24 awesome arm exercises you can do without weights

Ever thought about sculpting those arms of yours without lifting weights?

Well, I’ve been there myself, and I’m here to share what has worked for me and countless others.

Whether you’re a man or a woman, sculpting those triceps and biceps is a common fitness aspiration.

In this article, we’ll explore a diverse array of exercises designed to target different facets of arm muscle development.

From classic push-ups to creative workouts using bars, bands, and more, this guide has got it all.


Exercise Muscles Worked Difficulty
Classic Push-Ups Chest, Triceps, Shoulders Beginner
Chin-Ups Back, Biceps Interm.
Diamond Push-Ups Triceps, Chest Interm.
Incline Push-Ups Lower Chest, Shoulders Beginner
Close-Grip Pushup Triceps, Chest Interm.
Weighted Push-Ups Chest, Triceps, Shoulders Advanced
Dips Triceps, Chest Interm.
Suspension Trainer Triceps Extension Triceps Interm.
Suspension Trainer Inverted Rotational Row Back, Biceps Interm.
Hindu Push-Up Chest, Shoulders, Back Interm.
Resistance Band Push-Ups Chest, Triceps, Shoulders Interm.
Archer Push-Up Chest, Shoulders Advanced
Foot Elevated Push-Ups Upper Chest, Shoulders Interm.
Push-Up with Knee Drive Chest, Core Interm.
Clapping Push-Ups Chest, Triceps, Shoulders Advanced
Stability Ball Push-Ups Chest, Core Interm.
Pike Push-Ups Shoulders, Triceps Interm.
Russian Push-Ups Chest, Triceps, Core Advanced
Water Bottle/Milk Jug Bicep Curls Biceps Beginner
Band Bicep Curl Biceps Beginner
Doorway Curls Biceps Beginner
Inverted Curls Biceps Interm.
Bicep Push-Ups Chest, Biceps Advanced
Planche Lean Push Up Chest, Shoulders, Core Advanced


The Muscles That Get a Workout During Push-Ups

Are you curious about how to master push-ups to improve arm strength and muscle definition?

I’ve ventured down this path myself, and I’m here to provide insights into what has been effective for many individuals.

Push-ups aren’t your run-of-the-mill exercise; they offer a holistic full-body challenge, pushing multiple muscle groups to their limits.

These compound movements are at the core of Functional Training and can be seamlessly integrated with other exercises for a well-rounded fitness routine.

Performing 20 push-ups makes your muscles work.

In particular, push-ups activate the pectoralis major, engage the core muscles, target the anterior deltoids, and challenge the triceps.

Now, let’s transition into the realm of arm strengthening, beginning with the timeless classic: the push-up.

Following that, we’ll examine some thrilling alternatives that have contributed to my progress.


1. Classic Push-Ups


Ah, the classic push-up – a timeless exercise integral to my success in building arm strength.

It’s a versatile move that doesn’t just target your arms and chest; it challenges your core and lower body too.

How to Perform Classic Push-Ups:

  1. Plant your hands firmly on the floor, aligning them with your shoulders.
  2. Engage your abs, glutes, and hamstrings to maintain a straight line from your head to your ankles.
  3. Lower your body until your chest gently touches the floor.
  4. Push back up to the starting position.


2. Chin-Ups

Did you know that Chin-Ups and Pull-Ups are almost twins with a twist?

It’s all in the grip: in Pull-Ups, you grasp the bar pronated (palms facing away), but in Chin-Ups, it’s the opposite.

Here’s how I mastered them:

  • Start by grabbing the pull-up bar with your palms facing you, about shoulder-width apart.
  • Stand up until your head clears the bar. I learned not to use momentum to get my chin over the bar.
  • Gently return to the starting position. No rush!


3. Diamond Push-Ups

After getting a grip on basic bodyweight exercises, I stumbled upon Diamond Push-Ups.

They’re a game-changer for your arms, way more than the classic ones.

Here’s the trick: place your hands close together, fingers forming a diamond. As you flex your elbows and lower yourself, your chest should barely kiss your hands.

It’s like transforming your arms into powerhouses!


4. Incline Push-Ups

Looking to add a new twist to your push-up routine?

Incline Push-Ups are your best bet! You can start easy and gradually up the ante.

To do them:

  • Stand in front of a bench or any sturdy surface.
  • Place your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width on the edge.
  • As you bend your elbows and lower your chest, remember to breathe in. Keep that body aligned!
  • Pushing up while exhaling, feels infinitely rewarding, trust me!


5. Close-Grip Pushup

When it comes to push-ups, the choice often boils down to a Wide or close grip.

Wide Push-Ups engage the chest, but for a solid triceps and shoulder workout, a close grip is the way to go.

To nail the Close-Grip Pushups:

  • Place your palms just a few inches apart. High plank it!
  • Keeping everything straight, lower down.
  • Now, push back up. You’ll agree it’s an intense workout for those arms


6. Weighted Push-Ups

Ever thought about taking your push-up game to the next level?

Weighted Push-Ups are your answer. They’re not just regular push-ups; they’re a high-intensity workout.

Here’s how you add that extra oomph:

  • Either strap on a weighted vest or place a weight plate on your lower back.
  • Perform just like a classic push-up.
  • This extra weight fires up the chest, core, and shoulders.


7. Dips

Dips go beyond being a mere workout routine; they stand as a powerhouse for amplifying triceps strength and size.

But wait, there’s more:

  • Target your chest by leaning forward and flaring your elbows.
  • For the triceps, keep upright and your elbows close.
  • Just grab those parallel bars and lower yourself, keeping the shoulders down.

Believe me, the simplicity of dips masks their effectiveness for upper body strength and mass.


8. Suspension Trainer Triceps Extension

Imagine an exercise that hones your triceps, balance, and overall strength.

That’s the Suspension Trainer Triceps Extension for you.

Adjusting difficulty is as easy as changing your body position and the angle of the bands.

Perfect for all levels!

To perform:

  • Hold the suspension trainer handles in front of you.
  • Lower your body by bending the elbows and engaging the triceps.
  • Go on until the handles are near your temples. It’s a whole new level of triceps activation!


9. Suspension Trainer Inverted Rotational Row

Now for a different angle: start with palms down and end with them up. It’s all about the wrist rotation.

To do this:

  • Grab a suspension strap in each hand and lean back.
  • Keep your core tight and align your legs with your upper body.
  • Row until your chest meets the handles, rotating those wrists.
  • Remember, the lower the handles, the tougher it gets!


10. Hindu Push-Up

Have you ever tried Hindu Push-Ups?

They’re a dynamic way to sculpt and strengthen your arms, engaging more than just the usual muscles.

Engaging your chest, shoulders, triceps, upper trapezius, and abs, they also gift your spine with amazing flexibility.

Here’s my take on mastering them:

  • Start in a classic push-up position, then lift your glutes high, keeping your arms and legs straight.
  • Push your hands down, so your hips shoot up into the air.
  • Lower your body in a swooping motion, your chest almost grazing the floor.
  • Finish by lifting your torso, ending with straight legs.


11. Resistance Band Push-Ups

I get it, sometimes our upper body and core strength need a little boost. That’s where Resistance Band Push-Ups come in.

Here’s how to amp up your push-up:

  • Hook your thumbs through a resistance band, stretching it across your back.
  • Begin in the classic push-up stance. A mirror check ensures your body forms a straight line.
  • Lower down, letting your chest whisper to the floor.
  • Push back up, with your core and glutes engaged throughout.




12. Archer Push-Up

Archer Push-Ups have transformed my usual push-up routine, offering a unique challenge for asymmetric strength training.

Let me share how they can redefine your workout too:

  • Start in a plank, arms spread wide.
  • Lower yourself onto one arm, while turning the other outward.
  • Push up, then switch sides. It’s a bit like drawing a bow – quite the workout!


13. Foot Elevated Push-Ups

Talk about a challenge, Foot Elevated Push-Ups take things up a notch!

You’ll feel the burn not just in your chest, but in your obliques too.

Here’s the drill:

  • Get into a push-up position, then lift one foot off the ground.
  • Lower and raise your body, keeping that foot elevated.
  • Switch feet and repeat.


14. Push-Up with Knee Drive

Adding a knee drive to your push-up routine spices things up.

It targets your chest, triceps, and shoulders, and throws in a bit of a core challenge.

Here’s my approach:

  • Start in a push-up position, and extend one leg.
  • Lower yourself, then push back up.
  • Drive your knee towards your chest, then lower back down.
  • Alternate sides.


15. Clapping Push-Ups

Think you’ve mastered push-ups?

Time to level up with Clapping Push-Ups.

Ideal for those who’ve already nailed the basics, these plyometric gems amp up upper body strength, shoulder stability, and core strength.

Here’s the lowdown:

  • Push up powerfully and at the peak, lift your hands off the ground to clap. It’s like a high-five to your fitness!


16. Stability Ball Push-Ups

Ever tried balancing on a ball?

Stability Ball Push-Ups take your workout to a wobbly new level.

They target your chest, shoulders, and back, with the bonus of a killer ab workout.

To do these:

  • Start with your stomach and hips on the ball, hands on the floor.
  • Walk your hands forward, rolling the ball to your feet.
  • Keep your body straight and lower down, then push back up. It’s a balancing act that fires up those core muscles!


17. Pike Push-Ups

Ideal for building shoulder strength, they’re best suited for those beyond the beginner level and without any elbow or shoulder concerns.”

To get into it:

  • Start standing, then bend and place your hands on the ground.
  • Walk your feet back, hips up, forming an inverted ‘V’.
  • Lower your head towards the ground, then push back up. It’s like doing a push-up upside down!


18. Russian Push-Ups

Ready for a real challenge?

Russian Push-Ups are a tough combo of a standard push-up and a forearm plank.

They require time and dedication to master.

Here’s how you tackle them:

  • Kneel and place your hands down, shoulder-width apart.
  • Stretch your legs back so you’re in a plank.
  • Lower yourself down, then shift into a forearm plank.
  • Push back up to a high plank. It’s a rollercoaster for your muscles!


19. Water Bottle/Milk Jug Bicep Curls

Tell me honestly, have you ever thought of turning your water bottles or milk jugs into workout equipment?

That’s right, you can do bicep curls with these everyday items.

Simply fill them with water or sand for a progressive overload and you’re done.

To do this:

  • Grab a bottle or jug in each hand, palms facing up.
  • Curl them towards your shoulders, flexing those biceps.
  • Squeeze at the top, then lower back down. Who knew recycling could be so muscle-friendly?


20. Band Bicep Curl

For the Band Bicep Curl, all you need is a loop band or a resistance band with handles.

It’s like having a gym in your pocket.

Here’s how to pull it off:

  • Step on the band, feet hip-width apart.
  • With hands up to your thighs and elbows in front, curl those hands up to shoulder height.
  • Stretch and repeat. It’s simple, yet super effective!


21. Doorway Curls

Believe it or not, your doorway is more than just an entry – it’s your gym for Doorway Curls.

Double the fun by doing it one arm at a time for more resistance.

To perform:

  • Stand in a doorway, grabbing the jamb.
  • Lean back, feet at the bottom of the jamb.
  • Curl your torso towards the door, flexing your biceps.
  • Hold for a second, then lower down.


22. Inverted Curls

Think outside the box with Inverted Curls, a killer move for bicep gains without any weights.

Getting into it:

  • Position yourself under a sturdy table or pole.
  • Grab it with a shoulder-width grip, legs in front.
  • Pull your chest up, engaging your core and biceps.
  • Squeeze at the top, then lower down. If it’s too easy, slow down the reps or add a weighted vest.


23. Bicep Push-Ups

Bicep Push-Ups take the traditional push-up and tweak it for maximum bicep engagement.

It all comes down to the specific hand positioning and technique used.

Here’s how to nail them:

  • Start in a regular push-up stance, then twist your hands so your fingers point towards you.
  • Reposition your hands closer to your ribs or hips.
  • Lower your chest in a controlled manner.
  • As you touch the floor, push back explosively. It’s a bicep blaster disguised as a push-up!


24. Planche Lean Push Up

Let’s get straight to it: Planche Lean Push-Ups are often considered the holy grail in Calisthenics, known for their impressive impact on core and shoulder strength.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to mastering them:

  • Begin in a planche position, pelvis tucked under.
  • Lower and raise yourself, keeping your shoulders on a vertical path.
  • Your quads should just graze the ground before lifting again. Trust me, it’s a tough one!


RELATED:>>> The complete list of bodyweight exercises for triceps



Final Thoughts

Training your arms doesn’t always require weights or a gym membership.

Strengthening your arms is a key goal in any well-rounded fitness routine, benefiting not just your appearance, but your daily life too.

Sure, many will argue that gym equipment is superior for significant muscle gains, thanks to the ability to isolate muscle groups more effectively.

But here’s a thought: not everyone has the luxury of time or access to a gym.

That’s where the beauty of bodyweight exercises comes in.

Did you realize that the 24 exercises we’ve covered today are all about making the most of what you’ve got – your body?

They’re designed to strengthen and tone every muscle in your arms, without the need for any equipment.

If you haven’t already, give these exercises a try and let me know how it goes in the comments.

I’m eager to hear about your experiences and progress.


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