6 No-Equipment Arm Exercises to Make You Feel Stronger

Say "so long, sleeves" with this bodyweight workout for your arms.
Published March 30, 2020

While you certainly don't need toned shoulders or bulging biceps to wear a tank top or sleeveless dress, upper body strength can make you feel ready to conquer the world. If you're ready to rise to the challenge, good news: You don't need a gym! You can sculpt stronger arms at home using your bodyweight for resistance-training. 


This quick, equipment-free arm workout (with some core work, to boot!) is simple enough to do anywhere and quick enough to squeeze into even the most hectic schedules. 


Once you decide when and where you'll perform it—make a standing date with yourself right now for accountability—do 12 to 15 repetitions of each exercise, aiming for tired, not aching, muscles. Start with one set of each of the moves listed below, and work toward three sets three or four days a week. Tank top, here you come!


No-Equipment Bodyweight Arm Workout

Exercises Reps
Push-ups 12-15
Up-and-down plank 12-15
Crab crawl 12-15
Triceps push-ups 12-15
Inch worms 12-15
Triceps dips 12-15




To tone your chest and arms, begin by placing your hands on the floor directly beneath your shoulders. Step feet back into a plank position, keeping your body straight from your heels to the crown of your head. Keeping your core engaged, bend your elbows to lower your body until you're several inches from the floor without touching. Extend your elbows to return to starting position.  

A little easier: Begin with your knees on the ground.

Still too hard? Start in a standing position with palms on a sturdy chair or against a wall.

Up-and-down plank

Work your shoulders and arms by moving from a hands plank (hands beneath shoulders) to forearm plank (elbows beneath shoulders), alternating lead hand (or elbow) with each rep. Keep your core tight and hips square to the ground the entire time.  

A little easier: Perform the movement with your knees on the ground.

Crab crawl

Start from a seated position on floor with the soles of your feet and palms on the floor, fingers pointing toward your heels. Lift your hips. Move forward by advancing your opposite hand and foot simultaneously, alternating sides. Each step forward is one rep.  

A little easier: Instead of moving forward, lift the hips off ground for a count of 5 to 10 seconds to complete one rep.


Triceps push-ups

Moves the workload from your chest to the back of your upper arms by getting into plank position with your hands underneath your chest and legs together. Your second fingers and thumbs should form a triangle. From this position, bend your elbows to lower your body toward the floor. When you're inches above it, extend the elbows to return to starting position, keeping your core tight the entire time. 

A little easier: Drop to your knees and position them hips width apart.  



Inch worms

To activate the shoulder, arms, and core, start standing, then exhale into forward fold and place your palms on the floor. Walk your hands out one at a time until you arrive in plank position. Then walk your feet forward one at a time to meet your hands. That's one rep.  

A little easier: Bend your knees.

Even easier: Stand in front of a chair, bend forward and place your hands on the front edge of a sturdy chair or couch. Walk your hands from the front to the back rear of seat and back again.



Triceps dips

Start by sitting on the edge of a sturdy chair (or bench, as pictured) with your palms hands beside you, fingers facing forward. Keeping your neck and shoulders relaxed, extend your elbows and walk your feet forward until your butt clears the front edge of the chair. Next, bend your elbows about 90-degrees, lowering your hips toward the floor. Extend your elbows to complete one rep.  

A little easier: Walk keep your feet closer to the base of the chair.

A little harder: Walk your feet forward or lift alternating legs as you perform the move.