Sculpting your arms is actually a lot easier than you might think. So, if you’ve ever wanted toned arms but weren’t sure where to start, let this simple at-home arm workout be your guide. All you need are some light dumbbells, resistance bands, or any household items that have a little weight and you can hold in your hands. Then it’s up to you to make your personal health and fitness a priority.
Fitness doesn’t have to be difficult or time consuming either. You can strengthen your arms by scheduling fifteen minute workouts for yourself a few times each week, or by maximizing any free time that you have in your day. Cooking and have fifteen minutes of downtime before you have to check back on the meal you’re preparing? Perfect. Get a quick exercise session in. Waiting for your kids’ after school activities or practices to end? Take advantage of the waiting time and get your upper-body workout on. Stuck on a work call that’s just not ending? Switch the call to speakerphone (or put your in-ear headphones in) and strengthen your arms as you listen to the conversation. A short exercise session is better than nothing at all, and little gains have the ability to add up to big ones over time. So, here are some simple at-home arm workouts that you can do both with and without weights.
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Simple At-Home Arm Workouts Without Weights
While dumbbells and barbells are commonly used in a lot of upper-body exercises since it’s hard to work all the muscles in your arms without weights, there are arm exercises you can do without weights that will still tone your arms, as well. However, instead of working all the muscles in your arms at the same time, you’ll be targeting certain areas like the tops of your shoulders and your triceps when you’re not using weights.
Whether you’re a beginner or a fitness pro, arm circles are a good way to kick off any upper-body workout. The simple circular motions will help you loosen the muscles in your upper-body, while strengthening your shoulders and arms at the same time. To do arm circles, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Then extend both of your arms out straight to your sides to form a T with your body. Slowly rotate your shoulders and arms to make small forward circles. After 15 forward circles, reverse directions and complete 15 rotations in the opposite direction. That’s one complete set. Try to do three total sets. And as you become more comfortable performing arm circles, you can make the forward and reverse circles as big or as small as you’d like.
The plank tap, which is a plank with shoulder taps, helps to strengthen your core, glutes, arms, and shoulders. This exercise also helps to reduce lower back pain, improve your posture, and tighten your midsection. Start in high plank position with your palms flat and your hands shoulder-width apart. Your shoulders should be directly above your wrists and your legs should be extended behind you. Tap your right hand to your left shoulder while engaging your core and glutes. Then do the same thing with your left hand to your right shoulder. That completes one repetition. Then continue for 8 to 10 repetitions, or as many as you can do. To make this exercise easier at first, you can separate your legs a little more.
The side plank allows you to tone your abdominal muscles, while strengthening your arms and glutes at the same time. This exercise also doesn’t put a lot of pressure on your lower back or neck as many core exercises do. To begin, lie on your right side with your legs extended and stacked from your hip to your feet. Your right hand should be directly underneath your shoulder, your head should be in line with your spine, and your left arm can be aligned along the left side of your body. Squeeze your abs and glutes to lift your hips off the floor. Then extend your left hand straight up toward the ceiling. Hold this position for as long as you can at first, with the goal of being able to hold this position for 60 seconds at a time. Then change sides and repeat.
This basic bodyweight exercise strengthens your triceps, which are the muscles that run on the backside of your upper arm from your shoulder to your elbow. You can do triceps dips using a sturdy chair or your couch. Position your hands shoulder-width apart on a stable chair or your couch. Slide your butt off the front of your chair or couch with your legs extended out in front of you. Then straighten your arms, while keeping a little bend in your elbows to keep tension on your triceps and off of your elbow joints. Bend your elbows slowly to lower your body toward the ground until your elbows are at a 90-degree angle (with your back close to the chair or couch). When you reach the bottom of the movement, press down into the chair or couch to straighten your elbows and return to your starting position. This completes one rep. Try to do 8 to 10 reps, or as many as you can.
A burpee push-up is a full-body calisthenics and plyometric exercise that targets your chest, forearms, triceps, lower back, groin, quads, and calves. To do a burpee with a push-up, start by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart. Then squat as deeply as you can and place your hands on the floor. Kick back into a push-up position and then do one push-up. Bring your legs back to a squat and jump up, throwing your hands above your head. Land, and then repeat for 8 to 10 reps.
Simple At-Home Arm Workouts With Weights
Arm muscles like your biceps typically need some external resistance to work against, which is why you might want to use dumbbells or resistance bands when you train your upper-body. You can also use household items like cans of food or bottles of water if you don’t have any dumbbells or resistance bands.
Biceps curls are a typical exercise used in upper-body strength training routines to work the muscles of your upper arm, as well as the muscles of your lower arm. Since you use these muscles anytime you pick something up, it’s important to keep your biceps in shape. Start by selecting dumbbells or objects that you can lift 10 times with good form. You might want to consider starting with two-pound weights, especially if this is your first time or you’re returning from an injury. To do biceps curls, stand tall with your feet about hip-width apart, and your abdominal muscles engaged. Hold one dumbbell in each hand, and then let your arms relax down at the sides of your body with your palms facing forward. While keeping your upper arms stable and your shoulders relaxed, bend at your elbow and lift the weights so that the dumbbells approach your shoulders. Your elbows should stay tucked in close to your ribs, and you should exhale while you’re lifting. Then lower the weights to the starting position. Do 10 curls and then rest.
Triceps kickbacks are a simple and effective way to build arm and upper body strength. Hold a dumbbell in each hand with your palms facing in toward each other, while keeping your knees slightly bent. Engage your core and maintain a straight spine as you hinge forward at your waist, bringing your torso almost parallel to the floor. Keep your upper arms in close to your body and your head in line with your spine. On an exhale, engage your triceps by straightening your elbows. Hold your upper arms still, only moving your forearms during this movement. Then pause here, and inhale as you return the weights to the starting position. Try to do 8 to 10 reps, or as many as you can.
Upright rows help to increase your shoulder and upper back strength by pulling the weight toward you and targeting your posterior chain, which are the muscles on the backside of your body. To perform this exercise, you’ll need dumbbells, kettlebells, a barbell, or resistance bands. Start standing with your feet hip-width apart, your arms resting in front of your body, and a dumbbell in each hand. Lift the dumbbells by raising your elbows until they reach chest-level. Slowly lower them back down to your waist with control, and then repeat. That’s one rep. Try to do 8 to 10 reps, or as many as you can.
The shoulder press is one of the best exercises for strengthening your shoulders and upper back. To do a dumbbell shoulder press, hold a dumbbell in each hand using an overhand grip and plant both of your feet on the floor about hip-width apart. Then raise the dumbbells to shoulder height, directly in front of your chest. Extend your elbows and press the dumbbells above your head, while making certain that your arms are in line with your ears. When your arms are fully extended, bend your elbows to lower the dumbbells back to your chest. That’s one rep. Try to do 8 to 10 reps, or as many as you can.
Overhead Triceps Extension
The overhead triceps extension is a strength move that targets the back of your upper arm where your triceps brachii muscles are located. With your feet shoulder-width apart and your core tight, hold a dumbbell with both of your hands. Lift the dumbbell until your arms are fully extended with your palms facing the ceiling and your elbows pointing forward. This is the starting position. Bending at your elbows and squeezing your triceps, slowly lower the dumbbell behind your head. Return to the starting position and then repeat. Try to do 8 to 10 reps, or as many as you can.