The Best Exercise for Flabby Arms | Push Up

Learn how to do a push up

Learn the most effective exercise to tone those flabby bits under your arms, and also work your whole body. Easy to do at home with no equipment.

Women often tell me they feel embarrassed wearing a sleeveless dress or top, and watching those arms jiggle. Even using their hair dryer in the mirror is a major turn-off, when they can see the flabby bits hanging down. It’s the bane of many women.

We all want strong, toned arms, that look beautiful in any outfit. When I’m asked what is the best exercise for flabby arms, they are always surprised…it seems too simple.

Best Exercise for Flabby Arms:
The Push up

The Push up is an extremely effective upper body exercise. It mainly works the triceps (those flabby bits), pectorals (chest) and deltoids (shoulders). However, when done properly, it also works the abs, glutes (butt) and thighs!

It’s deemed a compound movement, because it uses so many muscles—so you will burn more calories than doing an isolation exercise such as the pec deck machine at the gym—I also believe the push up is also a lot safer, as I injured myself quite badly on the pec deck.

The push up is great for both men and women. I’ve taught many women to do Push ups, even when they considered themselves weak. It’s just takes a little practice to do the full version.

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Push up Workout Overview

  • Frequency: 2-3 times a week, with at least 1 rest day in-between.
  • Tempo: take 4 seconds to lower, and push back up in a second or less
  • Repetitions: 6-12 reps, depending on your strength levels.
  • Sets: 3
  • Rest: 3 minutes between sets if you are trying to build strength. But if you are already strong enough, and would like to work more on burning calories, then cut your rest to a minute or less.

Push up - woman - Niamh

How to do a Push up

  • Before you begin exercising, please do a warm up [CLICK HERE], to help prevent injury.
  • Start off lying face down on the floor, on your toes.
  • Hands flat on the floor, wrists just below your chest. Then move your hands a few inches further apart, so your forearms are vertical (this will ensure more even pressure on your hands and wrists). Imagine an arrow shape from one hand to your head, and back to the other hand.


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  • Keep your body rigid—squeeze your butt, and tilt your pelvis forward to contract your abs.
  • Push up with your arms until they are locked straight, breathing out as you do so.
  • Your hands should now be directly under your shoulders.

Continuing the Push up movement:

  • Keep your butt and abs squeezed, as you breathe in and take 4 seconds to lower your body close to the floor, then push back up.
  • Most people are taught to aim for their chest to nearly touch the floor – but in practice, I find that when people aim for this, they tend to sag their hips—it almost looks as though they are peeling themselves off the floor ☺
  • Instead, I aim for my nose to come close to the floor before pushing back up. This keeps my body much straighter. Please be careful—don’t attempt this version unless you can do it safely in a steady and controlled manner.
  • If you can lower safely in a controlled manner, but can’t push back up, then don’t worry—just carry on practicing the lowering part, and your strength will build. Later, add a 1 or 2 second hold when you’re just an inch or so above the floor. Eventually you will surprise yourself and push up 🙂  It’s such an achievement when it happens.

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Variations to the Push up

Easier version: Knee Push up

  • If this exercise is too difficult and you can’t control the lowering in the toes to the floor version, you can make it much easier by doing it on your knees, with your legs bent towards your butt.
  • If you find it too hard to push up, then just work on taking 4 seconds to lower. Then add a 1 second hold when you’re only an inch from the floor, and eventually you will be able to push back up.
  • Remember to create a rigid straight-line from your knees to your head, whilst you squeeze your abs and butt before you lower.

More difficult version: Elevated Push up

  • It’s the same as the regular Push up, but with your toes on a flat, elevated surface, such as a bench.
  • It still works your triceps hard, but some of the tension shifts to your upper chest and shoulders.
  • The higher the surface, the more difficult it becomes.

For more triceps action: Diamond Push up

  • You can place even more tension on your triceps by putting your hands on the floor in the centre of your body, with your thumbs and index fingers touching, to form a diamond shape.

So there you have it. There are so many other Push up variations you can try.

I’d love to hear from you, so please drop me a comment in the box below.
Thanks, George x

  • Women: let me know when you manage to achieve a strict ‘toes to the floor’ push.
  • What other variations of the push up do you regularly do?
About George D. Choy 92 Articles
Personal Trainer and Calisthenics Instructor at Gymnacity in Oxted, Surrey, UK. Fit over 45. Dad with 2 energetic kids 😄 Passionate about helping people to keep strong, slim and healthy.

1 Comment on The Best Exercise for Flabby Arms | Push Up

  1. Well done Alisha.
    I managed to do a proper full push up this week as well after what seems a lifetime (ok a few months) of trying! I know it doesn’t sound amazing to anyone else but believe me it’s a real achievement.

    It has boosted my confidence and proves to me not anyone else, that I am getting stronger and fitter. Thank you George. Couldn’t of done it without your encouragement.

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