The popularity of bodyweight exercises is on the rise. In 2013, bodyweight strength training made the list of the top 10 fitness trends for the first time, according to the American College of Sports Medicine. If you’re looking to strengthen your arms, you don’t need to invest in a gym membership or bulky weights. You can build strength effectively using just your own body weight, often in the comfort of your own home.
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Perform underhand chin-ups to strengthen your biceps. Hold the bar with an underhand grip and lift your feet off the floor. Use your arms to pull your body body up until you can place your chin over the bar. Slowly return to the starting position. If you’re not strong enough to do a full chin-up, use a bar that is low enough that you can reach the floor with your feet throughout the entire exercise if necessary.
Use a table in your house to do inverted curls. Lie on your back under a sturdy table with your hands grasping the top of the table and your knees bent. Pull your body up toward the table, then slowly lower your body to the starting position.
Try ledge curls if you are a beginner to exercise. Stand in front of a horizontal, wist-high protruding ledge, such as a table or a kitchen counter. Make fists with your hands and place them under the ledge with your palms facing each other. Press up on the ledge as if you are trying to lift it. Simultaneously bend at the waist, keeping your back straight. Relax your arms and return to the standing position.
Adapt the seated dips exercise based on your exercise level. Find a bench or sturdy chair that is at about knee level. Turn away from the bench, extend your arms back and put your hands on the edge of the bench. Your knuckles should face forward. If you are a beginner, bend your knees in a 90-degree angle. If you are a more seasoned exerciser, straighten your legs out in front of your so that only your heels are touching the floor. Lower yourself backward until your upper arms are parallel to the floor. Return to return to the starting position.
Use triceps push-ups -- also known as diamond push-ups -- for a challenging triceps workout. Lie on the floor in the push-up position and bring your hands together in a diamond shape on the floor so that your thumbs and index fingers are close together. Using your arms, lower yourself to the floor and then raise yourself back up. If this exercise is too challenging, keep your knees on the floor throughout the movement.
Add bodyweight triceps extensions to target the back of your arms as well as your abs and glutes. Put your hands on the edge of a table or sturdy chair, keeping them close together. Walk your legs back so that you are standing on your toes and you are facing the ground. Your head should be in line with your shoulders. Lower your body until your forearms are parallel to the floor, then raise your body to the starting position.
REFERENCES & RESOURCES
- American College of Sports Medicine: Body Weight Training: Emerging Trend in Annual ASM Fitness Survey
- ExRx.net: Self-Assisted Chin-up
- Bodyweight Strength Training Anatomy; Bret Contreras
- Harvard Medical School: 7 Tips for a Safe and Successful Strength-Training Program
- ExRx.net: Exercise Instruction: Exercise Menu: Upper Arms
- American Council on Exercise: 5 Variations of Traditional Bodyweight Exercises
- The New York Times: Exercise In-Depth Report