Arm Resistance Band Exercises

Resistance bands use elasticity to challenge the muscles in a different way than hand weights do when strength training. Bands provide resistance in both the concentric and eccentric phases, the lifting and releasing movements within an exercise. Training your arms with resistance bands will give you both arm strength and muscular definition.

Bicep Exercises

Basic Bicep Curl: Stand on your resistance band, making sure both feet are firmly on the band to keep it in place. With a handle in each hand, start with your arms by your sides and your upper arms firmly pressing into your ribcage. With your palms facing forward, slowly bend at the elbows until your hands come close to your shoulders. Release your hands back to starting position, being careful to keep your upper arms pressing into your ribs. Take four seconds to lift your hands up and four seconds to release back to the starting position.

Hitchhiker Bicep Curl: Standing on your band with both feet, put the handle on the right in your left hand and the handle on the left in your right hand. The band should make an ‘X’ in front of your legs. For your starting position, let your arms hang straight down by your sides, press your upper arms into your ribcage and face your palms forward. As you bend your elbows, bring your hands up and toward the outside of your shoulders, then release your hands back down to the starting position. Take four seconds for the lifting phase and four seconds for the releasing phase.

Tricep Exercises

Overhead Tricep Extension: Place one handle of the resistance band on the floor and stand firmly on the band with both feet close to the handle. The handle should be next to your left foot. With the other handle in your right hand, lift your right arm straight up overhead, as if you are reaching for a high shelf. Keep your right arm as close to your right ear as possible for this starting position. Slowly bend your right elbow, letting your right hand go back behind your head, then straighten your right arm back to the starting position. Make sure your control your speed, using four seconds for each movement phase. Work each arm for the same amount of repetitions.

Tricep Kickback: Stand with both feet firmly on the band, feet hip distance apart. Holding a handle in each hand, bend your knees slightly and lean forward from your hips. Keep your back straight and your abdominals engaged to help support your low back. Bend both elbows and pull them up as high as you can, keeping your arms close to your body and your hands near your hips. This is your starting position for the tricep kickback exercise. Straighten out both arms pressing the handles back behind your hips, and then return to the starting position by bending the elbows. Control the speed of the movement by taking four seconds to straighten the arms and four seconds to bend the elbows.

Advanced Challenge

Once you master these exercises, you can continue to build your arm strength and definition by trying the following advanced challenge exercises:

Single Arm Bicep Curl: Stand on your band with both feet, placing both handles in your right hand. Standing tall, anchor your right elbow next to your side. Slowly bend your elbow, bringing the handles up to your right shoulder and then lower the handles back down to your side. Throughout the entire movement, make sure your upper arm stays in place and does not move behind your torso. When finished, put both handles in your left hand and work your left arm.

Double Tricep Pressdown: Loop your band around a stable anchor point, such as a stair railing or a large piece of gym equipment, and place both handles in your right hand. Facing your anchor point and bending your right elbow, pull your right arm close to your rib cage and step away from the band anchor point until the resistance band is taut, and this will be your starting position. For the execution of the exercise, straighten your right arm until the arm is straight by your side, and then bend the elbow until back in the start position. Switch to the left arm and repeat the exercise.

About this Author

Linda Freeman Webster is a certified personal trainer, group fitness, yoga and Pilates instructor who has been in the fitness industry for 20 years. She has published articles for IDEA Health and Fitness Journal, IDEA Fitness Manager, and USA Hockey Magazine.