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For once, we’ve got something that everyone agrees on, even the trolls, keyboard warriors and haters. When it comes to a muscle group that everyone wants to improve, arms are always the first choice.

Whether it’s entering the gun show with arms like Thor superhero Chris Hemsworth or sculpting lean, defined arms and shoulders like the ex-First Lady Michelle Obama, there’s a universal appeal to building leaner, stronger biceps, triceps and forearms. But here’s the real kicker: you don’t need expensive gym memberships or equipment to create them; you just need to use your bodyweight carefully. And even better, most bodyweight-based arm exercises are versions of planks and push-ups, and they offer core benefits, too, so you get more muscle-building benefits. The other huge advantage: using only your bodyweight means that you’re more likely to get the technique right, which means a much lower injury risk. Epic, right? Time to get started!

Here’s how it works: Do all five moves below, choosing one variation in the push-up and the plank categories. Work for 45 seconds on each move with 15 seconds of rest and repeat the circuit three times. You can add more circuits as you get stronger and fitter, and you can choose tougher variations. You’ll need a chair, couch, bench, table, and a desk for some of these moves.

  1. Push-ups
    This classic is brilliant at building up your triceps (which make up way more of your arms than your biceps) and has plenty of variations. To make this easier, you can start with a bent-keen version, and to make it harder, you can try explosive clap push-ups, diamond push-ups, incline push-ups, decline push-ups, and dive-bomber push-ups. 

  2. Reverse Push-up

Most of us don’t have a pull-up bar, gymnastic rings, or a suspension system at home, so here’s a creative alternative that works your upper body, back, shoulders (scapula) and arms. It’s especially good for posture and works the core, too! 

  1. Dips
    This training staple targets your triceps with a laser-like focus. All you need is a chair or couch. Alternatively, you can start on the floor with a bodyweight version to make it easier.

  2. Burpees
    Ah yes, the move we all love to hate. Thankfully it has plenty of arm-building power as well as fat-burning potential. Check the link for variations and ways to make it easier or harder. 

  3. Planks
    Almost any plank will help build up your triceps, shoulders, and core, but we like Plank Shoulder Taps and Up and Down Planks. Need more of a challenge and muscle growth? Try Plank Jacks, Body Saws, or a Lateral Plank Walk.

Ready to target the rest of your body? Sign up now for the TME bodyweight training solution, and you’ll only pay R199 ($14.99) per month – just R16.50 ($1.23) a session! Even better, we’re offering a FREE seven-day trial! Sign up now!