Lifting the front wheel without using the brakes is a basic skill that, by itself, has limited application. However, like all techniques described here, it's essential for continuing learning. In the case of this technique, a lot depends on the geometry of the bike, so we shouldn't be discouraged if we can't lift the bike vertically. It's easier to perform this action on a short bike, where we can shift our body weight far behind the rear wheel.
Contrary to appearances, the front wheel while riding is not lifted with the arms. It's a coordinated movement of the whole body, with the pelvis as the axis of rotation. Lifting the front wheel is done by pulling the handlebars by gaining momentum in the torso and simultaneously pushing the pedals out in front.
During learning, keep in mind that lifting the front wheel too high can result in falling on your back. To prevent this, always keep your fingers on the brakes. If you feel like you're about to fall backward, either squeeze the rear brake or jump off the bike.