Building arm strength doesn't require a gym membership or even a weight bench. If you don't have a gym membership or you're looking for an option for the days when getting to the gym doesn't fit your schedule, you can perform certain exercises at home with minimal, if any, equipment.
Pushups engage your biceps or triceps depending on your hand placement. A shoulder-width hand placement will work the biceps, while a closer hand placement will hit your triceps. To perform a traditional pushup, lie on the ground with your hands on the floor. You hands should be slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Push yourself up using your arms while keeping your body straight until only your hands and the balls of your feet are on the ground. Slowly lower yourself back down to the ground. If you are unable to push your body weight up or if you catch your butt drifting up, lower your knees to the ground. To target the triceps more, move your hands closer together or make a diamond with your thumbs and pointer fingers.
You don't need a bench to do this exercise that targets the triceps. Use a chair, the bottom step or any other platform that will allow you to lower yourself and engage the triceps. Place your hands on the edge of the chair with your feet on the ground. Ensure that the chair is stable. Start with your arms straight. Slowly lower yourself to the ground until your upper arm is parallel to the floor. Raise yourself back up to starting position. Once you've built up strength and want more of a challenge, put your feet up on another chair of similar height or find something to use as a weight and place it on top of your thighs.
Chinups work your biceps and back. If you don't have a chinup bar in your house, use a tree branch that will support your weight, your children's swing set or head to the park and use the monkey bars. To do a chinup, place your hands on the bar, shoulder-width apart with your hands facing you. Pull your body up until your arms are at your sides and your chin is above the bar. Slowly lower yourself back to the starting position. Do not swing your body as you pull yourself up.
Beginners may find that they cannot complete the full range of motion. To make it a little easier, have a partner lift you or place your foot on a platform or the floor if your bar is low enough.
Dumbbells and Resistance Bands
Purchase a set of dumbbells or resistance bands to work your biceps by doing curls. Hold the dumbbell or resistance band handle -- while standing on the band -- at your sides and bending at your elbow to raise your hands. Keep your elbows close to your body and your torso stationary. Lower your hands. You can also do concentration curls with your elbow pressing against your inner thigh.
Perform triceps extensions by holding the dumbbell over your head with both hands and your arms straight. Slowly lower the weight behind your head, bending at your elbows. Raise the weight over the head until your arms are straight again. To use a resistance band, secure the band to a heavy object on the floor. Grasp the handles in your hands behind the neck. Raise the handles until your arms are straight and then lower the handles to starting position.
Tips and Considerations
Work both the biceps and triceps each workout to avoid developing imbalances that increase the chance of injury. Because your arm muscles are smaller than the muscles in other parts of your body, you only need to do one to two exercises for each. The key to gaining strength is progressive overload. During each workout, increase the number of repetitions you perform, the weight you use -- if applicable -- or the level of difficulty.
Use water bottles if don't want to buy dumbbells or resistance bands.