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Arm Exercises Without Weights

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Arm Exercises Without Weights

Author: Vanessa Sofia & Shannon Daggett

We get it: You're busy! Career, family, friends, travel, that book club pick you still haven't checked out of the library (much less finished). With all that's going on, it can be tough to make time to hit the gym. Thankfully, you don’t need to go to the gym to achieve fabulously toned arms. Below are some of our favorite arm exercises for women that will help you tone your arm muscles and lose arm fat without weights — on your time. Say goodbye to flabby arms!

1. Arm circles

This arm exercise targets your triceps, biceps, and shoulders.

  • While standing straight with your feet flat on the ground and arms extended out to the side at a 90-degree angle to your body, start moving your arms in small, fast circles forward.
  • Do as many rotations as you can and then reverse the motion, doing as many circles as you can in the reverse direction.
  • Take a break and repeat two more times.
  • If you need to sit, make sure your feet are flat on the ground and your back is straight.

You will feel this exercise in your shoulders. You'll be able to do more revolutions if you keep your abdominal muscles pulled in and tight.

2. Tricep dip

  • While sitting on a chair, grip the edge of the seat with your hands and stretch your legs out in front of you.
  • Move your body forward so that your feet are flat, your arms are bent behind you holding you up, and your body is extended above the ground.
  • Slowly raise and lower your body using your triceps.
  • Do three sets of 15.

3. Inverted row

This exercise targets your biceps. I do this exercise on breaks in my office while at work.

  • For this exercise, you need to have something to grab onto that is within your reach while lying flat on the ground. I recommend lying under a coffee table or a sturdy chair.
  • While gripping the edge of the table or chair, pull your upper body up off the ground, hold for a few seconds and lower yourself back down.
  • Do as many as you can, then repeat twice.

This one feels a little unorthodox at first, but, after a few repetitions, you will be able to feel your biceps working.

4. Push-ups

Considered the granddaddy of arm exercises, the push-up is a great way to build upper-arm strength in addition to a stronger core.

To do push-ups correctly, make sure your body is properly aligned:

  • Keep your feet together with your toes pointed down and your hands shoulder-width apart. The entire length of your body should run parallel to the ground. Your hips and back should be flat.
  • This alignment needs to be maintained as you bend your elbows and lower your body to within an inch or so of the floor.
  • Then reverse this motion and repeat.

If push-ups are still new to you, you may want to keep your knees down with your weight on your thighs (not your knees) until you've built up enough strength to perform a full push-up.

5. Pull-ups

Pull-ups offer many benefits for your upper body. They are especially useful for strengthening the muscles in your arms, chest, shoulders, and sides of the back. However, you may need a partner to assist you as you raise your body up to the horizontal bar, since pull-ups involve lifting your full body weight.

  • To perform pull-ups correctly, place your hands shoulder-width apart on the horizontal bar.
  • Next, raise your body until your chin is just over the bar's level.
  • Then ease your body back down and repeat.

6. Plank

Plank pose is part of the Sun Salutation sequence in yoga. But, to tone flabby arms, you can perform just plank pose or more challenging variations of it.

  • Like a push-up, you will need to position your body horizontal to the ground, but keep your body in this position for 30 seconds or more to work your arms.
  • Make sure your wrists are directly under your shoulders and your back is in a straight line.

To give yourself more of a challenge, lower your elbows to the ground and either clasp your hands together or lay your lower arms and hands flat against the ground, using your arm muscles throughout the pose.

7. Downward Dog

Downward dog is another Sun Salutation pose that tones the arms. For this pose, your body will form a reverse V-shape with your heels pressed down or close to the floor and your hands flat on the floor. Ideally, your spine will follow a straight line toward the ground with your hips pressed back. You may need to bend your knees to keep your body in the reverse V-shape.

Use your arms to push your weight back toward your heels and make sure you're not rounding your back. Just like plank pose, you can give yourself more of a challenge by lowering your elbows to the ground and holding the position.

8. Handstands and Headstands

Handstands and headstands are more than just balancing. Both positions require plenty of upper-arm strength to keep your body upside-down and in proper alignment.

If you're a novice when it comes to headstands and handstands, you can do both positions against a wall until you work up the strength (and courage) to perform the positions without the wall's assistance.

In both positions, you'll also need to use your core muscles, keeping your belly drawn in, to maintain balance.

  • To get in the headstand position, crouch down in front of a wall (cleared of any furniture, hanging pictures, or other obstacles) and clasp your hands together with your elbows about shoulder-width apart.
  • You will position your head between your elbows.
  • Lift your legs up one at a time until they're both against the wall.
  • Throughout this pose, keep the top of your head off the floor by using your arm muscles in an upward, lifting motion.

For handstands, place your hands on the floor shoulder-width apart, and keep your gaze on the floor as you lift your legs off the floor to the wall. Keep your elbows straight by using your arm strength.

To get out of a handstand or a headstand, take one leg down, followed by the other.

Creating toned arm muscles without using weights takes time and commitment, but by doing these simple arm exercises three to four times a week, combined with a healthy diet, your arm muscles will take on a long, lean, toned look that will have you reaching for your favorite strapless dress for your next night on the town!




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