Bridal Fitness: Beating the "Bat Wings"

On the issue of “Batwings”

What do women and Batman have in common?

When Jacin and I first met, I asked her as I do all my clients what her main goal was. I’ll never forget what she said, as it rings through my head every time I notice it on women.  “I don’t want my arms to wave goodbye when my hands wave hello.” was her answer. She was talking about toning up her arms, primarily the back side, which is a common trouble spot for women. I later learned women refer to this as “Batwings”. She had painted such a lovely picture in my mind, it has stuck with me ever since.

It’s a matter of Hormones

Have you ever seen a man with a flat stomach, and flabby “Batwings”? Have you ever seen a women with ripped arms and a “beer gut”? Probably not. The reason is hormones. Aside from genetics, hormones dictate how your body stores its bodyfat. In men it usually gets stored in the stomach area, and in women it’s usually in the legs, butt, back arm area. The good news about this is that you have a say in it. You have some control. The best way to take the control of your hormones is with a proper diet, and proper exercise.

It takes two

Now what I’ve come to realize is that most women actually think they can do a specific exercise and “convert” that back arm flab to a nice toned arm. And I’m gonna tell you right now, it ain’t gonna happen. Unless of course you’ve discovered how to turn a pumpkin into Cinderella’s carriage. If haven’t, you’ll have to resort to a more realistic approach.

If you’re not happy with the way your arms look, there are two things you can do to change their appearance:

1: Lose the fat
2: Gain/tone the muscle

If you plan on have that nice set of arms, and not a “skinny fat” pair of arms, you’ll have to take on both tasks. But rest assured, it is not a complicated matter. You’ll need to combine a healthy fat loss nutrition plan, with a nice dose of resistance training. If you just do the diet, you’ll end up with “skinny fat” arms. If you just do the training, you might end up with the “thick” look. Neither of which are the desired outcome. If you haven’t already looked at my blog post on Nutrition, go read it. It covers everything you should be eating to shed the flab.

Pushups and Money

As far as special exercises go, guess what? There are none. What I have my clients do to maximize their results is incorporate what I call “Money Exercises” into their workout routines. Money exercises are exercises that make you use multiple muscle groups. They are the exercises that give you the most return for your efforts. They are the exercises that if you asked, “If could only do 1 exercise” it would be a money exercise.

The best money exercise to tone up the back of the arm is a Pushup. The pushup is an exercise that isn’t complicated, but makes you work. It doesn’t require any special equipment, and can be performed just about anywhere. The technique of the pushup is of utmost importance. If you’re not performing your pushups correctly, you will not be reaping the arm toning benefits of them. Make sure you are getting a full range of motion. Notice the picture of my wife Doris performing pushups. When performing these you need to make sure that your upper arm is parallel to the ground. If you can’t perform a proper “guy Pushup”, resort to doing them on your knees until you build up enough strength.

This is what you should be focusing on with the pushup:
-shoulder blades pulled tight
-flex your stomach and buns
-go down until your upper arm is parallel to the ground
-return to staring position without “swaying” your body. It should remain flat as a board

Pushups are something you can perform every day. I recommend starting with 3 sets of as many as you can perform with good form. If you’re already doing a strength training program, you can add these into you “in between” workout days.


If you’ve been a victim of Batwings, and are frustrated and struggling to rid yourself of them, follow the advice listed above. Many times people are looking in the wrong places, and spending time doing useless exercises that do nothing. I hope you now realize that it takes more than just a special exercise, but rather a focus on overall fat loss and resistance training. Incorporate the healthy fat loss specific eating plan I wrote out combined with a few Money exercises, and you’ll be rockin you strapless Bridal dress at the altar!

Have something you want Jonny to address next week?  Contact us!

  • Teenage Bride says on February 1, 2011 Reply

    HAHAHAHA oh my goodness just picturing you saying that makes me laugh!

  • Rachel says on February 1, 2011 Reply

    Oh my goodness…his wife's pushup is LEGIT! Get it girl!

  • Katherine says on February 1, 2011 Reply

    if i tried to do a push-up like that, i'd end up flat on my face lol - great post! thanks, jonny!

  • Laura @ Wine and Cheese, Please says on February 1, 2011 Reply

    This is awesome. Love his honesty. BANISH THE BATWINGS!

  • Paper Moss says on February 1, 2011 Reply

    i soooo needed this post - great inspiration and quality advice!

  • la petite coquine says on February 1, 2011 Reply

    Just reading this is making my arms hurt-I can hardly do a handful of pushups! I guess all this Bridal fitness might actually be good for me, too!

  • Faith says on February 1, 2011 Reply

    "I don't want my arms to wave goodbye when my hands wave hello." — that kills me! :)

    great post!

  • Ariella says on February 1, 2011 Reply

    LOL batwings. I love it. I found that yoga was great for toning arms because there are so many poses that are like a push up. In fact, it was yoga that gave me the strength to actually do them! Unfortunately that was 3 years and 25lbs ago, but it's time to get rid of my batwings.

  • BridalHood says on February 1, 2011 Reply

    HA - I look back at my wedding pictures (just from late May) and wonder where my sculpted arms that I worked so hard for went - it's time to get back on it!

  • Nicole-Lynn says on February 1, 2011 Reply

    haha Yes, definitely working on my arms! Major focus at the gym lately! ;)

  • Chelsea Gets Married says on February 1, 2011 Reply

    My arms, back, and shoulders have been a focus of my workouts for months. I can honestly say that my arms look the best that they've ever looked. It's hard to get rid of my batwings because of some of the excess skin I have from losing 85 pounds in high school, but I'm working on it!

  • Skye says on February 1, 2011 Reply

    While I'm definitely with everyone about needing to work on these - yikes, I couldn't do a push-up like that to save my life - calling them batwings makes me feel a little more badass all of a sudden :)

  • steph c says on February 2, 2011 Reply

    My arms are my main focus right now. Hate them. I've been doing some weight lifting + cardio lately and I have to say, I'm getting some toned muscle up there! Still have a long ways to go.. but thanks for the article :))

  • Katie says on February 4, 2011 Reply

    ok sounds like I need to add this to my routine. I currently am the epitome of the "skinny fat" arm. Not big, but all flab. I want Jennifer Anniston Arms!

  • Kelly says on February 23, 2011 Reply

    Never heard them called batwings. LOVE it, haha!

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