11 No-Equipment Arm Exercises for a Strong Upper Body


While many upper-body moves involve gym mainstays like dumbbells and barbells, arm exercises without weights are a fantastic way to put your muscles to the test, too. After all, the weight of your body is equipment in its own right—you can use it to load your arm muscles and make ’em work. There’s no heavy lifting required, and a gym membership is totally optional.

Another big bonus? Many no-equipment arm exercises like planks and push-ups also require you to engage your core, so you’ll squeeze in an abs challenge, too. While planks and burpees are also total-body movements, when you stack them alongside other arm-focused exercises, you work on burning out your arm muscles faster than the other muscles in your body, and help build a strong upper body. These 11 moves are sure to work your biceps, triceps, and your entire shoulder girdle (which includes your pecs, delts, and lats.) All of which are important for activities of daily living like carrying grocery bags, your own suitcase, or pulling yourself out of a pool. They also all contribute to helping you stand up a little taller, especially if you have a desk job and sit all day long.

Also, if any of these exercises are new to you, that’s great. When you focus on just using your own body for resistance (and not adding weights) it’s easier to learn proper form, and prevents potential injuries that arise when you start with weights. Plus, you can do them anywhere at any time, so you’ll be more likely to actually do them anywhere. Eliminating friction points helps guarantee you get your workout in.

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