Let’s talk about home arm workouts for beginners. While you might think you need to hit the gym to build impressive biceps and triceps, that’s not quite true: everyone, including beginners, can benefit from strengthening their arms from home.
In fact, a 2019 paper from the International Journal of Exercise Science reported that people had a high attendance to home workout sessions, including both resistance and cardio home workouts, meaning they were likely to turn up, get the job done and see results.
And home arm workouts are the perfect place to start: your arms are pretty small muscles compared to, say, your glutes, so mastering the moves is a bit simpler for beginners. Not sure why you need to train your arms? Well, having strong arms promises loads of health benefits. “Building muscle and strength in your arms, and your upper body as a whole, can help with many aspects of daily living,” explains Aoife Flannery, personal trainer at Third Space London.
“For instance, a strong upper body can help with mobility and posture, and can also help to fight against a loss of muscle mass and strength as we age," she continues.
Yep, arm workouts aren’t just about building huge muscle mass, but also doing stretching and mobilising to improve general movement. After all, your arms stay pretty busy throughout the day, whether lifting a child, swinging a heavy bag over your shoulder, carrying boxes or holding your bodyweight in yoga.
“Strong arms and upper body can also complement activities and hobbies like pilates, swimming, boxing and tennis. From an aesthetic standpoint, anyone who is looking to cultivate the appearance of "toned" arms, will need to work on safely building muscle in them to achieve this look,” adds Flannery. Yup, if you’re after Michelle Obama-style biceps, it's time to start working them out.
So, with Flannery’s help, we’ve dug into the best home arm workouts for beginners. Don't miss our guides to the best arm workouts for women, while you're here, or bookmark these tricep exercises and bicep exercises for later.
Home arm workouts for beginners: your guide
What are the benefits of having strong arms?
There are a whole host of benefits of having strong arms, as we've highlighted above.
Not only does one PLOS One study confirm that strong arms = better balance, but several other studies have confirmed that working out your arms boosts your mobility, posture, cardiovascular health, and bone and joint density.
Think about it - the stronger your arms, the more you can go about your daily tasks with ease and without risk of injury. Sound good? We thought so.
What kit will I need for smashing my home workouts?
First things first: Some exercises are brilliant to do bodyweight (hello to wall sits, squats and glute bridges), and arm workouts absolutely fall into that category with Pilates-style press ups and arm circles mobilising and strengthening the upper body. But sometimes you need an extra hand, so it’s worth getting some home kit for your beginner arm workouts.
“Bodyweight, resistance bands and weight workouts are all great ways to build muscle and strength in the arms and upper body. One of the most important things when trying to build muscle is using progressive overload, which means increasing the weight, frequency and/or repetitions in the exercises gradually over time in order to avoid reaching a plateau with your progress," shares Flannery.
To do this with bodyweight alone, focus on frequency and repetition, she shares. "That said, ultimately, as long as your workout is challenging you and you're noticing that you're getting stronger over time, then you should see visible improvements in your muscle and strength,” she continues.
Your arm muscles don’t need a lot to get strong, either. Start with some light weights, around 2 to 3kg and a range of resistance bands to get started with home arm workouts. Resistance band workouts at the ready.
1. 10-minute Pilates arm workout
What? A 10-minute Pilates-style arm workout.
Why? Pilates is known for being amazing at strengthening and mobilising, so this workout will wake up all the muscles and joints in and around the arms for a healthy upper body.
How long? 10 minutes.
2. 10-minute bodyweight and resistance band arm workout
What? A 10-minute workout to build arm muscle
Why? Using a resistance band and your body weight, Shona Vertue guides you through some simple but spicy moves that will work your arms – and at just 10 minutes, you can squeeze it into even the busiest of schedules.
3. 10-minute low impact arm workout
What? A 10-minute low-impact arm workout
Why? This video is all about using your bodyweight to effectively target your arms. You’ll be moving slowly and steadily to perfect your form but no doubt shaking by the end.
How long? 10 minute.
4. 12-minute resistance band arm workout
What? A 12-minute resistance band arm workout.
Why? Using a resistance band adds constant tension to the arms, whether curling, pulling or pushing, which is why this workout focuses on banded exercises like bicep curls and tricep kickbacks.
How long? 12 minutes.
5. 13-minute arm workout
What? A 13-minute weighted arm workout.
Why? Using dumbbells is a great way to add resistance once you’ve gotten to grips with the basics of home workouts. This session will take you through 10 exercises that target your biceps and triceps using dumbbells.
How long? 13 minutes.
6. 15-minute toned upper body workout
What? A 15-minute upper body workout that’s beginner-friendly and requires no equipment.
Why? This workout targets your biceps with swimmers, your triceps with wall presses and Pilates one-arm push-ups, and, for an extra bang, your chest, shoulders and back with functional movements too.
How long? 15 minutes.
7. 30-minute beginner friendly arms and abs workout
What? A 30-minute arm and abs workout
Why? You’ll be doing a lot of press-ups and planks in this workout to really target the arms while stabilising the core. Pair that with some ab moves and your whole midsection will also be on fire.
Shop our go-to fit kit now:
This Energy bra is a firm favourite in Health Editor Ally Head's workout wardrobe rotation. It's flattering yet functional, offering support for intense weights sessions and cardio alike.
These shorts may be designed for yoga, but they sweat-wick well enough to support you through pretty much any workout. Spin? Weight lifting? Hiking? You're in luck.
How can I tone my arms at home?
While this will depend on your current level of fitness, if you're a total beginner, aiming for three 30 minute session a week and progressive overload - that is, aiming for more reps each workout to make sure your muscles are working harder with each session.
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Chloe Gray is a freelance journalist who writes and talks about health, fitness, and wellbeing through a feminist lens. She was part of the launch team for Stylist magazine's fitness brand, Strong Women, and has written for i news, Women's Health, Red magazine, Good Housekeeping, Refinery29, and more. She's all about building mental and physical strength, eating delicious food that fuels you well, and making the fitness industry more accessible and enjoyable. She's also a qualified fitness trainer and research nerd, so you can be sure everything you read is backed by proper science.
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