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OCT 11, 2023

Getting Rid of Underarm Fat: Top 7 Best Exercises

It can be a real challenge to tone your underarm area. But it is possible to shape those arms with the right exercises and determination.

While on your body toning journey there are few more stubborn areas to tackle than underarm fat. And even though we’re publishing this article in October, it’s fair to say no one wants bat wings; regardless of how close we are to Halloween. So for those looking to get rid of this underarm fat, what’s the solution? Well, firstly, it's important to understand that regular and specific exercises are key when we want to shape and strengthen this area, so let’s talk about it.

What is Underarm Fat?

Our body, in its vast wisdom, chooses specific areas for fat accumulation, with the underarms being one such depository. From an evolutionary standpoint, these fat deposits might have served a protective role, but those days are long gone and technology has left us with a genetic leftover that many seek to reduce or eliminate.

Common Causes of Underarm Fat

Factors leading to underarm fat accumulation vary. With the most common causes including genetics, age, and overall body weight. For many women, hormonal fluctuations also play a role. Consuming a diet high in sugars and fats without an accompanying workout further exacerbates this fat deposition.

Why is Underarm Fat a Concern for Many?

Like any form of self analysis, there are several reasons people find underarm fat unpleasant or unappealing.

Aesthetic Reasons

Whether for fashion, physical activity, or it’s just too hot, there are several occasions when you’re expected to get your arms out. And for some, not having toned arms can feel uncomfortable. There’s an aesthetic that everyone is after - whether that’s slender arms or bulging muscles - and attaining that ideal can instil a sense of confidence.

Physical Discomfort

Chafing is a common grievance, especially during rigorous activities or in hotter climates. And constant friction can cause irritation, making transformative exercises, workouts, or even daily tasks cumbersome.

Health Considerations

Beyond aesthetics and comfort, there's all important health concerns. A high body fat ratio, which underarm fat can contribute to, correlates with several health risks.

Benefits of Reducing Underarm Fat

Improved Appearance and Body Contours

Reducing underarm fat can dramatically enhance your shape, with more sculpted and contoured arms feeling like a statement.

Enhanced Mobility and Reduced Friction

Obviously, with less fat, there’s more room to move. And more room means a reduction in friction. All of which ensures smoother movements, particularly during exercises.

Boosted Self-Confidence

Self worth comes from within but can be enhanced with exercise. Feeling good in your skin and confident in how you look isn’t just a fantasy, it can be realized with hard work and dedication.

The Role of Diet and Lifestyle

  • Eating Clean: The path to toned underarms isn't just about exercises; it's integrally linked to diet. Including proteins, fibers, and healthy fats while avoiding sugary and fatty foods can expedite fat-burning.

  • The Hydration Factor: Drinking water isn't more than just quenching thirst. Adequate hydration aids in fat metabolism, facilitating the journey to lose that underarm flab.

  • Sleep and Stress: Never underestimate the power of a good night's sleep and a stress-free life. They play indirect yet vital roles in fat accumulation and weight management.

Top 7 Best Exercises For Underarm Fat

If you find yourself shying away from sleeveless outfits or feeling self conscious about that little extra flab on your underarms, you’re not alone. So many of us see parts of our physique we’re not happy with and search the internet for ways to get rid of them. Thankfully, the answer isn’t as drastic as you may think. All you need to overhaul this stubborn area is the right targeted exercises, will power, and determination. So let’s get you off on the right path, here’s the exercises you should focus on to get the arms you want.

1. Push-ups

Strengthening the pectoral and tricep muscles. Push-ups are not just for the chest. These are some of the best exercises for underarm fat when executed correctly.

How to do a pushup

  • Start in a plank position with hands placed shoulder-width apart on the ground. Your body should form a straight line from head to heels.

  • Lower your body towards the ground by bending your elbows, keeping them close to your body.

  • Push through your hands, extending your arms to return to the starting position.

  • Ensure your core is engaged throughout the movement.

2. Tricep dips

Isolating the underarm region. Have you ever wondered which exercise truly zeroes in on the underarm area? Look no further than tricep dips.

How to do a tricep dips

  • Sit on the edge of a sturdy chair or bench.

  • Place your hands next to your hips with your fingers pointing forward.

  • Move your hips off the bench and walk your feet out a bit.

  • Bend your elbows and lower your body until your arms are at a 90-degree angle.

  • Press through your palms to push yourself back to the starting position.

3. Dumbbell side raises

Enhancing shoulder definition. While the primary focus of dumbbell side raises is the shoulders, they play a pivotal role in improving shoulder definition and indirectly working the triceps.

How to do dumbbell side raises

  • Stand upright with a dumbbell in each hand, arms by your side.

  • With a slight bend in your elbows, raise the dumbbells out to the side until they're at shoulder height.

  • Slowly lower them back down to your sides.

4. Plank to side plank

Working your core and underarms. Engage your core, shoulders, and underarms with this dynamic move. This one is also considered one of the best exercises for underarm fat.

How to do plank-to-side plank

  • Begin in a standard plank position.

  • Shift your weight onto your left hand, rotating your body and raising your right arm towards the ceiling, forming a side plank.

  • Hold for a moment, then return to the regular plank position.

  • Repeat on the other side.

5. Bicep curls with resistance bands

Engaging the whole arm. Although the primary muscle group here is the biceps, the tension from resistance bands forces stabilizing muscles, including parts of your triceps, into action.

How to do bicep curls with resistance bands

  • Stand on the middle of a resistance band, holding an end in each hand.

  • With palms facing forward, curl your hands towards your shoulders, flexing the biceps.

  • Slowly return to the starting position.

6. Pilates boxing

Toning the shoulders and triceps. No, you don't need to enter a boxing ring for this. Pilates boxing focuses on controlled, slow punches, allowing you to deeply engage and tone the shoulders and triceps.

How to do pilates boxing

  • Stand with feet hip-width apart.

  • Punch one arm forward with power, keeping the other arm by your side.

  • As you retract the punching arm, punch out with the opposite arm.

  • Engage the core and ensure fluid movement.

7. Bench presses

Power workout for chest and arms. Often classified as a chest workout, bench presses are also immensely effective for the underarms.How to do bench presses

    • Lie on a bench with a dumbbell in each hand, arms extended over your chest.

    • Slowly lower the dumbbells down to either side of your chest.

    • Press the dumbbells back to the starting position, engaging your chest and triceps.

The Importance of Consistency

These exercises offer optimal results when practiced with regularity. It's essential to integrate them into your fitness routine, ensuring you're working on the underarm area multiple times a week.

  • Remember, while exercises are crucial, a balanced diet and overall cardio workouts also play a significant role in reducing body fat.

  • Stay consistent, and over time, you'll notice the underarm area becoming firmer and more defined.

Safety First: Avoiding Injuries while Exercising

As you jump into these exercises, warming your body up for these intensive workouts is essential. So be sure to recognize your body's signals; after all, there's a fine line between pushing your endurance and straining your muscles. And don't forget the importance of rest days. They're vital for recovery and muscle building.

Supplementing Exercise with Treatments

While exercises are effective, some individuals opt for non-invasive procedures like ultrasound and cool sculpting. These treatments promise quicker results. However, weighing the benefits against the risks is vital before considering these options.


The path to toned underarms that are free from excessive armpit fat, combines targeted exercises, a balanced diet, and patience. Remember, each body is unique, and the time it takes to achieve your desired underarms may differ from another's. That said, with persistence and the right methods, the results will speak for themselves.


Can beginners also attempt tricep dips?

Absolutely! Beginners can modify tricep dips by bending their knees. They can progress to the full version for maximum impact as strength and endurance increase.

How heavy should the dumbbells be for side raises?

Start with a weight that challenges you but doesn't compromise form. It's advisable to begin light, gradually increasing as your strength improves.

Are there modifications to the plank-to-side plank for those with lower back issues?

You can perform this exercise with your knees on the ground, reducing strain on the lower back while still engaging the arms and core.

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Written by Matthew Stogdon

Matt has been writing for two decades, across print and digital media. He is also an accomplished filmmaker, with several accolades under his belt.

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