20 Secrets to Get Stronger Arms (Without Lifting Weights)
Use these tricks to sneak arm workouts into your daily routine.
Arm exercise: Give your floors a good scrub
Instead of letting a mop do all the work, get down on your hands and knees to clean the floors. You’ll get a good arm workout, plus that elbow grease will get your floors cleaner than a mop could. Don’t miss these tips for cleaning hardwood floors.
Arm exercise: Do curls with your grocery bags
Turn your walk from the car to the house into a workout opportunity. With one bag in each hand, keep your elbows at your sides while you curl your groceries toward your shoulders. You’ll strengthen your biceps, plus burn calories during those extra trips to the car.
Arm exercise: Play in your garden
A one-hour planting session will work out your hands, forearms, upper arms, shoulders, and wrists as you dig in your garden. Aim to spend three weekends in a row in your garden during the fall, and you’ll get the bonus of having pretty flowers in your yard when spring rolls around. No green thumb? Check out these gardening tips for beginners.
Arm exercise: Don’t use chemicals to kill weeds
More unwanted plants in your garden means you’ll have to spend more time getting rid of those suckers. Tugging weeds out builds arm muscle, and putting your weight on your hands as you reach around adds an extra workout for your upper back and shoulders. To give both arms an even workout, alternate hands during your weekly weeding session.
Arm exercise: Push against a wall
Isometric exercises involve pushing against something that won’t move, which tenses your muscles and boosts your strength. Try pressing your hands together hard for five seconds. Or stand about a foot in front of a wall with your legs shoulder-width apart and push against it for six to eight seconds. You could also try pressing against the top or sides of a doorway for six to eight seconds. Relax and repeat each of those exercises up to 10 times.
Arm exercise: Hang clean laundry out to dry
Ignoring your clothes dryer will give you a small arm workout and save you cash on your electric bill. On your way to the clothesline, do curls with your laundry basket by lifting your hands up to your shoulders. Alternatively, try doing overhead presses by bending and then extending your elbows with the basket in your hands. Check out these laundry mistakes you didn’t realize you were making.
Arm exercise: Engage your pooch
A game of tug-of-war with a large dog can help get your arms in shape. Grasping a rope, keep your elbow close to your side. As your pooch tries to pull it away, exercise your biceps by bringing the rope toward your shoulder while keeping your upper arm still. Switch arms for an even workout. To work your triceps, try extending your arm behind you as your dog tries to tug it away. Alternate arms.
Arm exercise: Chop wood for your fireplace
If you like to cozy up in front of the mantel or an outdoor fire pit, opt to chop your own wood instead of buying prepackaged logs. A medium-sized tree will last at least a year or two. Split logs from that tree for up to half an hour every weekend—any longer and you could end up with back problems.
Arm exercise: Bake a loaf of bread
But don’t use a bread maker. Kneading dough can work out your hands, arms, and shoulders, and the repetitive task is soothing. Plus, you’ll fill your kitchen with the scrumptious scent of homemade bread that tastes better than any store-bought loaf.
Arm exercise: Do chair dips
A chair dip is an equipment-free move that can build your triceps (the muscles along the back of your upper arms) and chest muscles. Sit on the edge of a sturdy chair with you feet flat on the floor and knees bent. Rest your hands fingers-forward on the seat next to your buttocks. Shift your weight to your hands as you lift your buttocks up about an inch and forward past the edge of the seat. Bend your elbows to bring your buttocks toward the floor and then return to the starting position, continuing to bear the weight on your arms instead of your legs. Repeat nine to 11 times for one set. Do three sets total.
Arm exercise: Put your electric mixer away
Sub out your electric mixer for a wooden spoon and whisk, and you’ll get stronger arms while you bake. Switch hands while you mix the batter to make sure your arms get an even workout. No whisk? Try these clever substitutes for everyday kitchen gadgets.
Arm exercise: Make yourself an omelet
Whipping up an omelet uses more muscles than it takes to fry an egg. Your arms will get a workout as you chop veggies and whisk the eggs. Plus, you’ll get an extra nutritional boost by adding vegetables like onions, mushrooms, and peppers to your dish. Here are tricks to cook perfect eggs every time.
Arm exercise: Use your desk for an office workout
Sneak in a subtle workout without leaving your desk. To build your biceps, press your palms against the bottom of your desk and push up as if trying to lift it. Continue pushing for five seconds, and repeat until you start feeling the burn. For a triceps workout, bend your elbows as you place your palms on top of your desk. Press into your palms with all your strength and continue pushing for five counts. Repeat until it starts to burn. These are more tips to lose weight while sitting at your desk.
Arm exercise: Follow your workout with a steak
In a small Australian study, participants aged 60 or older ate a diet of 20 percent protein as they started an exercise program. Some had 25 ounces of red meat (the amount in three steaks) per week, while another group ate 13 ounces each week. The group that ate more red meat increased their strength more than the participants who ate less. Amino acids in red meat could encourage muscle growth. Stick to lean cuts like sirloin to protect your heart. Here’s the reassuring truth about red meat and cancer.
Arm exercise: Move your arms when you walk
When you go for a walk, focus on the movement of your arms. Pump them back and forth as if you’re holding ski poles, squeezing your shoulder blades together each time you bring your elbows back.
Arm exercise: Make pizza and pie dough from scratch
Sure, store-bought crusts are a time-saver, but making dough can strengthen your arms and shoulders as you push the rolling pin back and forth. And the homemade crust will take your favorite recipe to the next level.
Arm exercise: Use a large cleaver to chop vegetables
Large cleavers are much heftier than your usual chopping knife, so you’ll get a good workout out of your hand and arm. They’ve also got a sharp, slightly rounded edge that professional chefs love.
Arm exercise: Pour your water from a gallon jug
A gallon of water weighs more than eight pounds, making it a good substitute for a dumbbell. Each time you fill your glass, first curl your jug by bending your elbow and bringing your hand to your shoulder. Repeat four times before pouring. As a bonus, you should aim to drink about a gallon of water every day, so your jug will help keep track of your hydration.
Arm exercise: Cut your own grass
Sit-on mowers are convenient, but a push mower requires you to use your arm muscles as you clean up your lawn. Better yet, buy one without a motor. You won’t need to spend money on gas, and you’ll cut down on air pollution.
Arm exercise: Swap out your nonstick skillet for a cast-iron one
Cast-iron skillets are heavy, meaning you’ll use more arm muscles each time you decide to cook. Storing it in the drawer under your oven forces you to lift it higher to reach the stove.