These exercises for bingo wings will tighten and tone your muscles so you don’t have to dread the onset of summer and the thought of wearing strappy tops.
Seen as a derogatory term by some because it refers to the arms of female bingo players, bingo wings is slang for the flabby skin that hangs down from the upper arms. Many women (and some men) have them.
Why do we develop these so-called bingo wings? ‘There could be several reasons – from genetics to diet and lifestyle,’ says Lyndsey Forfar, studio manager and head trainer at F45 Vauxhall, in London. ‘People naturally hold fat in different areas of their bodies so if you’re noticing it more in your upper arms that could be one place that your body generally tends to store fat,’ she explains.
Our age can also work against us. ‘As we get older, ageing skin loses elasticity and we can get some sagging in the upper arms,’ explains Julie Buckley, a fitness trainer and founder of Julia Buckley Fitness. ‘If our bodies store fat in that area obviously this can add to the jiggling. We also tend to gain extra fat as we age, which is why this is more common in older women,’ she explains. ‘That’s why a well-planned, varied exercise programme and healthy diet are crucial to keep the skin and muscles in good condition.’
How to get rid of bingo wings at home
There are a range of exercises for bingo wings that can be done as home workouts – and some can be done while you’re going about your daily life.
‘You could do extra things like tricep dips while watching TV or arm circles while waiting for the kettle to boil,’ suggests Julia. ‘But’ – she adds – ‘if you really want to see changes you should be ready to invest some time and effort with at least three workouts of around 30 mins each per week.’
As well as the tricep dips that Julia and Lyndsey recommend, you can do press-ups and yoga at home to tone your arms or even invest in a home rowing machine, which is great for arm strength.
Best exercises for bingo wings
Lyndsey recommends that if you ‘eat more healthily and add an upper body-focussed workout or some extra sets of push-ups into your workouts each week you will start to see a difference over time.’ Here are some exercises for bingo wings to add to your weekly workouts that can help tone your arms.
‘If you’re holding fat in the upper arms a healthy diet and a good varied workout plan including HIIT and weight training is the best way to torch that,’ says Julia. ‘If sagging skin is the issue (often it will be a combination of both), tighten up the area by developing the muscles of the upper arms. As well as tricep dips and press-ups [see below], focus on the shoulders and bicep muscles on the front of the upper arms to give the area more firmness and shape with moves like shoulder presses, bicep curls and arm circles,’ she says.
‘Add weighted upper body exercises into your workout,’ says Lyndsey. ‘Lifting weights will increase your muscle mass without making you look bulky. And it will tone your arms.’
Try this exercise
1. Sit up straight or stand with feet hip-width apart.
2. Hold a small dumbbell, a bottle or water or a can of beans in each hand – anything with a bit of weight.
3. Start with your arms at your sides, then flex your arms from the elbows up to the shoulders and down to your sides. Repeat 10-15 times.
Press-ups are one of the best exercises for your arms. ‘You can do press-ups in different positions – e.g. wide and narrow,’ says Lyndsey. ‘It’s important to try and get your chest all the way to the floor. If that means dropping to your knees then make that modification so that you can achieve full range of motion to work the whole arm,’ she says.
How to do a wall press-up
1. Stand at arm’s length from a wall, with legs shoulder-width apart. Stretch out your arms and place your palms on the wall. Lean in so your face is near the wall.
2. Push yourself away from the wall using just your arms. Do three lots of 8-10 press-ups to complete the exercise.
‘Yoga unites the body, mind and soul through a series of flowing poses – these gracefully linked poses can also be referred to as Sun Salutations (Surya Namaskar), which aim to ease tension, strengthen and align the entire body,’ says Deanne Oliver-Pickard, a yoga teacher at beach destination Rockwater in Hove, and co-founder of The Wellness Works.
‘Practising Sun Salutations daily will help to lengthen and tone the muscles of the body, whilst also supporting our fascia health,’ says Deanne. ‘Popular poses like the high plank, the downfacing dog and the dolphin are particularly beneficial when aiming to effectively sculpt and strengthen the upper arms.’
The High Plank (Phalakasana)
‘A simple yet strengthening pose, which engages your arms, shoulders and core. This makes it an ideal pose to practice when targeting the upper body,’ says Deanne.
1. Begin high plank on all fours on your mat, with your hands planted firmly to the ground and your shoulders over your wrists.
2. Next, engage the legs by pushing back through the heels, with the legs hip-width apart. The whole body should now be raised, with the triceps and core engaged.
3. To advance this pose and further strengthen your triceps and biceps, you can also lower the knees, the tops of the feet, and bend the elbows underneath.
Downfacing Dog (Adho mukha svanasana)
‘A pose practised as part of a flowing sequence in Sun Salutations. It’s also a pose that promotes toning, strengthening and stretching of the body,’ says Deanne. ‘Although it’s a transitional pose, downfacing dog engages your upper body and pelvic floor muscles by being a weight-bearing pose.’
1. Similar to high plank, begin on all fours on your mat, with your hands planted firmly to the ground.
2. Tuck your toes under and lift the knees off the floor, straightening the legs to where feels comfortable. Here you can also begin to bend alternate knees.
The Dolphin (Ardha Pincha Mayurasana)
‘This strengthens the upper arms, shoulders, upper back and legs, whilst also promoting flexibility,’ says Deanne.
1. To begin the dolphin pose, begin on all fours by bending your elbows and bringing your forearms to the mat.
2. Next, curl your toes under and lift your legs until straight, feeling the engagement in your upper body and core.
Swimming is one of the best exercises you can do. It works most muscles in your body, and can be especially beneficial for your arms.
The stroke swimming styles tone your upper arms and shoulders, so choose from backstroke, butterfly or front crawl – whatever you feel most comfortable with – and do as many laps as you can, focusing on powering your body with your arms more than your legs. Head to your local pool, lido or beach at least three times a week to see the maximum results.
Another great arm-toning exercise is the tricep dip. ‘The tricep muscle has the biggest surface area in the arm, so exercises that will strengthen the tricep will give your arms a more defined appearance,’ says Lyndsey.
How to do tricep dips
1. Sit on the edge of a sturdy chair, put your hands by your side, with your fingers facing forward and hanging just over the edge.
2. Walk your feet out a little so that your hips and bottom are off the chair.
3. Now use your arms to lower yourself down so that your bottom is just a few inches from the floor.
4. Use your arms to slowly pull yourself up again. Try to keep your back straight and don’t tense your shoulders.
This is quite a tough exercise, so don’t worry if you can only do five. Aim to build up to 10 and to stretch your legs out a little further as you get the hang of it.
If you go to the gym or you would like to buy a piece of exercise equipment that tones arms, opt for a rowing machine. You can buy a well-reviewed home rowing machine on Amazon from around £89.99. To see some results, aim for 20-40 mins a day, five days a week.
You can even incorporate exercises for bingo wings into your daily routine. ‘In every day, carrying heavy shopping bags home will work your shoulders and grip strength. Make sure you have two bags of equal weight either side,’ says Lyndsey. As you walk, slowly bend your elbows to the lift the bags up then, using controlled movements, move the bags back down.
Sitting in the car might not seem like exercise, but there are some toning moves you can do behind the wheel.
Grip the steering wheel and squeeze inwards to tone the chest, and then outward to target your upper arm, holding each for 10-20 seconds. Repeat these moves at the beginning and end of each journey you make, or whenever you’re stuck in traffic. Don’t try these while you’re driving as it could distract you.
OK, so a bit of stretching isn’t going to melt your bingo wings away. What regular stretching exercises do is make muscles longer and leaner. Stretching is also a great way to release stress and stay flexible.
How do you get rid of bingo wings fast?
Julia advises that ‘if you stay consistent with a fat loss diet and challenge yourself with the exercises, you should start to see changes within weeks.’
Bingo wings are a stubborn area to address so sometimes they need some dedicated attention. Try our free 30-day bingo wing challenge below to try and get rid of bingo wings fast. Just like our 30 day plank challenge, the below plan for exercises for bingo wings takes just one month and will help you tone up.
Our 30 days of exercises for bingo wings challenge:
Whatever you choose to do, you shouldn’t ever feel bad about how you look. ‘It’s not the sort of thing other people massively notice and it’s totally normal,’ says Julia. ‘Please don’t be ashamed of your arms, whatever they look like. Instead, keep them strong with regular exercise, then the tightening and sculpting that comes from that will be a pleasing side effect.’
Lyndsey agrees: ‘Try not to dislike or hide any parts of your body – learn to love what every part of your body can do for you,’ she advises.