Calisthenic arm workouts

Back in the early 20th century, when the physical culture was at its peak, bodybuilders would do 5 to 6 hours of mostly calisthenics every day.

You’d think that by now, we’d know better than that (and you’re right), but you can’t deny the effectiveness of these ancient-times workouts.

Modern research has confirmed that bodyweight exercises significantly increase strength, endurance, and muscle mass.

So why only use calisthenics to develop your arms? You could do endless workouts with nothing but dumbbells or barbells, but this would be a ridiculous waste of time.

The fact is that you can build pretty significant muscles using just your body weight. In this article, we will give you a few tremendous calisthenic arm workouts that will have you pumping out reps like a pro in no time.

However, before we look at these workouts in detail, it is essential to note that building your arms is not simply down to the exercises you do alone.

The typical bicep curl is a perfect example of this. Many people start to do these movements early in their arms training and soon wonder why they don’t see any results.

Bodybuilding isn’t always about just doing exercises. It’s also about resting correctly if you wish to get the most out of your workouts and see those results as fast as possible.

It’s essential to get enough rest between each training session. When lifting weights, it is recommended that at least 48 hours pass before you train the same muscle again.

Calisthenics Arm Workout Variables

There are many variables for calisthenics arm workouts, such as repetition ranges, set numbers, the amount of rest in between sets, etc.

However, there are three main factors that you should always keep in mind when designing your workout schedule. These include:

TRAINING FREQUENCY – How often should I train?

REPETITION RANGE – How many reps should I aim for?

SETS PER WORKOUT – How many sets do I need to complete?

You will not always be able to keep these variables the same. It is perfectly acceptable to change them depending on how you feel and how much time you have available. Sometimes you may wish to train each muscle group as much as possible, and at other times, you may feel that a lighter session will do.

It is also common for people to switch between workouts with many reps and those with less, depending on how heavy your training schedule is at the time.

Calisthenics Arm Workouts

Let’s take a look at three great calisthenic arm workouts. These are intense and will make your muscles burn, but you’ll also feel fantastic afterward.

1. The Classic Push-up

What is it?

A classic bodyweight exercise that everyone loves to hate. This simple movement can be made difficult with the use of elevation.

How to do it

  • Get into a push-up position with your hands placed slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.
  • As you lower yourself towards the ground, make sure to keep your back straight and flat.
  • Try to avoid moving your hips backward or letting them sag down too much.
  • As you reach the bottom of each rep, press yourself up using just your arms until you are in a fully extended position again.
  • Once there, return slowly to the start position, where you will then prepare for another push-up.


When performing this calisthenic arm workout, you can use different hand positions, including narrow, comprehensive, and staggered. A significant variation on this exercise is adding a weight vest to become more difficult as you progress.

What’s it good for?

This is a fantastic workout that hits your entire core region. In addition to this, you will also get stronger and better at handling your body weight and learning how to control yourself using just one arm if necessary.

2. The Artificial Curl

What is it?

A popular strength training exercise with a twist on the classic bicep curl. It is slightly more straightforward than the previous workout and is excellent for beginners.

How to do it

You can perform this exercise with or without external resistance by either holding onto dumbbells or simply hanging onto something sturdy such as a doorframe.

  • Stand straight up with your feet slightly apart from each other.
  • Then raise your arms straight out in front of you with your palms facing each other.
  • Your hands should be either straight or slightly above the shoulders, depending on what feels suitable for you.
  • Make sure your core is appropriately engaged to help support your back as you are doing this.
  • Moving only from the elbows, bend them at a 90-degree angle until your palms are facing downwards as if you were holding onto something.
  • Return yourself slowly back to the starting position by extending your arms once again and repeat.

What’s it good for?

This will help build strength in your arms and forearms, which is excellent if you wish to improve your grip strength.

It can also be used as part of a calisthenics workout to condition any weak spots that might appear later on down the line. Moreover, strengthening these smaller muscles will only help the larger ones work to their full potential.

3. The Weighted Shuffle

A unique calisthenic workout that turns traditional cardio exercises on their head. This workout helps you to build endurance and stamina very quickly by using a combination of walking lunges and arm raises.

How to do it

Begin with your feet shoulder-width apart and hold onto some light dumbbells in each hand so they are hanging at arms-length away from your body.

  • To start with, walk forward for a set distance or time limit while staying upright throughout the movement.
  • At some point during this process, raise your hands so they come up above your head while still maintaining a slight bend in the elbow, and your gaze should be looking upwards as well.
  • Keep going for a set time or distance.
  • Then return to where you started from before beginning again with another set of arm raises, only this time stopping short of raising them completely.

What’s it good for?

This is great for working on your heart rate response while also getting your heart rate up. It’s a fantastic calisthenics workout for all levels and can be adapted to beginners by simply going slower while also lowering the weights being used.

Calisthenics is a great way to get into shape as they can be done by anyone at any time as often as you wish.

The Bottom Line

These are only 3 of the many possible calisthenic arm workouts that can be used. They will help to build strength fast but also improve your overall fitness level as well.

Forget about overused weight training exercises and try something different instead. Arms are always seen, so why not show them off? Try these three out today and start building the arms you’ve always dreamed of having.


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