Want to have huge arms and powerful shoulders? Leave free weights, machines and machines alone from time to time, back to basics – bodyweight training.
Without all that extra burden, you will give your body and joints a much needed rest from them. By adjusting your body angle and adding a little creativity and the right tools to your practice, you can still get the stimulus you need to actually grow your biceps, triceps, shoulders and forearms.
Even if you’re a hardcore athlete, replace your regular exercises with these movements using only your body weight for the next few weeks and watch your biceps, triceps, and shoulders grow like weeds.
Dips are a phenomenal exercise that not only builds your chest and shoulder muscles, but also loads a hell of a lot of triceps and forearms.
Climb up on parallel bars, keep your chest forward and lower down until your elbows are bent 90 degrees. At the bottom of the amplitude, pause for a second and squeeze yourself to the starting position. To relieve pressure on your neck, select a point on the floor a few inches away and look at it.
2. Towel Pulls
To grow big hands, you must address your weakest link: your grip strength. By increasing its strength, you will thereby increase the incentive to build muscle in your body.
Towel pull-ups are one of the best – and coolest – ways to develop both grip strength and forearm strength.
Wrap two towels around the horizontal bar and grab the ends. Squeezing your shoulder blades together, pull yourself up until your chest touches the bar. If two towels are too difficult, use one and grab the bar with the other hand and do equal reps for both hands.
3. Flexion of arms in TRX loops
The biceps, in their traditional workout, is prone to all kinds of flexion of the arm, at different angles of the body, as well as excessive damage to the elbows due to external resistance. However, bending your arms in the TRX loops will keep your body still while activating arm work.
Grasp the handles with the TRX bottom grip and stand on the anchor point. Lean back, keeping your body straight, and press your arms to your torso. Then pull yourself up by bending your arms and pulling the TRX handles towards you. To make the exercise harder, place your feet closer to the attachment point.
4. Crab walking
The crab walking exercise looks strange, but it gives results. It puts an overall load on the whole body by stabilizing it, but also makes your shoulders and triceps work as your arms keep you balanced as you move.
Strike the crab pose with arms and legs on the floor, chest up, knees bent, hips a few centimeters from the ground, arms straight, hands directly under the shoulders, and fingers pointing back.
Crawl forward, making a small step with your right hand and left foot at the same time, and then another step with your left hand and right foot. Alternate, keeping your hips low and your chest raised.
To make the exercise more difficult, crawl backward or sideways.
5. Extension of the arms using a rubber band
Rubber bands of varying resistance are a great way to give the triceps a certain amount of load without putting pressure on the sensitive elbow joints.
Doing a lot of reps will give you a good pump, and the muscle will be under significant stress for a long time for serious hypertrophy.
Attach the tourniquet to a sturdy upper pulley or bar and grasp the end with both hands. Press your shoulders against your body and straighten your arms until your elbows are fully extended. Use a tourniquet where the resistance level will allow you to complete 50-75 reps before the muscles get tired.
6. Narrow Reverse Grip Pull-ups
Unlike pull-ups with a direct grip, the reverse, narrow – palms facing you – increases the load on the biceps.
Hang on the horizontal bar with your palms facing you, only a few centimeters apart.
Squeeze your shoulder blades together and pull yourself up until your chin is over the bar.
7. Diamond push-ups (narrow arms)
Give a good load to the triceps, chest, shoulders and core muscles by using a narrow stance during push-ups.
Accept the lying position. Place your hands close to each other so that the index and thumbs touch each other, forming a diamond between them, which is why push-ups themselves are called diamond.
Perform push-ups, trying to touch your palms with your chest. Do not spread your elbows to the sides, they should move along the body.
To make this exercise harder, lift your legs up a hill or wear a weighted vest.
8. Extension of arms in TRX loops
The beauty of TRX exercises is that you can quickly increase or decrease the intensity of the load by getting closer or further from the anchor point.
Grasp the TRX loops with each hand with an overhead grip, straightening them in front of you and facing the attachment point. Lean forward, bending your elbows, keeping your body straight. Now keep your elbows in front of your chest, and your arms at forehead level – this is the lower position where the triceps muscle is stretched as much as possible.
Also keeping your body and shoulders still, straighten your arms forward to activate the triceps contraction and push yourself back into position.
9. Corner push-ups
Doing overhead presses is a great way to build powerful shoulders and triceps. In bodyweight exercises, it can be difficult to find overhead movements – until now, that is.
Corner push-ups or pike dives mimic overhead presses, turning you upside down. Take a lying position and lift your hips up until the body forms a right angle. Perform push-ups bending only the arms, lowering your head to the floor.