Gyms are great places to work out your arms. You have access to a ton of different weights and machines, as well as preacher benches and flat benches. But trekking it out to the gym is a big demand on your time, and sometimes you’re just too busy. But busy days don’t have to be exercise-less days. Being able to work out at home helps you to get active when you don’t have time to make it out to the gym. After all, your arms aren’t going to build themselves.
Zen Habits contributor Jonathan Mead suggests following the example of Bruce Lee. Lee had the kind of knotted, ditchdigger body we can only dream of, and his workout combined pull-ups, push-ups and shoulder press-ups, all without the benefit of exercise machines. Mead suggests incorporating the above exercises with isometrics (static body-weight exercises like the frog-sit), yoga, and balance exercises. But let’s talk about weight-lifting first.
Build Your Biceps
If you want to build up muscle, lifting weights is one of the best ways to go, and with a small collection of weights at your home, you can skip the gym entirely.
Curls are the simplest ways to build the bicep. Remember to exhale when lifting, and inhale when dropping your arm. And don’t forget to squeeze your bicep when at the top of your lift. Think of it like a sit-up for your arm.
Pull-ups are another easy way to work out your biceps, and are a nice alternative to curls, in that a chin-bar is much less expensive than a set of dumbbells. Grip your hands around the bar in a reverse-grip, and touch your chin to the bar at the peak of lifting youself up. ShapeFit.com recommends doing pull- ups until failure.
Train Your Triceps
The simplest tricep exercise is the Seated Single Arm Dumbbell Extension, which you can do in the comfort of your own home, or in the park, or anywhere, really. While seated, lean forwards and keep the arm holding the dumbbell to your side. Extend your arm out behind you and keep your elbow in. Lower your arm back to where it was, and then rinse and repeat.
After working until failure in both arms, take a well-deserved break. After that, move on to Tricep Pushups.
Pushups that build your triceps begin as a regular push-up, but with your hands closer together. When you lower yourself, keep your elbows in, which will force your triceps to work harder instead of putting more of the pressure on your pecs.
Once you’ve worked out your pushups and triceps in the morning, it might be time to go to the office. Well, even at your work you can continue to train your arms.
Isometrics are static bodyweight exercises that involve using your own body’s resistance against itself, pushing against a wall or chair, and contracting your muscles for small periods of time. These exercises are often recommended for desk-chained office workers, because the only requirement you need is often a chair or a wall.
In fact, some of these office workouts are so effective that they deserve a future article of their own. For now we’ll look at the simplest and easiest of them, the Isometric Hand Press.
The isometric hand press involves sitting stock-straight in your chair, clasping your hands in front of your chest and pressing your hands hard against each other. Remember to breathe. Keep this going for ten seconds, take a breather, and then go again. It’s tough after a while isn’t it? This exercise works out the biceps, triceps and chest.
Remember to Eat Your Protein
Zen Habits’ Leo Babauta recommends taking in some extra protein before and after you start your arm exercises. A bit of protein infusion from soy or a protein shake will help you build up your muscles.
Either way, a quick workout at home between your job and your social life will help train you up, and you won’t have to feel so guilty about skipping the gym.