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Want Bigger Arms? Use Your Body Weight!

As it’s getting closer to the summer, one of the many things I get asked as a personal trainer is “how do I build bigger arms”? People are often surprised when I tell them they need minimal equipment and just their bodyweight to do so.

If you want to grow a specific muscle or muscle group, training them twice per week is a great way to ensure you are frequently stimulating the muscles to grow. However, not everybody can get to the gym 5 days per week due to busy life schedules. Therefore it is useful to have an understanding of how to use your own body weight to train them at home. The exercises discussed in this article can be performed using minimal equipment and are very effective at building the muscles of the arm.

What’s more is that consistently placing your arms under heavy loads using bars and dumbbells can cause joint problems. So it’s always good to have a selection of exercises that can stimulate your muscles without consistently overloading your joints.

The Muscles Of The Arm


So before we look at the body weight exercises that are going to help you build bigger arms, let’s first look at the muscles that need to be trained. The major muscles that need to be trained are the biceps, triceps and deltoids. In order to fill out your t-shirts and have a completely full looking arm, all 3 of these muscles have to be developed.


The Exercises


I will now look at some of the most effective body weight exercises that you can use when trying to build these muscles and grow the size of your arm.


Chin Ups – Biceps


Chin ups are an exercise predominantly used when training back. However, due to the nature of the movement, they are also very effective at building your arms.

During the initial phase of the chin up, the biceps are the primary mover and they contract concentrically in order to flex the elbow and bring you towards chin up bar. As you lower your body, the biceps are contracting eccentrically in order to extend the elbow. Moving your body weight up and down in this nature places a huge amount of mechanical stress on the biceps. Meaning they are stimulated for growth without using any additional load.

vitruvian physique bicep curl

Tricep Dips – Triceps


Tricep dips are an amazing exercise for building big arms. The triceps are the largest muscle in the arm, so building them ensures you fill out your t-shirts. Tricep dips are one of the most effective exercises for stimulating the triceps to grow and can be performed using just your body weight.

This movement also requires flexion and extension of the elbow joint, however, this time the tricep is the primary mover.


Reverse Burpees – Deltoids


In order to take your upper body away from the floor during a reverse burpee, the deltoids have to produce a large amount of force for this movement to happen. The deltoids are a relatively small muscle, meaning they are placed under a large amount of stress when moving your body weight. Therefore performing reverse burpees is a great way to build your deltoids.

auxiliary lift bicep curls

The Bottom Line


Once moving your own body weight becomes easy and no longer causes a disturbance within the muscles of the arm, then you can look to add in additional load. Until then, you can make great progress and build your arm size with just your body weight.
There are lots of exercises available. Chin-up variations, close grip press ups, pike push ups plus much more are all great exercises that can be performed using minimal equipment and your body weight. Therefore making an investment into a very small amount of equipment will mean you can perform some very effective exercises at home. This will enable you to train your arms 2-3 times per week. This frequent stimulation will massively accelerate your arm growth and mean you’re filling out your t-shirts in no time!

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Ryan Lewin

Ryan Lewin

Writer and expert

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