7 Best Exercises For Underarm Fat (Free Training Plan) 

James Cunningham, BSc, CPT
Published by James Cunningham, BSc, CPT | Staff Writer & Senior Coach
Last updated: December 28, 2023
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Armpit fat occurs in both men and women, though it’s more common in the latter.

Plenty of clients I’ve worked with dread excess fat in their armpits, as it can be stubborn despite exercise and eating habits.

But I’ve also noticed that if the client puts in the necessary work, they almost always get rid of it.

If you want to know what it takes to lose fat in the armpit area, read on.

Quick Summary

  • To reduce underarm fat, combine cardio with exercises like supermans, push-ups, and dumbbell front raises, focusing on overall weight loss.
  • Targeted arm exercises, including pull-ups and shoulder presses, are crucial for developing muscle, which in turn helps diminish the appearance of underarm fat by increasing muscle mass.
  • WebMD emphasizes that 30 minutes of daily cardio is essential for weight loss, indirectly contributing to the reduction of underarm fat.
  • In my coaching experience, patience and consistent effort are vital in the journey to reduce underarm fat, with diet and lifestyle changes playing a significant role.

Exercises That Help Burn Armpit Fat

man jogging, and a woman on a cycling machine

Contrary to popular belief, no specific exercise can target armpit fat alone, as spot reduction is a myth debunked by WebMD [1].

Furthermore, the underarm area, especially in women, is stubborn due to alpha-2 receptors in the thick subcutaneous tissue that resist fat burning [2].

Luckily, there are methods to help you get rid of it.

Cardio and Resistance Training

In my professional practice, I advise that the key to diminishing armpit fat lies in overall weight loss, combining cardio with exercise.

Full-body workouts can gradually reduce underarm fat, together with regular cardio activities like:

  • Brisk walking
  • Running
  • Cycling
  • Swimming
  • HIIT

WebMD recommends 30 minutes of cardio daily for weight loss [3].

Alongside cardio, focus on weight training.

In my coaching experience, enhancing arm muscle strength not only defines the arms but also accelerates the metabolic rate, fostering fat loss. Yet, it's vital to remember that outcomes vary with individual body types and genetic makeup.

And don't forget to rest and replenish with water, healthy meals, and your favorite post-workout supplements after each workout.

From my background in sport and exercise science and practical coaching experience, I recommend the following exercises specifically tailored to target underarm fat:

1. Supermans

kneeling superman

This exercise targets your shoulders and core muscles.

  1. Lie face down, body fully extended.
  2. Arch your back into a U-shape, lifting your arms and legs while keeping straight.
  3. Engage your body and hold for one minute.
  4. Repeat in sets.

2. Push-Ups

protracted push up

Push-ups are a fantastic upper-body workout.

They target muscle groups like the chest muscles or pectorals, the deltoids, the triceps, the abdominals, the upper arms, and the wing muscles.

  1. Start in a plank position, hands shoulder-width apart, looking down.
  2. Keep your body straight on your toes without bending your knees.
  3. Lower yourself by bending elbows to the floor and keeping elbows in.
  4. Push back up, return to the plank, and repeat.

You can experiment with a slightly wider grip and see what works for you.

3. Dumbbell Front Raises

man doing alternating dumbbell front raises
  1. Stand with a dumbbell in each hand, arms at your sides, and knees slightly bent.
  2. Raise one arm to shoulder height, then lower and switch arms.
  3. Repeat alternately.

4. Shoulder Press

Woman doing a seated shoulder press
    1. Hold dumbbells or a barbell at collarbone level, palms facing out.
    2. Lift until arms are straight, then lower to collarbone.
    3. Repeat the motion.

5. Planks With Shoulder Taps

In addition to working your chest, this exercise will also work your shoulders.

  1. Start in a push-up position, hands shoulder-width apart.
  2. Widen your feet for stability.
  3. Lift one hand and tap the opposite shoulder.
  4. Alternate hands and repeat until fatigued.

6. Lying Chest Fly

Lying Chest Fly
  1. Lie on a bench with dumbbells, feet flat on the floor.
  2. Press the shoulder blades against the bench.
  3. Hold dumbbells above your chest, palms facing each other.
  4. Lower your arms to the sides, parallel to the floor.
  5. Lift back to the starting position and squeeze the chest.

7. Pull-Ups

Wide Grip Pull Up

These are excellent for building great upper arms and upper back muscles and developing great upper body strength in general.

It also helps in improving your posture. Good posture, in turn, will make your underarm skin less revealing.

  1. Grab a bar with extended arms, palms facing out.
  2. Hang in a dead-hang position.
  3. Pull up until your chin is above the bar, then pause.
  4. Lower back to the starting position and repeat.

Each exercise is designed to effectively target specific muscle groups, with minimal equipment required. Consistent practice will enhance speed, coordination, and strength.

Over time, you can increase reps and intensity or vary exercises to avoid plateauing.

youtube

Other Ways To Get Rid of Armpit Fat?

hand view of a person holding a syringe and a plate of salad

As I always emphasize to my clients, reducing armpit fat is a journey requiring patience and consistent effort - overnight results are unrealistic.

Diet and Lifestyle Choices

For effective fat loss, including underarm fat, adopting a healthy diet is crucial. Overeating, even while exercising, hinders fat reduction. Include foods like vegetables, grains, nuts, lean meats, fish, and superfoods to balance your diet.

Alternative Strategies

Reflecting on various cases, I sometimes suggest additional strategies when diet and exercise fall short or when addressing loose skin.

These include:

  • Ultrasound Skin Tightening: Boosts collagen, firms, and tightens underarm skin, as proven in Dermatologic Clinic studies [4].
  • Microneedling: Enhances collagen, reshaping the skin.
  • Coolsculpting: Freezes fat cells, leading to smoother skin, per Clinical, Cosmetical, and Investigational Dermatology [5].
  • Liposuction: Removes fat from targeted areas.

Please speak to your healthcare professional regarding these.

What Causes Underarm Fat?

man holding his back in pain, and a woman having a meal

Drawing on research, including insights from Massachusetts General Hospital, I educate my clients on the crucial role genetics and heredity play in fat distribution, notably impacting armpit fat [6].

Factors include:

  • Obesity: Increased body fat raises the likelihood of fat under the arms.
  • Genetics: Affects where your body stores fat, sometimes resulting in underarm fat.
  • Bad Posture: Can create the illusion of underarm fat.
  • Hormonal Changes: During puberty, pregnancy, and menopause, fat accumulation in the armpit area can occur.

Understanding these causes is key to addressing underarm fat effectively.

Related article: How to Lose Calf Fat?

FAQs

What is Armpit Fat?

Armpit fat, also called axillary fat, is fat that resembles a small pooch near the underarms. In women, it’s the fat that is separate from the breast, mostly seen in the armpit bra area.

Sometimes, it can be skin folds that could give the appearance of body fat.

Is It Possible to Get Rid of Armpit Fat?

Yes, it is possible to get rid of armpit fat, but it also depends on what you mean by it. If you’re talking about body fat, then diet and exercise will easily get rid of fat in the armpits.

However, if you’re talking about loose skin, it’s possible to have certain procedures to “sculpt” your underarms.


References:

  1. https://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/default.htm
  2. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/3034620/
  3. https://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/ss/slideshow-cardio-exercise-good-for-more-than-heart
  4. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24267423/
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4079633/
  6. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/101010133620.htm
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