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7 Best Exercises For Armpit Fat (From a Personal Trainer)

Isaac Robertson
Published by Isaac Robertson
Fact checked by Donald Christman, BHSc FACT CHECKED
Last updated: December 3, 2021

Armpit fat occurs in both men and women, though it’s more common in the latter.

Excess armpit fat can be caused by various reasons such as obesity, aging, hormones, lifestyle habits, etc.

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.

Summary of Our Key Findings

  • Fat in the armpits is commonly found in adults and predominantly in women.
  • Fat in the armpits is heavily influenced by genetics. Though in some cases, armpit “fat” may result from extra skin and this can be medically treated.
  • In most cases, however, a clean diet, plenty of water, and regular exercise play a major role in getting rid of fat in the armpits.

Exercises That Help Burn Armpit Fat

man jogging, and a woman on a cycling machine

So, the reality is this: no exercise burns armpit fat on the spot [1].

Research shows that there is no such thing as spot reduction of fat. This means those belly crunches don’t make you lose belly fat. Neither will arm exercises burn that underarm fat.

So the best way to get rid of fat in the armpit area is to lose body weight in general. Burning fat can be done through exercise and cardio.

In other words, a full-body workout can technically burn armpit fat and have a significant effect on its appearance.

Exercise and Cardio

Regular cardio and exercise should be your first options when aiming to reduce armpit fat and lose body weight in general.

Choose from one of the various options for cardio activities:

  • Brisk-Walking
  • Running
  • Cycling
  • Swimming
  • Stationary Bike
  • Elliptical
  • Jump Rope
  • Burpees
  • Jumping Jacks

You’re not limited to these options. If you’re up for it and have the strength and flexibility, try doing HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) a couple of times a week.

If you’re aiming for weight loss, it’s necessary to aim for 30 minutes of cardio every day [2].

Cardio exercises burn fat and excessive calories from various places around the body (depending on your genetics), so intense cardio is bound to target your underarms eventually.

Now in addition to cardio, you should consider spending some time doing weight training to gain strength, build muscle, and burn extra calories.

Working on your arm muscles will lead to muscle hypertrophy which leads to more muscle mass. Bigger muscles on your arm mean more definition leading to a less “fatty” look for the underarm.

Building muscle also increases your metabolic activity, which in turn boosts fat loss. How much fat and from where will depend upon your body type and genetics.

Our best exercises for armpit fat:

1. Supermans

This exercise targets your shoulders and core muscles.

  1. Lie face down with your body outstretched.
  2. Arch your back in a U-position, raising your hands and legs as high as you can while keeping the body straight.
  3. Engage the entire body, and hold for one minute.
  4. Repeat for sets.

2. Push-Ups

man in a pushup position

Push-ups are a fantastic upper body workout.

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

  1. Start on the floor in a plank position with palms on the floor shoulder-width apart and arms straight.
  2. Position your head to look straight down.
  3. Stay on your toes; keep your body straight and feet close together. Do not bend your knees.
  4. Slowly lower yourself by bending your elbows till your chest hits the floor. Keep your core engaged. Do not flare out your elbows as this puts pressure on your shoulders.
  5. Push yourself up and slowly return to the starting position (plank position) with your arms straight, squeezing the chest muscles.
  6. Repeat. 

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

3. Dumbbell Front Raises

  1. Hold a dumbbell in each hand.
  2. Stand straight with both arms on your sides. Keep your knees slightly bent.
  3. Slowly raise the left arm up forward to shoulder height, keeping the right arm down.
  4. Lower the left arm, and repeat the same for the right arm.
  5. Repeat for reps.

4. Shoulder Press

  1. Grab a pair of dumbbells or a barbell.
  2. Bring them to your collarbone, holding them with your palms facing away from you.
  3. Lift till your arms straighten, and bring down to your collarbone level.
  4. Repeat for reps.

5. Planks With Shoulder Taps

man doing plank

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

  1. Get into the top of the push-up position, arms straight with hands shoulder-width apart.
  2. You may place your feet wider than in a push-up for more stability.
  3. Lift your left hand while slightly leaning on the other arm for balance, and touch your right shoulder.
  4. Repeat the same for the other arm.
  5. Repeat till both arms feel the burn.

6. Lying Chest Fly

  1. Grab a pair of dumbbells and find a bench.
  2. Lie down on a bench, keeping both the feet flat on the floor with knees bent. Your shoulder blades should be pressed against the bench.
  3. Hold both dumbbells above your chest, with palms facing each other, keeping the elbows slightly bent.
  4. Lower the dumbbells to their respective sides in a flying motion, bringing them parallel to the floor and perpendicular to your torso. Do not lift your feet off the floor.
  5. Once your arms are parallel to the floor, lift them back to the starting position.
  6. Squeeze the chest.

7. Pull-Ups

woman in a pull up position

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

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

  1. Grab a pull-up bar with both arms extended, palms facing away from you.
  2. Get into a dead hang.
  3. Pull yourself up to get your chin above the bar. Pause briefly.
  4. Slowly bring yourself down to a dead hang (starting position) and repeat.

The best part about all these exercises is that they require minimal equipment. There are many other armpit fat workouts out there. These exercises might be challenging at first, but consistent practice improves speed, coordination, and strength. Over time, you can slowly increase the number of reps and intensity or try other exercises to avoid plateauing.

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Other Ways To Get Rid of Armpit Fat?

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

Other than the exercises we mentioned above, here are some more ways to rid yourself of that stubborn fat in the armpits.

Keep in mind that you’ll not see results overnight. It will take hard work and consistency.

Diet and Lifestyle Choices

If you eat doughnuts, you’re going to look like one. Good eating habits and lowering calorie intake are something most people tend to neglect.

You can exercise all you want, but if you’re taking in more calories than you burn, that fat in the armpits isn’t going anywhere.

A clean, balanced, and healthy diet will reduce fat in your body, which then reduces fat in the armpits.

To lose weight and reduce fat, add the following foods to your diet: fresh vegetables, grains, nuts, lean meats, fish, and superfoods like chia seeds, amaranth, and quinoa.

Other Strategies

The following options are best for two scenarios.

Firstly, if you’ve tried everything above and nothing works, and secondly if the underarm fat is not fat in the first place but loose skin.

Here are some options:

  • Ultrasound Skin Tightening: This is a relatively new treatment that has shown promising results. Using a handheld device, high-frequency sound waves are delivered to the underarm to boost collagen and heal, firm, and tighten the skin [3].
  • Microneedling: A micro-needling session will boost collagen as well as contour and remodel the skin.
  • Coolsculpting: This procedure freezes fat cells to make the skin tighter and give it a smoother contour [4].
  • Liposuction: Liposuction sucks out fat from unwanted areas.

Please speak to your healthcare professional regarding these.

What Causes Armpit Fat?

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

There are several factors that affect one’s level of fat in the armpits. Genetics and heredity heavily influence fat distribution [5]. So, fat armpits are not simply caused by having stagnant or inactive arms.

In some cases, a person may have little to no fat in the armpits but only the appearance thereof.

Below are some causes of armpit fat:

Obesity or Being Overweight

Simply put, the more fat you gain, the more likely some of it will form under your arms.

What part of your underarm, how much fat, and at what point will it get stored in your underarms will be influenced by your genetics.

A sedentary lifestyle makes you accumulate fat.

Genetics

This is one cause that is out of the person’s control.

Depending on certain skin conditions passed down your family or how your body is structured, underarm fat may be more prevalent or dominating than in other parts. Other issues include gynecomastia, aka male breast tissue.

Fortunately, there are several cosmetic procedures to treat this.

Bad Posture

Keeping a bad posture can give you the appearance of having fat underarms when you have little to no fat in the area.

Lack of mobility, sitting in a bad position, and lack of exercise can lead to bad posture.

The good news is that one can easily correct this through exercise and frequent stretching.

Hormonal Imbalance

Specific hormonal changes during puberty, pregnancy and menopause can cause the breast to swell up and accentuate the skin folds under the arms.

Related article:

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.

Final Thoughts on Armpit Fat

As embarrassing as fat in the armpits can be, know that it is not a chronic condition and it is possible to remove it through exercise, diet, and medical procedures.

Like anything else, results don’t come easily.

As mentioned earlier, hard work and consistency with diet and exercise are necessary to get the results you desire. Research different exercises and diet plans to see which works best for you.

Since prevention is better than the cure, make sure you get your daily exercise in for the day, consume healthy calories within your limits, drink lots of water, take care of your skin, and get plenty of rest each night. Your body and your armpits will thank you.


References:

  1. https://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/features/can-you-really-control-where-you-lose-fat#1
  2. https://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/news/20120824/30-minutes-daily-exercise-shed-pounds
  3. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24267423/
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4079633/
  5. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/101010133620.htm

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