Summer challenge to tighten flabby arms

The back of the upper arm is a problem area that’s often flabby. The muscle here is the triceps and it doesn’t get worked a lot in every day life. That’s because it’s job is to straighten the arm and usually when we do this, we have gravity helping us. Unless you have an job where you do a lot of physical work, or you exercise with weights, your triceps probably aren’t very toned. This challenge is to tighten flabby arms by using two exercises that make the triceps work hard.

Exercises to tighten flabby arms – shoulder press and push up

Tighten flabby arms workout routine

Info box

In both of these exercises, the arms straighten under resistance, making the triceps work hard.

For the first half of the challenge you do wall push ups, then for the second half knee push ups. The reps are lower for the knee push ups, because it’s a much harder exercise.

You’ll need some sort of weights for the shoulder press. A set of hand weights weighing between 2-5lb (1-2kg) is ideal. If you don’t have hand weights, then use bottles of water.

You’ll also need cushioning for you knees when doing the knee push ups. If you don’t have an exercise mat, then use a folded blanket or something similar.

Wall push ups

Women's exercises for flabby arms

  1. Stand at arms length from the wall, feet hip distance apart.
  2. Place your palms on the wall at chest height, a bit wider than shoulder distance.
  3. Allow your arms to bend at your elbows as you lean towards the wall, keeping your body in a straight line.
  4. Push yourself away from the wall back to your starting position.

Knee push ups

Women's exercises for flabby arms

  1. Start by getting into an all 4s position on the floor, with your hands below your shoulders.
  2. Now walk your hands away from your legs, at the same time as you lift your feet into the air. You are aiming for a position in which your body and upper legs form a straight line and the top part of your knee is in contact with the floor.
  3. Bend your arms at the elbows so that your head and upper body lower towards the floor. Look down at the floor so that your head stays in line with your body.
  4. When your chin is an inch from the floor, reverse the movement and come back up to your starting position.

Shoulder press

Exercises to tighten flabby arms - shoulder press

  1. Stand with your feet slightly wider than hip distance.
  2. Start with your elbows bent and hands either side of your shoulders, palms facing forwards.
  3. Extend your elbows, lifting the weights above your head.
  4. When your arms are straight, reverse the movement and bring your hands to the starting position.

Warm up and safety

Before you start, warm up your shoulders with few arm circles. Stand with your feet about hip distance and then rotate your arms all the way round in front of your body. Do 3-5 in both inward and outward directions.

Arm circles

Please read these general safety guidelines before you start the challenge.

Challenge schedule

These are the number of reps of the exercises to do on each day of the challenge. See below for how to get a download of a PDF printable version.

Tighten flabby arms exercise chart PDF printable

Get a printable copy of the tighten flabby arms challenge schedule

Sign up for My Fitness Planner updates and get the free printable download link e-mailed to you:

After you sign up, you’ll get 2 e-mails, one will have a link to your printable download and the other will be a welcome e-mail.

If the e-mails haven’t turned up within a few minutes, please check your junk folder, as some service providers have very strict filters.

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Challenge FAQs

The first day of the challenge should feel like it needs a bit of effort, but not too much. If you really struggle with day 1, then you probably won’t get through the challenge. The idea with the challenges on this site is that the first few days get you used to the exercises and the daily habit. Usually about halfway through the challenge the effort levels start to increase more quickly.

Avoid challenges that increase effort levels very quickly – they’re simply not realistic. It’s unlikely that, for example, you would be able to increase how many squats you are able to do by 10 a day for 30 days, or increase your plank hold time by 10 seconds a day for 30 days.

In general, allowing muscles 48 hours between workouts is good because it gives our bodies time to recover and adapt. Challenges are generally short workouts and for a limited period of time (usually 30 days), so not having many rest days won’t be a problem. With challenges that alternate exercises each day, it’s not an issue, because you’re using different muscles.

Fitness improvements don’t always happen in a predictable way. Sometimes we’re just not as strong or energetic for no apparent reason, or we hit a plateau. If you get to a point where you’re struggling to complete the day’s challenge, you can try one of the following:

  • Take a couple of days off and start again where you left off
  • Do the challenge on alternate days rather than every day
  • Instead of increasing the effort every day, stay at the same level for 2 or 3 days and then go onto the next day of the challenge

Obviously these solutions mean the challenge will last longer, but you’ll still benefit from doing it.