20 Secrets to Get Stronger Arms (Without Lifting Weights)

Use these tricks to sneak arm workouts into your daily routine.

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Arm exercise: Give your floors a good scrub

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Instead of letting a mop do all the work, get down on your hands and knees to clean the floors. You’ll get a good arm workout, plus that elbow grease will get your floors cleaner than a mop could. Don't miss these tips for cleaning hardwood floors.

Arm exercise: Do curls with your grocery bags

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Turn your walk from the car to the house into a workout opportunity. With one bag in each hand, keep your elbows at your sides while you curl your groceries toward your shoulders. You’ll strengthen your biceps, plus burn calories during those extra trips to the car.

Arm exercise: Play in your garden

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A one-hour planting session will work out your hands, forearms, upper arms, shoulders, and wrists as you dig in your garden. Aim to spend three weekends in a row in your garden during the fall, and you’ll get the bonus of having pretty flowers in your yard when spring rolls around. No green thumb? Check out these gardening tips for beginners.

Arm exercise: Don’t use chemicals to kill weeds

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More unwanted plants in your garden means you’ll have to spend more time getting rid of those suckers. Tugging weeds out builds arm muscle, and putting your weight on your hands as you reach around adds an extra workout for your upper back and shoulders. To give both arms an even workout, alternate hands during your weekly weeding session.

Arm exercise: Push against a wall

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Isometric exercises involve pushing against something that won’t move, which tenses your muscles and boosts your strength. Try pressing your hands together hard for five seconds. Or stand about a foot in front of a wall with your legs shoulder-width apart and push against it for six to eight seconds. You could also try pressing against the top or sides of a doorway for six to eight seconds. Relax and repeat each of those exercises up to 10 times.

Arm exercise: Hang clean laundry out to dry

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Ignoring your clothes dryer will give you a small arm workout and save you cash on your electric bill. On your way to the clothesline, do curls with your laundry basket by lifting your hands up to your shoulders. Alternatively, try doing overhead presses by bending and then extending your elbows with the basket in your hands. Check out these laundry mistakes you didn't realize you were making.

Arm exercise: Engage your pooch

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A game of tug-of-war with a large dog can help get your arms in shape. Grasping a rope, keep your elbow close to your side. As your pooch tries to pull it away, exercise your biceps by bringing the rope toward your shoulder while keeping your upper arm still. Switch arms for an even workout. To work your triceps, try extending your arm behind you as your dog tries to tug it away. Alternate arms.

Arm exercise: Chop wood for your fireplace

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If you like to cozy up in front of the mantel or an outdoor fire pit, opt to chop your own wood instead of buying prepackaged logs. A medium-sized tree will last at least a year or two. Split logs from that tree for up to half an hour every weekend—any longer and you could end up with back problems.

Arm exercise: Bake a loaf of bread

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But don't use a bread maker. Kneading dough can work out your hands, arms, and shoulders, and the repetitive task is soothing. Plus, you’ll fill your kitchen with the scrumptious scent of homemade bread that tastes better than any store-bought loaf.

Arm exercise: Do chair dips

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A chair dip is an equipment-free move that can build your triceps (the muscles along the back of your upper arms) and chest muscles. Sit on the edge of a sturdy chair with you feet flat on the floor and knees bent. Rest your hands fingers-forward on the seat next to your buttocks. Shift your weight to your hands as you lift your buttocks up about an inch and forward past the edge of the seat. Bend your elbows to bring your buttocks toward the floor and then return to the starting position, continuing to bear the weight on your arms instead of your legs. Repeat nine to 11 times for one set. Do three sets total.

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