If one part of the body looks visibly different from the other, it can draw a lot of unwanted attention. This can happen if you have “bingo wings.”
These tend to affect the upper arms and are also called bat wings because of their particular shape.
Those who have bingo wings usually feel uncomfortable wearing short-sleeved tops or going sleeveless altogether.
This can be especially problematic during the warmer months. However, bingo wings aren’t just an aesthetic problem; they can lead to functional problems as well.
What Are Bingo Wings?
Bingo wings refer to the flaps of skin that hang down the upper arms. Although it can affect both men and women, it is more common in the latter.
The drooping of the skin is a natural consequence of gravity and ageing, but it can be worsened by weight and hormonal fluctuations.
The rubbing of the skin of the arms against the body can also cause:
It should be noted that bingo wings can result from the storage of excess fat in the upper arms and/or the sagging of excess skin.
The best treatment for you will depend on the cause of the problem (whether it’s just fat or excess skin).
In some cases, surgical intervention is the only solution as exercise and diet cannot get rid of excess skin.
What Causes Bingo Wings?
Bingo wings can develop due to different reasons, which are as follows:
One of the most common causes of bat wings is ageing.
Skin laxity decreases due to the degradation of collagen (which gives the skin strength and elasticity) and a decrease in the production of collagen. However, it’s not just the skin that changes.
Ageing also results in the loss of muscle mass. And of the biceps and triceps in the upper arms, the muscle at the back of the upper arms, triceps, are weaker since they’re not directly engaged.
But the problem that results from the loss and weakening of muscle mass is that you’re unable to burn more calories.
This makes maintaining weight even harder; the fat mass increases. Together, these factors can result in the formation of prominent bingo wings.
Your hormones can influence where the fat is stored in the body. And the sex hormones testosterone and estrogen play a prominent role.
Because of them, women store more fat around the thighs and buttocks, while men end up with a pot belly. Hormones can also drive the storage of fat in the arms (more so in women).
Ageing also results in hormonal fluctuations. The decrease in testosterone and oestrogen can result in loss of muscle mass.
This also happens because of a decrease in the levels of growth hormones in the body. With less muscle mass, the body doesn’t burn more fat, and you can end up storing fat in the arms.
Your lifestyle will also impact your body. For instance, if you don’t get enough sleep, the hormones that regulate hunger are produced abnormally.
If you’re not getting enough sleep, you’ll end up feeling hungrier and less full, which can result in fat storage.
Lack of sleep can also result in weight gain because it negatively impacts the breakdown of fat cells.
Also, if you’re in a high-stress environment, it can affect your dietary habits.
You may end up craving more sugary and fatty foods, which can result in weight gain and the development of bingo wings.
Significant Weight Loss
If you’ve lost significant weight as a result of diet and exercise or after undergoing bariatric surgery, you can end up with excess hanging skin.
This will affect the whole body, including the arms, which can look like the wings of a bat.
Unfortunately, skin sagging cannot be reversed, and lifting surgeries are most commonly performed to treat it.
The skin has been irreversibly damaged after being stretched for a long time. It has lost elasticity and cannot snap back.
How To Get Rid Of Bingo Wings?
There are a few ways by which you can get rid of bingo wings.
Exercises For Bingo Wings
If the bingo wings are a result of the deposition of excess fat cells, you can start by exercising.
This will also help tone the muscles in the arms, which can make them look slimmer and shapely. You can consider trying out the following exercises:
One of the best ways to get rid of bingo wings is cardio.
Some of the most common exercises include:
- Get yourself into a plank position while placing your arms wider than your shoulders.
- Lower yourself and then push yourself back up.
You can also consider doing a diamond push-up. In this:
- Place your hands right below the chest.
- Form a diamond by touching the index fingers and thumbs of both hands together.
- Lower yourself down to the ground and then push yourself back up.
You can also do press-ups with your hands on a sofa, chair or bench with your arms behind your back.
Circles & Stretches
One relatively simple exercise is that of arm circles. For this:
- Stand up straight with your arms stretched at the sides.
- Make circles with your arm in one direction and then in the other.
You can also consider stretching your arms up your head or placing them against a wall and then bending backwards.
Using kettlebells and dumbbell weights is another effective way to work out the body. Holding the weights, you can do curls, dips, or squat presses.
You can do this by sitting, bending, or lying down. You can either raise the weights at the sides, up or in front of your body.
As mentioned earlier, these exercises won’t only help you burn fat in the arms (and other areas of the body) but also help tone the muscles.
This can help you get rid of bingo wings. Increased muscle strength and flexibility will also make it easier for you to maintain your weight.
The High Plank
High planks can also give your arms a good workout.
To do this, you need to:
- Start on all fours on the floor, make sure your hands are planted firmly to the ground and your shoulders are over your wrists.
- After positioning your legs hip-width apart, push back through your heels to engage your leg muscles. This will lift your entire body and target your triceps and core
- For an added challenge to your triceps and biceps, try lowering your knees and the tops of your feet while bending your elbows underneath to advance the pose.
Resistance Training For Biceps
Resistance training is a good way to tone up the muscles in your arms. Of course, that may help minimise the appearance of bingo wings.
To do this, you need to:
- Sit up straight or stand with feet hip-width apart.
- Hold a small dumbbell in each hand.
- Begin the bicep workout with your arms at your sides, then flex your arms from the elbows up towards your shoulders and then lower them back down to your sides.
- Repeat with a repetition of 10-15 times with a set of 3-4.
Resistance Training For Triceps
Resistance training for triceps or “tricep dips” can also help strengthen the muscles in your arms.
For this, you need to:
- Sit down on a chair and make sure your hands are resting over the edge.
- Move forward so your bottom and your hips do not rely on the chair for support
- Lower yourself so that you are a few inches from the floor and use your triceps muscles to do this
- Raise yourself back up onto the chair and keep your back straight.
In combination with exercise, a diet can help you get rid of excess fat in different areas of the body, including the arms. Here, you must burn more calories than you consume.
For that, you need to calculate the macros (carbohydrates, proteins, and fat). Different foods can help you gain muscle mass and lose weight. For instance:
- Egg whites
- Chicken breast
- Brown rice
- Leafy greens
- Greek yoghurt
This list is not exhaustive. You should further consult a doctor about the kinds of foods that you can eat to achieve your goal.
When you’re dieting, stay hydrated because water can make you feel full and burn calories.
If you have deposits of fat in a small area of the arm, you can also consider CoolSculpting. In this, the fat in the target area is frozen through an applicator.
The fat cells die and then break off, which are then removed by the body. It can, however, take 4-6 months for you to see any results.
The fat that’s been removed from the body will not come back as long as you maintain a healthy weight.
If the amount of fat in the target area is large and significant, you would need a more invasive treatment to get rid of the fat in the arms.
Diet and exercise alone might not be enough. And since the target area is too large, CoolSculpting won’t be able to give satisfactory results. In that case, you can consider getting liposuction.
After administering general anaesthesia, the surgeon will make incisions in your arms to break the fat down with a cannula before sucking it out with a vacuum.
The skin is stitched back up, and you’ll have some post-op swelling. However, the fat that results in the formation of bingo wings will be gone permanently as long as you maintain a stable weight.
Brachioplasty, also known as an arm lift, is a surgical procedure in which the excess skin and tissue around the upper arm are removed.
In this, the surgeon will also tighten the underlying muscles through internal stitches. This will help change the shape of the arm.
The procedure takes place under general anaesthesia, so you should not feel any pain.
Also, as far as the prominence of the incision is concerned, the surgeon makes it inside the arms, so it won’t be as visible.
However, the length of the incision depends on how much skin needs to be removed and from where.
An arm lift procedure is one of the most effective ways to get rid of bingo wings if they’re a result of excess skin.
It should also be noted that your surgeon may also recommend combining Brachioplasty with liposuction (if there are excess fat deposits) so that you get the best results.
Bingo wings are considered aesthetically undesirable. However, they can also result in skin problems and limit movement. That is why many people seek to get rid of them through different methods.
Exercise, diet and other surgical and non-surgical techniques can help if the problem results from excess fat. But if you have excess skin, you will need to undergo lifting surgery. Make sure to consult a doctor about it.