It's that time of year when summer clothes start to make their way out of our wardrobes. And while we're excited about the sunshine, we're not always thrilled about the prospect of exposing certain "problem areas" on our bodies.
The biceps and triceps can be such areas, especially for women. Over the years, these muscles tend to become slack, and if they are not stimulated, the result is what has become known informally as "bingo wings" which is a layer of skin, sometimes accompanied by a little fat, which settles around the triceps. But the good news is there is always something you can do about it.
Here are the most effective fitness exercises, nutritional recommendations and beauty treatments proposed by Aspria experts to successfully tone & sculpt your upper arms.
Strengthen your arms with dumbbells and bodyweight workouts
"Bingo wings" are linked to a lack of tone in the triceps, which are activated when you extend your arm above your head, a movement we rarely make. Florent Rivault, Wellbeing Manager at the Aspria Brussels Royal La Rasante, explains:
"It's an active and fast muscle, so to tone it, you need to work it under load. This means choosing a heavy enough dumbbell that you can do the exercise 10 to 12 times at most. If you can do more, the weight is too light. You can do a lot of repetitions with a lighter weight, but the results will be mediocre; this is a mistake that many people make”.
Here are the best exercises Florent recommends:
"Don't hesitate to integrate these into functional training to get even more benefits".
Overhead dumbbell extensions are a good exercise option. Standing or sitting with a dumbbell in each hand, and ensuring your abs are tight, extend your arms over your head with your elbows close to your ears. Keeping your elbows in place, bend your arms back (behind your head) and then raise them to the starting position. Do 3 sets of 12 reps.
Another good option is the triceps kick-back. Standing, lean your torso forward so that it is almost parallel to the floor. Engage your core and keep your head, neck and spine aligned. Place one hand on your thigh for support and hold the weight in the other hand.
Keep your upper arm (above the elbow) fixed to the side of your body and, as you exhale, slowly extend the lower part of the weight-bearing arm until the whole arm forms a straight line. Hold for a few seconds at the top of the movement, then return to the starting position.
You can also do this exercise while placing one knee on an exercise bench. Do 3 sets of 12 reps with each arm.
The dip is a flexion and extension movement of the arms, similar to push-ups. However, it is a much more accessible movement. A simple chair and your body weight are all you need to perform it.
Stand with your back to a solid, stable chair, bend your knees as if you were sitting in a vacuum, and place both hands on the front edge of the seat. The heels are planted on the floor and do not move during the exercise. The trunk remains straight. With elbows pointing backwards, bend them and move down. A 90° angle between the arm and the forearm is the limit. Push back without using your legs while breathing in. Do 3 sets of 12 reps.
Watch your diet and lifestyle
Diet plays a huge role in the appearance of your skin. Eat good quality protein at every meal - lean meat, eggs, quality dairy products, fish - and make sure your fat intake is made up of good fats, i.e. omega 3, 6 and 9. Omega 3 and 6 are found in salmon, sardines, mackerel, herring, trout, fresh tuna, flaxseed, walnuts, seaweed, hempseed, chia seeds. Omega 9 is found in foods such as avocados, olives, olive oil, almonds, sunflower seeds, halibut and mackerel.
Also, don’t forget to drink at least two litres of water a day to keep your skin soft and hydrated.
And equally important, make sure you get quality sleep to help reduce levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Cortisol contributes to the breakdown of collagen in our skin, and is therefore one of the causes of sagging skin.
Mélanie Debecker, Head of Spa at Aspria, is very reassuring about the solutions:
"Endermology is a mechanical stimulation of the skin cells. It can clearly help you to fight against this slackening by redensifying the skin and resculpting this specific area of the arm."
The skin is a living organ whose cellular activity slows down as we age. The decrease in collagen and elastin production leads to a loss of skin substance and gradual aging signs. In this case, it manifests in a slackening of the upper arm contours.
The LPG endermology machine allows the skin to be redensified by delivering micro beats to the skin's surface to deeply stimulate the youth cells (fibroblasts), which restart their natural production of collagen and elastin. The skin will then be more defined, visibly smoother and more toned.
It is also possible to re-sculpt this specific area of the arm using endermology. Through mechanical palpating and rolling movements, the fat stored in the fat cells and the water retained around them can be displaced by following the long shape of the triceps.
“It is important to combine endermology with the proposed weight training exercises in order to eliminate these liquids and toxins”
There is no magic solution to tone your upper arms overnight, but there are many ways to tackle this goal. And a holistic approach is essential to achieve visible results in the long-term. Do you want to benefit from our experts professional support everyday? Why not book a tour here.