5 Easy Chest and Arm Exercises That Build Your Muscles

For bigger muscles, start doing these chest and arm exercises

For bigger muscles, start doing these chest and arm exercises. | Keystone/Getty Images

No barbells, dumbbells, or kettlebells? No problem.

Having regular access to a fully-equipped weight room may be ideal for those looking to pack on some serious upper body muscle, but there are plenty of things you can do to keep your fitness level up without one. While it’s true you won’t be able to get in your compound lifts — your squats, deadlifts, and bench presses, for example — putting your muscles through the ringer can still be done by taking a look around at your immediate surroundings. It just takes a little bit of creativity.

Where you see a coffee table, a trainer sees a bench for doing dips. Don’t think of those old wheels in your garage as simple dead weight — they can be used to your advantage when doing some at-home exercises.

The fact is, whether you’re at your house, office, or stuck in a hotel room, with a little creativity and imagination, you can still piece together a solid workout. And for those of you who are working on your chest and arms in particular, we have a handful of exercises that will do just the trick.

The fact of the matter is, building your upper body doesn’t require a lot of space or a lot of equipment. It just requires you to be willing to put in the effort, eat right, and do what needs to be done with whatever you have at your disposal. So, without further ado, here are five exercises you can do that will add inches to your arms and help you build some serious girth in your chest.

1. Close-grip weighted push-ups

This exercise is simply a variation of the standard push-up, and all you’ll need is some sort of weight — any kind, actually. What you’ll be doing, as demonstrated in the video above, is a close-grip push-up. That means your hands will be closer together than in standard push-up form, putting more strain on different muscle groups in your arms and core. Then, you add a little weight on your back — and since you probably don’t have a 25-pound plate lying around, you can use something else as a substitute.

You know, a pot filled with water, a dog, whatever. Though, you might need someone else around to help with the placement of said object, whatever it might be.

2. Dips

The great thing about dips is that you can do them in any number of ways, as you can see in the video above. Just take a look around, and you should be able to find something, anything, that you can do dips off of. It may be the corner in which your kitchen countertops converge, a bathtub, two chairs, etc. As long as you can get yourself into a position — safely — and pull off the motion, you’ll be able to get in the exercise.

3. Planks

man doing planks

Your abs and chest will feel it with planks. | Thinkstock

Planks are another surprisingly effective exercise that you can do just about anywhere. In fact, if you can find some floor space in front of the couch, under your desk, or even in the airline aisle, you can squeeze some in. And planks will really target those muscles that guys want to see swell — your abs and chest. Though they look easy and simple enough, planks can be really tough for people who haven’t worked out in a while; so, before you start a hardcore gym regimen, add some planks to your daily routine.

4. Chin-ups

Chin-ups in the park

Chin-ups are simple, but they’re tough. | Mahan Vatsyayana/AFP/Getty Images

Like planks, push-ups, and dips, chin-ups are an incredibly simple, yet potent, exercise. And yes, they can be done right at home — the only tricky part being that it can be hard to find a good place to do it. Obviously, there are pull-up bars that you can install in doorways, making it a much easier feat than before. Or, you can go do them on a street pole, tree branch, or at a park, where many cities have bars and jungle gyms that can be used by kids and adults alike. Chin-ups really put your arms and chest through the proverbial ringer, and if you can find a place to do them, few exercises are more effective.

5. Two-point bridge

Not familiar with the two-point bridge? A lot of people aren’t, so fear not. But pay attention, because as you can see in the video demonstration, they’re not that difficult to master. And, they’ll help you give your chest and arms a good workout.

They’re similar to both planks and push-ups, as you’ll actually start in the same position. From there, it’s just a matter of lifting an arm and leg off of the floor (alternate sides, of course), and holding for a few seconds. It sounds easy, sure, but give it a shot, and you’ll see that it’s actually harder than it sounds.

Squeeze some in with your push-ups and planks.

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