10 Simple Exercises to Strengthen and Tone Your Arms
Updated: Aug 17, 2020
“I want to work out, but I hate going to the gym!” Is that you? Well, no need to fret, there are thousands of exercises you can do without a gym, using your own body weight and/or small pieces of inexpensive equipment. These 10 arm exercises help to tone without the use of weights. Instead, you can use your own bodyweight or equipment you can definitely find around your own house or office. You don’t need much time or space for these moves, but you do need to focus and work hard at these simple moves in order to see results.
1. DOUBLE-ARM BICEPS CURLS Don’t have weights for this move? No problem! Grab some water bottles, canned food or another similar object you have around the house. You don’t absolutely need weights in order to add resistance to this exercise. Are you a parent of a small child? Pick him/her up and use the baby as some weight – I’m sure the child will have so much fun with this exercise.
Keep your elbows in close to your torso and your shoulders down and away from your ears to maximise the recruitment of the biceps during this exercise. 2. TRICEPS DIP Grab a chair, bench, couch or step & you are ready to rock this exercise. It’s actually great for the triceps to mix up what you use in order to vary the range of motion and get a killer burn. Make sure you keep your butt and low back close to the chair in order to maximise the benefits of the exercise. Want to increase the burn? Mix up the tempo and try some slower and faster triceps dips. 3. UP DOWNS This exercise is powerful for the upper body as well as the abs. The more muscle groups you recruit for n exercise, the more calories you burn – YAY! Be sure that your core is engaged throughout the movement ensuring that your shoulders, hips and feet are in a line. Additionally, be sure that your hands or elbows (depending on if you’re doing the “up” or “down” part of the exercise) are placed directly underneath the shoulder. Try to resist the urge to rock side-to-side while performing this exercise. 4. 2-2-2 PUSH-UPS Feel free to do this variation on your knees if you have to. The “2-2-2” of the exercise name refers to 3 sets of 2 push-ups you will do using different hand placement: narrow, regular and wide. The narrow push-ups are going to get more of your triceps and the wider ones more of your chest. If you perform this push-up variation on your knees, be sure that your thighs do not touch the mat. 5. STEP CLIMBERS The higher the step you choose, the harder this exercise is. Like the triceps dip, you can use a step, stair, chair or couch for this move. Make sure you keep your core engaged at all times and don’t let that booty pike up in the air too much.
6. TRICEPS KICKBACK Grab your cans, water bottles or weights for this move. Yes, we are attacking the triceps again because nobody wants that jiggle on the back of the arm. The mind-muscle connection during this move is going to make it much more intense – focus on the muscle! To perform this exercise, start by bending over while standing. Keep a slight bend in your knees and your back straight. Row your arms in keeping your elbows locked to the side of your torso. Lift and lower your weights up towards the ceiling without moving your elbows. Do this exercise slow and controlled. 7. BENT OVER WIDE ROW This move is going to target the backs of the shoulders – also known as the rear delts. People are usually inclined to work the front (anterior) and side (lateral) of the shoulder but forget the rear delts. Not on my watch! Be sure that your elbows pull up in line with your shoulders creating a “t” shape. 8. SHOULDER PRESS You can do this move seated, standing or while balancing on one leg to further activate the core. Remember, more bang for your buck equates to more calories burned. Lower your elbows a little below shoulder height and be sure that you press your weights (or arms) up a bit in front of your forehead versus behind your head. You should be able to see your hands without having to lift your head up. 9. FRONT-TO-SIDE RAISE If you have a resistance band, that is a great piece of equipment to use for this move. If not, no worries, you can use your weights (water bottles, cans) or nothing at all. If you really focus on that mind-muscle connection you can get a lot out of this move without a lot of weight. Only raise your arms to shoulder height, not higher. 10. SINGLE-ARM RESISTED BICEPS CURL For this move, your weight is your opposite hand. Make sure you give your bicep resistance on the way up (of course) and on the way down. Pressure on the way down is called a negative and is a really powerful training technique for the muscle. As with any biceps curl, be sure that your elbow is locked in close to your torso. So, if you’re intimidated by the gym or don’t want to waste any time driving there, try these awesome arm exercises at home or at work. Want more? Try these 10 Moves to Strengthen Your Core!
Here’s a tip for an awesome 6-minute workout: Pick 3 exercises from this list, and 3 exercises from the core exercise list and then alternate one upper body & one core exercise for a list of 6. Perform each exercise for 1 minute one after the other. Yes, it will probably be tough but it’s only 6 minutes!