Traditional arm exercises like bicep curls and shoulder presses work great for strengthening the upper body—but they usually require some weights to get the best benefit. So what if you want an efficient, effective workout, without having to worry about equipment (like, when you’re traveling, have limited space, or just can’t make it to the gym)? Enter, bodyweight arm exercises.
Just a quick FYI: Arm strength is important—strong arms and shoulders help you move more comfortably throughout daily life, Roxie Jones, NASM-CPT, personal trainer and SoulCycle instructor, tells Health. Just think about how many times you open and close doors, carry groceries, push yourself up out of bed, or lift a suitcase into the overhead compartment. All these moves will feel much easier if you’ve been training your upper body—even without weights.
Pushing, pulling, and holding your own bodyweight takes some serious work and requires strength and stability. Plus, if you’re new to strength training, starting with exercises sans equipment is the smartest thing to do. “I always recommend mastering bodyweight exercises before moving on to actual weights,” Jones says. It’s important to get comfortable with an exercise and nail proper form before adding any external resistance—that’s one surefire strategy for sidestepping injury.
To get you building up your upper body, try these 10 bodyweight arm exercises from Jones. Do them in your living room, hotel room, or wherever else you feel like you need to get a quick workout in.