'Lunch lady arms' getting you down? Exercises to tone them up

JIGGLY upper arms, especially in the elbow area, that people call 'lunch lady arms' are the bane of many women's existence, as they can remain an issue even after you've been on a fitness journey and reached your goal weight.

This issue is characterised by excessive skin that sags and droops off the upper arms, and can be hereditary, but is most often caused by extreme, fast and extensive weight loss that causes loss of skin elasticity.

What can you do if this is a problem you have?

Personal trainer Demario Johns says not to worry, exercises that target the area will help.

“This area is known as the triceps, and though difficult to tone, can be achieved with patience and hard work,” Johns said. “This area, along with the biceps at the front of the arms, play an important role in pushing, pulling, extending and flexing the arm, and so it's crucial to keep them strong.”

He suggested these five steps to start:

Tricep extensions

This exercise can be done in different positions — standing, sitting or lying on a weight bench or on the floor. You can also choose to work one arm at a time or both arms together, depending on your strength and skill level. This basically involves you using one dumbbell or two, or a resistance band, and stabilising your body while you move both arms simultaneously over your head. Do three sets of 20 repetitions.

Triceps dips

Using a chair, bench, staircase or ledge as your base, put your hands on the base, with your back facing it, and then grip and lower your body towards the ground and then back to the start position. Do three sets of 10-15 repetitions.


Lying flat on the floor with your chest down and back up, place your hands under your shoulders with your elbows close to your body, then lower yourself to the floor and then back to start position. Do three sets of 10-12 repetitions.

Triceps kickback

Crouch your body forward like you're a figure skater (you can also kneel on a bench with one leg), then use a dumbbell in one arm that's hanging straight down, then lift the arm upward and back down. Repeat for four sets of eight to 12 repetitions.

Rope pushdown

This is done in the gym with a cable machine with a rope attachment, or you can substitute with a resistance band. You begin by holding the rope near the knotted ends and then with your elbows bent at 90 degrees, push and pull down, taking your hands down towards the floor, and spreading the rope slightly out on either side as you contract your triceps. You should feel the burn as you pull.

“We all know that biceps are usually the focus of arm exercises, but the triceps are just as important, especially if you want full body fitness and tone,” Johns said. “For best results incorporate a variety of different triceps exercises into your workout routine in order to build strength, and to find what best works for you.

“Pretty soon, if you remain committed, in no time those lunch lady arms will be a thing of the past,” he assured.

Now you can read the Jamaica Observer ePaper anytime, anywhere. The Jamaica Observer ePaper is available to you at home or at work, and is the same edition as the printed copy available at https://bit.ly/epaper-login


  1. We welcome reader comments on the top stories of the day. Some comments may be republished on the website or in the newspaper; email addresses will not be published.
  2. Please understand that comments are moderated and it is not always possible to publish all that have been submitted. We will, however, try to publish comments that are representative of all received.
  3. We ask that comments are civil and free of libellous or hateful material. Also please stick to the topic under discussion.
  4. Please do not write in block capitals since this makes your comment hard to read.
  5. Please don't use the comments to advertise. However, our advertising department can be more than accommodating if emailed: advertising@jamaicaobserver.com.
  6. If readers wish to report offensive comments, suggest a correction or share a story then please email: community@jamaicaobserver.com.
  7. Lastly, read our Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy