Upper-Arm Toning Exercises Without a Bench Press

Upper-Arm Toning Exercises Without a Bench Press

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The upper arms include the triceps, biceps and shoulders.

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The bench press is just one of many exercises that tones the upper body, but as far as working the upper arms, it's not the best use of your time. The bench press is primarily a chest exercise, but secondarily, it will also strengthen the triceps of the upper arms and the deltoids of the shoulders. If you're really interested in toning your upper arms, try some more targeted exercises for that area.

Dumbbell Exercises

You're probably already familiar with one of the most common dumbbell exercises -- namely, the curl. Curl exercises, in which you pull a dumbbell from a position at your sides to a position with your palms facing toward your shoulders, work your biceps on the front and upper end of your arms. To work your triceps at the back and upper end of your arms, try triceps extensions. One way to do them is to sit on a bench and hold a dumbbell in one hand. Raise that arm overhead and then bend the elbow, lowering the dumbbell to just behind your shoulder. You can also do the curl and extension exercises while holding a barbell. For that variation, hold the barbell with both hands while doing the triceps extension.

Body-Weight Exercises

You can also use your own body weight to help strengthen those upper arms. One exercise for working the triceps and shoulders is the close-grip pushup. It's just like it sounds; adopt the standard pushup position, either with your knees resting on the floor or not, and then place your hands just a few inches apart to perform a set of pushups. To make it even more challenging, try elevating your feet onto a bench or other raised platform.

Dip Bar or Assisted Bar

If you have an assisted pullup bar at your gym, use it to do both pullups and dips. If you're strong enough, you can do these exercises without the assisted machine, but that can be difficult for a lot of people. To do dips, place your hands on a set of parallel bars and raise your body up to place all your weight on your hands. Then bend your elbows and "dip" your body down until your elbows form roughly a 90-degree angle. This will work your triceps and shoulders. Also try doing chinups, either on the assisted bar or with a plain old bar. Having your hands in the chinup position, with your palms facing toward you, works muscles in your back and shoulders and some of the smaller muscles of your upper and middle arm.

Guidelines for Strength Training

When you're doing exercises that require you to lift weight, choose a weight that can help your muscles experience muscle fatigue within 90 seconds. This might mean you have to use more weight than you expected, but the only way to find out how much weight causes muscle fatigue is to do a set with the amount of weight you think you can handle. On the assisted dip and chinup bar, experiment to determine how much weight you need to displace. The first time you use the dip or chinup bar, set the weight plate to displace about 3/4 of your body weight, so that when you do the chinup or dip, you're lifting only about 1/4 of your body weight. Aim to do one set of 12 to 15 repetitions of each exercise to start and then add a second set after several weeks of training. Like all muscles, your upper arms need time to generate new muscle tissue in between sessions, so aim for a twice-weekly strength-training regimen, with at least one day of rest in between sessions.


  1. Schuyler

    I congratulate, your idea will be useful

  2. Jory

    Great news, keep it up, good luck in the future.

  3. Muzuru

    Somewhere I have already seen this ... And if on the topic, thanks.

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