Arm exercises without weights can be practiced by anyone and being at home is no excuse. This kind of training has several benefits and should be an integral part of any healthy workout plan.
In this article, we give you a simple guide to 11 workouts that do not need special workout equipment - only your body, your home and perhaps some great workout music!
How does toning your arms benefit your body?
Regular exercise enhances bone strength through significant adaptations in both bone material and structural properties (1). Arm strength exercises build bone density, keep them healthy, and reduce the risk of developing diseases such as osteoporosis, especially for older people. Also, exercising your arms can reduce the risk of injury or at least the severity of the injury.
Good arms strengthen your posture
Arm workouts without weights can help you to maintain a correct and healthy posture, something many of us struggle with daily. A good posture can further improve the balance of the body, relax your muscles, and relieve you of musculoskeletal pain (2).
By training the muscles in you body, you can improve both physique and health. Also, a good arm workout without weights has aesthetic benefits giving you nicely toned arms. Furthermore, achieving toned arms without weights will enhance your workouts by building naturally stronger shoulders and arms without adding too much stress on one muscle group.
Strong arms build momentum for athletic runners
Runners can boost their speed and endurance by generating maximum forward momentum with the provision of power and additional thrust in a sprint. As toned arms move faster and more forcefully, they help you to enhance your step frequency in distance running. The exercises can also help you achieve weight loss by increasing the energy spent through strengthening and toning your core.
Build a better swimming performance
Otherwise, no-equipment arm workout raises your swimming performance by helping you to propel through the water and improve arm conditioning (3).
Furthermore, the increase of the wrist grip strength by training will significantly increase the strength of metacarpophalangeal joint extension of the fingers in sports like tennis (4).
Improving upper limb function is a core element of stroke rehabilitation needed to maximize patient outcomes and reduce disability (5). Training your arms will increase the mobility of upper limbs and increase muscular strength. It has the effect of normalizing vertebral alignment for stroke patients, and thus can provide effective interventions for improving respiratory function (6).
All in all, researchers have found that arm strength training increases peripheral muscle strength, arm exercise capacity, activities of daily living performance, and patients' activities of daily living performance satisfaction.
11 simple no-equipment arm workouts
Whether you are looking to strengthen your muscles for competitive or health reasons, we offer you 11 easy arm workouts that you can practice at the comfort of your home without using any equipment.
1. ARM CIRCLES
This warmup gets your blood moving and can prevent injuries and prepare your body for strength training. It can help to build muscle tone in your shoulders, triceps, and biceps.
1) When performing this warm-up, start with a small range motion.
2) Slowly build your way to a larger circle.
3) Go back the other direction.
2. KICKBOXING PUNCHES
This exercise helps to burn calories but also to tone and strengthen your arms and upper back. This is considered a good form of cardiovascular exercise that you can use in warm-up.
1) Stand with your feet hip-width apart.
2) Bring your right arm up in a 45-degree angle and ensure that your fist is just below your jawline.
3) As you punch your fist at an imaginary target in front of you, extend your arm but don’t overextend your shoulder muscles.
This exercise engages shoulders, back, and glutes. It is an effective exercise to strengthen your upper and lower back muscles.
1) Lie face down, legs straight, feet together, arms out straight above your head on a mat.
2) Squeeze your glutes and slowly raise your legs and arms, while you slowly arch your back.
3) Return to starting position.
4. PUSH UPS
Push ups work primarily the triceps, pectoral muscles, and deltoids. It’s an effective exercise to build core muscles, and a great way to stregthen your arms using no weights.
1) Lie with your chest facing down, palms flat on the floor and slightly more than shoulder-width apart, your feet should be together and your legs straight.
2) Push your body upwards and straighten your arms.
3) Lower your body returning to starting position.
5. PLANK TAP
This arm workout trains and strengthens your glutes, arms, wrists, and shoulders. This exercise helps to strengthen the core, reduce lower back pain, improve your posture, and tightens your midsection.
1) Start in a standard press-up position.
2) Place each hand as wide as is comfortable.
3) Slowly tap your right hand to your left shoulder while engaging your core and glutes to keep your hips as still as possible.
4) Continue, alternating sides, and repeat.
6. INVERTED ROW
If you are looking to give your biceps a proper workout then this arm exercise will do the job for you. And you don't need to lift extra heavy weights to achieve nicely toned arms.
1) With a bed sheet knotted and tied behind the door; grab the sheet.
2) Make an inclination while gripping the sheet, pull your upper body up.
3) Hold for a few seconds and lower yourself back.
Note: This exercise build also strength and muscle in your back, your biceps, your forearms, your grip, and even your core.
7. STAR SIDE ELBOW PLANK
This exercise target your shoulder girdle your lateral deltoid and arms.
1. Lie down on your side. Place your feet together on top of each other. Prop yourself up, raising your hips and resting on your elbows.
2. Raise the other arm towards the ceiling, and your one leg in the air, creating a 45-degree angle.
3. Hold briefly then return to starting position.
Note: The Side Plank primarily strengthens the obliques, deep abdominals and hip.
8. TRICEPS DIP
By using only your body weight, this exercise builds your triceps. Triceps dips also work the pectoralis major.
1) Bring your palms slightly behind your hip.
2) When performing dip on the chair, keep your elbows pointing straight behind you.
3) Keep your body as close to the bench as possible as you dip down.
This workout targets your forearms mainly your deltoids and triceps. For the exercise you will be using a table - preferably a sturdy dinner-table that can support you weight.
1) Lying down under the table, grab the table with an overhand grip, arms straightened, your body is hanging.
2) Pull your body upwards until your chin is just at the same level as the table.
3) Once your lats have completely contracted at the top, lower your body returning to starting position.
4) Repeat. This exercise increase arm, back, and abdominal strength and muscle tone.
This exercise targets the deltoids, latissimus dorsi, glutes, and core.
1) Get into a plank position on your hands and toes, with arms straight, and core engaged.
2) With very small steps from your ankles and hips, while keeping your knees straight, move your lower body forward. Try to keep your tailbone tipped up to the ceiling as best you can.
3) Once you've gone as far as you can without bending your knees, set your feet in place. Then start walking your hands out in little steps until you've returned to a plank position.
11. DOWNWARD DOG
It opens your chest and shoulders and tones your arms and abdominals. Instructions:
1) When performing this mobility exercise, you’ll want to ensure that your knees stay straight.
2) From there, you’ll tip your hips up towards the ceiling.
3) Make a nice long line throughout your torso.
4) Stretch down the back of your thighs and your hamstrings.
5) If that’s a little intense, you can alternate between the left and right sides being locked out and straightened while the opposite leg is bent.
6) This exercise stretches your hips, hamstrings, and calves as it strengthens your quadriceps and ankles.
1) Going, S. B., & Farr, J. N. (2010). Exercise and bone macro-architecture: is childhood a window of opportunity for osteoporosis prevention?. International journal of body composition research, 8, 1.
2) Kim, D., Cho, M., Park, Y., & Yang, Y. (2015). Effect of an exercise program for posture correction on musculoskeletal pain. Journal of physical therapy science, 27(6), 1791-1794.
3) Konstantaki, M., Winter, E., & Swaine, I. (2008). Effects of arms-only swimming training on performance, movement economy, and aerobic power. International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance, 3(3), 294-304.
4) Strizak, A. M., Gleim, G. W., Sapega, A., & Nicholas, J. A. (1983). Hand and forearm strength and its relation to tennis. The American journal of sports medicine, 11(4), 234-239.
5) Pollock, A., Farmer, S. E., Brady, M. C., Langhorne, P., Mead, G. E., Mehrholz, J., & van Wijck, F. (2014). Interventions for improving upper limb function after stroke. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, (11).
6) Kim, D. H., & Jang, S. H. (2001). Effects of an upper-limb exercise program for improving muscular strength and range of movement on respiratory function of stroke patients. Journal of physical therapy science, 28(10), 2785-2788.