7 Equipment-Free Exercises to Sculpt Strong Arms
A weight-training routine is a great idea for anyone looking to tone up (or lose weight), but there are plenty of effective moves you can do anywhere with absolutely no equipment or gym membership required. Add these bodyweight moves to work your biceps, triceps, and deltoids — and there's an added bonus: many of these exercises work much more than your arms. Start with 10 to 15 reps for each exercise, adding extra sets as you become stronger.
This modified one-leg push-up will challenge your arms while working your abs. Actively squeeze the glute of the lifted leg to do even more work and tone up your backside!
- Begin in plank with your knees on the mat.
- Extend your right leg straight behind you so it's parallel with the floor. Engage your abs, and keep your left heel in line with your hips by engaging your glutes.
- With your right leg extended, exhale to bend the elbows, lowering into a push-up. Inhale to straighten your arms, keeping your leg lifted.
- This counts as one rep.
It's one of those retro gym moves that gets the job done! Tone the backs of your arms with classic triceps dips.
- Position your hands shoulder width apart on the floor or on a secured bench or stable chair.
- Move your booty in front of the bench with your legs out in front of you and feet placed about hip width apart on the floor.
- Straighten your arms, and keep a little bend in your elbows in order to always keep tension on your triceps and off your elbow joints.
- Now slowly bend at your elbows, and lower your upper body toward the floor until your arms are at about a 90-degree angle. Be sure to keep your back close to the bench.
- Once you reach the bottom of the movement, slowly press off with your hands, and push yourself straight back up to the starting position.
- This counts as one rep.
Push-Up and Rotate
Rotation never felt so good. Challenge your whole body and make your arms work harder when you add a twist to your basic push-up!
- Begin in a plank position with your feet in line with your hips.
- Lower your body toward the floor, and then push through your arms, returning to plank.
- Twist to the left, reaching your left arm to the ceiling without letting your pelvis rise or lower.
- Return to plank position, bringing your hand back to the floor. This completes one rep.
Squat and Reach
Adding an overhead reach to a squat will tone the upper back and build strong arms.
- Begin with your feet slightly wider than hip width apart and toes pointed slightly outward.
- Keeping your weight in your heels, sit back into your deep squat. Make sure your knees do not go beyond your toes.
- As you sit back in your squat, raise both of your arms overhead. Once you're in a deep squat, hold this position for a moment, then return to standing while lowering your arms to your sides. This completes one rep.
Plank Side Walk
Define your deltoids and shape up strong shoulders with this plank variation. It also works your core.
- Begin in plank position with your hands underneath your shoulders, body in one straight line.
- Simultaneously cross your right hand over your left as you step your left foot to the left. Then simultaneously step your left hand and right foot to the left, so you're back in plank position. Your hands move together as your feet step apart.
- Repeat this for five steps to the left and five steps to the right to complete a rep. Be sure to keep the hips low as you move, drawing the navel toward the spine.
Side Elbow Plank
Beyond building strong shoulders, side elbow plank will challenge your core and outer thighs.
- Place your right elbow on the ground. Extend both legs out so that your body is in one straight line and you're balancing on the outside edge of your right foot.
- Flex both feet if you can, and either rest your top hand on your upper hip or extend it in the air. Keeping your spine lengthened and your abs engaged, lift your left leg up just higher than your top hip. Then slowly lower it back to your bottom leg. This completes one rep.
The backs of your arms will feel the burn with this push-up variation; it makes your triceps work even harder!
- Start in plank position with your hands under your shoulders and your body in one straight line.
- If your knees aren't on the floor, separate your feet so they're about shoulder width apart to help you stay balanced throughout the exercise.
- Place your hands together, directly under your sternum, with the tips of your index fingers and thumbs touching. Your fingers and thumbs should form a diamond or triangle shape.
- Bend your elbows out to the sides, and lower your chest toward the floor. Then exhale to straighten your arms. This counts as one rep.