When you’re a new dad, big arms are a necessity. Consider the number of times in the next five or six years you will be lifting and carrying your squirming, enthusiastic, bundle(s) of energy. Think about the number of grocery bags you will be schlepping, strollers you will be pushing, and cribs you will be assembling and disassembling. Tricep exercises, bicep workouts, and simply stronger arms are in order.
Now, building buff arms at home, without machines or weights, takes a little creativity. The 10 moves here work the range of major arms and shoulder muscles, including your triceps, biceps, deltoids, rhomboids, and pectorals. They’ll also work secondary muscles (primarily your lower back and core) for support, improving your posture.
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What it works: Triceps, deltoids, pectorals
How to: We don’t really need to review this, do we? Flat back, relaxed neck, hands below shoulders. Two sets of 10.
What it works: Triceps, rhomboids, pectorals
How to: Sit on edge of chair, hands facing forward and grasping the chair seat edge. Inch your hips forward until your butt is off the chair and your arms are supporting your weight. Bend your elbows and drop your seat toward the floor and back up. Two sets of 10.
What it works: Biceps, core
How to: Lie on your back beneath your dining room table (or equivalent in sturdiness and height). Position yourself so your shoulders align directly below the table edge. Reach up and grab the table edge. Bend your elbows and pull your body, in a straight line, up as high as you can. Lower back down. Two sets of 10.
High Plank Single Arm Swaps
What it works: Biceps, triceps, deltoids, core
How to: From an extended push-ups position (arms straight), lift your left hand off the floor and tap your right shoulder, stabilizing your body with your right arm. Return to start position and repeat on the opposite side. Two sets of 10 taps.
What it works: Biceps, triceps, pectorals, deltoids
How to: From push-ups position, bend your right elbow to rest on floor and drop your right side to follow. Quickly bend and drop your left elbow so your body is now in a plank position. Shift your weight to the left side while straightening your right elbow again, followed by your left elbow, so you are back in your original extended push-ups position. Complete 10 of these “box” moves in one direction. Rest. Reverse directions and do 10 more.
What it works: Biceps, deltoids
How to: You can do this move without weight, but you’ll get a little better bang for your proverbial buck if you grab a medium-heavy object (soda bottles, soup cans, water jugs) in each hand. Stand with feet shoulder-width apart. Raise both arms directly out to the side. Make small circular motions – 10 times in one direction, then 10 times in the other for one complete set. Two sets.
What it works: Pectorals, triceps
How to: Stand arm’s distance away from the wall, right shoulder facing wall. Place your right hand shoulder-height against the wall. Keeping your body in a straight line, bend your right elbow and lean into the wall as far as you can. Push off wall and return to start position. Do 10 reps, then switch sides. Two sets.
What it works: Deltoids, triceps
How to: Start in a plank position (face down, elbows bent, legs straight). Shift your weight to your right side, and raise your left arm toward the ceiling as your body rotates until it is perpendicular to the floor. Keep your legs straight and your body in a straight line. Hold for 60 seconds. Repeat on left side.
What it works: Biceps (obviously)
How to: If you own a resistance band or long rope, use it. Otherwise, grab a full-size bath towel or sheet and twist it until it forms something resembling a thick rope. Stand with your feet together, holding one end of your rope/towel/sheet in each hand. Place your right foot in the center of the “rope.” Using your right leg for resistance (allow it to bend as needed), bend your elbows and raise hands toward your chest. Release. Two sets of 10.
Rear Deltoid Raise
What it works: Take a wild guess.
How to: Grab a medium-heavy object (soda bottles, soup cans, water jugs) in each hand. Stand with feet shoulder-width apart. Bend forward at the waist so your torso is parallel to the floor, allowing your arms to drop to the floor in front of you. Engage your abdominal muscles and raise arms directly out to the side, squeezing shoulder blades together. Release and repeat 10 times. Two sets.