5 Exercises for Strong Arms, No Equipment!


If you’re looking for a simple and doable method to strengthen your arms, get excited and keep on reading! These 5 exercises for strong arms require no equipment, that’s right, you can do them right now if you like! You simply need your amazing body and some space.

But before we get into these uncomplicated exercises for strong arms, we want to reiterate that your body is amazing right here, and right now. We’re passionate about this message of self-acceptance because for too many years we worked out from a place of body-hate. We worked out as a form of punishment, for ‘eating too much’ or for ‘not looking good enough’. We did this for years and it had an extremely negative impact on our lives, it led to disorderly eating, anxiety, stress and super low self-esteem and confidence. It wasn’t until we discovered Yoga and Pilates, and combined it with self-acceptance mindset work that everything began to change. This is the sweet spot where we both experienced sustainable and lasting body and mind transformation. This is why we created the MerryBody Method.

We love exercising our arms, we don’t do heavy weights and we don’t spend hours in the gym. Our Pilates and Yoga bodyweight workouts make us (and thousands of others around the world) strong in mind and body. These are just some of our favourite arm exercises from our classes (they’re all available on our MerryBody App).

5 Bodyweight Exercises for Strong Arms 

You can do these exercises right now, but if you’d like to try one of our guided online classes, the best place to start is by signing up to a 7-day trial. Download the app, press CLASSES and then FILTERS and choose the arm filter. 

Modified Side Plank

This exercise is a total body workout, but wow it really works the arms! 

Begin kneeling and then lean to one side, let’s start on the left side and plant the left hand down, it should be under the left shoulder. Extend and stretch out the right leg, point the toes, and extend the right arm above the head. Keep your core engaged and your chest facing forward, not down. Holding here for 20 counts is a workout on its own, but if you are feeling energised, tap and lift the leg to hip height x 20. If you want more, crunch the right knee towards the right elbow x 20. Be sure to do the same on each side. 

We do this move in many of our All 4s Pilates classes. Plus the holding position features in many of our Yoga classes


Plank with Leg Lifts

You might be looking at these moves thinking, aren’t we focusing on the arm exercises?! But this is why Pilates and Yoga are so amazing. In one class you work the whole body in a super effective way! Plank is one of those moves we come back to again and again. Not only is it an amazing arm workout, your core, legs and glutes are also feeling the strength build! 

Set up your plank. Start in All 4s position, wrists under shoulders and knees under hips. Take a deep breath in and as you exhale step one foot back in space followed by the other. Toes are tucked, legs are strong and extended. Neck is long, core is engaged, micro bend in the elbows. Holding here is enough, but if you want more, start with the right leg, point the toes and tap and lift that leg to hip height. Do this x 20 and then swap to the other side.

Let us know how you feel after this! If it’s a bit too much for you today, try plank on your knees as we said above. It’s the perfect option! We show these options in our classes, it’s all about creating the best workout for you and your body today. 


Side Plank, Leg Lift

This static pose works the arms so well. That leg lift will test your balance and arm strength! Oh, it’s also an amazing core workout!

Begin in a regular plank, as we discussed above, hands under shoulders, toes tucked, legs strong and extended. When you are ready move all the weight into the left arm and left foot. Swivel the foot so it’s on the blade edge of the foot. Really firm into your left hand and make sure you’re not dropping the shoulder. Stack the feet to begin. Extend the right arm high. When you are feeling stable, lift your right foot and extend the leg to hip height. Hold for 20. Don’t forget to breathe, this move is tough! Swap sides!


Bent Arm Lateral Raise

Yes it’s a movement that is normally done with dumbbells, however, if you try it without weights and add repetition and even a little bit of speed, you’ll be shocked! You will feel it!

To do this arm exercise, kneel or stand. Begin with the arms by the side. Bend at the elbow and then raise latterly (to the sides) to shoulder height. Lower back down toward your sides keeping the elbows bent. Repeat 20 times. 

We’d normally stack this move with others. If you’d like to try out an Arm focussed Pilates class, download the MerryBody app, start your 7 day trial and press play on Arm Love Pilates. It’s just 10 minutes and oh wow this class works!


All 4s, Arm and Leg Extension 

Again, this is a total body workout. In this movement, you will strengthen your arms, core, legs, booty and back! Talk about effective! 

Begin on all 4s, knees under hips and wrists under shoulders. Engage the core, draw your ribs towards your hips. Extend the right arm and left leg out at shoulder and hip height, breathe and hold for 10 counts. If you want more, tap fingertips and toes to the earth and lift x 20. Hold arm and leg high and pulse at the top for 20. Swap sides. 

We love this move so much! And so do many of our MerryBody Members. 

This is what Lindsay has said about MerryBody. 

“MerryBody is a friendly place to practice, learn and develop skills at your own pace in your own time. Also it’s very affordable. The classes have been great! I’m getting ready for my wedding, mentally and physically. I love doing the Pilates arm workouts a few times a week as well as all the Yin Yoga Classes”


If you try out some of these moves, let us know! If you want more, then the best next step is to sign up for a free trial of our MerryBody App. The App is filled with hundreds of workout classes, plus meditations, challenges and masterclasses! The classes are designed to get you moving and feeling positive about your body. If you have any questions, get in touch!

Always merrymaking,
Emma + Carla 

Ps. we can’t wait to see you on the mat! 


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