You don’t need a $150 gym membership or weights to build strong arms.

While we usually link strong arms to the ability to bench press or lift pounds, neither gym membership nor weights are necessary to achieve the arm tone or muscles of your dreams.

In fact, to achieve strong, fit, and sculpted arms, there’s no fancy equipment required. Just some household items and enough space for you to move around. (Although don’t forget to stretch to warm up your muscles and prevent injury before tackling these moves.)

We put together eight exercises you can implement into your routine or into 5 minutes of a busy day while you cook dinner, take a break from your desk, or watch Netflix. Some even engage your core and glutes enough so you can complete a full-body routine.

1. Arm circles

Strengthen your shoulders and arms with simple, yet effective circular motions. You can do this exercise in a matter of minutes without any equipment.

2. Tricep dips

Build your triceps by using only your body weight. While you can do this on the floor, opting for a couch, bench, chair, or sturdy coffee table also works as a great base.

3. Bicep curls to push press

Although you can use weights for this exercise, it can be just as effective with household items like a can of food or bottle of laundry detergent. This exercise primarily focuses on your bicep muscles but also works your deltoids and core.

4. Plank sidewalk

Tone your abdominal muscles as you strengthen your arms. Put a spin on a traditional plank by moving side to side.

5. Kickboxing punches

If you’ve ever entered the ring or a cardio kickboxing class, you know that throwing punches burns a lot of calories. They also help tone and strengthen your arms and upper back.

6. Rolling pushups

Step away from the average pushup and try a full-body exercise that tones your arms and engages your back and shoulders.

7. Side plank

While commonly thought of as an oblique exercise, side planks also work your shoulders and arms.

8. Superman

No equipment is necessary for this powerful lower back, glute, and shoulder exercise. Keep at this exercise and you’ll find your body shaping up to heroic standards.

Looking for additional arm exercise ideas? Try these 7 exercises for extra toning.


Jenna Jonaitis is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in The Washington Post, HealthyWay, and SHAPE, among other publications. She recently traveled with her husband for 18 months — farming in Japan, studying Spanish in Madrid, volunteering in India, and hiking through the Himalayas. She’s always in search of wellness in mind, body, and spirit.