Arms Workouts for Women: 21 Bodyweight Arm Moves to Mix-and-Match Your Own Routine


If you’re looking for some seriously awesome arms workouts for women—but don’t have any equipment at your disposal—you actually have tons of options to create your own: There are a bunch of bodyweight arms exercises out there to choose from to create an amazing routine.

While you may be more familiar with dumbbell exercises for arms—say, like the biceps curl, the triceps kickback, or the triceps extension—there are still plenty of options that need only your bodyweight. And these arms exercises without weights are a solid way to put your muscles to the test, too. After all, the weight of your body is equipment in its own right: You can use it to load your arm muscles and make ’em work.

Read on for everything you need to know about some amazing arms exercises out there that use just your bodyweight. You might just find some exercise inspiration for your next upper-body workout at home—or, more specifically, your next arms workout!

What are your arms muscles anyway?

At the way-top of your arms are your shoulder muscles, or your deltoids. These muscles help move your arm forward, out to the side, up and down, and backward. Then there are your triceps, or the muscle that runs along the back of your upper arm that helps you extend your elbow to straighten your arm. Your triceps assist in pushing movements, like pushing a lawnmower, performing a bench press, or in specific triceps exercises like the kickback. Finally, there are your biceps, or the muscles in the front of your upper arm. These muscles assist in pulling movements, like pulling a car door closed or performing a row.

All of these muscles are key to supporting upper-body strength, so including exercises that target them in your strength training routines are super important.

How do you get in an arms workout without equipment?

To be totally clear, it’s hard to work all your arms muscles without equipment. So arm exercises without weights are only going to be able to target certain areas, primarily the tops of the shoulders and the triceps. Other arm muscles, like your biceps, typically need some sort of equipment, usually in the form of external resistance. (If you have access to a bar, you’ll be able to target your biceps with chin-up variations or inverted rows, though!)

Most bodyweight arms exercises are some version of planks or push-ups, which means they also require you to engage your core, so you’ll work those muscles at the same time. This means you might not feel the same concentrated burn in your arms like you would with, say, a biceps curl, and that’s totally OK. Just because these equipment-free arm exercises don’t isolate the upper body doesn’t mean they aren’t working it. And trust us, you’ll feel the proof later.

How can you create an arms workout with these arms exercises?

The best arms workouts at home are the ones you’ll actually do, right? That’s why it’s important to have variety at hand: Doing the same old arms exercises can be boring, so we’ve put together a list of 21 moves that you can pick-and-choose from to create some really awesome arms workouts for women.

A great way to use this list to make your own arms workout at home (or an arm and shoulder workout, depending on which moves you choose!) is to pick a few exercises and cycle through them in a circuit—meaning, less rest time between exercises, but more time to take a breather when the entire circuit is done.

For instance, try combining 4 to 6 of the moves below to create a workout, doing 45 seconds of each move, with 15 seconds of rest in between. Then, at the end of your circuit, rest for 30 to 60 seconds, before coming back for round 2. Shoot for three rounds total. If you’re a beginner, you may want to tweak the work-to-rest intervals to be a little less difficult: You can try 30 seconds on, 30 seconds off, and adjust accordingly!

Like we mentioned, many of these exercises work more than just your arms muscles—for instance, the push-up variations will work your chest muscles, or your pectoral muscles, as well. So when you’re creating your circuit, you may want to avoid placing exercises that work those same muscles back-to-back. That will prevent your chest muscles from becoming too fatigued!

A few of these exercises do require a surface, like a box, bench, or step. Use a stair in your house, your sofa, a park bench, or any other similar and stable surface you can find. And get ready to smoke out your arms in a bodyweight arms workout!


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