The 20 Best Bodyweight Exercises for Arms

You can do as many as twenty bodyweight exercises that can help you bolster biceps and triceps strength and build sizeable and toned arms.

Whether you train at home or in the gym, you can integrate some of the bodyweight arm workouts to build muscular triceps and biceps.

The Ultimate List of Bodyweight Arm Exercises

TricepsBicep
Triangle Push-upsChin-up
Chair DipsInverted Row
Bar DipsNeutral grip chin-up
Plank Triceps ExtensionPullups
Pseudo Planche Push-upTowel Chin-up
Modified Tricep ExtensionBicep Leg Curl
Narrow Grip PushupFingers Inward Push-ups
Pike Pushup TricepsForearm to High Plank
L-SitKnuckle Push-up
Dive BomberIsometric Chin-up Hold

10 Best Bodyweight Arms Workouts for Triceps

1. Triangle Push-ups

DifficultyFocusEquipment
IntermediateStrength & Muscle BuildingNo

The triangle pushup is one of my favorite arm exercises as it works on works all three heads of the triceps muscle simultaneously. 1American Council of Exercise (ACE) Study Identifies Best Triceps Exercises – ACE Fitness

It requires no equipment, just your body weight, and you can do it anywhere, anytime.

Even if you train at the gym, you can incorporate triangle push up into your muscle-building workout plan to maximize your triceps growth.

How to do it:

  1. Place your hands on the floor, forming a triangle shape, and get into a pushup position with your arms directly below your chest. Keep your body straight from head to heels and feet hip-width apart.
  2. Inhale and lower your chest toward the ground as low as possible, and contracting your tricep muscles, press yourself back to the starting position. This is your one repetition.
  3. Do as many reps as possible according to your strength.

Tips for Beginners: If you’re a beginner, then you can try the kneeling variations of triangle pushups. And to do that, get on your four arms with your hands forming a triangle shape, and your arms stay straight underneath your chest and perform pushups.

2. Chair Dips

Chair dips is one of the best bodyweight arms workouts you can do at home
DifficultyEquipment
BeginnerBench or Chair

The chair dip is an excellent way to strengthen and tone your triceps muscles at your home without weights. It is one of the fundamental exercises for achieving muscular triceps, and the best thing is it is suitable for all fitness levels.

How to perform it:

  1. Sit on a chair, keep your feet hip-width apart on the floor, and place your hands on the edge of a chair, palms down and grip the edge of a bench with your fingers.
  2. Lift your butt off the chair, move your torso forward, and slightly bend your knees in front of you. That’s your starting position.
  3. Now, push through your arms (and contract your triceps), raise your torso upward until your arms are fully extended, pause for a moment, and then bend your elbows to lower your body to the start. That’s your one repetition.
  4. Keep doing it until you feel the good contraction in your triceps. Do three sets of 15 reps each.

Alternatives: If you don’t have access to a chair, you can try other dips variations at home, such as floor dips, kitchen counter dips, or sofa dips.

3. Parallel Bar Dips

DifficultyEquipment
Beginner to IntermediateParallel Bar or Dip Station

If you want to build strong and aesthetic arms, especially the triceps, consider doing the parallel bar dip.

The bar dip is a bodyweight compound workout that strengthens many muscles at once, particularly the triceps and the chest, and helps build a muscular upper body.

This exercise is more effective than all the dumbbell and barbell tricep exercises as it highly elicits tricep activation.

How to do a bar dip:

  1. Grab the handles of the bar dip machine, press the handle to lift your body off the ground, and hold your arms straight.
  2. Slightly lean forward your torso so you’ll be in a vertical position. And keep your knees bent and cross your legs behind you. That’s your start.
  3. Inhale and start lowering your body by bending your elbows until your chest is parallel to the ground.
  4. Contracting your tricep, press the bar until your elbows are fully extended, and now you’re in the starting position. That’s one repetition.
  5. Do as many reps as you can.

4. Plank Triceps Extension

DifficultyEquipment
IntermediateNo

The plank tricep extension is an easy and effective way to hit your tricep muscles without weights and equipment. It requires you to get into a forearm plank and then extend your arms so you can feel the contraction in your triceps.

How to do it:

  1. Get into the plank position with your forearms under the chest and palms on the floor.
  2. Lift your elbows off the floor and extend your arms until you feel the contraction in your triceps.
  3. Hold for a sec and then lower your elbows back to the start but avoid touching the floor.
  4. Repeat as many times as you like.

5. Pseudo Planche Push-up

DifficultyEquipment
IntermediateNo

Psuedo planche is one of the good bodyweight workouts for arms. It targets the biceps, forearm, wrist, and triceps throughout the movement and helps build muscular arms.

But to perform this move, one needs to have better control over his body and good strength in his arms.

Steps to perform a pseudo-planche pushup:

  1. Get on your knees, and place your hands on the floor just outside your stomach with your fingers pointing slightly back.
  2. Keep your feet hip-width apart, arms straight, and back flat. That’s your starting position.
  3. Inhale and lower yourself slightly toward forward and then press back to the start. That’s one rep.

To make it easy, you can try the kneeling version of this push-up. All steps will be the same, only your knees will be grounded, supporting body weight along with your arms.

6. Modified Tricep Extension

DifficultyEquipment
BeginnerParallel or Horizontal Bar

If you couldn’t perform plank tricep extensions, try out this modified tricep extension. It is an easy and excellent way to work on your tricep without putting stress on other muscles.

How to do it:

  1. Place the bar at an appropriate height and grip it firmly with your palms under the bar.
  2. Step back and get into an incline plank position with your feet together and back straight.
  3. Brace your core and bend your elbows to lower your head toward the bar.
  4. Then contracting your triceps, extend your arms until they are straight.
  5. Pause for a couple of seconds and repeat the movement.

7. Narrow Grip Pushup

Bodyweight arm workouts
DifficultyEquipment
IntermediateNo

The narrow pushup can be a great addition to your bodyweight arm exercises as it triggers the triceps effectively and helps improve your upper strength.2 Kim YS, Kim DY, Ha MS. Effect of the push-up exercise at different palmar width on muscle activities. J Phys Ther Sci. 2016 Jan;28(2):446-9. doi: 10.1589/jpts.28.446. Epub 2016 Feb 29. PMID: 27064571; PMCID: PMC4792988.

The only difference between the standard and the narrow grip pushup is the width of your hand’s position. The width will be shorter during the narrow pushup, and keeping the width shorter helps target more your tricep muscles than the chest.

8. Pike Pushup

DifficultyEquipment
IntermediateNo

The pike pushup is one of the bodyweight shoulder workouts, but it also stimulates the triceps heads. It requires you to get into an inverted V position and perform pushups.

Whether it is for you or not depends on how much strength and stability you have in your shoulders and upper back.

If you feel you can perform pike pushup, follow the below steps to do it:

  1. Place your hands on the floor and get into an inverted V-shape by raising your hips up and lowering your head toward the floor.
  2. Brace your abdominal muscle and keep your back in a neutral position.
  3. Lower your head toward the floor and then extend your arms until you feel the work in your tricep muscles.
  4. Perform as many reps and sets as you like.

9. L-Sit

DifficultyEquipment
IntermediateNo
L-Sit Bodyweight Tricep Workout

The L-sit is an isometric tricep exercise that helps improve strength, balance, and flexibility. It also bolsters abdominal muscles and enhances your muscular endurance.

It requires you to sit on your arms by keeping your hands on the floor and holding your entire body off the ground for a set period of time.

The L-sit is great for calisthenics beginner athletes who want to scale their fitness to the next level.

To perform this movement,

  1. Sit on the floor with your legs straight in front of you.
  2. Place your palms on the floor and lift your glutes off the floor. Make sure your arms are straight so you can feel the work in your triceps.
  3. Keep your core tight, your legs straight, and your back flat during the entire movement.
  4. Hold in this position for as long as possible and repeat for the desired times.

10. Dive Bomber Pushup

DifficultyEquipment
IntermediateNo

The dive bomber pushup is a great upper-body workout. It works on various muscles simultaneously, including the triceps, chest, and shoulders.

  1. Start from the plank position and dive through your torso until your arms are straight.
  2. Keep your core tight as you lower yourself down and squeeze it at the top of each rep when you return to the standing position. You can see the above video for more instructions.
  3. Do as many reps and sets as you like.

10 Best Bodyweight Arm Exercises for Biceps

1. Chin-up

Chin-up is of the best bodyweight exercises for arms.
DifficultyEquipment
BeginnerPull up bar

Chin-up is one of the most effective bodyweight bicep exercises you can do on a pull-up bar using your own body weight.

This exercise requires you to pull your entire body weight with the help of your arms’ strength.

Other than the biceps, the chin-up also works on the latissimus dorsi, abs, upper back, and forearms.3Doma K, Deakin GB, Ness KF. Kinematic and electromyographic comparisons between chin-ups and lat-pull-down exercises. Sports Biomech. 2013 Sep;12(3):302-13. doi: 10.1080/14763141.2012.760204. PMID: 24245055

Steps to perform chin-ups:

  1. Grab the pull-up bar with an underhand grip with your hands shoulder-width apart, and hang onto it with your arms straight.
  2. Bend your knees and cross your legs behind.
  3. Brace your core and pull your body toward the bar until your chin reaches just above the bar.
  4. Hold for a couple of seconds at the top, make sure your bicep is fully contracted and then lower your body in a controlled fashion. That’s your one repetition.
  5. The more repetitions you do, the better and the faster your biceps will grow.

2. Inverted Row

Inverted Row
Inverted Row
DifficultyEquipment
EasyBar

The inverted row is an easy way to work on your biceps and trap muscles. Adding to your bodyweight arm workouts can be useful for your bicep growth.

How to do it:

  1. Get under the bar and grab it with an underneath grip, hands shoulder-width apart.
  2. Extend your arms and lean back.
  3. Maintain a neutral spine position and tight core.
  4. Pull yourself until your elbows are bent, and your biceps are fully engaged.
  5. Return and repeat for the desired times.

3. Neutral Grip Chin-up

DifficultyEquipment
BeginnerPullup Bar

The neutral grip chin-up works the largest head of the biceps and helps build strong and toned arms. It is a good alternative to hammer curl, which is one of the best exercises for biceps development.

How to perform it: Grab the pull-up bar with a neutral grip and pull yourself up until your chin is above the bar. Contracting your biceps, pause for a moment at the top and return to the start. Go for as many reps as you can.

4. Pullups

DifficultyEquipment
IntermediatePullup Bar

The pull-up is one of the bodyweight pull exercises that is excellent for developing a broader back and bigger biceps. However, it is challenging and requires you to pull your entire body weight using your arms.

How to do it:

  1. Grab the bar firmly with an overhand grip, hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.
  2. Pull yourself up in a controlled manner until your chin is close to the bar.
  3. Hold for a second at the top and return to the start. Repeat the suggested reps and sets.

5. Towel Chin-up

DifficultyEquipment
IntermediatePullup Bar and Towel

If doing normal chin-ups makes you bored, try the towel chin-up. The towel chin-up is an excellent exercise to forge biceps and forearms and build sturdy arms. It also strengthens the lats, traps, and core and pumps up the upper body.

How to do it:

  • Place the bath towel over the bar and grab its ends firmly with a neutral grip.
  • Brace your abdominal muscles and pull your body as high as you can.
  • Pause for a brief moment and lower your body to the start.
  • Perform desired reps and sets.

6. Bicep Leg Curl

DifficultyEquipment
BeginnerNo

You can do bicep curls using your legs to strengthen your arms. It is an easy way to put some stress on your biceps muscles using your body weight only.

How to do it:

  1. Stand upright with your feet shoulder-width apart with your arms straight in front of your thigh.
  2. Lift your right leg off the floor, bend your knee, and grab your feet with your right hand with an underhand grip. That’s your starting position.
  3. Slightly bend your left knee, and curl your right hand as much as possible. Pause, squeeze your bicep and then return to the start. This is your one rep.
  4. Do as many reps as you can.

7. Fingers Inward Push-ups

DifficultyEquipment
IntermediateNo

The finger inward pushup may not work the same for all, but when I do, my biceps get a good pump. And this is why I’ve included it in this list.

To perform this pushup.

  1. Place your hands on the floor with your fingers pointing to each other and elbows pointing out to the sides.
  2. Then get into a normal push-up position and make sure your hands are below your shoulders. This is your starting position.
  3. Now, bend your elbows so they flare out to the sides and lower your body as low as possible toward the ground.
  4. Hold, and then contracting your arms push yourself back to the start. That’s one repetition. Do as many reps as you can.

If you’re a beginner, you can do it on your knees instead of your toes.

8. Forearm to High Plank

DifficultyEquipment
IntermediateNo

Forearm to High Plank is a great exercise for the arms, shoulders, and core. It also works on your balance and coordination and can be a good addition to your bodyweight arm exercises.

How to do it:

  1. Start in a forearm plank position and then extend your arms to go into a high plank.
  2. Return and repeat. Do it at your own pace.

9. Knuckle Push-up

A man doing Knuckle Push-ups.
DifficultyEquipment
IntermediateNo equipment

The knuckle pushup is another way to strengthen the forearms and triceps. However, It is an advanced workout, and to perform this movement, you need enough strength in your arms.

Give it a try; here are the steps to do:

  • Close your fist (like a punch) and get into a regular up position of a pushup.
  • Keeping your core as tight as possible, lower your chest toward the floor, and then using your arm’s strength, press back to the start. Repeat it as many times as you like.
  • It’s best to do this movement on the mat.

10. Isometric Chin-up Hold

DifficultyEquipment
IntermediatePullup Bar

The Chin-up hold is an isometric bicep workout that requires you to hold your body into a chin-up for a set amount of time. It keeps your biceps under constant tension and helps increase strength and size.

You can hold a chin up for as long as you can, depending on your strength.

How Does a Bodyweight Arm Workout Routine Look?

You’ve seen some of the best bodyweight exercises for arms, and now it’s time to use them to make a bodyweight arms workout routine. I’ve shared some samples that you can give a try.

30-Minute Arm Workout Routine at Home (No Equipment)

  • Repeat three times
  • Take shorter rest between exercises
ExerciseReps
Triangle Push-ups10-12
Bicep Leg Curl10/side
Plank Triceps Extension10-12
Forearm to High Plank8-12
L-Sit10-15 sec

45-minute Bodyweight Arms Workout Routine with Equipment

  • Repeat three times
  • Take shorter rest between exercises
ExerciseReps
Chin-up10-12
Dips10-12
Triangle Push-ups10-12
Neutral grip chin-up10-12
Plank Triceps Extension10-12
Inverted Row10-12

The Bottom Line

Developing biceps and triceps with bodyweight arm exercises is not easy. However, with the help of the above workouts, you can bolster your arms and increase their size.

Muscular arms improve your looks and help you perform various day-to-day activities and other lifting performances.

You can pick the best exercises from the above listicle and incorporate them into your bodyweight workout regime.

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Author
Murshid Akram
I'm a certified personal trainer, fitness blogger, and nature lover. I always learn more about exercise science and human anatomy so that I can provide the best information possible. I share science-based, practical, and logical information that can help you achieve your desired fitness goal.

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