A Simple, Powerful Arm and Chest
Building Exercise Without Weights

An arm and chest building exercise without weights, i.e. barbells and weight machines? Absolutely.

Here's a simple yet powerful bodyweight exercise to tighten your arms, and strengthen and build your arm, chest and back muscles without the need for gym equipment.

Pull ups, illustrated below, are a superb upper back, shoulder, arm and chest building exercise that also develop stamina and strengthen your abs and firm your belly.

Bodyweight exercises like pullups and squats are a highly effective way to tone, build and strengthen the major areas of your body such as your arms, chest, back and legs.

While most gyms have pull up bars, and specially designed bars are available that attach to door frames and walls at home, pull ups can easily be done anywhere there's some kind of horizontal bar - the below photo shows pull ups being done on a steel bar under a basketball hoop.

Arm and Chest Building Exercise

Pull Ups

Place your hands about shoulder-width apart on the bar

Let your legs hang loosely and keep them together.

Pull yourself up till your chin is level with bar.

Immediately lower yourself till your arms are straight.

Continue the exercise, but stop one or two pull ups short of complete muscle failure. That's one round.

Rest for a minute or so while you take some slow, deep breaths.

Do another one or two rounds.

Two or three sessions a week is enough.

If you can't find a suitable bar for pull ups, use a door. Open a door that's strong enough to hold your weight and place a folded towel on top of it for padding. Face the door, grab the top of it with both hands (or one!) and pull yourself up.


  • Builds, tones & strengthens your arms, shoulders, chest, & sides of your back
  • Strengthens your wrists & fingers
  • Develops core strength - abs, lower back
  • Develops stamina, especially when combined with deep breathing


  • Keep it smooth - jerking movements can damage muscles & nerves
  • Breathe smoothly & deeply throughout the exercise
  • Vary your grip a little - overhand/underhand - super wide grips aren't much use
  • Stop within a rep or two of failure - overdoing it can damage nerves & muscle tissue
  • For stamina - do more reps
  • For power - do less reps

For more bodyweight exercises, including an arm and chest building exercise that also tones and tightens your arms, see:

Push Ups

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