We all know that losing body fat requires dedication, determination, consistency and commitment. The hours you spend sweltering over the treadmill, the time you give up for the gym, the sweet taste of sugar you surrender, all in the name of fat loss. It can seem like an intensive and grueling process at times.
The thing that keeps you going during the difficult times is your goal, your dream body, that little dress you want to fit into or the bikini you want to wear on the beach. But what if your goal wasn’t all it seemed? All too often, the loss of fat can result in a gain in loose skin. It can be really disheartening to put in all that time and effort, only to end up with an awkward layer of loose skin.
Don’t retire your running shoes just yet, though – there is a way to tone and tighten loose skin and it comes in the shape of a dumbbell. You’ve probably glanced over at the weights section of the gym and seen the vein-popping and overly-muscular men, but this area isn’t just for your Arnold-Schwarzenegger look-a-likes. Lifting weights have numerous advantages, including the tightening of loose skin.
The increase in muscle mass develops the shape of your muscles, encouraging muscle to fill out the loose skin from underneath making the body look more toned and the skin appear tighter. It can also help with recovery from surgical procedures like an ACL reconstruction or mini facelift. There are certain exercises you can perform with weights to help target specific areas of loose or sagging skin. Here are the common problem areas frequently affected by loose skin and how best to target them.
Regardless of your gender, weight loss can result in a sagging of the skin around the chest area which can cause embarrassment. The muscles underneath the chest are the pectoralis, made up from the pectoralis major and the pectoralis minor, often referred to as ‘pecs’.
Many women think that weight training to increase the size of the pectoralis is just for men, but it can make breasts appear uplifted and firmer. By increasing the mass of the muscle underneath the breast, more of the skin is filled with the muscle, therefore tightening the skin.
The best weight lifting exercises for the chest area are dumbbell or barbell chest presses. This involves laying back and holding either two dumbbells, one in each hand, or a barbell, and lifting in an up-and-down motion.
The muscles underneath the skin around your middle area are the abdominal wall. This includes the transverse and rectus abdominis and the internal and external obliques. It is a common misconception that a million sit-ups and crunches will give you that washboard core, however, if there is a layer of fat over your abdominal wall, all the sit-ups in the world won’t make a difference as the muscle is hidden by fat.
The best way to create abdominal muscle definition is to perform upper and lower body targeted exercises as these burn the most fat and also increase core strength at the same time. Deadlifts and squats are perfect as they require a stable core and help build up those abdominal muscles. Be sure to add some cardio into your strength training routine to increase the fat burn.
Many people complain about sagging skin left under the arms after a fat loss is achieved. This is commonly referred to as ‘bingo wings’. The muscles in the arm under this common problematic area are the triceps. By increasing the muscle mass of the triceps, the skin under the arm will be fuller and appear tighter.
A great exercise for the triceps is a close grip barbell bench press. This involves laying back, holding a barbell with your hands close together, and lowering it towards your body, putting all of the strain on your triceps.
You should add these exercises into your regime and try to do each body part at least once a week. It is important to research the correct form and practice before performing with weight to avoid injury. As your strength increases, you should increase the weight that you are lifting to ensure constant growth in muscle.
It’s very common to experience some pain in the muscle a day or two after performing the exercises, however, don’t let it put you off. Pain means that the muscle fibers have been broken down and that you’ve trained well. Ensure your diet has enough protein and include plenty of fruit and vegetables to give your body the nutrients it needs to repair itself.