Training

This 30-Day Arm Challenge Will Strengthen Your Upper Body

Developing local muscular endurance is an essential step in improving your upper body strength. Increasing your upper body strength is great for improving sports performance and decreasing injury risk. This progressive 30-day challenge will have you well on your way to increasing your pushing and pulling strength using these minimal equipment exercises.

What are the benefits of the 30-day arm challenge?

The 30-day arm challenge presents a beginner-friendly method of beginning to develop your upper body strength, by introducing a combination of simple bodyweight and dumbbell exercises with gradual progressive overload over 4-weeks. This means that you’ll be able to refine the technique of the exercise so that it is most appropriate for your body, whilst developing your strength, muscular endurance and induce hypertrophy.

The 30-Day Arms Challenge:

This simple programme will allow you to progressively overload each exercise over a 30-day period, allowing your body to adapt properly to the stimulus throughout. If any of the exercises are too easy or too difficult, try progressing or regressing them with appropriate alternatives (e.g. reduce load, sets, reps).

 

Day

Exercise

Day 1 5 push-ups, 5 triceps dips, 10 bicep curls (3-4Kg), 10-star jumps, 15 seconds of punches
Day 2 8 push-ups, 8 triceps dips, 15 bicep curls(3-4Kg), 10-star jumps, 20 seconds of punches
Day 3 10 push-ups, 10 triceps dips, 20 bicep curls(3-4Kg), 15-star jumps, 30 seconds of punches
Day 4 Rest Day
Day 5 15 push-ups, 15 triceps dips, 15 bicep curls (5-6Kg), 15-star jumps, 30 seconds of punches
Day 6 15 push-ups, 20 triceps dips, 20 bicep curls (5-6Kg), 20 star jumps 45 seconds of punches
Day 7 20 push-ups, 15 triceps dips, 30 bicep curls (5-6Kg), 20-star jumps, 45 seconds of punches
Day 8 Rest Day
Day 9 25 push-ups, 10 triceps dips, 15 bicep curls (8kg), 25-star jumps, 60 seconds of punches
Day 10 30 push-ups, 20 triceps dips, 30 bicep curls(5-6kg), 30 star jumps 60 seconds of punches
Day 11 40 push-ups, 15 triceps dips, 15 bicep curls (8Kg), 35-star jumps, 90 seconds of punches
Day 12 Rest Day
Day 13 50 push-ups, 20 triceps dips, 15 bicep curls (8kg),40 star jumps 90 seconds of punches
Day 14 55 push-ups, 30 triceps dips, 30 bicep curls (5-6Kg), 40-star jumps, 120 seconds of punches
Day 15 60 push-ups, 30 triceps dips, 50 bicep curls (4Kg), 50-star jumps, 120 seconds of punches
Day 16 Rest Day
Day 17 65 push-ups, 20 triceps dips, 20 bicep curls (8kg), 60-star jumps, 150 seconds of punches
Day 18 70 push-ups, 35 triceps dips, 40 bicep curls (6kg), 65-star jumps, 180 seconds of punches
Day 19 75 push-ups, 30 triceps dips, 15 bicep curls (8kg), 70-star jumps, 200 seconds of punches
Day 20 Rest Day
Day 21 80 push-ups, 20 triceps dips, 10 bicep curls (10kg), 75 star jumps 250 seconds of punches
Day 22 85 push-ups, 35 triceps dips, 15 bicep curls (8Kg), 80 star jumps 270 seconds of punches
Day 23 90 push-ups, 40 triceps dips, 20 bicep curls(6Kg), 85-star jumps, 300 seconds of punches
Day 24 Rest Day
Day 25 95 push-ups, 20 triceps dips, 10 bicep curls (10kg), 90-star jumps, 350 seconds of punches
Day 26 100 push-ups, 35 triceps dips, 30 bicep curls (6kg), 100-star jumps, 350 seconds of punches
Day 27 105 push-ups, 25 triceps dips, 20 bicep curls (8kg), 110-star jumps, 380 seconds of punches
Day 28 Rest Day
Day 29 110 push-ups, 40 triceps dips, 25 bicep curls (8kg), 120-star jumps, 400 seconds of punches
Day 30 115 push-ups, 30 triceps dips, 15 bicep curls (10kg), 130-star jumps, 450 seconds of punches

 

Correct Form

 

1. Push-ups

  • Start lying prone on the floor, then tuck your elbows close to your sides and place the palms of your hands on the floor at around chest height.
  • Similar to a plank, form a straight line from your shoulders to your ankles and keep your core and body tight throughout the exercise.
  • Maintaining proper technique, press yourself to the top position with your elbows locked out.
  • Slowly lower yourself back to the ground, without flaring your elbows out to the side – keep them tucked into your torso throughout.

 

2. Triceps dips

When using Dip Bars or Parallettes:

  • Adjust the bars to an appropriate height (you must be able to mount/dismount safely) with the space between them around shoulder-width apart.
  • Place the heel of your hand on each of the bars, with your palms facing towards your body.
  • Start at the top, with your elbows locked out (shoulders over elbows, over wrists).
  • Lower yourself in a controlled manner until your upper arm is parallel (or slightly further than parallel if you’re mobile enough) to the ground.
  • Without swinging or kicking your legs, press yourself back up to the starting position, locking your elbows out at the top again before initiating the following reps.

When using Chairs or Steps:

  • Sit on the floor with the chosen platform behind you and place the heels of your hands onto the edge of the platform to support you.
  • Slowly lower yourself until you reach the floor, or your upper arms are parallel to the ground (you can elevate your feet if you want to increase the difficulty).
  • Push yourself back to the starting position, locking your elbows at the top before initiating the following reps.

 

3. Bicep curls

  1. Start in a standing position with the dumbbells held at your side and your palms facing forwards (supinated grip)/with your thumbs turned outwards.
  2. Keeping your elbows stationary, flex your elbow until the dumbbell is at the top position. Squeeze your biceps, ensuring your thumbs are still pointing outwards.
  3. Slowly lower to the start position before initiating the next rep.

4. Star jumps

  • Start standing with your hands down at your sides.
  • Jump upwards, moving your legs and arms out to the sides as you do so (forming the star shape).
  • Jump back to the start position by doing step 2 in reverse (make sure to keep each rep controlled without flailing your arms).

 

5. Punches

  • Start standing with your feet around shoulder-width apart/staggered. Put your hands up in front of your chest, forming fists.
  • One at a time, jab forwards/slightly across your body, powerfully extending your elbow/shoulder so that your arm is fully extended in front of you at around shoulder height.
  • Make sure to alternate between arms.

Our articles should be used for informational and educational purposes only and are not intended to be taken as medical advice. If you’re concerned, consult a health professional before taking dietary supplements or introducing any major changes to your diet.



Scott Whitney

Scott Whitney

Sports Therapist and S&C Professional

Scott developed a passion for sport and performance through competing in long‐distance running and bouldering prior to attending university. Scott’s academic achievements include a BSc honours degree in Sports Therapy and an MSc degree in Strength and Conditioning. He is also a member of The Society of Sports Therapists and CIMSPA. Previously, he has worked with amateur and elite athletes, ranging from university sports teams to elite rugby league athletes and Team GB rowers. He currently works with various gyms in developing and delivering training programmes for amateur athletes and gym‐goers. While passive treatments remain in his arsenal as a Sports Therapist, Scott uses his skills to promote physical activity for combatting obesity, lower back pain and other sporting injuries, and simultaneously providing programmes for athletic development. Being a recent graduate, Scott strives to gain experience wherever possible, offering advice and sharing knowledge along the way. He believes it is important to practice what you preach, so in his spare time, Scott practices Olympic Weightlifting and enjoys being active outdoors in all weathers, although he still believes it is important to make ample time for social activities.


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