Summer is on the way, and if you’ve spent the past few months avoiding the gym or any kind of strenuous work (I feel this), then you might be not feeling in the right kind of shape to stunt on your ex this pool party season. But it’s not too late to get fit (for summer, or in general). A lot of my clients come in wanting to work on their arms, so I’m here to show you an absolute KILLER arm workout circuit you can do right at home, with NO equipment necessary. Not even weights. Trust me, you won’t need ’em. And, even better? All you need is FIVE minutes. If you’re an overachiever, maybe like 15 minutes if you want to do this set a few times through. Set a timer on your phone, and just get to it. Like, you literally can’t ask for an easier workout, so there are really no excuses.
Disclaimer: I’ve created this workout for use on myself and my clients under my supervision. Do not do these moves if you feel excessive strain or pain anywhere in your body.
Bend And Stretch (1 Minute)
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, arms out by your side, slightly bent at the elbows, with palms facing the ceiling.
Flip your arms so your palms now face the floor. Focus on LENGTHENING through your lats, shoulders, biceps, and triceps.
Return to starting position.
Shoulder Press To Lat Pull (1 Minute)
With your feet shoulder-width apart, stand with your palms facing out in front of you, bent at the elbows. Your elbows should be slightly behind your back.
Straighten your arms up above your head.
Return to starting position.
Straight Arm Chest Fly (1 Minute)
Standing with feet shoulder-width apart, stand with your arms in a T position with palms facing front. Slowly bring your palms together to touch in front of your chest, keeping arms extended.
Return to starting position.
Chest Fly (1 Minute)
Standing with your feet shoulder-width apart, hold your arms out like a goalpost (football, not soccer) by your head.
Bring the palms and inside of your elbows together, make sure you don’t create a tent shape with your arms. You want to get the inner elbows close, not JUST the palms.
Return to starting position.
Deltoid Raise And Lengthen (1 Minute)
Standing with your feet shoulder-width apart, create a 90-degree angle with your arm with your palms facing each other (like you’re about to do the robot).
Swing your arms up to shoulder height so the palms now face the floor.
Keeping the elevation, slide your arms out in front of you so they’re straight.
Pull back in, return to starting position.
Try to do all 5 of these without resting, then take a minute to shake it off/stretch—and then repeat! Aim for 3 rounds.
Images: Nicole Nam; Shutterstock
Sometimes, despite our very best intentions, we just can’t bring ourselves to go to the gym. It becomes especially hard in the winter when suddenly 50-degree weather feels warm (fake news) and the sky is a dismal gray until 4pm, when it’s pitch black. On a good day, I don’t want to go to the gym. But if I have to wade through dirty puddles of slush in the dead of night to get there, it’s absolutely not going to happen.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t get a good workout in. I’m the type of person who has way too much energy if I don’t work out. When I got back to school after Thanksgiving, I was running down the halls singing Christmas carols at full volume because I had been cooped up on a plane all day. Case in point: I should’ve gone to the gym, but it was rainy and gross and I had just found out that I left the sunroof of my car open all Thanksgiving break and my car was filled with water. I’m such a responsible adult.
However, my friends are all gym whores so I was convinced to do some ~fun and quick~ workouts instead. I thought it was pretty stupid, especially because I was doing it in a sweater and UGGs (#athletic), but I’ve actually never felt so sore the next day. Guess all those bloggers are right when they say you can get a good workout at home in 15 minutes. We really can have it all! So I’ve rounded up a few workouts you can do from the comfort of your own home (but maybe put on some sneakers when you do these, unlike me).
My only qualification for giving these workouts is that I work out a lot and follow fitness bloggers on Instagram. But since that seems to be about the only qualification anyone needs to give fitness advice these days, you can obvs trust me.
This is especially fun if you do it with your friends. It’s nice because they can mock your form motivate you when you would rather die than continue planking. Pro tip: I always start with planking, because it sucks the most.
1 min plank: hopefully, you know what this is...
1 min side plank (30 secs on each side): ditto
50 crunches: To make sure your abs are doing the work (not your neck or your arms), try flexing your abs.
1 min of leg raises: Lay on your back, lift your shoulders slightly off the ground, and lift your legs.
1 min of Russian twists: Grab something heavy to hold as you twist side to side (I won’t judge you if it’s a Smirnoff bottle).
1 min of burpee + push-ups: Jump up, squat, do a push-up, repeat.
Repeat the circuit three times, or until you are tired and/or bored. Take breaks between each set to check Instagram catch your breath. This should last about 20 minutes in total.
Lower Body Workout
These exercises are good for your toning your butt and legs.
15 squats: Try to watch your form in the mirror. Sometimes I do these while brushing my teeth to entertain myself. Make sure that your knees don’t go over your feet and your back stays straight.
3 min of inner-thigh toning: If you have one of those yoga blocks, that would be helpful here. You can also just roll up a towel. Stand up, and put the block or towel between your legs. Then, tense your inner thighs around it. Go on your tippy-toes, and then back down. At first, it feels boring, but you’ll really hurt after a minute or so. Trust me on this.
1 min of lunges: Grab something heavy to maximize the workout—weights are ideal if you have them in your room, but a heavy book would work too.
2 min of butt raises: Lie on your back with your knees bent (the bridge position), then raise your butt and tense it. Hold for 15 seconds, then relax and collapse back onto the floor.
2 min of squat-kick combo: Do a squat, then side shuffle to one side, kick one leg out, side shuffle back to the center, squat, repeat on the other side.
Repeat twice for about a 20-minute workout.
You don’t need a treadmill to get some cardio in. Literally just do these exercises and you’ll get your heart rate going.
1 min of jumping jacks
1 min of pulsing lunges: Pulse for 15 secs, then switch legs
1 min of burpees
1 min of high knees: Just like you’d do in middle school gym class!
1 min of push-ups
2 min of sprinting up and down the hallway: If you have neighbors who won’t report you to your landlord.
Repeat four times for a 20-minute workout, or more if you want it to be longer. For a nice full workout, I’d recommend picking two or three of these so you can really make your entire body feel like it was run over by a truck the next day.
If all of this still seems confusing, I’d recommend downloading a fitness app. My favorite is 8-Fit because they have lots of different 10-15 minute workouts you can do anywhere without needing any equipment. You can download this app for free (though, of course, they’re going to try to convince you to spend more money on a meal plan that’s totally unnecessary). Each move comes with a video demonstrating it. They also play music the entire time so it’s #hype. There are also different levels so if you’re only comfortable doing the bare minimum instead of being a hardo, they got you. Or you could check out this list of fitness apps worth downloading here.
Images: Shutterstock; Giphy (5)
You can probably get away with covering up your stomach and legs for the next few months, but everyone still goes sleeveless in the winter, so your arms obviously need to look
their best decent. Arm flab isn’t exactly flattering, and the two-minute segment mid-spin class doesn’t count as a legit arm workout. We’ve created a workout that you can do without any gym equipment, so you can literally get amazing arms by staying in your apartment all winter. Do each of these moves for 45 seconds and repeat the circuit 3-4 times total. You’ll thank us when you don’t have to force the skinny-arm pose to look good in pictures.
1. Plank Shoulder Taps
We’re starting the workout off with plank shoulder taps, because they activate your core while getting your arms warmed up and toning your upper arms. The idea is to start in a plank position on your hands, and make sure your hips and shoulders stay square to the ground the whole time. Widen your feet if you need to. You want to avoid lifting your hips and swaying your torso from side to side. Then, lift your right hand off the floor and tap your left shoulder. Alternate between both arms for the full 45 seconds, and try to keep your body as still as possible the whole time.
2. Tricep Dips
Your triceps are the muscles that make your arms look super toned, and you don’t need any dumbbells or cable machines to strengthen them. Tricep dips use your body weight to tone your arms, and all you need is some sort of bench to sit on. You’ll need to position your hands about shoulder-width apart on the bench, and slide your butt off the bench with your legs extended in front of you (bent or straight, depending on your stability). Then, bend your arms to bring your butt toward the floor and hold for a second at the bottom. Straighten your arms to bring your butt back up, and continue up and down for the entire interval. Remember to keep your neck forward and make sure your butt is only a few inches from the bench.
3. Plank Ups
Some people call these up-down planks, but there’s really no technical term for it, because it’s basically a made-up move that helps strengthen your core, tone your arms, and improve your balance. It’s basically a combo move of a plank and a shoulder exercise, and it’s harder than it looks. Start in an elbow plank with your forearms on the floor and your core tight. Then, lift your right arm and place your hand on the floor, followed by your left. Once you have both hands on the floor, lower one arm back to its forearm and then the other one. Keep going up and down while staying in your plank the entire time.
4. Inverted Row
You don’t need any real equipment for this move, but you’ll need some sort of bar to hold onto and pull yourself up, so it may be harder to find if you’re at home. If you’re in the gym, any sort of pull-up bar or barbell will work. The idea is to hold onto the bar and lean backwards, using your body weight to row yourself up toward the bar. The lower you lean back, the harder it will be, so adjust based on how experienced you are. You want to isolate your arm and back muscles in this movement, so the rest of your body should be completely still. If you’re not in a gym and can’t do this move, you can substitute with a forearm plank or side planks. A little extra ab work won’t kill you.
5. Diamond Push-Ups
Diamond push-ups are basically regular push-ups with your hand in a diamond shape, which helps work your tricep muscles instead of your chest muscles. They’re a little harder than you’d think, so feel free to drop to your knees to make it easier. Starting on the ground, make a triangle with your hands and place them in front of you. Then, lower yourself down to the ground, getting as low as you can go by using only your upper body and your triceps. Then, push back up and start again. The idea here is to get full range of motion, so go slowly and work on getting your chest as close to the ground as you can.
6. Mountain Climbers
We love mountain climbers, because they basically kill three birds with one stone. It’s a cardio move, and it also involves your arms and abs, so you get to burn calories while toning your upper body. It’s a win-win (win). Start in a plank position with your hands on the ground and make sure your wrists are directly underneath your shoulders. Then, “climb” your knees into your chest one leg at a time, and get faster as the 45 seconds goes on. Make sure to keep your core tight and don’t let your hands be two feet in front of you. Cheat yourself and end up with flabby arms. Your choice.