Your equipment-free tickets to the gun show.
Curls, presses, rows…dumbbells are great for activating the muscles of your upper body, but they aren’t the only equipment that gets the job done. In fact, your own body is one of the most effective arm-strengthening tools at your disposal. By using your own bodyweight, you can put those biceps, triceps, and shoulders to work, no weights required.
Emily Cook Harris, certified personal trainer and fitness instructor at The Fhitting Room in NYC, shared a few of her all-time favorite bodyweight exercises for arms with SELF. Her moves are tough-as-hell but insanely effective, and you don’t need to step foot in a gym to do ‘em. Plus, they’ll get the rest of your body involved, too—tight cores and glutes are a must for keeping proper form.
Ready to flex those arms? See all of the super-effective exercises demonstrated by trainer Tamara Pridgett in the video below. Work your favorites into your usual gym routine, or just try a few next time you’re hanging out with Netflix at home.
Here are 12 ways to work your arms without any weights:
1. Tricep Dips: Start in reverse tabletop position on the floor with your fingers pointing toward your feet. Bend and straighten your arms to complete a rep.
2. T Push-Ups: Start in a high plank with your feet hip-distance apart. Do one push-up. Then rotate your entire body to the right into a side plank, extending your left arm to the ceiling. Return to center position, do another push-up, and repeat on the left side.
3. Plank Ups: Start in a high plank. Bend one arm to bring the elbow and forearm to the floor. Bring the other arm down so you are in a forearm plank. Push back up to the start position, placing each hand where your elbows were. Repeat this movement, alternating which side you lower first with each rep.
4. Inchworm With Shoulder Taps: Start standing then bend at the waist to place your hands on the floor in front of you. Walk your hands out until you’re in a high plank. Then tap each hand to the opposite shoulder while engaging your core and glutes to keep the hips still. Walk the hands back in and return to the standing position.
5. Superman Holds With Squeeze: Lie face down with your arms out to a T. Lift your torso and legs off the floor. Pause and then slowly lower everything back down.
6. Walking Push-Ups: Start in a high plank. Walk your hands and feet to the right, then perform one push-up. Repeat, walking hands and feet to the left this time. Try to keep your body in a straight line throughout the movement.
7. Forearm Plank Jacks: Start in a forearm plank. Keeping your core engaged, jump your feet out and in (like jumping jacks).
8. Rolling Forearm Side Planks: Start in a forearm plank and roll onto your right forearm into a side plank, reaching your left arm up to the ceiling (make sure your hips and feet are stacked one over the other). Pause for a moment, then return to a forearm plank and repeat on the left side.
9. Triangle Push-Ups: Start in a high and create a triangle with your hands under your torso. Bend your elbows and lower your torso to the ground to complete one push-up. You can also do this on your knees.
10. Hand Release Push-Ups With Arm Raises: Begin in a high plank and bend your elbows to lower your chest all the way to the floor. Quickly lift your hands off the floor, then return them to the ground and push back up to a high plank. At the top of the push-up, reach one arm straight out to the side without rotating the hips. Repeat, alternating the arm you reach to the side.
11. Incline Push-Ups: Place your arms on a bench, table, or couch and extend your legs straight behind you so that you’re in an elevated plank position. Keeping your body in a straight line and your elbows close to your body, bend and straighten your arms to complete a push-up.
12. Tricep Dips With Leg Lifted: Sit on the edge of bench with your hands just outside your hips, fingers pointed toward your feet. Move your butt off the bench and bend your legs at a 90-degree angle. Lift one leg straight out in front of you and bend your elbows to a 90-degree angle for one dip. Push back up so arms are straight and repeat, lifting the opposite leg.