sets for as many reps as possible before the form gives out
- Begin in plank position but place your hands together with the fingers spread apart to make a diamond or triangle with your index fingers and thumbs.
- drive the elbows behind you as you begin to lower down toward the ground with the entire body (maintaining the plank position).
- Press back up while keeping your hands together.
This move can be done from the floor or with the feet elevated and is wicked for the upper arms. Having your feet elevated targets the triceps more
- Come into a pike position with your hips up high and your feet shoulder-width or wider depending on hamstring flexibility. Bend the elbows and bring your head towards the floor to make a “tripod” position with your hands.
- Press into your hands and push back up into a fully extended arm position.
Perform 3-6 repetitions.
Bonus: Reverse Grip Push-Ups
This one is for the badasses to be honest! It’s actually a variation I’m still working on, but I love it all the same.
These push-ups target the triceps but also require a lot of balance and wrist flexibility. They’re hard as heck but something to work towards.
Don’t stick with the same old bicep and tricep exercises. Instead, target your arms in a new way, with new options and step out of your comfort zone.
- Come into plank position with your torso. However, instead of the fingers facing forward like in a traditional push up, turn them around so that they face your feet.
- Bend the elbows and begin lowering to the ground.
- When you can't lower any further without losing form, push back up.
Specific Advantages of Using The Best Bicep And Tricep Exercises
- Having strong arms helps improve the strength of your bigger lifts
- Strong arms make daily tasks (like carrying kids) a little easier
- Strengthening the anterior & posterior chains separately can ensure that there is less imbalance between the two
At-Home Bicep And Tricep Workout For Women
Below is a 10-minute at-home arm workout you can try if you think you need a boost. It’s a fast workout and it’ll definitely get those upper arm muscles burning!
Psst: don’t forget to get in a mini warm-up with some light dynamic movements before jumping in!
|Dumbbell Pullover||10 reps|
|Close Grip Push Up||8 reps|
|45 seconds rest||2 sets|
|Pike Press||5 reps|
|Skull Crusher Wide||8 reps|
|Skull Crusher Narrow||8 reps|
|45 seconds rest||2 sets|
|Push Plank||20 seconds|
|Rest 10 seconds||2 sets|
Perform the first two exercises back to back for the repetitions listed. Rest for 45 seconds and repeat a total of two times. Then, move on to the next three exercises performing them back to back. Rest 45 seconds between sets and repeat for a total of two rounds. Finally, move on to the “finisher” and perform one, all-out round.
Tip: not ready for full push ups? Do eccentric push ups instead which work the back of your arms in a whole other way.
Note: if you're only using resistance bands. Instead of lowering the weight on the dropsets simply perform 15 repetitions of curls and skull crushers (here's how to do skull crushers with a band).
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Other Fitness Tips To Help Your Goals
- How to do a wall push up
- 7 exercises to improve your push up
- At home shoulder workout no equipment
- The best back exercises
- The ultimate guide to working out at home
- How to progress the intensity of home workouts (without adding weight)
- 15 minute upper body workout
- Shoulder mobility and why you need it
- Fitness tips
- At home, follow along workouts
Frequently Asked Questions About Biceps & Triceps
Exercises that strengthen the triceps like dips, pressdowns, tricep extensions, skull crushers, and close grip push ups are the best way to target the batwing area.
Toning flabby arms is a combination of building up the muscle in the upper arms (biceps and triceps) with strategic exercises and reducing body fat overall.
Working your arms doesn’t have to be boring! Switch up your bicep and tricep exercises and target them specifically.
Play around with different sets, reps, and training style also to bust through plateaus. Have fun, boost strength, and sculpt those arms!