You don’t need expensive equipment or the help of a personal trainer to create a few easy arm workouts. With or without equipment, you can target specific muscles with simple exercises that will build muscle, improve muscular endurance, burn calories or any combination of these. Use the right amount of weight, perform the right number of reps and employ the right techniques to create arm workouts that meet your specific goals.
To build muscle, use heavy weights, maximum resistance with machines, maximum tension with bands or perform bodyweight exercises slowly. If using weights, machines or bands, use as much resistance as possible to perform five repetitions of an exercise, then rest for 60 seconds. Perform two more sets before taking a longer break.
Using dumbbells, resistance bands, a kettlebell, a barbell or machines, work your biceps with curls, flys, presses, rows and arm raises. Target your triceps with different variations of extensions and kickbacks. The website ExRx.net contains a directory of these exercises complete with videos and descriptions for performing them correctly.
Using bodyweight exercises, perform pushups, chair dips (with your hands in front of your hips, then behind your hips), bench dips, pull-ups and chin-ups. Perform all reps slowly using muscular effort on the way up and down, with a pause in between. To make your arm workouts easier, use less weight and perform your reps faster with no pause between uplifts and downlifts.
If you are an athlete, you’ll need to use your muscles for long periods without cramping or fatiguing. To improve your muscular endurance, decrease the amount of weight or resistance you use to around 50 percent of your maximum and perform more reps. Perform a set of 10 or 12 reps of an exercise, take a short break, then move to another exercise. Continue to move from exercise to exercise this way, working your arms for about five to 10 minutes before taking a longer break. Continue until you complete a 15- or 30-minute workout. You can use momentum and gravity to assist you during your repetitions, since your goal is endurance, not muscle-building.
To work your arms while you perform aerobic or fat-burning workouts, use light weights or little resistance and continue to exercise nonstop, or with only a few breaks, during your workout. For example, if you use a treadmill, like to power walk, do step aerobics or ride an exercise bike, you can add dumbbells to create an easy arm workout and increase your calorie burn. Women can start with as little as 2.5-pound dumbbells, while men can start with 5-pound weights.
Extensions are a common arm exercise for working your triceps. Put the weight behind your back and between your shoulder blades, then reach up, turning your palm forward to finish. Perform biceps curls by starting with your arms hanging down at your sides and your palms facing forward. Bend your arm at the elbow and bring your fist to your shoulder. Pause, then lower. Vary this exercise by lifting the weight across your body. If you aren’t strong enough to do more than a few pushups, start on your knees until you build upper-body strength. Vary the placement of your hands on the floor to find the easiest position for you.