Arm Workouts Without Weights
The truth is you don’t need professional weights to give your arms an effective workout, and to build the muscle and look you’ve always wanted. While sometimes it can be nice to know the exact weight you’re working with, or to have professional equipment, you can get the same workout that gym-junkies get for a fraction of the cost and without even leaving your home if you just know the right exercises.
In this article, we’re going to look at some great bodyweight exercises you can do to build muscle in your arms without weights. We’ll also show you how to do a number of fantastic workouts using nothing more than everyday household items.
The key to these workouts is that you pay attention to the specific muscle group you’re targeting. In practice, this means changing the position of your hand to be either “supinated,” “pronated,” or “neutral.”
By completing the following exercises using all of these variations, you will get a balanced workout that will give you the defined look you’ve always wanted.
- Effective arm workouts can be done at home without professional weights or equipment, using everyday household items.
- By paying attention to hand positions and variations (supinated, pronated, neutral), you can target different muscle groups and achieve a balanced arm workout.
- Exercises like diamond pushups, dips (chairs and single chair), bent-over single arm tricep extension, hammer curls (pronated, supinated, neutral), yogi pushups, handstand pushups against a wall, prison pull-ups (supinated), and rows can help build muscle and achieve a defined look in your arms.
Diamond pushups are a more advanced form of pushup that’s often used for training in the Army as a great warmup exercise.
The premise is simple: place your hands on the ground so that your forefingers and thumbs meet to create a diamond formation. Put your legs straight out behind you in the same form as a regular pushup. Then, bend your arms at the elbows to lower yourself down to the ground, before extending your arms straight, pushing your upper body up in the same way you would do a regular pushup.
When you get to the top of your pushup, with your arms straightened out below you, squeeze your triceps. Your chest should come down and meet your fingers. When you get to the top squeeze your tricep.
Other muscle groups this targets:
This is a great exercise for working out your triceps, while also hitting your chest muscles. To do this exercise, just grab two sturdy chairs and place them side-by-side with their backs facing each-other about shoulder length apart.
Then, grab the tops of the chairs with your hands and position your body so that you’re in-between the two backs of the chairs. Put all of your body weight into your arms so that your feet are just hovering above the ground. Now, dip down until your arms are bent at the elbow at 90°.
From here, extend your arms once again so that your arms are straight. These types of dips are designed to primarily work out your triceps.
To also exercise your chest, do the same movement by starting from the bottom where your elbows are completely bent and your biceps are almost meeting your forearms, then extend from this position up to 90° and back down again.
Other muscle groups this targets:
Dips (Single Chair)
This type of dip is going to feel much easier than the previous two-char version. That’s because your feet are going to be touching the ground the entire time you’re doing these dips, meaning you’re putting less weight on your triceps.
To do these dips, simply stand up in front of a chair as if you’re about to sit down on it, your back facing the seat. Then, grab the chair with both hands, so that your fingers are curled up beneath the seat, with your palm on top.
Next, move your feet out so tat they’re further away from the chair and your body’s weight shifts almost entirely onto your arms. Proceed to let your body down slowly by bending at the elbows, then, once you reach the bottom, extend your arms to push your body’s weight back up.
Bent-Over Single Arm Tricep Extension (Supinated)
This exercise is meant to replicate the workout of doing resistance curls using a cable, but requires nothing more than the common household objects you already have in your home. Start by finding a heavy, solid object in your home such as a water jug or bottle of laundry detergent. Get creative—you an use literally anything you want!
Now that you have your heavy object, bend your torso over over and put your arm back. Bend your arm at 90°. Keep your shoulder joint locked and still, and extend your arm by just bending at the elbow. Your arm should start at a 90° angle, extend to straight, then back to 90°. To do the “supinated” version of these tricep extensions, grip the object so that your palm is facing up towards the ceiling.
Hammer Curl (Pronated)
This exercise also requires a weighted household object, like a milk or water jug, detergent bottle, or anything that is easy to hold and has a good weight to it. If you have a reusable shopping bag, fill it with weighted objects and use that as your weight.
For the pronated version of the hammer curl, hold your weighted object so that your palm is facing the ground. Start with your arm straight down, and bend at the elbow, curling your forearm up towards your bicep, and back down again. Make sure your motions are always slow and deliberate.
Hammer Curl (Supinated)
The supinated version of the hammer curl is practically the same as the pronated version, except this time, you’re going to grip your weighted object so that your palms are facing the ceiling. Again, start with your arms straight down, and bend at the elbow to curl your forearm up, moving slowly and deliberately.
Once your forearm is curled all the way into your bicep, slowly let the weight back down until your arm is straight again. This is mimicking the most basic form of curling, which you’re likely used to seeing at the gym.
Hammer Curl Neutral
Finally, we have the neutral-gripped version of the hammer curl. By doing your curls with these three different hand positions, you’ll be hitting different muscle groups in your arm, helping you to build a more defined look.
For this position, hold your weighted object so that your thumb is on top facing up towards the ceiling. Then once again, curl your weighted object in the same way we’ve described in sections 5 & 6.
Yogi pushups are a fantastic exercise that is a combination between a downward-dog yoga position, a plank, and a pushup. To do this pushup variation, start in a downward-dog position with your hands on the ground shoulder width apart in front of you, and your legs behind you also shoulder width apart.
Your butt should be somewhat in the air so that your body makes an upside down ‘V’ shape. Once you’re in this position, bend your elbows down until your elbows are hovering just above the ground. Then, extend your arms to push your body back up again, the same as you would for a normal pushup.
If you want to make this pushup more challenging, bring your hands in so that they’re more below your chest. The closer your hands and feet are to each-other, the more difficult it’ll be. The further you spread out in your downward-dog position, the easier it will become.
Adjust your form based on your fitness level.
Handstand Pushups Against a Wall (Tricep)
The handstand pushup is a more intermediate to advanced exercise. Since there’s more risk of falling on your head and injuring your neck with this exercise, only try this if you’re confident in your ability to support your body’s weight in a handstand position.
The premise of this exercise is simple. Kick up into a handstand position with your back against the wall, and feet also touching the wall for balance. Once you’re holding a handstand, slowly bend at the elbows until your head is almost touching the ground. Then, extend your elbows to push your body back up again
until your arms are almost fully extended. Make sure to never do this exercise too quickly or else you risk falling on your head.
Other muscle groups this targets:
Prison Pull-ups (Supinated)
For this exercise, you’ll need to find a sturdy object that has a flat surface elevated off the ground, such as a desk, countertop, or a solid bar chair. Start by lying down beneath this object, then reach up and grab it by its flat top surface so that your fingers are on top and palm on the underpart. Then, slowly and steadily pull your chest up to meet the underside of the object.
Once your chest is just about touching the object, slowly let your self back down again. Repeat this exercise as many times as you need to get a good burn in your arms and biceps.
To do rows, you’ll need another weighted, solid household object. Again, this can be a jug of water, milk, detergent, or even a reusable bag filled with heavy objects. Get creative! It doesn’t matter exactly how heavy the weight is—the point is to exercise and build muscle after all, not gloat about “how much you can lift.”
Hold the object in a supinated position (so that your fingernails are facing the ceiling). Start with the object on the ground in front of you. Now, you’re going to pull your arm back so that your elbow reaches up towards the ceiling.
Think of this motion more or less as the same movement you might use when pulling a lawnmower cord to start it, but much more slow and deliberate.
Once your arm can’t extend back any further, slowly bring the object down to the same spot on the ground that you took it from.
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