When most of us think about arm workouts, our minds go to hardcore weight machines, dumbbells, or resistance bands. Don't get us wrong, there are plenty of good reasons why you should pick up a weight and add resistance-training to your routine. But sometimes, you just don't want to deal with going to the gym, so you have to make do with your bodyweight alone. And thankfully, there are tons of ways to work your arms without picking up a piece of equipment.
Whether you're lounging around at home, or traveling and don't have access to a gym, here are the arm exercises you should master next:
Begin on all fours, with your arms straight, hands flat on the floor (or on an elevated bench to make it easier) shoulder-width apart. Extend your legs back behind you into a plank, or keep your knees down on the mat to modify the exercise. Lower your body towards the floor by bending your arms; your elbows should point to the side, away from your torso. Stop when your chin or chest almost touch the floor. Keeping your abdominals braced and body in a line, straighten your arms, pressing your body away from the floor. Can't do a push-up? Try this 30-day challenge to learn how.
Stand up straight with your feet hips-width apart. Fold forward, and bring your hands to the floor. Keeping your abdominals braced and feet in place, walk your hands out until you're in a plank or push-up position. Hold for a breath, then walk your hands back to your feet and return to stand. If you're down to make it harder, you can add a push-up at the end of the plank.
Start in a plank, with your hands on the floor shoulder-width apart. Keeping your abdominals braced and arms straight, pike your hips backward and upward, so that your body forms an upside-down V. Hold this position for a few breaths.
Sit on a bench or sturdy chair with your hands on either side of your body. Straighten your legs, and squeeze them together so they form one line, with your heels flexed. (To make it easier, you can place your feet flat on the floor.) Press your palms into the bench, then shift your weight forward slightly so your butt hovers in front of the seat. Bend your arms and lower your body until your arms form 90-degree angles. Straighten your arms to return to start. Note: Some trainers aren't into this exercise, because it can put a lot of strain on your shoulders. If you have a shoulder injury, you might be better off with another exercise.
Begin on your hands and knees, with your back flat. Keeping your hands on the floor shoulder-width apart, extend one leg straight behind you, then the other, squeezing your inner thighs together so your body forms a straight line from the crown of your head to your heels. To make planks more challenging on your arms, you can lower down one forearm at a time, then return to your palms.
Plank Shoulder Taps
Assume a plank position, keeping your hands flat on the floor shoulder-width apart. Without shifting your weight or moving your hips, touch your left shoulder with your right hand, then return to start. Repeat with your left hand and right shoulder.