Last Updated on May 21, 2023 by Michael Brockbank
When it comes to weight training, most aim to show off their “guns.” And while everyone has their own approach to arm workouts, there are some things you can do at home to improve that mass of muscle.
Today, I’m only focusing on the things you can do at home to get you started. Although the equipment at the gym is ideal to use if you’re looking to build mass, there’s a lot to be said about home exercises.
Especially if you don’t have the money to pay for a gym membership.
9 Arm Workouts You Can Do at Home
You don’t need a lot of money to build a home gym. You could simply go to Five Below and pick up a few dumbbells and resistance cables for less than $20.
In reality, you can use virtually anything as weighted resistance as long as you can commit to the exercises safely. I mean, using your couch for bicep curls is a bit unrealistic. Yet, you could easily lift an old cat litter tub full of water or rocks.
Not to mention you can make those containers as heavy as you want. The key is to have some kind of weighted resistance when lifting while controlling the object. You don’t want to drop a solid, 10-pound stone on your foot.
In any case, let’s take a look at some arm workouts you can do at home.
1. Bicep Curl
The bicep curl is probably the most basic and utilized workout for the arms. What makes it so popular is that it focuses the effort almost purely on the biceps themselves while being able to effectively exercise using virtually anything you can lift.
Of course, you’ll also probably feel the workout in your shoulders as well as your chest, to a minor extent. At least, I know I do.
The bicep curl is one of the easiest workouts for the arm as it simply involves lifting the weight. Start off by holding the weight at your sides with your palms facing out. Then, simply lift the weight up to your chest while keeping your elbows pointed toward the floor.
As long as you don’t jut your elbows outward, it’s literally that easy.
2. Hammer Curl
The hammer curl is nearly identical to the bicep curl. The only difference is how you hold the weight in your hands. Instead of your palms facing outward, they face each other, as if you’re holding a “hammer” in each hand. Overall, this workout is just as easy as the bicep curl and just as flexible as you can literally use anything as a weight that you can hold.
The biggest difference between the hammer and bicep curls is the muscles they activate. Hammer curls focus on the long head of the bicep as opposed to the shorter head.
Hammer curls are often my go-to when using dumbbells or resistance bands. This is mostly because of comfort. Hammer curls are less strenuous on your wrists and are easier to manage overall.
3. Tricep Kickback
Another one of my go-to workouts for the arm at home is the tricep kickback. Think of the bicep curl only you’re doing it backward. Instead of pulling the weight up to your chest, you’re forcing the weight back. Of course, you’ll want to be kneeling over when doing the exercise.
You can bend yourself over virtually anything in the house as long as you can get your body as close to parallel to the floor as possible. In my case, I’ll use the stability ball as a kind of bench to kneel on. For one thing, it’s more gentle on the knees than something that is hard.
Keeping your upper arm parallel to the floor, you force the weight back. This puts the work directly on the triceps and your shoulders. Though, just about any workout with your arms is going to involve the shoulders to some degree.
4. Lying Skull Crusher
My sister and brother-in-law (professional arm wrestlers) swear by the skull crusher. And I’d have to admit, they are a pretty good workout when it comes to focusing on the triceps.
Essentially, you’re lying on your back while holding the weight directly above you. Then, slowly bring the weight down to the top of your head while keeping your elbows pointed toward the ceiling…without striking yourself (hence the name). Afterward, you return the weight back to its starting position.
Similar to the kickback, the skull crusher is utilizing gravity to force resistance on the triceps.
Of course, you want to make sure you have a firm grip on the weight. The last thing you want is a heavy dumbbell smashing you in the head or face. Always err on the side of caution. If you have trouble lifting a 20-pound weight, start with something far less heavy.
5. Overhead Tricep Extension
The overhead tricep extensions are popular home workouts for the arm. They are similar to the skull crusher only that you’re usually sitting or standing while dropping the weight behind your head. In this instance, it’s a much safer exercise overall.
Usually, I’ll do these while holding a 20-pound dumbbell in each hand. In this instance, I bring the dumbbells down to my shoulders. But that’s because I’m balanced by using two dumbbells instead of just one.
This is an easy exercise to do depending on what you have around the house if you don’t have proper dumbbells. For example, I’ve done this a couple of times in the backyard by using about five to 10-pound rocks. You could also use an old milk jug filled with water or any other object, really.
To do an overhead tricep extension, you hold the weight above your head as if reaching for the ceiling. Then, bring the weight down while keeping your elbows pointing forward. You only want to move your forearms. Afterward, slowly bring the weight back up to the starting position.
6. Resistance Band Curls
I love resistance bands. They are probably one of the most versatile pieces of home fitness equipment you can buy. Plus, certain brands allow you to add more cables to simulate a heavier load. For example, mine are set to 45 pounds when doing band curls. And I can add as many bands as I want to make it far heavier.
Overall, resistance bands are inexpensive and can be used to work out nearly every muscle group from your waist up. However, you can also get resistance cables and bands specifically for exercising your legs.
With resistance bands, you start by standing on the cable with your feet at about shoulder-width and your arms to your sides. Then, you bring the cable up to your chest while keeping your elbows pointed toward the floor. Afterward, slowly relax the band back to the starting position.
What you need to keep in mind, though, is that you’ll need to find the right length of resistance band for your height. The length of the cables can vary greatly, which will ultimately affect the difficulty. The more taught the band, the greater the resistance load.
So, make sure you’re getting a size of a resistance band that is right for you.
7. Resistance Band Reverse Fly
Although the reverse fly focuses more on the back and traps, it will also impact your triceps. This is apparent if you watch the video here. Take a look at how quickly his triceps and forearms flex when committing to a single rep.
Not to mention that I’ve felt the burn in my triceps while maxing out the resistance bands during a reverse fly.
There are a couple of ways you can do the reverse fly with resistance cables. Mine have a weighted dongle that fits in between the doorframe, which allows me to stand in my room directly from the door instead of wrapping the cable around a solid object. However, if someone opens the door, I’m taking that dongle to the chest like a bullet.
Another way is to stand on the cable as you would for a curl. However, crisscross the cables and bend over as far as you’re comfortable. Then, pull the cables up and back as you would if you were standing.
8. Tricep Dip
Perhaps one of the simplest arm workouts from home is the tricep dip. This is because you can use almost any piece of furniture in the home within reason. I mean, you wouldn’t want to try a tricep dip from an office chair on rollers.
This is a bodyweight workout that is quite effective, especially for beginners.
To do a tricep dip, sit upright on a stable surface, such as the couch or perhaps the bed. Place your hands at your side and onto the surface. Then, slide your butt off the surface while balancing. So, it’s kind of like you’re still sitting in mid-air as your body weight is distributed to your arms. Lower yourself down by bending your elbows. Afterward, exhale as you push yourself back up to the starting position.
Remember to keep your hips from moving back and forth. You want the work to be on the triceps.
In a way, it’s kind of like simply pushing yourself up off the floor to sit on the couch.
9. Weighted Game Play (Kinect, Oculus, etc.)
The most utilized arm workouts I perform while at home are playing various game systems while wearing weighted gloves or wrist weights. You’d be amazed by how much of a workout two pounds on each wrist makes after a 30-minute session of playing something like tennis or Avengers: Battle for Earth on the Kinect.
A good example is the impact a one-pound weighted glove makes while bowling on the Oculus. The movement itself is similar to a curl when rolling the ball. With the additional weight on your hand, you’re increasing the effort your bicep puts in to complete the motion.
A lighter weight focuses more attention on the Type 1 muscle fibers, which contribute to improving stamina. And yes, if you’re not used to moving with an extra pound on each hand, you will feel it after 30 minutes.
This is why you’ll see walkers or runners wear weighted vests or leg weights. It’s the same principle as you’re forcing your body to exert additional energy and strength to keep itself moving at the desired pace.
Another benefit is speed. When you train the body to adjust to extra weight and it’s not present, you’ll find yourself a damn site faster in certain movements.
BONUS: Anything that Uses the Arms
In reality, activities you do at home that cause exertion of any kind in the arm are good workouts. Everything from house cleaning to yard work, it all benefits everything from wrist to shoulder. Of course, the amount of exercise you get depends on the activity.
Simply lifting the remote to turn on the Roku isn’t necessarily a grueling workout.
However, painting the living room, mopping the kitchen floor, raking the yard, moving the furniture around for feng shui, or a plethora of other physical movements will affect your arms.
Plus, when you look at house chores as workout activities, they don’t seem as daunting. In fact, I get excited when I have to do some major cleaning or housework so I can turn on the Fitbit and track my calorie burn.
I like to monitor the data, which is how I gamify fitness – because I’m a dork.
Find a way to make exercise fun for yourself. It’ll make arm workouts so much easier if you’re enjoying the activity over viewing it as a mundane chore.
Practical Benefits of Arm Workouts from Home
One of the biggest reasons why most men like arm workouts is because we like to show off our biceps. I flex on camera all the time as more of a joke. Yet, there are a lot of guys who love standing in front of a mirror to see their ripply triceps and biceps to show off on Instagram.
Nonetheless, there are more practical benefits to adding arm workouts from home regardless of your age or gender. For example:
- It’s easier to carry groceries in from the car.
- You’ll have more stamina for various activities around the house.
- Picking up a 50-pound bag of dog food is much easier.
- Getting up off the floor when you’re in your 40s is easier.
- Shoveling snow during the winter is a shorter task.
- Picking up and holding your children doesn’t tire you out as quickly.
- Better to defend yourself during a zombie apocalypse.
- Skills in hobbies such as bowling and golf are improved.
These are just some of the benefits I can think of off the top of my head. The bottom line is that exercise in any regard improves your quality of life more than just posting thirst traps on social media.
What Arm Workouts Are Your Favorite?
In the grand scheme of things, I’m not sure if I could pick an absolute favorite for arm workouts. All of these I mentioned have their benefits for strength and endurance. But if I had to pick just one, it would probably be wearing weights while playing games.
I think that’s because I am a gamer at heart and have lost the vast majority of my weight playing the Xbox Kinect. Even to this day, I would prefer strapping on two-pound wrist weights and playing 30 to 35 minutes of Kinect Sports Season 2: Tennis.
That’s the trick when it comes to effectively exercising. It’s not what works best for me. Success all centers around what works best for you.
So, what arm workouts are your cup of tea?