How To Get Rid of Armpit Fat [Top 9 Sculpting Exercises]

Do you want to know how to get rid of armpit fat?

You’re in the right place!

After reading this post, you will learn:

  • What causes of armpit fat,
  • 3 simple strategies to help you lose it, and
  • 9 exercises to strengthen and develop the muscles near your underarms.

Let’s get started!

how-to-get-rid-of-arm-pit-fat

Disclaimer

***READ FIRST***

Although I am a doctor, I am not your doctor. This information is for informational purposes only and should not substitute the advice from your healthcare professional. All kinds of exercise and dietary changes are potentially dangerous, and those who do not seek counsel from the appropriate health care authority assume the liability of any injury which may occur. Please read my full Disclaimer for more information. Also, this post may contain affiliate links: meaning I may receive a commission if you use them.

Ok, moving on.

How Do I Get Rid Of Armpit Fat?

The only way to get rid of armpit fat is to decrease your overall body fat percentage.

Unfortunately, you won’t be able to decide exactly where your body will lose the fat from first.

While exercise can help tone the muscles of your back and upper arms, it won’t help you lose fat from there.

This is a common myth known as spot fat reduction. I.e, exercise will not help you lose fat from specific parts of your body.

exercises-for-arm-pit-fat

But all hope is not lost!

You can lose that pesky underarm bulge!

Let’s go over some strategies now.

How To Get Rid Of Armpit Fat Without Weights (or Exercise)

The number one strategy for getting rid of the armpit bulge does not rely on exercise.

The most important thing is to watch what you eat!

Your diet will make up more than 80% of your fat loss results.

You can exercise all you want, but you may never see progress if you don’t eat a healthy diet. All the calories you burn through exercise can easily be canceled out by poor food choices.

I go over this in a lot more detail in my post on losing fat.

With that said, exercise is something you should always consider as it has so many other benefits aside from fat loss.

Let’s go over them now.

How To Use Exercise To Target Your Bra Bulge

Exercise is another component that can help you achieve an improvement in the appearance of your armpit.

But not just any exercise.

All women should do some form of strength training!

Strength training can improve your body composition because it can help you:

Plus, it will improve your self-confidence!

But don’t forget: You cannot rely on exercise alone to target your armpit fat directly.

If you only had to pick one, start by focusing on improving your diet and consuming fewer calories.

For the remainder of this post, I will show you 9 exercises that will help you develop strength and lean muscle in the armpit area.

9 Effective Exercises That Target The Armpit Area

All of the exercises below are meant to target the outer chest, the lattisimus dorsi muscles, and the upper arms.

In order to target all of these muscle groups, we need to use compound exercises (i.e movements that train multiple muscle groups at once.)

Some of these exercises use weights, and some don’t. Find the ones that work best for you.

Let’s start.

Curl To Shoulder Press

The curl to shoulder press is a dual exercise that strengthens the biceps and the anterior shoulders. The overhead motion will also activate the chest muscles.

You can do it with dumbbells, or a resistance band.

Here are my favorite from Amazon.

Here’s what it looks like.

curl-to-shoulder-press
  • Grab two dumbbells and hold them at your sides with your hand supinated (palms forward).
  • Keeping your elbows stationary at your sides, curl the dumbbells up towards your shoulders.
  • At the top, rotate the dumbbells so that your palms are facing forward again.
  • From here, press the dumbbells straight overhead by locking out your elbows.
  • Slowly reverse the movement back down to your shoulders and then back down by your waist.

Repeat for 10-12 repetitions per set.


DB Press To Chest Fly

The next exercise is a combination of a dumbbell chest press and a fly. This will target the chest muscles as well as the muscles of the upper arm: (the anterior shoulders and triceps.)

You will need a set of dumbbells to do this exercise.

dumbbell-press-to-fly
  • Grab two dumbbells and lie down on the floor on your back, with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
  • Retract your scapulae, and bring the dumbbells by your chest with your triceps flat on the floor, and forearms perpendicular to the ground.
  • From here, press the dumbbells up towards the sky by locking out your elbows.
  • Next, begin letting your arms drop down towards your sides with your elbows relatively straight as if you are trying to hug a big tree.
  • Once the dumbbells reach the floor, slowly reverse the fly by bringing the dumbbells back together.
  • Lastly, bend your elbows to get back to the starting position.

Do 10-12 repetitions per set.


Dumbbell Pullovers

The dumbbell pullover is a simple exercise that targets the chest, the lattisimus dorsi, as well as the arms to a small extent.

Ideally, this exercise should be performed on a bench. But if you don’t have a bench, you can do it by placing something under your upper back to prop it off the floor.

Here’s what it looks like.

dumbbell-pullovers
  • Grab a single dumbbell, and hold it in your clenched fist up by your chest with your elbows bent.
  • Next, lie down on the bench, (or on the object propping your upper back off the floor).
  • From here, brace your core and posteriorly tilt your pelvis (so that your low back doesn’t arch).
  • Bring the dumbbell up toward the ceiling over your chest with your elbows locked out.
  • Then, bring the dumbbell back and over your head while keeping your elbows locked out.
  • Do this in a slow controlled fashion (at least 3 seconds).
  • Once the dumbbell is behind your head, slowly bring it back to the starting position above your chest.

Do 10-12 repetitions per set.


Those are the only exercises that use weights. The next few exercises will help you target the armpit area without weights.

Let’s get started.

Armpit Exercises Without Weights

Plank to side plank rotations

Next up is the plank to side plank. This exercise will strengthen your chest, shoulders, upper back, and your core muscles all at once.

Here’s what it looks like.

plank-to-side-plank

If this exercise is too challenging, you can do it from your knees!

  • Get into a tall plank position with your hands directly underneath your shoulders and your feet set at shoulder width.
  • Keep your core tight and your gluteus engaged, holding this position for 2 seconds.
  • From here, rotate to one side by stacking your feet together, and shifting all of your weight to one arm.
  • Rotate your other arm up toward the sky. Keeping your core tight and gluteus engaged, hold this position for 2 seconds.
  • Return back to the tall plank position, and then repeat the side plank on the opposite side.
  • Continue alternating between plank -> L side plank -> plank -> R side plank etc

Repeat for 6-8 repetitions per side.


Downward Dog To Upward Dog

The next exercise is the downward to upward dog. This exercise is very popular in yoga, especially because its a great movement for strength and flexibility.

downward-dog-to-upward-dog

This exercise will strengthen your chest, your upper back, your shoulders, and your triceps.

Here’s how to do it.

  • Get into a tall plank position with your hands directly underneath your shoulders and your feet set at shoulder width.
  • From here, bend at the hips and bring your butt up toward the sky while keeping your elbows and knees locked out.
  • You should feel a nice stretch in your upper back as well as your hamstring muscles.
  • Hold this position for 2-3 seconds, and then slowly return your hips back to neutral.
  • As you get back to the starting position, continue letting your hips drop toward the ground as your keep your elbows locked out.
  • At the end position, your upper thighs should be in contact with the ground as your upper back remains arched up supported by your extended arms. Hold this position for 2-3 seconds and continue repeating this cycle.

Do this cycle for 8-10 repetitions per set.


Incline Pushups To Plank Reverse Fly

Next up is the incline pushup to plank reverse fly. This is one of my favorite exercises as it combines two great movements into one.

incline-pushup-to-reverse-flyi

This move will train your chest, anterior shoulders, triceps, posterior shoulders, and upper back.

If this exercise is too challenging, you can do it from your knees.

Here’s how to do it:

  • Find a chair, ledge, or incline that is sturdy enough to support your full body weight.
  • Get into a push-up position by placing your hands on the incline with your feet set at shoulder width.
  • The taller the incline the easier the exercise.
  • Also, the wider you set your feet, the easier the exercise becomes.
  • From here, perform a push-up by tucking your elbows to a 45 degree angle from your body.
  • Keep your core tight and your glutes engaged the entire time.
  • Once your chest touches the floor/incline, reverse the movement by pressing back up and locking out your elbows.
  • Next, you are going to bring one hand up off the floor and toward your rib cage as if you are rowing an imaginary weight up.
  • You will have to balance yourself on just three points of contact.
  • Then, externally rotate that arm out to your side with a slight bend at the elbow to activate the upper back.
  • Return that arm back to the floor and repeat on the other side.
  • That is 1 repetition.

Do 8-10 repetitions per side.


Up and Down Plank

The up and down plank is a classic exercise that trains core stability while also strengthening all of the muscles near your armpit.

If this exercise is too challenging, you can do it from your knees.

up-and-down-plank
  • Get into a forearm plank position with your feet set at shoulder width.
  • Keep your core is tight and your glutes are engaged throughout the entire set.
  • Next, slowly transition into a straight arm plank, by extending one arm at a time.
  • Do this slowly to minimize any side-to-side swinging.
  • Do not let your hips sag or pike up into the air.
  • Continue alternating between a forearm plank and a straight arm plank in a smooth controlled fashion.

Do 10-12 repetitions.


Lateral Plank Walk

The lateral plank walk is a fun compound exercise that will challenge your core will strengthening all of the usual muscles we have been discussing.

Here’s what it looks like.

lateral-plank-walk
  • Get into a tall plank position with your hands directly underneath your shoulders and your feet set at shoulder width.
  • Next, I want you to pick up one hand and place it out wider than shoulder-width without bending your elbow.
  • As you are doing that, pick up the leg on the same side and also step it out to the side.
  • Then, lift your other hand and other leg and bring them closer to the hand/foot that you stepped out.
  • Continue doing this until you have taken 2-3 steps laterally to one side. Then repeat on the opposite side taking 2-3 steps laterally in the other direction.

Do this exercise for 30 seconds.


Towel Lat Pulldowns

Last up is the towel lat pull down. This exercise is great for strengthening the lattisimus dorsi muscle while improving upper back strength and mobility.

You will need a towel to do this exercise.

This is what it looks like.

towel-slide-downs
  • Lie face down on the ground and hold a towel in your hands overhead.
  • Brace your core and squeeze your glutes.
  • Arch your upper back and slide the towel down towards your chest by squeezing your scapulae together.
  • Slowly return the towel back overhead by sliding it along the floor.
  • Relax and extend your upper back in between each rep to also improve the strength of the upper back muscles.

Do 12-15 repetitions.


A Complete Arm Workout Routine

So those are the best exercises to target the armpit and back fat areas.

If it’s convenient for you, I put together a complete full upper body and arm workout for busy women like you.

It’s super affordable and can be done at home with minimal equipment.


It includes 30 different exercises to tone and develop lean arm muscle, as well as a 6-week workout plan to get you started!

arm-toning

What Exactly Is Armpit Fat?

Armpit fat refers to the bulge of skin that appears between your breast and your arm whenever you wear a bra or well-fitted shirt.

Similarly, it can be seen from the back as well (sometimes called back fat).

It is extremely common and quite normal to see this if your shirt/bra is tight enough.

What Causes armpit fat?

Armpit fat is caused by all the factors that predispose you to accumulate fat anywhere in the body.

The main causes are:

  • Increased fat cells in the upper arms,
  • Low muscle mass percentage, and
  • Loss of skin elasticity

Basically, your genetics will largely determine how much fat (in the armpits or otherwise) you will carry.

Why Do I Have Armpit Fat If I’m Skinny?

It’s important to note that you might be experiencing a bulge under your arms because of what you are wearing.

So first, I want you to try one thing.

The very first thing you should do is avoid wearing bras that are too small. Small bras will lift your breast tissue up and squish all of the tissue between your breast and your underarm area.

If this isn’t the issue, your underarms might just happen to be where your body stores fat. This is purely genetic and cannot be changed.

Other Related Questions

How Can I Hide My Armpit Fat?

Try to wear bras that aren’t too small. This is especially true if you tighten the bra straps or band that wraps around your back, more than they need to be.

Similarly, you can try to hide armpit fat by wearing strapless bras and dresses.

If neither of these things help, then let’s try to get rid of the armpit bulge the good ole fashioned way.

How Long Does It Take To Get Rid Of Underarm Fat?

Getting rid of fat underneath your arms can take anywhere from 3-6 months depending on how much fat you have to lose, and how dedicated you are to do it.

The fastest way to do it is to change your lifestyle in three different areas at the same time.

  • improving your nutrition and monitor your calorie intake,
  • moving more (i.e walking, doing a light cardio workout, etc), and
  • building more lean muscle with strength exercises.

It’s not easy to start a weight loss journey, but you can always break it up into small and simple steps as I show in my nutrition guide for busy moms.

Should I Get An Invasive Procedure (Like Liposuction)?

If you have a lot of excess body fat in your underarm area that really bothers you, there is always a possibility of getting a cosmetic procedure.

This might be the only option for you if you have a lot of excess fat or loose skin that is not amenable to conservative measures.

Be sure to speak thoroughly with your doctor and do your own research on the pros and cons of such a procedure as there are always risks and benefits.

Final Words On Exercising To Reduce Fat

So there you have 9 exercises to help strengthen and develop the muscles around the armpit.

But don’t forget, exercise alone will do very little in helping you lose fat. Focus on improving your diet and building more muscle to see the best success.

Now I want to hear from you.

Which of these exercises are you most excited to try?

Are you afraid of wearing sleeveless tops because of armpit fat?

Comment below and let me know!

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brittany-robles

Brittany N Robles, MD, MPH, CPT

Brittany Robles is a full-time OBGYN, a NASM certified personal trainer, and health & fitness expert. She holds a Masters of Public Health degree in maternal health with a special interest in exercise and nutrition. She is also the co-author of The White Coat Trainer. Learn more about her here.



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