If you could add an inch to any body part, what would you choose?
Wait! That’s not what I meant. Let me rephrase that:
If you could add an inch to any visible muscle of your body, what would you choose?
That’s right… your arms.
The truth is you don’t need big weights to get big arms. In fact, with the right exercises, you don’t need weights at all. How can you build thick arms without the luxury of dumbbells, barbells, and machines?
Simple. Use bodyweight exercises that you can adjust to keep your muscles growing — all you have to do is change the angles. Move closer to the anchor point on the TRX bicep curl, for example, and you’ll instantly ramp up the intensity.
These bodyweight moves also keep your joints happy. By ditching the weights, you’ll lower your risk of an elbow or wrist injury from ugly technique or heavy machine work. Better still, they spice up your routine and break free from the same boring exercises everyone else does. For example, doing towel pullups add variety to your workout and make you look like a total badass in the gym.
Here’s How This Bodyweight Workout Works
Substitute your current arm routine with this workout for four to six weeks to get the full benefits. Take at least one full day of rest between workouts.
Workout A builds size and strength in your biceps and triceps. It also targets your forearms, which are the weak link of your arms; by increasing your grip strength, the rest will follow. We’ll also give you a resistance band exercise where you’ll do dozens of reps without stopping so you can fatigue and pump blood into your triceps.
Workout B is a density workout. Cycle through the exercises without rest and then rest 90 seconds. Set the clock to 10 minutes and do as many rounds of the circuit as possible with as little rest as possible. This workout you’ll blow up your arms (and your lungs) and get you out of the gym in record time.
Follow the system, eat clean, and your arms will grow like weeds.
Sets: 4, Reps: 15
Get on a dip bar, keep your chest out, and lower yourself until your elbows make a 90-degree angle. At the bottom, drive back up. To keep pressure off your neck, look at a spot on the ground a few feet in front of you.
B1) Towel pullups
Sets: 3, Reps: 5
Wrap two towels around a pullup bar and grab the ends in your hands. Squeeze your shoulder blades together and pull yourself up while leading with your chest. If two towels are too difficult, just use one towel and get equal reps on both arms.
C1) TRX Bicep Curls
Sets: 3, Reps 15
Grab a TRX and face the anchor point. Lean away, keep your body straight, and pin your upper arms at your sides. Then, curl the TRX towards you. To make this harder, move your feet closer to the anchor point.
C2) Band pushdown
Sets 3: Reps: 50 – 75
Attach a light band to a sturdy overhead object and grasp an end with both hands. Pin your upper arms at your sides and extend your elbows to lockout. Grab the band where the level of resistance will take your around 50 to 75 reps before you fatigue.
A1) Narrow-grip chin ups
Sets: As many as you can; Reps: 5
Hang from a chinup bar with palms facing toward you and only a few inches apart. Squeeze your shoulder blades together and pull yourself up until your chin is over the bar.
A2) Narrow-width pushups
Sets: As many as you can, Reps: 10
Get into a pushup position with your hands only a few inches apart. Lower yourself by keeping your elbows close to your sides. To make this exercise harder, elevate your feet or throw on a weight vest.
A3) TRX Tricep Extension
Sets: As many as you can, Reps: 10
Grab a TRX and stand facing away from the anchor point. Lean forward and keep your body straight; keep your elbows in front of your chest and hands around forehead-height. While keeping your body rigid and upper-arms stationary, extend your forearms forward to activate your triceps and push yourself up.
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