The Best Arm Toning Exercises Without Equipment

Get strong, sculpted arms with nothing but your body weight.

By: Emily Freeman

You may be surprised to find out that the best exercises at home for your arms are similar to many of your favorite core exercises. That’s because if you want to tone your arms fast, you need to get creative with how to add resistance to your workouts. And the best arm workouts at home means using your body weight in ways that are very familiar but with a slight twist.  

Traditionally, when you do free weight arm exercises, you need some equipment like dumbbells or bands to curl and flex your biceps and triceps. But, it is totally possible to sculpt your upper body and perform arm exercises without weights and see the same type of results you typically expect from dumbbells, bands, or machines. 

That’s because your body weight carries its own resistance that can really get your arms burning. Which brings us back to your favorite core exercises. The best arm toning exercises without equipment turns your body into your weight, which means moves like planks, downward dog, and push-ups all will help you tone your arms and work your abs at the same time. 

When multiple muscles are fired at once, you end up burning more calories in less time, which means you could see quicker fat loss and tone your arms fast, without touching a single piece of equipment! 

Can Bodyweight Exercises Tone My Arms Fast? 

To tone your arms without equipment, you want to focus on doing a variety of exercises that target different upper body muscle groups including your chest, back, shoulders, and arms. 

When you do arm workouts at home (or really any bodyweight workout), one of the most effective approaches is creating circuits. The biggest limitation with weight-free exercises is that you can’t add weight to exhaust your muscle and give you that toned look you desire. So, by doing exercises in a circuit, you exhaust your muscles and burn more calories by creating less rest between movements. 

Doing these exercises back-to-back in a circuit will give you the most burn in the least amount of time. With less rest, you’ll start feeling it in your arms quicker, even with just your own body weight. 

Start by choosing four to five arm exercises without weights (we’ll show you the options below). Perform 10 to 15 reps of each exercise back-to-back. Rest and repeat the circuit two to three more times.  

The Best No-Equipment Arm Workouts 

If you try to do the exact same arm movements at home that you do in the gym, you’ll probably end up frustrated. Rember, the best exercises at home for arms will look different, but if you perform them in the circuit fashion we’ve suggested, you’ll wonder why you ever did anything different because they will help you tone your arms fast. 

These four no-equipment bodyweight exercises will sculpt your arms, back, chest, and shoulders, strengthen your core, and get your heart rate up (hello, calorie burn!). 

#1 Push-ups on Knees

A modified take on one of the most effective bodyweight upper body exercises. Placing your knees on the ground will help you master the push-up without compromising form. 

Step #1: Start in a straight arm plank position, hands underneath your shoulders. 

Step #2: Lower your knees to the ground, but keep your hips where they are so your upper body makes a straight, diagonal line. This is your starting position. 

Step #3: Pull your belly button into your spine.

Step #4: Bend your elbows out to the side to at least a 90-degree angle. 

Step #5: Push through your chest to come back to your starting position. 

RELATED: 5 Effective Push-Up Alternatives + How to Do Them 

#2 Tabletop Tricep Dips

Everyone wants toned triceps or the back of your arms, and this exercise does the trick. You can do this move with your hands on the ground, too. But by placing them on a tabletop (or any other surface), you allow for more range of motion in your shoulders. 

Step #1: Start seated on a flat surface a couple feet off the ground, like a coffee table or ottoman. 

Step #2: Place your hands next to your hips on the very edge of the surface. 

Step #3: Straighten your arms, squeeze your glutes and lift your hips off and in front of the table. 

Step #4: Keeping your abs and booty engaged and off the table, press your weight back in between your hands. This is your starting position. 

Step #5: Bend your elbows straight back to a 90-degree angle. 

Step #6: Squeeze the back of your arms, press through the palms of your hands, and straighten your arms back to your starting position. 

#3 Plank Shoulder Taps

This dynamic version of a plank takes it up a notch to give your shoulders some extra love. 

Step #1: Start in a straight arm plank position, hips in line with your back in one straight line. 

Step #2: Pull your belly button into your spine and squeeze your glutes.

Step #3: Your feet can be slightly wider than hip-distance to help with balance. 

Step #4: Shift your weight onto your left hand and tap your right hand across your chest to your left shoulder.

Step #5: Place your right hand back on the ground and repeat on the left side. Come back through center for one rep. 

#4 Downward Dog Push-Ups

It’s not easy to target your back without equipment, but this exercise gets the muscles in your upper back pumping. 

Step #1: Start in a Downward Dog position with your hips high up into the sky. 

Step #2: Keeping your belly button into your spine and your gaze at your feet, so your neck is straight, bend your arms out to the sides to 90-degree angles. The crown of your head should almost touch the ground. 

Step #3: Press through your upper back to straighten your arms back to your starting position. 

How to Add Weight-Free Exercises to Your Routine 

Like your favorite takeout restaurant, you don’t have to go further than your front door for toned arms. All cheekiness aside, with the right exercises (and nutrition), a strong and sculpted upper body can be achieved with nothing but your body weight. 

The joy of bodyweight training is that it can force you to try something different. And, in general, your body will respond to something new. Whereas no equipment can be viewed as a frustration, it might be exactly what you need to find a fast, fun way to get better results better than ever and discover new exercises that you love. 

Find your favorite FitOn workout, browse the no equipment category in the app, or simply start by doing these four exercises in a circuit two to three days per week in addition to your lower body and cardio workouts!