FIT36 High Intensity Interval Training

FIT36® Fitness Blog Lowry

Top 5 Exercises to Build Arm Strength for Men and Women

Top 5 Exercises to Build Arm Strength for Men and Women

Everyone wants strong, toned arms and upper body, especially during the warmer months where we can show them off. Both men and women want to not only look strong but feel strong as well. We want to have the strength to push, pull and lift all that life has for us. The great news is these exercises take little, if any equipment and most can be done just about anywhere.


Here are our top 5 exercises for building amazing arms.


Pushups target the whole body, not just your arms. You will work your shoulders, chest, front and back of your arm muscles, and your core. 

We love pushups because you don’t need any equipment and there are lots of options to keep you challenged. There are many ways to modify push-ups to target different parts of your arms. Start with arms wide to work your back or bring your arms close to your side and turn your hands in to form a triangle to get a killer triceps workout.



Chin ups targets the full upper body, especially your back and biceps. Doing chin ups will help to increase your grip strength and build muscular endurance when held in a static position.

Find a chin up bar at a local playground or place a chin up bar in a doorway of your home to get started. Start with your hands gripping the bar with palms facing you (supinated position), shoulder width apart. You can modify chin ups by placing a box or chair under you and rest one bent foot on it to stabilize yourself. If you want to add difficulty, strap a barbell weight around your waist or hold a medicine ball between your knees to engage that core.



This is another favorite because you can do tricep dips just about anywhere you can find a bench, a step, or a seat. Dips isolate very tough-to-train muscles and will increase your range of motion in the shoulder complex. Start by positioning your hands shoulder-width apart on a secured bench, step or stable chair. Slide your butt off the front of the bench with your legs extended out in front of you. Straighten your arms, keeping a little bend in your elbows to keep tension on your triceps and off your elbow joints as you dip down and push back up. You can modify tricep dips by moving your body closer or further out from the step you are holding onto or lift one leg at a time to make them more difficult.



Boxing is an incredible workout and throwing punches at a heavy bag or even into the air works your arms, your shoulders, your chest and back as well as your core. Throwing jabs and cross punches will help you tone your arms and get a great cardio workout at the same time. The key is in the power of your punches. Start with a wide stance and place your non-dominant foot slightly in front of the other. Your non-dominant hand throws a jab and your dominant hand throws your power punch. The power is coming from your hips and your core thrusting into and through your punch. Start by throwing 20, jab-cross combinations, and work up to a full minute without stopping, increasing your speed and power as you go.



Building your shoulder muscles not only gives you that nice rounded top to your arms, but it gives you the strength to do all of the other exercises we have mentioned. The shoulder press, sometimes called the “military press” or a “shoulder raise,” is a simple exercise that anyone can do. You can modify the weight up or down and you can use dumbbells or kettlebells (ideal for working each shoulder individually so you don’t use one stronger side to do all the work), a barbell, or even milk jugs if you really needed something. The simple shoulder press activates more core muscles than a crunch and targets the entire shoulder complex. To begin, stand with your feet shoulder width apart and place the dumbbells in each hand holding them on your shoulder with your arms at a 90-degree angle. Start with a weight that you can easily lift up and down slowly to maintain proper form. Without leaning back or rocking your body, lift the weights over your head and then slowly lower back to the starting position. If you are lifting heavier weights, try sitting in a seat with a back support to stabilize your lower back muscles and keep a slow and steady movement up and down, while sitting on BOSU ball can work your core even harder.


Working these into your fitness routine is sure to get those arms and back muscles popping. If you’ve never come in to a FIT36 studio, come in for a FREE class and check out our “Power Push,” “Power Pull,” and “Pulse36” classes to really blast those arm muscles!

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