What are the best arm exercises that will create and maintain strong, well defined arms without using free weight exercises or any kind of exercise equipment? Many people do not have access to free weights, fitness center equipment or their own fitness equipment at home. Space can be a problem when it comes to using any type of equipment, even small dumbbells. What is the answer when using weight equipment is just not practical? Calisthenics is perfect for those people for their lower and upper arm exercises.
What is Calisthenics?
Calisthenics is used by sports teams and military units for both muscular and cardiovascular fitness. It originated in ancient Greece and still works today. Calisthenics can be used by the young and old. You can even do calisthenics in your living room in from of your TV if you want. Make it pleasurable and you will stick with it.
Sometimes I just don’t fell like messing with the weights, so I just do 30 minutes of calisthenics. It is a great workout and adds some variety to my workout routine.
Instead of weights, calisthenics uses your own body weight for resistance. Calisthenics can also be used for warming up prior to your workout routines or as cool down exercises after. Work calisthenics into your exercise plan. You’ll be happy you did.
Just as you can exercise your arms using weights, you can also work the same arm muscles with calisthenics. The main muscles you want to target are the biceps, the triceps, your forearm muscles and your shoulder muscles.
The following are four of the best arm exercises to maintain well toned and fit arms when you don’t have weights or a weight machine. They are great problem solving exercises. Remember to always warm up and stretch before performing these exercises. Always use cool down exercises after completion to get that heart rate back to normal.
Push-ups are excellent for your body core and are a great workout for your triceps, shoulder and back muscles. I do push-ups every day in the morning after I get up. I do 4 sets of 60 push-ups. It wakes me up, gets my heart going and is one of my best arm toning exercises.
Perform face down on the floor, palms against the floor at shoulder width. The only other thing touching the floor is your toes. Use the arms to push yourself up to a fully extended position and then down to the floor, arms nearly fully flexed. In the down, nearly fully flexed position, your nose should come to about 2-3 inches from the floor.
Perform slowly for best results. Remember to keep your back straight. Move your elbows away from the body to strengthen the chest muscles. Keep the elbows close to the body to exercise the triceps. Even though push-ups do not target the biceps, they will look bigger if you continue push-ups regularly.
Pull-ups are preformed using some form of an overhead bar. This exercise targets the upper back muscles as well as the forearms. Make sure whatever bar you use will support your weight. I use a pipe mounted out in my garage up in the rafters to do my pull-ups and chin-ups.
Start by grasping the bar using a shoulder wide overhand grip (palms facing away from you). Lift your body up to chin level on the bar keeping the back straight at all times. The bar should always stay in front of you. Then lower yourself back to the starting position.
Chin-ups are preformed using the same bar you use with the pull-ups. This exercise targets the back and the biceps. I love chin-ups and I work them into my workout schedule.
Start by grasping the bar using a shoulder wide underhand grip (palms facing toward you). Lift your body up to chin level on the bar keeping the back straight at all times. The bar should always stay in front of you. Then lower yourself back to the starting position.
This exercise is performed using parallel bars or can be done between two solid chairs. This exercise is great for the triceps but also targets the chest and deltoids. They are the absolute finest exercise I have found for building the triceps. They also infuse the pectorals and the front deltoids if done correctly.
Dips using parallel bars (parallel dips). Legs are bent at the knees and feet are crossed behind you. Start with your arms fully extended but not locked. Lower yourself until the elbows are in line with the shoulders. Then push up until the arms are again fully extended but not locked at the elbows. Repeat slowly.
Dips using a bench or chair (tricep dips). Dips can also be done extending your legs in front of your body and bent a little at the knees. Place your hands shoulder width apart on a strong bench or stable chair. Straighten your arms but keep your elbows just a little bent to keep tension on you triceps and not on your elbow joints.
Now lower your upper body down by slowly bending at the elbows. Stop when your arms are at about 90 degrees. Always keep your back close to the bench.
Once you have reached the bottom of the movement, slowly press off with your hands and push back up to the starting position. Keep your neck straight throughout the movement. The more you straighten the legs, the harder the dip and the more it works your triceps.
To really strengthen the upper body and to tone the arms, you will need some sort of resistance. This resistance can be home gym machines, free weights, bands, bricks, grocery bags, kids or your own body weight as with calisthenics as shown above. The above four exercises are among the best arm toning exercises without using weights. I am by no means a Mr. Universe, but I have well defined arms and I attribute a lot of that to chin-ups and tricep dips.
Use good form in all exercises. Perform the exercise movements slowly and with deliberation. Don’t forget to breathe! Correct breathing is very important. The most important thing for me though is to always make it fun and keep it interesting.
As always, check with your doctor before doing any new type of exercise workout routine.