To develop well-rounded arms, focus on functional, compound movements. Each arm workout should include a combination of mobility, stability, and strength exercises targeting the upper and lower arms, as well as the front, back, and sides of the shoulders.
These 23 bodyweight arm exercises not only sculpt and tone your arms, but they also build functional upper body strength.
Superman exercises will help to develop your triceps, shoulders, and upper back, as well as your glutes and hamstrings.
- To begin, lie face down on your belly with your forehead on the ground. Extend your arms out in front of you with your palms face down and keep your legs straight out behind you, slightly wider than hip-width apart.
- Inhale, lifting your arms and legs off the ground, focusing on using your back, glutes, shoulders, and triceps. Pause at the top, then slowly lower your legs and arms down. Repeat for 12 reps.
- One-Leg Knee Pushups
This exercise gives you a full upper body workout, with an emphasis on your triceps. Additionally, you get a chance to exercise your glutes and core.
- Begin in a modified plank position, hands beneath your shoulders and knees lowered to the floor.
- Extend your right leg out behind you so that it’s parallel to the floor. Tighten your core and glutes to keep your left hip squared forward.
- With your right leg extended, exhale to bend your elbows, lowering into a pushup. Inhale and straighten your arms, keeping your leg lifted.
- Repeat for 6 reps with your right leg lifted, then switch to your left leg and repeat for 6 reps
- Reverse Tabletop with Arm Extension
The table engages your muscles in the upper and lower back, as well as the shoulders. It also helps to sculpt the triceps and the back of the arms and glutes.
- Begin seated with your knees bent and feet on the ground. Place your hands on the ground behind you, fingertips pointing forward in line with your heels.
- Press into your hands and heels to push your hips up. Transfer the weight into your right hand and lift your left arm straight back behind you. Hold for a moment and then place your right hand back down. Switch sides.
- Alternate for 12-15 reps.
- Tricep Dips
Performing tricep dips is a great way to tone your triceps and the back of your shoulders. This exercise is traditionally done using your bodyweight for resistance.
- Begin by planting your hands behind you on the floor, shoulder-width apart. Shimmy your feet out in front of you, keeping them hip-width apart.
- Lift your booty off the floor by pushing through your heels, keeping your arms straight.
- Now bend your elbows and slowly lower your booty until it brushes the ground. Push back up using your triceps until your arms are straight again.
- Repeat for 10-15 reps.
- High Plank Shoulder Taps
This exercise targets your biceps, triceps, shoulders, and upper back.
- Start in a high plank position with your wrists in line with your shoulders. Walk your feet out behind you, hip-width apart. Pull in your belly and engage your thighs and glutes.
- Shift your weight onto your left hand, then lift your right hand up and tap your left shoulder. Try to keep your hips square to the ground.
- Now place your right hand back on the ground. Shift your weight onto your right hand, lift your left hand up, and tap it to your right shoulder. Place it back on the ground.
- Continue alternating side to side for 15-20 reps.
- Side Elbow Plank
This workout strengthens your arms, shoulders, and chest while also testing your ability to stay balanced to develop a strong midsection.
- Place your right elbow on the ground and extend both legs out to your side. Your body should be in one straight line, and you’ll be balancing on the outside edge of your right foot.
- Flex your feet, and rest your top hand on your upper hip.
- Keeping your spine lengthened and your abs engaged, lift your left leg up just higher than your top hip. Now, slowly lower it back to your bottom leg.
- Repeat for 6 reps on both sides.
- Forearm Plank Jacks
This workout routine is good for your cardiovascular system and also works out your shoulders, chest, triceps, biceps, and core muscles.
- Begin in a forearm plank. Position your elbows directly under your shoulders and extend your feet out behind you, hip-width apart.
- Engage your core, firmly keeping your elbows planted. Jump your feet out wider than hip-width, then jump them back in.
- Repeat for 10 reps.
- Decline Pushups
This exercise is great for shaping your chest, triceps, biceps and upper back.
- Begin in a high plank position with your hands slightly wider than shoulder width.
- Walk your feet a few inches toward your hands to get a slight lift of your hips toward the ceiling, bringing your body into a V-shape.
- Gaze down between your hands, keeping the V-shape with your body as you bend your elbows and bring the crown of your head towards the ground. Exhale, pressing back up and straightening your arms.
- Repeat for 12 reps.
- Chaturanga Pushups
This exercise is good for working your triceps and also engaging your core.
- Start in a high plank position with your hands beneath your shoulders and your feet hip-width apart. Engage your core, glutes, and thighs, and make sure your belly doesn’t sag toward the floor.
- Keeping your elbows hugged to your side, inhale and bend your elbows to lower yourself down into a tricep pushup. Exhale, pressing your body up and straightening your arms.
- Repeat for 10 reps.
- Plank Side Walk
Plank side walks are a great way to work your upper and side back, triceps, and shoulders, while also getting your heart rate up and engaging your core.
- Begin in a high plank position with your hands directly beneath your shoulders and feet behind you, hip-width apart.
- Cross your right hand over your left as you step your left foot to the left. Then, simultaneously step your left hand and right foot to the left, so you’re back in plank position. Move your hands together as your feet step apart.
- Repeat for 5-8 steps to the right, then 5-8 steps to the left, which equals one rep on each side.
- Do 5 total reps.
- Arm Swings
Prepare your muscles for your workout by doing some dynamic stretching. To do this, stand with your back straight and abs engaged, and gently start swinging your arms out to the side, then crossing them in front of your body, alternating which arm swings in front. Gradually make the swings larger, so you can feel a slight stretch in your chest and between your shoulder blades. Swing arms 20-30 times.
- Wall Clocks
To exercise your shoulder stability, place your hands on a wall shoulder-width apart and slide one hand out to the side without shrugging your shoulders. Return the hand to the starting position. Perform 3 sets of 5 on each side.
- Scapula Retraction (Shoulder Blades Squeeze)
The following exercise will strengthen the middle back muscles. This is important for keeping your shoulders healthy. To do the exercise, stand with your shoulders relaxed and arms down by the side. Then, retracted your shoulder blades by pretending you are trying to squeeze a tennis ball in the middle of your back. Release the shoulders back to the starting position. Keep your upper shoulders relaxed throughout the exercise. Lastly, perform 3 sets of 10.
- Extend & Flex
To reduce elbow and wrist strain, and improve your grip for weighted arm exercises, train your forearms, wrists, and hands in all planes of motion. Start with your arms extended away from your chest, with your palms facing down and your fingers reaching long. Bend your wrist and point your fingers down towards the ground. Flex your wrist and point your fingers up towards the ceiling, keeping a slight bend in your elbows and keeping your upper arm still as you move your wrists. This exercise strengthens and stretches the forearm flexors. Perform 12 to 16 repetitions, moving in each direction.
This exercise is a good way to prepare your body for push-ups. By doing this exercise, you will be strengthening your chest, arms, shoulders, and core. To do this exercise, start by standing at the end of your mat with your feet hip distance apart. Then, bend forward and place your hands flat on the mat in a forward fold. Next, walk your hands out about a foot at a time until you are in a full plank position. Hold this position for a second or two, and then walk your hands back into the forward fold. Finally, roll up to standing. Repeat this process five times.
- Chest Foam Roller Stretch
When your chest muscles get tight, it pulls your shoulders into a forward rounded position. This weakens the back of the shoulders and compromises your ability to perform planks and push-ups. Lie down along the center of a foam roller or rolled-up blanket. Press your low back flat against the roller. Open your arms to the side at a 45-degree angle and let gravity bring your arms down towards the floor. Stay in this position and breathe for 1 – 2 minutes.
- Upward Facing Dog
If you’re looking to wake up the muscles in your back and arms, this is the move for you. Lay on your stomach with your palms flat on the floor and your hands under your shoulders. Draw your chest forward and press down through the tops of your feet to straighten your arms and come into Upward-Facing Dog. Be sure to keep your legs strong and active and your shoulders relaxed away from your ears. Hold for 3 seconds before lowering and repeat 3-5 times.
- Wide Pushup
To work your chest and front shoulder muscles, start in a full plank position with your hands wider than your shoulders. Lower yourself into a push-up, making sure your elbows bend to the side at a 90º angle. Press back up to the starting position and repeat 5 – 10 times.
- Narrow Pushup
This variation of the push-up targets the tricep muscle, which is weaker than the chest. It is performed by starting in a full plank position with the hands under the shoulders, then engaging the abs and lowering into a push-up. The elbows should be close to the sides at the bottom of the push-up, with the elbow joint pointing back. Press back up to the starting position and repeat 5-10 times.
- Lateral Plank Walk
This exercise strengthens the muscles on the sides of your shoulders; these muscles help you lift objects straight out to the side of your body. Start by lying on your stomach with your palms flat on the ground and your feet and ankles together. Prop yourself up on your forearms and toes so that your body forms a straight line from your head to your feet. Next, slightly shift your weight onto your left hand and leg as you step your right hand and foot out about six inches to the right. Continue shifting your weight over to the right side of your body as you step your left hand and foot back underneath you. Repeat this pattern, stepping your hands and feet over to the right, then back to the left, for 5-10 steps before taking a break. Repeat the entire process 3 times.
- Push Offs
This exercise makes push-ups more challenging by engaging more muscle fibers throughout the arms, shoulders, and core. To do it, start in a plank position with your hands directly under your shoulders. Bend the elbows to lower down towards the floor, keeping your elbows close by your sides, as if you were doing a narrow push-up. As you press back up, power through your arms and push the hands an inch or two off the ground. Land softly, immediately bending the elbows back into another push-up. Repeat for 10-20 repetitions, and modify by doing this raised on a bench or chair if needed.
- Pull Ups
This exercise is great for gaining functional upper body strength. By changing your grip, you can target different muscle groups, such as the biceps, triceps, lats, traps, shoulders, and core. Start by finding a horizontal bar that you can easily jump up and reach. The photo shows a traditional neutral-grip position, but you can also do wide or narrow variations (wide grip, palms face away from you; narrow grip, palms face towards you). To begin the exercise, jump up and hold onto the bar, then draw your shoulder blades down your back and away from your ears. Use your biceps to help you, and squeeze your shoulder blades together as you draw your chest up towards the bar. Hold the position for a second, then lower back down and repeat for 10-20 repetitions.
- Dead Hangs
This exercise strengthens your grip and prepares your body for the pull-up. Find a horizontal bar which you can easily jump up to and reach. Jump up and hold onto the bar, maintaining tension in your upper body, back, and core. Hold for 10-30 seconds.