Arm reinforcement is a cornerstone of any comprehensive exercise program. Strong arms are not just about looks. What is the best exercise for arms without weights?
Several exercises can help you strengthen and tone your arms without weights.
The 8 best arm bodyweight exercises
The following exercises are aimed as best as possible at the various arm muscles without extra weight. The exercises range from simple to complex, listed in that order, and can involve several muscle groups (including the core muscles) and the arm muscles.
It is worth noting that without a pullup bar or suspension trainers, such as gymnastic rings or a TRX system, it is challenging to strengthen the back and biceps without using an external weight.
This exercise focuses on the shoulder muscles and strengthens the isometric biceps and triceps. Make smaller or larger circles, but make sure you maintain the tension down your arm throughout the set.
To perform arm circles:
- Stand with your arms straight out to the sides, and your muscles contract along the peninsula.
- Make circles slowly with your arms by rotating them around your shoulders while keeping them straight and your elbows locked with tension.
- Do 3 sets of 10-20 repetitions in both directions. You can perform sets of circles of large or small diameter to change the effort required.
Arm front raises
This exercise targets the front of the shoulder and strengthens the biceps and triceps isometrically. Make this more challenging by taking two cans of soup or two water bottles to gain weight.
To perform front arm raises:
- Stand with your arms out in front, locked straight out with your thumb against the ceiling.
- Elevate your arms up over your head and hold them straight and locked out, with your upper arms blocking your ears as seen from the side.
- Lower your arms slowly back.
- Perform 3 sets of 10-20 repetitions.
Arm lateral raises
This exercise targets the top of the shoulder and strengthens the isometric biceps and triceps. Take two cans of soup or two water bottles to make this more challenging to gain weight.
To perform lateral raises:
- Have your arms at your sides and your palms facing inward toward your hips.
- Keep your arms straight and lift them to the side until your body makes a “T” set from the front.
- Lower back slowly to the starting position.
- Practice 15-20 reps.
Strengthen your shoulders and triceps with this exercise and improve your shoulder mobility.
To perform wall gels:
- Stand with your back against a wall. Have your knees bent with your feet about 1-2 feet (about 0.5 meters) from the wall. The head, upper back, and tailbone should contact the wall.
- Raise until your upper arms are parallel to the floor as if you raise your hands. Then, bend your elbows to 90 degrees.
- Stretch your arms over your head until they are straight. Have your arms, head, upper back, and tailbone contact the wall.
- Return to the starting position.
- Repeat in 3 sets of 10-15 reps.
Downward dog to plank
Have your chest, shoulders, and triceps strengthen with this exercise. It’s a great way to start building strength at the top of a pushup position.
To perform Downward Dog two planks:
- Start in a pushup plank position with your hands under your shoulders and arms straight. You can start with your knees on the ground if the pushup plank is too challenging.
- Elevate your hips and push back with your arms to enter the downward dog position. If you start from the knees, you will raise your knees off the ground when you have pushed back enough to do so.
- Briefly stabilize in the downward dog position before returning to the starting position.
- Repeat in 3 sets with 10-12 repetitions.
This exercise is a plank variant that strengthens the shoulders, triceps, and biceps.
To perform plank printing:
- Start in a pushup plank position with your hands under your shoulders and arms straight. Keep your spine neutral. To make it easier, extend your feet.
- Move your left hand up to your right shoulder and tap it before placing your hand back on the floor.
- Repeat with the right hand and left shoulder.
- Perform 3 sets of 10-12 repetitions on each side.
The classic pushup strengthens the chest, shoulders, and triceps without equipment. You also need to engage the core to maintain the position, adding a bonus core component to this arm exercise.
Perform pushups on the knees if the standard variation is too challenging.
To perform a pushup:
- Start in a pushup position, your spine neutral and your legs straight.
- Lower the whole body in unison to the floor by bending at the elbow. Have your elbows close to the sides or at an angle of about 45 degrees. Lower your chest until your upper arm is parallel to the floor.
- Push through the floor to return to the top position, keeping control at all times.
- Repeat in 3 sets with 10-12 repetitions. If the sets get too tricky, you can go back to the knees-down variation.
For this dip variant, you only need one chair. This exercise is primarily aimed at the triceps and chest.
To perform triceps dips in body weight:
- Have your hands shoulder-width apart on the chair you are leaning on.
- Move the pelvis and bottom forward so that there is a space of 8-15 cm between the back and the chair, which gives you clearance when you dive.
- Bend your legs at a 90-degree angle with your feet firmly planted on the ground, or stretch them out in front of you (but do not lock your knees).
- Slowly lower your body straight down and then push up again, focusing on engaging the triceps.
- Complete 3 sets of 10-12 reps.