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4 Best Arm Exercises To Lose Flab And Grow Muscle, 55 And Up!

This article is a transcribed edited summary of a video Bob and Brad recorded in June of 2023. For the original video go to

Brad: If you're 55 or older and you're really concerned about your arm health, maybe they're getting a little flabby, you get those bat wings, or they're just starting to feel flabby and you're not as functional, we've got some answers for you.

Mike: We're going to show you four, possibly five, exercises to help build up that arm muscle and make that flab go away.

Brad: That's right. Now, research has shown time and time again that elderly people, seniors, if you're 60 and over, you can build muscle, get stronger, and get a little more massive if you want to. If you're a woman, you don't have to worry. You're not going to get these big, massive muscles, but it can happen, and we're going to tell you the why and how of this.

Mike: So there are three key components to this. First off, you need to have intensity with the exercises. Then you need to have volume, meaning more of the exercise, and overall you need to have more consistency. Those are the three important things you need to build muscle in any area of the body, but we'll explain in a little more detail later in the video.

Brad: Yeah, because I really don't know what you're talking about, Mike.

Mike: Just throwing words out there.

Brad: Actually. Yeah, it'll be very clear, and very simple in just a little bit. But first, we've got one important point to clarify. Now, for this to be an at-home program, I'm talking about my personal experience. I really think you need to use resistance bands and we're going to tell you five reasons and it's very simple and I think you'll actually agree with them. Now, number one, they offer functional benefits. In other words, when I'm working the first exercise of my arms, it doesn't just strengthen my arms, but it strengthens my core and it works my balance. So it's going to help improve your balance and get your core stronger while you strengthen your arms.

Mike: Yes. Many of the exercises we're going to show are called compound movements, meaning they work numerous muscle groups at once versus the isolated, one-muscle group exercise. We'll explain each when we're showing them, explaining which one is which. But another good reason to have bands is, they're much cheaper than weights. Weights are heavy. When you try to buy them, they're very expensive. Bands are much more reasonable and you can bring them anywhere with you.

Brad: That's right. As far as floor space, now, I have all my bands on one wall. They take zero floor space except for when you use them. And when you're not using them, they hang there. I take them traveling, they easily go in my suitcase.

Mike: Resistance bands are also very easy to change the resistance you're having. Each different color represents more or less resistance and you can add numerous bands to one pair of handles. It's just quicker and more convenient to change versus having a whole weight system to deal with.

Brad: That's right. So the bands typically come with a variety of bands, with different resistances in different colors. There's typically a door anchor, which we'll show exactly how to use. Sometimes they come with ankle bands that are great for leg exercises, which we're not getting into, so we're not going to talk about them. So let's get into the exercises, right Mike?

Mike: Yeah.

Brad: Okay then. Okay, so once you get your set of bands, five bands, and your door anchor, I believe they're somewhere around the $30 range. They work very well. All you need is a door. Now Mike's going to show you how the door anchor works and then we'll show you how the exercises work with the door anchor.

Mike: So all you need is a door, open it up. If the exercise is supposed to be at arm level, you're just going to put it on the side of the door. Make sure the door closes firmly and does not open up. You do not want the door to fly open during exercise. You can also position the anchor on top or you can position it down below as well, depending upon the exercise and where you want the force to come from.

Brad: That's right. Now we've been using these door anchors for years with patients or you can use it around a doorknob or you can use it around a bedpost. And what Bob and I actually came up with was a system that made this much easier. We did invent the wall anchor. I'm going to demonstrate the wall anchor, you do not need wall anchors, it just makes it more simple. The door anchor works just fine. I would suggest using that. Once you know you really like this system, you can buy the wall anchor if you want and you'll see why they're a little easier. All right, we do need to go through the critical part, the studies refer to in regards to how many sets and reps and whatnot. So we're going to put the magic formula on the screen.

Mike: So the first key to the magic formula is intensity. This refers to how much resistance you are using. If you're using dumbbells, it would mean more weight. For bands, it would mean a darker color, there's more resistance. Another way to add intensity is to stand further away from the band. It's going to increase how hard the exercise becomes. You should feel a slight fatigue or burning sensation in the muscle group on your last couple of reps of the exercise, as long as you're still performing them with good form. You don't want to compensate. The next part of the magic formula is volume. So that refers to how many sets and repetitions you do. So say you do eight repetitions of an exercise, the next time you do it a couple of days later, maybe try to do 10, if it was easy. You're increasing the amount of work you're doing over time. You don't want to jump right into this, take it slow. We'll kind of explain it as the exercises go up, but you want to begin easier and eventually build up how many sets and repetitions you are doing. And the last thing is, how many days a week you are doing this for. We're going to start with three days a week and you want at least a day off in between. So maybe pick Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. This will allow the muscles to repair and regrow, which is what you want to build up that muscle strength and reduce that flap.

Brad: Very good, Mike. So sometimes there might be two sets of 10. So you'd do 10, rest a little bit, do 10 more. I just wanted to clear that up if you see that or want to progress as you will get stronger. Okay. Should we go to the exercises?

Mike: Yes. The first exercise we're going to do is the bicep curl. This is an isolation exercise just for the biceps. So what you're going to do is grab a band, stand back at a decent resistance, so you feel some tension in your arms and you're going to face the door. Again, you want the wall anchor for this to be on the bottom of the door. And you're simply going to curl your elbows up towards your shoulders. As I'm doing this, I'm keeping my elbows close to my body. I'm not winging out and I'm also keeping a nice good trunk. I'm not cheating and using my whole body to rock into this. Stay stationary, control it. If you go up for say two to three seconds and then slowly down for three seconds, that's going to get a lot more muscle growth than going fast. So go nice, slow, and controlled, and start with eight repetitions.

Brad: All right, now we will show how this works if you have the wall anchor, I'm going to put the band on the anchor by the floor. And again, it's the same thing. Now one thing I like to do with this is when I do these, I'll actually turn with my back to the wall, it offers different resistance. Now this works my core a little bit more in the stomach muscles. Bob, likes to double his up and really get the power band in there, get those biceps growing.

Brad: So there are a lot of different ways you can work angles and directions with this. So there's a few of them. I do want to mention if you really want to build massive muscles, you're probably not going to use bands. You're going to tone, you're going to grow muscle mass, but if you want to get big massive muscles, you probably need to use iron. But anyway, that's not our goal. Let's go on to the next one.

Mike: The second exercise is going to work the triceps, the three muscle heads on the back of your arm here. Now we're going to show different variations of this, depending on the range of motion or limitations, you may have. For the first variation, you're going to have to put the anchor up top on the door, and anyway make sure it's closed. Stand back so you get some tension and then you're going to push your elbows toward the floor in a nice slow controlled manner and then back up toward the ceiling. Notice that I'm not lifting my arms way up. I'm keeping my shoulders where they are. I'm just extending the triceps. All they do is extend your elbow.

Brad: So the elbow is stationary. Really think about how they're glued in one spot.

Mike: Yes. Now if this is easy or you want a different challenge and work your core a little bit, you can face away from the door. Again, your elbows are going to stay stationary and you're going to extend them pushing out. The resistance is going to be behind you and if the bands are harder, it's going to make you work on your balance and your core a little more as well. Now if your shoulders can't get to this range of motion, the first exercise is perfectly fine. It'll definitely work those triceps.

Brad: That's right. Let's go to another option. Now doing that really works the core and the balance. This next one does not because we're going to do it in a seated position, but it works quite well for the triceps. We really want to get that flab batwing thing going and get it to be abolished. So you sit against the wall, back against the wall, elbows against the wall, and that really forces good form. And just do like Mike mentioned, "Don't go too fast." Going fast is not going to do much good compared to slow and controlled.

Brad: Now there's a little bonus here. Seeing as you're here, we're going to add in an exercise for the lats. You don't have to do this. So you're going to get those latissimus dorsi and it's just so convenient. It's really hard to find a place where you can do this exercise because you're pulling down with an overhead thing. So the door or the wall anchors really work well for this one. All right, let's go to the next exercise.

Mike: The next exercise is called a scapular row. It refers to your shoulder blades for the scapular part. So you're going to get a band. Now when I'm pulling out, my arms are straight, I want to feel some tension here initially when my arms are straight. I don't want it relaxed, it's not going to do much. So as you pull back, I'm going to bring my hands into my rib cage almost, squeezing my shoulder blades together like this. If you struggle to keep your balance this way, you can certainly stagger your stance if needed, but just keep a slight bend in the knees, go back, squeeze, feel that shoulder blade, and then go forward. This is more of a compound movement as I mentioned earlier. So I'm primarily working my upper back muscles, but I'm also working my bicep muscles because I'm flexing my elbow.

Brad: And the big thing about this one I like and it's what Bob and I really talk about over the years is posture, posture, posture. If your arms look good and you have poor posture, it's not going to be a very sightly sight to see if you will. Now I've worked with patients in the clinic and they'll start with the bands just floppy-like, and that's really what you want to avoid. You have the wrong size band on if that's the case. So you should always start with some tension. And this is a yellow band, it's the easiest band. Most beginners may start with this. But that's right, keep resistance throughout the whole motion so you get maximum benefits.

Mike: In this exercise, you might be able to do a darker band right away because it works your back muscles more, and you'll probably be a little stronger. So each exercise, you could pick different bands. You don't have to stick with the same one.

Brad: Right. And again, you can vary your resistance by how far from the door. If you have the wall anchor again, we're going to do the same thing here. Mike, can you show my scapular position? When I'm going back, I'm thinking, "Squeeze that scapula." Squeeze that scapula to the center of the spine that really stretches these muscles and gets that posture where you want it. All right, let's go to the next one.

Mike: And the fourth exercise is a fly. Now this is going to work your pecs a bit and the front shoulder. Your arms are involved, but again, it's kind of a compound movement, getting a lot of muscle groups at once. So in order to do this, I've put the band at the side of the door. This is a good starting position. You can do this exercise up top or down below as well. It just pulls from a slightly different angle.

So in order to do this, you want the band to be taut and I feel tension here. And I'm going to bring my arms back so they're almost behind my shoulder or shoulder blade level is fine, whatever posture you have. Now with keeping a straight arm, I'm going to try to basically bring my knuckles together straight in front of me. Notice my elbows are not in, I'm far out in front of me and then I'm going back. Go nice, slow, and controlled with this motion. Again, it can start with eight repetitions the first day if it becomes easy, eventually, you can work up to three sets of 12 repetitions.

Brad: I do want to mention and emphasize particularly if you have had some shoulder problems in the past, don't go back too far because that makes your shoulder susceptible to dislocation. So be conservative and actually maybe start not going so far back and make sure it feels comfortable particularly the next day. If you haven't done these before, the next day is really going to answer some questions, if you went too hard or maybe too much range, that muscle soreness. And so we don't want you to have a bad experience.

Mike: And when I'm doing this exercise, since it's working my pecs, I'm not thinking about my arms bending in, I'm thinking about bringing my pecs and squeezing them in together. So basically it's the opposite of the last exercise, working the scapula, squeezing that front pec muscle in.

Brad: It is nice to get both sides of the body to be strengthened so you're balanced. I do want to show an option if you do it to the top of the door, it'd be the anchor up higher. Now if you want an option, with more resistance and you're pulling out really far and you're afraid the band is going to break, it's easy just to put two bands on like I have here, a yellow and a red one. And that offers more resistance and brings you into the range so you don't have to stretch and be concerned about the band breaking. So now it's the same exercise, but we're working different fibers of the pec muscles as well as the arms and the shoulders. Again, don't go way back. Keep them in short to start out with and make sure everything goes well over time.

Brad: Actually, when I do the flies, I go right to my triceps and it saves time. You don't have to reset the band or the anchor so much. And then if you want to go from there, you can put the chair down and do them here.

Brad: There are all kinds of options that you can work with the bands that I really like, that make it a nice product that gives you all the benefits you need. I just love the bands.

Mike: So, I should say pick which arm exercises you like. This works in every different area of the chest, back, biceps, triceps, and shoulder region. So it's good to try to do all of them. Maybe you can spread them out throughout the week if you don't want to do them all in one session.

Brad: That's right. Once you get used to them, make sure you stick to them three days per week. Build up your intensity, build up your resistance, and you're going to find your muscles are going to start to grow. You're going to feel better, your posture's going to look better. And there's no doubt that it's going to work. It's going to take a few weeks to build but stay with it. Just keep on going at it and have fun.

Mike: A good way to know if it's time to progress is if the exercise becomes very easy, very nonchalant, and you're breathing easily. There's no muscle soreness whatsoever every time you do them, then it's time to progress. Maybe add more repetitions, change the band, or double them up.

Brad: That's right. Good luck with it and you will have success with this, I guarantee it.

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