Exercises without weights aka bodyweight exercises – are exercises using body weight, that is, pull-ups, push-ups, dips and so on. These exercises are very useful because they improve the state of muscles in a natural way. If you don’t want to pump up huge muscles, but your aim is to just get in good shape, then bodyweight exercises are your best option.
And now, let’s talk about the importance of arms training. One of the main goals of amateurs going to the gym is to make their arms look more attractive and pumped. It is this part of our body that is associated with aesthetics, beauty, and strength. And in this article, we will reveal all the secrets of bodyweight arms exercises.
Important! If you train the whole body, arms training should be performed on a separate day, because they are already being trained during other exercises.
The secret of the arms growth doesn’t differ from other muscles growth. The formula is simple:
You experience stress, which your body did not experience before and give the muscles the time to recover so that they become a little stronger and a little larger. As simple as that.
Now, let’s talk about exercises. There are two types of exercises in general – compound and isolated. Compound exercises – it is training that involves a large number of muscles. Such exercises are absolutely perfect for all athletes.
Isolated exercises — are exercises that are concentrated on certain muscles. These exercises are great for people who want to train some specific parts of the body. The main purpose of these exercises – to give peak stress on one muscle group.
Compound exercises cannot give the maximum stress on one muscle group, but they provide a relatively high stress on the entire targeted area of your body. During arms training, we will use both techniques.
Exercise number one for biceps and forearm muscles is pull ups. There are two kinds of such an exercise – the regular and reverse grip (chin ups).
Pull ups with the regular grip – is a compound exercise that trains the biceps, forearm muscles, latissimus dorsi, and delts. Chin ups, meanwhile, is an isolated exercise, with a concentrated stress on the biceps, and a bit on the forearm muscles and delts.
If you train the whole body, choose pull ups with the regular grip, since it trains the entire upper part of your body. You should hold on to a horizontal bar placing your hands at the width of your shoulders so that you achieve a balance in the load on the biceps and the latissimus dorsi.
If your goal is only to train arms, then chin ups is your best choice. It will peak stress on your biceps while the rest of the body will not be exposed to the training stress. However, you can say that not everyone can do pull ups, what to do if you’re physically unable to perform a pull up even once?
In this case, you need appropriate training program or do special preparatory exercises. Here is a list of preparatory exercises:
- pull ups on the lower crossbar,
- pull ups with lower amplitude,
- pull ups with a partner for training,
- pull ups using harnesses
And now let’s move on to triceps. There are significantly more bodyweight exercises for triceps. The most popular among them are dips, bench dips and push ups. Let’s talk about each of the exercises in more detail.
Dips is a compound exercise which, at the same time, gives a great stress on the triceps, as well as on the chest, delts and forearm muscles. In order to shift the balance of the stress in the direction of the triceps, keep the body upright (do not lean forward), and try to keep your elbows close to the body during the whole movement.
To start the exercise, fix yourself on the bars with straight arms. Starting this exercise from a lower position is very risky. Starting from the top point allows the muscles to contract and makes them ready to work.
Bench dips. This is a great isolated exercise for triceps. Almost all your weight will concentrate on the triceps, so they are pumped incredibly well, up to the burning sensation in the muscles. To perform this exercise correctly, you need to keep your back close to the bench, that would be the right angle formed at the bottom point of the exercise. Benefits:
- it is an exercise with the closed kinetic chain that involves moving body until the hands (or feet) are in a fixed position. It perfectly isolates the triceps.
- no impulse during the exercise allows you to save power in the triceps throughout the entire exercise;
- bench dips significantly develop the athlete’s strength, allowing him/her to progress in such basic exercise as bench press;
- including small muscle groups (stabilizer muscles) in the workout session, which are very difficult to work through the standard exercises.
Push-ups — is a basic, compound exercise performed on the floor. The main muscles involved — are chest muscles and triceps. There is also some stress on the front delts, forearms, small muscles of the arms, lower back muscles, abs, and quads.
Push-ups have a very important advantage: it is possible to train at home without any additional training equipment or trainers. Push-ups on the floor – it’s actually just the opposite of bench press. During push ups the muscles of the back, legs and press are also involved. Therefore, this exercise can be used as a warm-up exercise.
In order to give a greater stress on the triceps push ups should be carried out with a close-hands grip.
Exercises with Medium Difficulty
Involved muscles: Push ups, like the bench press with the close grip, puts emphasis on the triceps, simultaneously pumping the inner part of the pectoral muscles.
The technique of push ups with a close-hands grip: Take such a position on straight arms, placing the hands in such a way so that the thumbs and index fingers are touching each other.
At first, slowly drop down to the lower position, and then push yourself up. At the top point statically strain the triceps to the ‘one-two’ and then lower yourself to the bottom position. This method will increase the stress on the triceps.
A more advanced form of this exercise is vertical push-ups.
Exercises with High Difficulty
Involved muscles: deltoid, triceps, chest, back muscles, press. This exercise is difficult because your arms take the most of the body weight.
Push-ups technique: Stand upright next to the wall with head down, focusing on the hands and slowly do push ups. It is recommended to put something soft on the floor because not all can push up, and have to ‘roll’.
There is an easier version of this exercise – get your knees on a chair with hands on the floor – back and head looking straight down, push-up to make the floor touch your head. These exercises are not recommended for people with high blood pressure, brain and neck injuries.
I also feel the need to say a few words about rest.
Do you know why arm muscles don’t grow? They just don’t have the time to recover. Arms are involved in many movements and become tired after special training. So, you have to choose the optimal training scheme for yourself:
(a) Big breaks between the training of one muscle group, (b) individual training days for each group of the muscles. (c) Training back, arms and chest on separate days. As a result, the training of the whole body may take 10-15 days. It is a good option for advanced athletes with experience of at least 1.5-2 years.
Train all the pulling muscles in one day. Along with the back, you will train your biceps, triceps, and the chest.
Training with the principle of antagonist muscles. Triceps are trained with the back, biceps with chest.
These tips are rather conventional and give only a general understanding of how to combine different muscle groups. The fact is that each person will have his/her own recovery time so that you will have to select the required duration of relaxation and optimal scheme of training of muscle groups, based on your own preferences.
However, there is one important rule: it is recommended to give the arms muscles at least 48 hours to rest so that they have time to recover and become stronger. Remember, muscles grow while you sleep.
Healthy sleep – is the key to success. It is also important to stick to a strict diet, giving the body the necessary amount of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. Exercises, nutrition, and sleep — is the triad that will help you become beautiful and well-built. If you don’t perform any of the terms of the triad – forget about muscles strengthening, it just won’t work.
Last but not least, the number of sets and reps.
There is a golden rule – 4 sets with the maximum number of reps. If you, for example, decided to do bench dips, then do the first set up until the muscles begin to burn. Then rest for 2 minutes, and then do 3 sets. Perform each of the bodyweight exercises in such a way.
Share your experiences of arms training in the comments below.