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7 Arm Exercises You Can Do Without Weights, From Our Favorite Trainers 

Kristine Thomason
Author:
March 27, 2021
Kristine Thomason
mbg Health & Fitness Director
By Kristine Thomason
mbg Health & Fitness Director

Kristine Thomason is the health and fitness director at mindbodygreen.

March 27, 2021

While core workouts and leg routines tend to get a lot of buzz—building and maintaining arm strength is also key to supporting a functional body. Think about it: Whether you want to hold an advanced yoga balancing posture or simply put jars away in your pantry, those arm muscles are coming into play.

And while, for the most part, upper-body workouts are synonymous with classic weighted moves (think biceps curls, rows, triceps kickbacks), there are plenty of arm exercises you can do with just your bodyweight.

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Below, we've rounded up a handful of fun and unique arm exercises that don't require weights, from our favorite mbg moves trainers. For a complete bodyweight arm workout, try weaving a few of them together:

1.

Arm Circles

Image by mbg Creative
  1. Start in a kneeling position with your legs hip-width apart, activating the inner thighs.
  2. Without arching your back, lift your arms to the side of your body.
  3. Slowly move your arms in small circles, activating your arms and maintaining control.
  4. Keep your arms at shoulder height.
  5. Continue for 8 breaths, then reverse direction and repeat.
2.

Hug the World

Image by mbg Creative
  1. Start in a kneeling position with your legs hip-width apart, activating the inner thighs.
  2. Without arching your back, lift your arms to the side of your body.
  3. Keeping a slight bend in your elbows, inhale and hug your arms inward.
  4. Exhale as you bring the arms back to starting position, opening up your chest as you do so.
3.

Mountain Climber

Image by mbg Creative
  1. Start in a plank pose, with shoulders over wrists. Pull waist in, drag shoulder blades down the back, and engage the core.
  2. Fire up the belly by pulling one knee in, then the other. That's one rep. 
4.

Tabletop Triceps Pushup

Image by mbg Creative
  1. Start on all fours in a tabletop position. Stack shoulders right on top of the hands and hips right over knees.
  2. Keep your elbows pointed toward your knees. Inhale as you bend the elbows and bring your chest toward the floor. Go as far down as you can; try to line your nose up with your fingertips.
  3. Engage your core, and slowly lift your chest back up to start. Keep your chest open, but don't arch your back. 
5.

Single-Leg Tabletop Triceps Pushup

Image by mbg Creative
  1. Start on all fours, in a tabletop position. Stack the shoulders right on top of the hands, and your hips right over your knees.
  2. Extend one leg out, keeping it at hip height. Be sure the hips stay parallel. Keep your elbows pointed toward your knees.
  3. Inhale as you bend your elbows and bring your chest toward the floor. Go as far down as you can; try to line your nose up with your fingertips. Press the opposite shin into the ground.
  4. Engage your core, and slowly lift your chest back up to start. Keep your chest open, but don't arch your back. 
6.

Downward-Dog Waves

Image by mbg Creative / mbg Creative
  1. From all fours, allow your hips to rise, coming into downward dog.
  2. Ground down through the palms of your hands; allow your heels to rise.
  3. Pull your body forward, into a plank pose.
  4. Pull your chest open, and allow the hips to lift and move back into downward dog. (You can do this movement with straight legs or bent knees.)
7.

Half Pushup Hover

Image by mbg Creative
  1. Get into a plank position, with your wrists directly under your shoulders. Engage your core.
  2. Bend your elbows, and slowly lower until your body is halfway toward the floor.
  3. Hold for a few breaths, then lower to the ground.
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Kristine Thomason
Kristine Thomason
mbg Health & Fitness Director

Kristine Thomason is the health and fitness director at mindbodygreen. Kristine is a New York University graduate with a degree in journalism and psychology, and also a NASM-certified personal trainer. She has spent her editorial career focused on health and well-being, and formerly worked for Women’s Health and Health. Her byline has also appeared in Men’s Health, Greatist, Refinery29, HGTV, and more. In her current role she oversees, edits, and writes for the health, food, and movement sections of mindbodygreen.