11 of the Hardest Arm Exercises You Can Do at Home

Pike push-ups are a challenging way to work your upper body without weights.
Image Credit: LIVESTRONG.com Creative

This month-long challenge is all about sculpting and strengthening your upper body. You'll work your biceps, triceps, chest and shoulders this month. Get all the details on the challenge here.

Biceps curls, triceps kickbacks and shoulder presses will only get you so far in your upper-body workouts. At a certain point, you'll either get bored or your gains will start plateauing — or both.

To liven up your strength training (and get a bit of a cardio workout, too), we asked Keoni Hudoba, founder of core-intensive virtual training program COREntine and host of our 4-Week Arms Challenge, to come up with some of the hardest arm exercises you can do at home.

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Try These 11 Challenging At-Home Arm Exercises

Grab a pair of medium-weight dumbbells (or use one of these creative alternatives). You'll want your weights to be heavy enough to challenge your muscles but still allow you to complete your reps with proper form.

1. Wide Biceps Curl

JW Player placeholder image
Sets 3
Time 40 Sec
Activity Dumbbell Workout
Body Part Arms
  1. Begin standing with a dumbbell in each hand in front of your thighs, palms facing up.
  2. Lift the weights up toward your shoulders with your arms out at a 45-degree angle.
  3. Lower the weights with control and repeat.

2. Overhead Triceps Press

JW Player placeholder image
Sets 3
Time 40 Sec
Activity Dumbbell Workout
Body Part Arms
  1. This exercise can be done standing or sitting. If you're standing, keep your feet hip-width apart, knees slightly bent and bellybutton pulled in toward your spine.
  2. Hold one dumbbell in both hands over your head, keeping your elbows straight and close to your ears.
  3. Slowly bend your elbows to lower the dumbbell behind your head.
  4. Raise your elbows back to the starting position and repeat.

3. Lateral Raise to Front Raise

JW Player placeholder image
Sets 3
Time 40 Sec
Activity Dumbbell Workout
Body Part Shoulders
  1. Begin standing, holding a dumbbell in each hand at your sides.
  2. Keeping your core braced, raise the weights out to your sides until they reach shoulder height.
  3. Lower the weights slowly back down to the starting position.
  4. Brace your core and raise the weights in front of your body until they reach shoulder height, palms facing down.
  5. Lower the weights back to the starting position with control.
  6. Continue alternating between the lateral and the front raise.

4. Hammer Curl to Wide Curl

JW Player placeholder image
Sets 3
Time 40 Sec
Activity Dumbbell Workout
Body Part Arms
  1. Begin standing holding a dumbbell in each hand at your sides, palms facing in toward each other.
  2. Brace your core and curl the dumbbells up toward your shoulders, holding the weights vertically.
  3. Keeping your elbows at your sides, slowly lower the weights back down with control.
  4. Shift the weights slightly so they face out at a 45-degree angle.
  5. Lift the weights up toward your shoulders.
  6. Lower the weights with control and repeat.

5. Zottman Curl

JW Player placeholder image
Sets 3
Time 40 Sec
Activity Dumbbell Workout
Body Part Arms
  1. Stand with your feet hip-width apart, holding a dumbbell in each hand. Position your palms so they face forward.
  2. Keeping your elbows still, raise the weights up to your shoulders.
  3. Once you reach shoulder height, flip the weights so your palms face down.
  4. With control, slowly lower the dumbbells back to your sides and repeat.

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6. Around the World

JW Player placeholder image
Sets 3
Time 40 Sec
Activity Dumbbell Workout
Body Part [ "Shoulders", "Arms" ]
  1. Start standing with a dumbbell in each hand, palms facing up.
  2. While keeping your shoulder blades down and back, lift the dumbbells out to the side and over your head. You'll form a circle with the path of your hands.
  3. Reverse directions to lower the dumbbells back down to your thighs and repeat.

7. Pike Push-Up

JW Player placeholder image
Sets 3
Time 40 Sec
Activity Body-Weight Workout
Body Part Shoulders
  1. Start in a high plank with your shoulders stacked over your wrists.
  2. Walk your feet toward your hands, lifting your hips toward the ceiling until they're above your shoulders.
  3. Bend your elbows like in a regular push-up as push your shoulders forward and lower your head toward the floor.
  4. Straighten your elbows to press back up and repeat.

8. Triceps Push-Up

JW Player placeholder image
Sets 3
Time 40 Sec
Activity Body-Weight Workout
Body Part Arms
  1. Start in a high plank with your hands under your shoulders.
  2. Bend your elbows, keeping them tucked close to your ribs, and lower your chest to the floor.
  3. Push back up into a plank and repeat.

9. Triceps Push-Up Jack

JW Player placeholder image
Sets 3
Time 40 Sec
Activity Body-Weight Workout
Region Full Body
  1. Start in a high plank with your hands under your shoulders.
  2. Jump your feet several inches out to the sides.
  3. As you do that (or a split second after), bend your elbows, keeping them tucked close to your ribs, and lower your chest to the floor.
  4. Push back up into a plank and jump your feet back together. Repeat.

10. Single-Arm Burpee

JW Player placeholder image
Sets 3
Time 40 Sec
Activity Body-Weight Workout
Region Full Body
  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  2. Push your hips back and down while maintaining a flat back.
  3. Reach one hand toward the ground between your shoulders in the middle of your chest.
  4. Jump or step both feet back and land in a one-arm plank with your body in a straight line from head to hips to heels.
  5. Jump or step your feet back underneath your hips.
  6. Stand up and as you press into your feet, jump straight into the air, arms reaching overhead.
  7. Land softly with your hips back and knees slightly bent and in line with your feet and hips, ready to go into the next rep.
  8. With each rep, switch which arm you use to support yourself.

11. Triceps Push-Up Burpee

JW Player placeholder image
Sets 3
Time 40 Sec
Activity Body-Weight Workout
Region Full Body
  1. Stand with feet shoulder-width apart.
  2. Push your hips back and down while maintaining a flat back.
  3. Place both hands on the ground between or slightly in front of your feet and underneath your shoulders.
  4. Jump or step both feet back and land in a high plank with your body in a straight line from head to hips to heels.
  5. Perform a triceps push-up, bending your elbows and hugging them close to your body while lowering to the floor and maintaining your body alignment.
  6. Press back up to a high plank.
  7. Jump or step your feet back underneath your hips.
  8. Stand up and as you press into your feet, jump straight into the air, arms reaching overhead.
  9. Land softly with your hips back and knees slightly bent and in line with your feet and hips, ready to go into the next rep.

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