Some girls love to workout their abs, some girls love to workout their legs – THIS GIRL loves to workout her arms! I will openly admit that triceps are my favorite muscle. It might be a little weird, but that’s me! I am not really sure why, maybe it’s the cool horseshoe shape they make. Maybe I just don’t want wiggly chicken wings under my arms. Whatever it is, I NEED to be able to do my arm workouts regularly. This means I need arm exercises without weights to do. I mean, you’re probably not lugging weights or resistance bands on trips. And these days, I like to live frugally, so I am definitely not into paying a monthly gym fee. (Check out how to get a home gym for cheap!)
Doing arm exercises without weights is actually super awesome. These exercises can really help tone up your arms (so you don’t get those wiggly chicken wings I mentioned earlier). They are so easy to do. You can do them anywhere and anytime really. Also, like a lot of bodyweight exercises, they can be made easier or harder to fit your fitness level. So, you can have total customization and still achieve your personal goals.
One important note on these arm exercises without weights (and any exercises really, but especially those you don’t have a machine to follow), form is really important!
When you aren’t following the track of a machine, you are more likely to break form.
So, just make sure that you are doing a variation that you can manage with the perfect (or near perfect) form.
Here are my all-time favorite arm exercises without weights to do:
- Arm Circles – these are an awesome arm exercise to do that requires no weights or other equipment. You can do them absolutely anywhere and anytime. I like to do arm circles not only as part of an entire arm workout, but also to just get things moving when I have been sitting too long. Arm circles work your shoulders mainly (so, deltoids, traps), but you will also get a little action from upper arm muscles as well as your core (abs) while you work to stabilize yourself. To perform arm circles, you want to be standing. Typical standing position you always want to be in for any exercise is tight core, slight bend in knees, feet hip width apart, shoulders back and down. You will raise your arms out from your sides until they are parallel with the ground. Then, make small, controlled circles. This is a timed exercise. Start small 10 seconds or so and then work up from there. You can go forward or backwards with the circles to mix it up a little.
2. Chair Dips – these are one of my favorite arm exercises. (hint: they work your triceps ;-)). Chair dips are awesome because you can do them pretty much anywhere. They give your triceps a great workout. To perform chair dips you will want to find a chair or even an end table – just make sure it is sturdy and can hold your body weight. Sit on the edge of the seat (or table), place your hands next to your hips, palm down with fingers wrapped around the edge of the seat. Slowly slide your bottom off the seat – for the easy version only move your feet slightly out from the object. To make it more difficult move your feet further and further away from the object you are sitting on. Make sure to keep chest out, shoulders down and abs tight. Slowly lower yourself down until your upper arms are parallel with the ground and then push through the heel of your hands (NOT with your legs) to return to the beginning position. Feeling extra strong? Try with only one foot on the ground – this will also challenge your balance.
3. Pushups – pushups are a great general upper body workout. In addition to getting shoulders and triceps, they also work your chest and abs. Pushups are another awesome arm exercise without weights because they are super customizable! If you are just starting out, I recommend starting with wall pushups. You will place your hands shoulder width apart (you can adjust hand placement to vary the muscles worked and difficulty). Step a few steps away from the wall with your feet, but keeping your hands on the wall. With tight abs, lower yourself towards the wall and then push back until your arms are straight (don’t lock our your elbows). You can also do the same pushup on the floor either on your knees or on your toes.
4. Arm Raises – arm raises are often done with resistance bands or weights, but the can definitely be done without weights. Arm raises mainly target your shoulders. You will want to get in your standing position, then slowly lower your arms straight out in front of you until they are parallel with the ground. This is a front raise. Lower them back to your sides and then raise them out to your sides until they are parallel with the ground. This is a side or lateral raise. Make sure you do slow, controlled movements.
5. Plank – planks are an arm exercise, but more than that they can really be a total body exercise. There are also so many plank variations! Here we will just go over a basic plank. You will lay on the ground on your stomach. Place your arms on the ground – forearms touching the ground with elbows under your shoulders. Tighten your core and raise up onto your forearms and toes. Your head should be looking towards the ground with chin tucked so that your spine from head to toe is straight. Hold for as long as you can without sacrificing your form.
You can do just one or two of these arm exercises to get yourself moving or you can put them together into a circuit for a full arm workout.
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