Do you want to get big and defined arms without a lifting a single weight? You just need to do the right type of calisthenics exercises for arms.
I know a lot of people who think the only way to build massive guns is by lifting dumbbells and barbells. But, your muscles do not care where the resistance comes from, they will develop if you work them. Hence, bodyweight exercises can be as effective as well. Plus, you can build functional strength and train many other muscles at once, since these are compound exercises.
Before showing you the best calisthenics arm exercises, we have to talk a little bit about the muscles that should be developed.
The muscles of your arms
When people want to get bigger and stronger arms, the first thing they think about is their biceps, so they train them all the time. But, they cannot see their arms growing as they want.
Because your triceps is a much bigger muscles group, you should not forget about them. The size of your upper arm is built up about 60-70 percent of your triceps, and 30-40% of your biceps.
Plus, there are your shoulders and lower arms. They must be worked as well to have balanced arms both in size and strength.
So, in your workout routine, all these body parts should be trained. All the four.
The most beneficial calisthenics exercises for arms
1. Calisthenics for triceps
Let’s start with the biggest muscles group.
Without a doubt, doing dips on a parallel bar is the best move to gain your triceps, but your shoulders are also engaged. Just think about your poor triceps, they must lift your body weight up rep after rep.
The only thing you have to keep in mind when performing the dip is not to lean forward too much because there will be more load on your chest instead of your triceps.
If you can do 15 or even more dips, you may want to add extra resistance by using a weight vest or by placing your weight from one side to another. These variations will keep your triceps growing.
Tips for beginners: If you cannot do any on the parallel bar yet, do bench dips instead. It is still a very useful exercise to get your triceps stronger until you are strong enough to do regular dips. Check this guide for more advice.
To sum up, dips must be in your calisthenics arm plan.
Diamond push up
Standard push-ups work your triceps, but by placing your hands closer to each other, you can activate these muscles even better. You can give an extra boost to diamond push ups in many ways and also combine them.
For example, when you press yourself up, you are at the top position, squeeze your triceps for a few seconds. Also, put your legs on something higher to get more load. And, if you are already strong enough, use a weight vest or try the one arm version (which is extremely tough.)
For triceps size and strength, these are the best two moves, but find more training tips by clicking on the link below.
2. Calisthenics Biceps Exercises
I know a lot of gym goers who think the only way to build biceps is by doing curls with a barbell or dumbbells. And, they cannot believe I built mine just by doing bicep workouts without weights. Just do the bodyweight bicep exercises below.
Close grip chin ups & variations
Well, we do chin-ups mainly for the back, but closing the distance between your grips, you can target your biceps pretty well. I grab the bar about 4-8 inches between my hands, and when I pull myself up, I try to engage my biceps as much as I can by keeping my elbow near my body.
You need to test what works for you. So, try various grip and elbow positions to find the state that engages your biceps the best.
What if chin ups are too easy for you?
Then, use a weight vest or do the one arm variation that requires great strength.
Inverted rows with underhand grip (biceps curl)
If chin-ups are too hard for you or you need an exercise to define your biceps with high repetitions, then the inverted rows is a good option. It is easier to perform, but with that, you can focus on your biceps better.
Well, this is a very powerful not so well-known, advanced exercise. After pulling yourself up with an underhand grip you push yourself away from the bar, then pull yourself back to the starting position without lowering yourself.
Imagine how many muscles are engaged to keep the pulled-up position, and how hard you biceps have to work to hold you in the “air.” Very powerful calisthenics exercise.
Related: Want to learn even more moves? Learn how to get bigger biceps without weights
3. Weight Free Forearm exercises
If you do calisthenics, you may already have strong and massive forearms. The standard exercises like pull ups, chin ups, etc. make your grip strong, and with that gain your lower arm. So, the mentioned biceps and triceps calisthenics exercises help to build that part of your arm.
But, if you are interested in exceptional drills, check out our bodyweight lower arm workout guide here.
4. Shoulder exercises
There are a lot of bodyweight moves to build your shoulders, but there is one that is particularly beneficial: the handstand push up. It boosts the size and strength of your shoulders, plus your triceps, so I recommend to have it in your arms calisthenics workout routine.
Setting up your calisthenics for arms routine
Now you know the best exercises so you can create your plan. From my personal experience picking two practices for biceps and triceps is enough, plus one-one for the shoulders and forearms.
The number of sets and reps depends on your fitness level, but I do 3-4 sets with the minimum of 8 reps. When I can do more than 15 from one exercise, I switch to a harder variation or use a weight vest for extra load.
Here is a sample intermediate workout routine.
To sum up
I think, after checking out these calisthenics arm exercises, you are no longer skeptical about the effectiveness of bodyweight training. You can build massive and solid arms with these moves (and do not care about what gym-goers say, just stick to your routine.)
If you have any questions or suggestions on how to get bigger arms without weights, feel free to comment below.
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