By Marina Aagaard, MFE
Once again I was asked the question: Can I get rid of these grandma arms?
The short answer: In part, you don’t really want the other alternative, do you?
A more elaborate answer and a super exercise follow below.
One of the questions I have been asked the most – a top 3 question – as a problem page expert and trainer for 25 years, has been asked by women, even young women:
“How do I get rid of my ‘grandma arms’?”
Aarrghhh! I really dislike this expression often seen in fitness and women’s magazines. There are sooooooo many superfit grandmas and equally many unfit younger women …
However, as a trainer I aim to help, especially as many articles and film clips are filled with inefficient and waste-of-time ‘exercises for women’, so here is my answer:
Grandma Arm Make-over Method
Grandma Arms is a condition, that is a combination of untrained muscles, excess fat, and loose skin in the triceps area. It takes years to get Grandma Arms and they are not easy to get rid off (if at all). You need at least three approaches:
Skincare: Give yourself a good dry skin brushing with a sponge or soft brush immediately before having a bath; this stimulates blood circulation and makes the skin look healthier. Sauna and massage also stimulates the skin and blood flow.
Diet: Diet is an important factor for a healthy look; eat whole grain, vegetables and good oils as this helps in preventing accumulating fat and improves digestion and fat loss.
Exercise: Exercise, cardio as well strength training, is an effective beauty regimen for the arms and the rest of the body. Exercise increases blood flow and fat burning and tones the muscles – and arms – for a firmer, healthier look.
To lose fat, and get into shape, a general recommendation is ‘cardiovascular exercise’ for 3-5 times a week, 30 minutes at a moderate to high intensity (exertion), but for a marked fat loss, you may even more.
For a fast marked fat loss the intensity – and possibly number of weekly workouts – should be increased; you need to work intensely, break a sweat for 30 minutes, or maybe increase duration to one hour still with a fairly high intensity. What is best for you?
This depends on your health, fitness level and preference.
In order to tone your arms, you need strength training – and no, women in general do not get oversized muscles from lifting weights.
When you strength train your muscles, they become strong and toned; the arms (and shoulders) will look shapelier.
One of the best and fastest methods for toning the arms effectively are push-ups, which everybody can do, it is just a matter of getting started!
Starting position: If you prefer, if necessary, choose the easiest version initially:
Stand 2-3 feet from a wall. Put your hands shoulder-width apart on the wall at chest level.
1. Bend the arms, elbows should point straight to the back – not to the side. The goal is to bend the arms to a 90 degree angle or a little more.
2. Extend the arms and push back to the starting position; straighten the arms without locking the elbows.
3. Repeat 8-12 times. If you want more, have faster results, perform this series 1-2 times more with a short rest-pause in between: 1-3 sets (series) of 8-12 repetitions.
Push-ups with incline body position; easier.
(Outdoor fitness at Cap Formentor, Mallorca).
Next level: If this is too easy, put your hands on the edge of a (stable) table or a sofa, so the body is closer to the ground.
Advanced level: Perform the exercise with the hands on the ground. First with the lower legs on the floor, then on the toes, body in a straight line.
Top tip to faster results: Do not stick with push-ups on the knees, the version typically recommended for women. Do push-ups on hands and toes for extra core training. If you think “that’s way too hard?!” Then the answer is “no”. Who ever said, that you need to go all the way down (and up) every time? You can ‘cheat’ and still have plenty of work (results); bend and extend the arms only a few degrees, that is fine for starters. Over time increase the range of motion.
Try this and two other brilliant push-up variations; see how in clip below.