Developing local muscular endurance is an essential step in improving your upper body strength. Increasing your upper body strength is great for improving sports performance and decreasing injury risk. This progressive 30-day challenge will have you well on your way to increasing your pushing and pulling strength using these minimal equipment exercises.
What are the benefits of the 30-day arm challenge?
The 30-day arm challenge presents a beginner-friendly method of beginning to develop your upper body strength, by introducing a combination of simple bodyweight and dumbbell exercises with gradual progressive overload over 4-weeks. This means that you’ll be able to refine the technique of the exercise so that it is most appropriate for your body, whilst developing your strength, muscular endurance and induce hypertrophy.
The 30-Day Arms Challenge:
This simple programme will allow you to progressively overload each exercise over a 30-day period, allowing your body to adapt properly to the stimulus throughout. If any of the exercises are too easy or too difficult, try progressing or regressing them with appropriate alternatives (e.g. reduce load, sets, reps).
- Start lying prone on the floor, then tuck your elbows close to your sides and place the palms of your hands on the floor at around chest height.
- Similar to a plank, form a straight line from your shoulders to your ankles and keep your core and body tight throughout the exercise.
- Maintaining proper technique, press yourself to the top position with your elbows locked out.
- Slowly lower yourself back to the ground, without flaring your elbows out to the side – keep them tucked into your torso throughout.
2. Triceps dips
When using Dip Bars or Parallettes:
- Adjust the bars to an appropriate height (you must be able to mount/dismount safely) with the space between them around shoulder-width apart.
- Place the heel of your hand on each of the bars, with your palms facing towards your body.
- Start at the top, with your elbows locked out (shoulders over elbows, over wrists).
- Lower yourself in a controlled manner until your upper arm is parallel (or slightly further than parallel if you’re mobile enough) to the ground.
- Without swinging or kicking your legs, press yourself back up to the starting position, locking your elbows out at the top again before initiating the following reps.
When using Chairs or Steps:
- Sit on the floor with the chosen platform behind you and place the heels of your hands onto the edge of the platform to support you.
- Slowly lower yourself until you reach the floor, or your upper arms are parallel to the ground (you can elevate your feet if you want to increase the difficulty).
- Push yourself back to the starting position, locking your elbows at the top before initiating the following reps.
3. Bicep curls
- Start in a standing position with the dumbbells held at your side and your palms facing forwards (supinated grip)/with your thumbs turned outwards.
- Keeping your elbows stationary, flex your elbow until the dumbbell is at the top position. Squeeze your biceps, ensuring your thumbs are still pointing outwards.
- Slowly lower to the start position before initiating the next rep.
4. Star jumps
- Start standing with your hands down at your sides.
- Jump upwards, moving your legs and arms out to the sides as you do so (forming the star shape).
- Jump back to the start position by doing step 2 in reverse (make sure to keep each rep controlled without flailing your arms).
- Start standing with your feet around shoulder-width apart/staggered. Put your hands up in front of your chest, forming fists.
- One at a time, jab forwards/slightly across your body, powerfully extending your elbow/shoulder so that your arm is fully extended in front of you at around shoulder height.
- Make sure to alternate between arms.