Building strength and size in the arms is something that many guys desire.
What if I was tell you that you can work on building that desired strength and size in the comfort of your own home?
No more need for mind numbing curls!
Each exercise will target either one or both of the muscle groups in the arms (the biceps or triceps) along with multiple other muscles in the chest, shoulder and back – you’ll find the muscles listed under muscles targeted.
You’ll also find a picture demonstration and relevant coaching points to help you complete the exercises.
It may be the case that you find the exercise to be too simple and need to make it more challenging; if so, check out the progression example.
Alternatively, you may find the exercise too challenging, if so use the regression example.
Muscles Targeted: Pectorals, Deltoids, Rhomboids, Triceps
This exercise is brilliant, not just for tricep development for the full upper body. Muscles in the chest, shoulders and back all engage to generate movement.
For maximal stress through the triceps, we want to focus on a slightly narrower grip on the bench as a wider grip will engage more of the chest.
- Place hands of the bench roughly at shoulder width with knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
- Drop the upper body down by hinging at the elbow.
- Avoid dropping further than 90° at the elbow before driving back up to full elbow extension.
Progression Bodyweight Tricep Dips.
Regression Bring feet in closer to the body.
Muscles Targeted: Deltoids, Triceps, Biceps
Whilst many of you will be quite familiar with the majority of these exercises, the rock press is perhaps an exercise you will be less familiar with.
Regularly performing this exercise will develop, not only strengthen the arms and shoulders but it is also a great mobility exercise.
- Start with feet wider than hips, hands flat on the floor roughly shoulder width apart and the hips high.
- Drop the head down to the floor by hinging the elbow before driving back up to full elbow extension.
Progression Slow down the movement.
Regression Perform the rock press against a wall rather than from the floor.
Muscles Targeted: Lats, Rhomboids, Biceps
You can either choose a wide overhand grip or narrow underhand grip for the inverted row.
However, taking into account the fact we are looking at arm development, I’d recommend the narrow underhand grip for maximal bicep activation.
- Hold the bar roughly shoulder width apart and extend the legs out so that the body is straight.
- Pull the body upward to the bar so the chest comes up to the bar.
- Return to the starting position.
Progression Elevate the feet.
Regression Reduce the angle of the lean.
Muscles Targeted: Lats, Biceps
A wide overhand grip would be referred to as a pull-up whereas a narrow underhand grip would be a chin-up.
Ideally, we want to focus on the chin-up as, once again, it demands more from the biceps than the wide grip.
- Start with a narrow underhand grip on the bar and hang from the bar.
- Pull the body upward until the chest is in line with the bar.
- Lower in a controlled manner back to the hang position.
Progression Eccentric Chin ups. (slow down the movement)
Regression Use a resistance band for assistance.
Muscles Targeted: Pectorals, Triceps
Another extremely popular bodyweight exercise for arm development however, one that’s often executed poorly.
Pay close attention to the coaching points to ensure the set-up is correct.
On that note, keeping a the push up narrow will demand more from the tricep whilst a wider grip will activate more of the chest, so let’s keep it narrow!
- Hands underneath shoulder, legs extended out behind, keeping the body straight.
- Drop the chest to the floor keeping the elbows tight to the rib cage.
- Drive back up to full elbow extension.
Progression Eccentric Push-up. (slow down!)
Regression Half Push-up.
If you’re looking to gain size and strength in the arms using body weight then these are 5 of the best bodyweight exercises you can perform.
If I were to structure these exercises into a session it may look something like this.
Bench Dips – 3 sets x 12 reps
Rock Press – 3 x 12
Inverted Rows – 3 x 12
Chin Ups – 3 x 12
Push ups – 3 x 12(1 minute rest between every set)
Obviously, it’s totally dependent on your level of fitness, so don’t be concerned if you can’t hit 12 reps just now, just go for as many as you can.
With regular training, you’ll be able to build up to 12 reps and then move on to the progressions!
Feel free to comment below if you need any advice or clarity with the workout routine. I’ll be happy to provide any assistance.
Chris is a qualified Personal Trainer with 7 years experience. He’s a health and fitness writer based in Edinburgh, Scotland. Interests and specialties include the human body, coaching, bio-mechanics, and sports performance. Currently writing a book based on improving football performance.