While various upper-body exercises require equipment like dumbbells and barbells, arm exercises without weights are a substantial way to put your muscles to the test. After all, the power of your body is a tool in itself.
You can apply it to load your arm muscles and make them work. There’s no heavy lifting or gym membership needed.
Several arm exercises without weights include planking and push-ups. Hence, they can also engage your core.
But to be clear, it’s hard to manage all of the muscles in your arms without weights. So, arm exercises without weights can only target specific areas, primarily the heads of the shoulders (the deltoids) and the triceps.
Different arm muscles, like your biceps, typically require some external resistance. But the exercises listed here are unquestionably beneficial for hitting some key muscle groups when you don’t have access to gym equipment.
But this also implies that you might not feel the same concentrated burn in your arms as you would with, say, a shoulder press. Although, that’s totally fine. Just because those equipment-free arm workouts don’t isolate the upper body doesn’t mean they aren’t working..While these exercises are helpful for anyone, no matter your fitness level, they’re particularly good for beginners. When you concentrate on just managing your own body for resistance (and don’t add weights) it’s easier to acquire proper form. This can help prevent potential injuries that arise when you start lifting heavier.
If\ you’re trying to make things more challenging without weights, we’ve got a few ideas on how you can accomplish that as well.A few of these workouts do require a surface, like a box, bench, or step.You can also use a stair in your house, your sofa, a park bench, or any other solid surface you can find.
If you want to include arm exercises into your home workout program but aren’t sure where to start, we’ve got just the thing. The at-home arm workouts listed below are simple, effective, and you can perform them almost anywhere.
All you need for the initial set of exercises is your body weight. Thus, you can do them at home, in the office or while you’re on a business trip.
Get to know the anatomy of your arm muscle
First things first: If you’re trying to tone up or build muscle, it’s essential to understand your arm muscle anatomy.
In most circumstances, the biceps, the triceps, and the shoulders are the muscles that the bulk of people focus on when working out their arms. So, these are the muscle groups that we’ll focus on in this post.
The biceps tend to display a tagged difference in size faster than the triceps, driving some people to overwork them. However, It’s essential to work both sets of muscles equally. Working out both flexor (bicep) and extensor (tricep) muscles will help you keep a stable body, strong posture, and a normal range of motion. It also helps limit injuries.
When you think of the common, flexed arm, the biceps are normally the image that pops to mind. Just like the strong arm emoji or the famous bodybuilder pose.
Positioned at the front of the arm between your shoulder and your elbow, the biceps (or biceps brachii, the Latin for “two-headed arm muscle”) is essential when lifting objects.
The bicep itself is built up of two muscles: Short and long. It stretches past both the elbow and the shoulder, helping to support the joints in the arm and shoulder. This muscle supports flexion and can also assist your back muscles when you do back exercises.
Whereas the bicep is liable for arm flexion, the triceps (tricep brachii in Latin for “three-headed muscles of the arm”) are primarily accountable for the extension of the elbow joint. This aligns the elbow and the arm.
This three-part muscle is positioned at the back of the arm, between your shoulder and elbow. The triceps can operate in tandem with the pectoral muscles for a stronger, toned chest.
The shoulder muscles are accountable for keeping the widest range of motion of any joint in your body. This flexibility is also what gets the shoulder prone to instability and injury.
Muscles, tendons, and ligaments link to keep your arm bone in your shoulder socket. They also shield the main shoulder joint, the glenohumeral.
About eight shoulder muscles connect to the shoulder blade (scapula), upper arm (humerus), and collar bone (clavicle). Various other muscles play a part in maintaining and guiding the shoulder and its movements.
Bodyweight exercises for arms
Do these exercises 3 to 4 times in a controlled, slow method for best results and to prevent injury. As always, practice trumps speed.
- Stand still with both your feet together.
- With your legs straight, bend at the hips and put your hands on the floor just about in front of your feet.
- Gradually walk your hands forward, alternating between hands.
- Keep your hands walking until your body is almost parallel to the floor in a push-up position, then hold for three seconds.
- Make a pause then keep your hands in place and slowly walk your feet towards your hands, moving only a few inches per step.
- Once your hands touch your feet, raise your torso up and return to your starting position.
Superman With Arm Extension
- Lie facedown on a mat with your arms at shoulder height and bent your elbows to 90 degrees, so you’re producing a goalpost shape with your arms. This will be your starting position.
- Contract your shoulders, glutes, and hamstrings to raise your chest, arms, and feet off the floor to come into a superman. Be cautious that you do not crunch your low back. This is a strength movement, not about flexibility or how high you can bend your back.
- Holding yourself in this position, extend your arms overhead so both arms are straight and your biceps will get in line with your ears.
- Put your arms back to the goalpost position, then lower everything back down to the floor to achieve a rep.
Plank to push-up
- Set your elbows on the floor directly below your shoulders with your forearms parallel, having your legs straight behind you, with your feet together and toes curled under.
- Firm your muscles to have your body in a straight line from your head to your feet.
- Push up with one hand, then followed by the other until you’re in a push-up position.
- Lower yourself back down to your elbows, one arm at a time, to return to your starting position.
- Begin in a high plank with your palms flat, hands shoulder-width apart, shoulders piled directly over your wrists, legs extended behind you, and your core and glutes contracted.
- Walk both of your hands so that your thumbs and forefingers form a triangle.
- Bend your elbows to lower yourself straight to the floor.
- Straighten your arms by pushing yourself back up. And that is 1 rep. To make this a bit easier, try lowering your knees to the floor. Just make sure to have your core tight and your hips completely tucked.
- Begin in a high plank position with your palms flat, with your hands shoulder-width apart, shoulders heaped directly over your wrists, legs fully extended behind you, and your core and glutes fully engaged.
- Tap your right hand to your left shoulder while contracting your core and glutes to hold your hips as still as possible.
- Perform the same process with your left hand to your right shoulder. Now that’s 1 rep.
- Keep on doing alternating sides. To make this a bit easier, try separating your legs a little more.
- Put your hands behind you on a bench or chair, having your shoulders directly over your wrists and your fingers facing your body.
- Extend your legs straight in front of you with your heels touching the floor.
- Bend your elbows to lower yourself towards the floor with full control.
- Straighten your arms to push your body back up to the starting position.
- Put your hands directly below your shoulders and elbows on the floor, slightly farther than shoulder-width apart.
- Move your legs straight out behind you, settling your feet on an elevated surface with your toes curled under.
- Firm your muscles to have your body in a straight line from your head to your feet.
- Drop your torso until your chest touches the floor, having your elbows tight to your body.
- Straighten your arms while pushing your torso up and away from the floor, then return to the starting position.
Downward Dog to Push-Up
- Begin in a downward dog position. To get yourself into a downward dog, start from an all-fours position with your wrists under your shoulders and knees under your hips.
- Contract your core, elevate your knees, and straighten both legs as your head drops naturally until it reaches between your biceps and you come into an inverted V-shape.
- In a downward dog position, your arms and back should be straight and your hips piked up to the ceiling. Your heels do not require touching the floor, but you should observe a nice stretch in the back of your legs.
- From this position, elevate your right hand and reach back to touch your left toes. Let your torso naturally twist open so you can tap your toes. If you can’t reach your toes, try touching your shin or knee.
- Go back to the downward dog and roll forward into a high plank or modified plank (by smoothly lowering your knees to the floor).
- From your high plank or modified plank position, perform a push-up by bending both arms at the elbows and dropping your chest toward the floor in a smooth movement.
- Push backup to return to your plank position, then pike your hips to return to the downward dog position.
- Now raise your left hand and touch your right toes.
- After you’ve made the toe tap, roll forward into a plank and do another push-up.
- Keep on doing the downward dog, to toe tap, to a push-up sequence.
- Begin in a forearm plank position with your forearms on the floor, elbows directly below your shoulders, while your hands facing forward so that your arms are parallel, and legs stretched behind you.
- Tuck your tailbone and contract your core, butt, and quads.
- Move forward on your forearms so your shoulders get in front of your elbows, and you come to the very peaks of your toes. Concentrate on moving as far forward as you can without piking your hips or wasting your core engagement.
- Now stir in the other direction, rocking as far back as possible, aligning your forearms slightly, and rolling onto the balls of your feet. Again, concentrate on sustaining core engagement and not piking your hips.
- Continue to move forward and back.
Arm workout with dumbbells and kettlebell at home
These weighted workouts will get your entire arm going, with specific exercises concentrating on the biceps, triceps, and shoulders. And although you’re working your arms, these exercises include much of your chest and back too. So learn to keep your core tight and involved throughout for strength and stability.
If you’re new to lifting weights and still wondering what weight your dumbbells should be, then begin with very light weights to understand the technique first. Gradually increase the weight, so the last 3-4 reps are harder to perform.
Repeat the following series of exercises 3 to 4 times.
- Stand still straight with a weight in both hands and arms at your sides.
- Twist your forearm so that your palms face up, your thumbs face out, and your elbows are close to your body.
- Bend at the elbow to raise the weight almost touching your shoulder.
- Moderately squeeze your biceps once your hand approaches its final position.
- Lower your hand back down to your side with full control to return to the starting position.
Overhead triceps extension
- Stand with your feet hip-width apart, grasping the dumbbells in both hands, raise your arms up straight above your head.
- With your elbows near your ears, bend at your elbow and lower the weights at the back of your head.
- Keep your elbows tight, straighten your arms and slowly raise the dumbbells towards the ceiling.
- Squeeze your triceps muscles once it reaches the top position and hold for a second.
- Gradually lower your hands back down to the starting position.
- Stand with your feet hip-width apart, with your arms hanging by your sides, and with the dumbbells in your hands, palms facing your body.
- Contract your core, having a slight bend in the arms before you slowly lift your arms up sideways with your palms facing the floor.
- Once your arms approach shoulder height, pause at the peak of the movement.
- Gradually lower your hands back down to the starting position.
- Stand with your feet hip-width apart and have both your palms facing your body.
- Have your knees slightly bent, then connect at the hips until your torso is almost parallel to the floor and your arms are hanging perpendicular to the floor.
- While having your torso stationary, raise the weights to drive your elbows behind your body.
- Squeeze your shoulder blades together to contract your back muscles at the peak of the movement and hold for a second.
- Gradually lower your weights to the starting position.
Standing triceps kickbacks
- Stand with your both feet hip-width apart while gripping a dumbbell in each hand.
- Bend forward at the hips until your chest is nearly parallel to the ground. Have your knees slightly bent, your arms fixed to your sides, and a 90 degrees bend in your elbows.
- Raise the weights to the back by straightening your arms, then squeeze the tricep muscles and rest for a moment.
- Gradually lower your hands back to the starting position.
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, carrying a medicine ball over your head.
- Pivot so you’re facing your right side, lifting your back heel off the floor as you bend knees like you’re performing a lunge.
- Slam the ball straight to the floor as hard as you can, and then catch it.
- Go back to the starting position with your arms above your head.
- Swivel so you’re facing your left side and do the same process to a lunge stance and ball slam (notice that you’ve created a rainbow shape in the air with the medicine ball).
- Once done with the first step, return to the starting position.
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, grasping the kettlebell handle with both hands in front of you.
- Bend your knees slightly and let the kettlebell then swing it between your legs, keeping your back flat and neck straight.
- Thrust your hips forward to push the kettlebell into the air in front of you.
- Utilize your arms to control it, but don’t pull it up. Just let the kettlebell swing back down through your legs.
- Control its drop by keeping the core involved. As the kettlebell swings down, quickly move into the next rep.
Arm exercises with resistance bands
Just because most resistance bands come in attractive colors doesn’t mean they won’t slap you silly. Experts warn that they’ll spark up every muscle in your arms and give you an overall burn (in a great way, of course).
When people do an exercise with dumbbells, it’s easy to misplace tension toward the top of the range of motion. With resistance bands, we receive the opposite action. It’s continually increasing resistance strength as the band gets longer.
This way, you will possess the strongest force at the top of the range, which will be the biggest contraction in the muscle.
Biceps curl with band
- Stand on any length of the band so it lies under the arch of your foot.
- Take the ends of the band, with palms facing forward and arms tucked at your sides. Keeping elbows close against your sides, gradually bend (curl) arms until your hands reach your shoulders.
- Gently lower your hands to go back to the starting position.
Triceps press down with a band
- Carefully set the band to a bar or door.
- Stand while facing the band with your knees slightly bent.
- Take the band at its highest point.
- With elbows tucked at your sides, pull the band down toward the floor until your arms are completely extended.
- Go back to the starting position.
Pull-apart with band
- Stand with your feet hip-width apart, securing one end of the band in each hand.
- Raise your arms to chest height, keeping them straight with palms while facing down and your hands about 6 inches apart. The band should produce a little tension without being stiff.
- Pull the band apart, stretch your arms wide to your sides, and keep them at the same height.
- Bring your arms back to the center.
Staggered-stance row with band
- Stand in a staggered position with the left or right foot in front. Secure the band by placing any of its lengths under your foot that is set in front of you and hold one end of the band in each hand.
- Slightly bend your knees and bend forward at hips, engaging core and keeping back straight.
- Stretch your arms toward your foot, holding light tension on the band.
- Draw your hands toward your torso in a rowing movement, keeping forearms, elbows, and hands aligned with the rib cage.
- Return to the starting position by stretching your arms.
Triceps kickback with band
- Step your left foot forward and secure the band under your left foot, holding one end of the band in each hand.
- Engaging the core and keeping back straight, bend the left knee and hinge forward at the hips.
- Bend your elbows to 90 degrees, keeping your arms close to your sides.
- Gradually straighten your arms at the elbow, keeping your upper arms still as your shoulder blades squeeze together.
- Bend both your elbows again to return to the starting position.
Single-arm front raise with a band
- Stand with your feet hip-width apart, securing the resistance band under your feet.
- Take one end of the band in your right hand while resting your right arm by your side with light tension in the band.
- Lift your right hand straight in front of you, as you align your arm to chest height.
- Only use your arm and shoulders here, and do not let your torso move or your shoulder crumple.
- Return to the starting position by lowering your arm.
Some of these arm exercises concentrate more on particular muscles like the triceps, while others will really stimulate the shoulder muscles (including the deltoids and rhomboids), the pecs, and latissimus dorsi (or the lats, the most extensive muscles on each side of your back).
These are all critical areas to strengthen. Not only so you can carry heavier weights, but also so you can comfortably perform movements of everyday living like carrying grocery bags or lifting your suitcase.
Next time you’re thinking of doing these arm exercises at home, try blending 4 to 6 of the 20 moves to develop a workout routine. Doing 45 seconds of each move, with 15 seconds of rest in between, and then doing the whole thing again three times, is a good place to start.
Even performing these sets of exercises just a few times a week can make you appear leaner, stronger, and more confident. Remember, a healthy diet is a requirement if you want to achieve real results. When it gets to slimming down or growing muscle, what you eat plays just as crucial a role as exercise.
Diet and exercise create a winning pair in the long run.