Are you pressed for time? Do you want to work out in the comfort of your own home but don’t have access to weights or resistance bands? Or, are you afraid that using heavy weights will bulk up your arms and not give you that perfect “toned” look?
Doing some simple bodyweight arm exercises is a great way to address all of these questions – and best of all, they can all be done at the gym, at home, or outside making them super convenient.
First, find a step, bench, sturdy chair or low table. Sit or kneel down with your back to the surface and grab hold of it behind you. Your palms should be resting on the top of the surface with your fingers gripping the side closest to your back. Second, straighten your arms and then bend them to a 90-degree angle while your heels pressed into the floor in front of you. Use your heels only as a brace, not to help you lift up and down. Your arms should be doing most of the work here.
Straighten and bend your arms for 3 sets of 12. You should feel this one in your triceps! For an extra challenge, try lifting one leg off the ground.
Push-ups are a great way to build upper arm strength. Positioning your hands closer together or farther apart can help you target different muscles in the arm or focus on your chest and shoulders. Diamond push-ups are great for the working the whole arm and incorporates the triceps which often don’t get used during standard push-ups.
To do a diamond push-up, position your hands so that they form a diamond, with your index fingers and thumbs touching one another. Keeping your back and legs straight and engaging your core, lower to just above the ground and push back up. Do 3 sets of 12.
For this one it is important you find something very sturdy. A kitchen table, dining room table, picnic table or desk that is about arms length from the ground will work best. Lie on the floor under the table or desk with your chest facing upward. Reach up and grab the edge of the surface pulling yourself up so that your arms and body form a 90 degree angle. Make sure not to bend your back or legs as you pull up and lower back down. Squeeze your shoulders together at the top of the movement
Do 3 sets of 12. For an extra challenge, try laying a heavy textbook on your chest, lifting one leg or wearing a heavy backpack.
Stand with your feet hips-width apart. Bend your knees slightly and keep your elbows in, palms clasped tight up on either side of your face. Box your right hand forward, clenching your abs and keeping your spine neutral. Bring hands back to center and switch sides.
The faster you go, the harder this will be. As one hand extends out, remember to keep your other elbow in and your fist up. Repeat 20 times on each side.
Planks are great for a variety of muscles groups including your core, arms, shoulders and glutes. For this variation, keep your arms straight with your palms shoulder distance on the floor. Extend your legs behind you, facing the ground and rise up on your toes. It is very important that you keep your back straight and tighten your core muscles even as you begin to feel the burn.
Hold this for as long as you can. For an extra challenge, try lifting one arm and the opposite leg straight out and then switching sides.