arm workout with bands

3 Resistance Band Arm Workouts To Get You Armed & Ready

July 25, 2021

Whether you’re a newcomer to fitness or if you’ve spent decades in the gym, resistance band arm workouts can put on size and strength or help you come back from an injury. Resistance band exercises for arms can build strength and improve mobility and flexibility all the while, you can do them just about anywhere and anytime. This article has 17 resistance band arm exercises and 3 sample resistance band arm workouts including resistance band arm workout for mass, fast resistance band arm workout and resistance band arm workouts for beginners. Let’s get into it!

Anatomy of Arms

Seeing how you’re here to workout your arms with resistance bands it’s important to understand what muscles are being worked and how they function.

Here’s a high level look at the anatomy of the arms:

build bigger arms with resistance bands

Biceps

The biceps or biceps brachii comes from the Latin words musculus biceps brachii or two-headed muscle of the arm. Perhaps one of the most prominent muscles when people think about strong muscles, the biceps are located at the front of your upper arm between the elbow and the shoulder. There are two heads of the bicep, the long head and short head. Both starting from the scapula then join together forming a muscle belly which is affixed to the upper forearm.

The biceps works on both the shoulder and the forearms but the primary function is flexion at the elbow, bringing your hand upward as in a curling motion and as a supinator of the forearm, turning your palm outwards. The bicep also helps to more the upper arm upward and forward which is shoulder flexion.

Fun fact: Leonardo Da Vinci was the first one to theorize that the biceps acted as a supinator in the early 1500’s.

Related: 6 Resistance Band Bicep Exercises & Workouts for Bigger Arms

Triceps

The triceps or triceps brachii comes from the Latin words musculus triceps brachii or three headed muscle of the arm. It's located at the posterior side of your upper arm. The three heads of the triceps are the medial, lateral and long head. The medial head starts at the humerus and is overlapped by the other two heads. The lateral head, considered the strongest of the three heads starts at the humerus as well but is higher up and on the other side of the medial head. The long head starts at the scapula and is the largest of the three heads. All three heads come together in a common tendon on the ulna.

The main function of the triceps is the extension at the elbow which straightens out the arm. Unfortunately, many people focus too much on trying to grow their biceps when the focus should be spent on the triceps as it makes up roughly 60-70% of the upper arm musculature.

Related: 6 Resistance Band Triceps Exercises for Mass

Forearms

The forearm is the area of the arm between the wrist and elbow. The forearm consists of two bones the ulna and the radius and a whopping 20 muscles. The muscles are responsible for flexion and extension of the fingers and lexion of the elbow. Other muscles are as pronators and supinators that turn the wrist so that the palm is upwards or downwards. The muscles are separated into fascial compartments with the posterior part that holds the extensor muscles of the hands and the anterior part which holds the flexor muscles.

Related: 10 Best Exercises to Build Forearms

What are resistance bands?

There are multiple types of resistance bands on the market but the champ of the resistance bands for strength training is the loop resistance band. Loop resistance bands are made of natural layered latex and shaped in a flat continuous loop with a length of 41 inches. These bands can provide resistance levels from 5-200 pounds.

Although all resistance bands work in a similar fashion by providing an elastic resistance, loop resistance bands are superior in the following ways.

  •   More Uses & Exercise Possibilities
  •   More Resistance Levels
  •   Better Material and Durability
  •   More Portable
  •   Better bang for your buck

More Resources on Resistance Bands:

use resistance bands for arm workouts

How do you get big arms with resistance bands fast?

To build big arms fast using resistance bands follow the tips and tricks below:

  • Time Under Tension (TUT): To get the most out of your muscles it’s important to focus on the tempo of the lift. On the eccentric phase (when the weight is going down) of the lift, you should aim for slow controlled motion of at least 2 seconds. This slow movement equates to more time under tension thus greater muscle and strength gain. The concentric phase of the exercise can be faster and more explosive for a total of one second.
  • Rep Range: To gain muscle mass or achieve hypertrophy you should shoot for a rep range of 8-12 reps. Although sometimes it is good to mix in a few higher volume sets up to 20 reps and sometimes to failure in order to switch up the stimuli on your muscles.
  • Progressive Overload: Resistance bands are the perfect tools to satisfy this vital aspect of muscle building. Progressive overload means you’re either adding to the weight you lift over time and/or the total volume you lift is increasing. Resistance bands enable you to increase the resistance by shortening up the band’s slack or by using a heavier resistance band. They also enable users to increase the volume of the reps while limiting the chances of the form becoming too sloppy thus avoiding potential injuries.
  • More Range of Motion: Using resistance bands for arm exercises allows for wrist and forearm supination and pronation. By rotating your wrist when performing various exercises like bicep curls or triceps pressdowns you can increase the contraction of the muscle and increase range of motion which helps to build bigger, stronger muscles.

Resistance Band Arm Workout for Mass

To build strong, muscular arms with resistance bands the key points are to focus on the contraction of the muscles at the peak of the movements and aim for a rep range of 8-20 with a difficult resistance where the last rep of each set is almost unattainable. The following arm exercises with loop resistance bands will hit all the muscles in the arm with the goal of hypertrophy.

The workout protocol is as follows:

  • Concentration Curls - 3 sets x 8-12 reps
  • Hammer Curls - 3 sets x 10 reps
  • Wide Grip Curl w/ Supination - 3 sets x 12-15 reps
  • Single Arm Triceps Extension - 3 sets x 10 reps
  • Overhand Grip Triceps Pressdown - 3 sets x 8-12 reps
  • Kneeling Triceps Extensions - 3 sets x 12-15 reps
  • Wrist Extensions - 3 sets x 15-20 reps

Note: Take one minute rests between sets

1. Concentration Curl

The concentration curl is a great exercise to truly isolate the biceps. There’s no room to cheat when doing concentration curls properly. There are a number of ways to perform concentration curls but the key point is to get into a position where your arm is locked in place, usually with your elbow resting against your body or a piece of equipment.

best resistance band workout for arms

How to:

  • Anchor the band close to the floor
  • Kneel to the side of the anchor with your right knee forward then reach across your body grabbing the band with your right hand using an underhand grip
  • Place your right elbow on your right inner thigh then curl arm up
  • Slowly return to starting position
  • Repeat for desired reps then switch sides

Tip: Rotate wrist inward towards the top of the movement and hold for 1-2 seconds. You can also do this exercise without an anchor by standing on the band and placing your elbow against your folded arm.

2. Hammer Curl

This variation of the curl allows people to lift more weight and is more comfortable for many people because the wrists are in a neutral position, palms facing each other. Hammer curls target both the biceps brachialis (outer bicep) and the brachioradialis (forearm muscle) resulting in more arm mass being built.

how to build bigger triceps with resistance bands

How to:

  • Stand on the band with feet shoulder width apart
  • Grab the band with a neutral grip keeping your elbows tucked to your side
  • Contract your biceps and pull the band up until your hands reaches chest level
  • Pause at the top of the movement then slowly return to the starting position
  • Repeat for desired reps

Tip: Keep the upper arm stationary throughout the movement.

3. Wide Grip Curl with Supination

With your hands in a wide grip, this exercise can help you to target the inner “short” head of the bicep. This movement also enables you to lift heavier weights compared with a narrower grip. Since this is a resistance band arm workout for mass it only makes sense to include this one.

how to build bigger biceps with resistance bands

How to:

  • Stand on the band with feet shoulder width apart
  • Grab the band with an overhand grip keeping your elbows tucked to your side
  • Contract your biceps and pull the band up until your hands reach chest level while rotating your wrists outwards
  • Pause at the top of the movement then slowly return to the starting position
  • Repeat for desired reps

Tip: Hold for 1-2 seconds at the top of the movement.

4. Single Arm Overhead Triceps Extensions

The overhead extension with target the long head of the triceps, although all three heads of the muscle will be engaged. Because the long head of the triceps crosses the shoulder joint there is extra stress put on the long head. The overhead extension allows muscles to be in a stretched position thus producing maximum force.

do resistance bands work on arms

How to:

  • Anchor band close to the floor
  • Stand to the side and grab the band with an overhand grip
  • Bring the band up so that your arm is bent and your elbow is next to your ear
  • Press up on the band until your arm is fully extended
  • Slowly return to starting position
  • Repeat for desired reps then switch sides

Tip: Place your inactive hand on your hip for added stability. You can do this same exercise without an anchor by standing on the band.

5. Overhand Grip Triceps Pressdowns

This exercise targets the lateral head of the triceps although all heads of the triceps will be engaged. The overhand grip enables you to push heavier loads, leading to more potential muscle growth.

get bigger arms fast with resistance bands

How to:

  • Anchor band above head level
  • Grab the band with both hands using an overhand grip
  • With your elbows bent and to your sides, press down by contracting your triceps until arms are fully extended
  • Pause at the bottom of the movement then slowly return to starting position
  • Repeat for desired reps

Tip: Rotate wrists outward/inward towards bottom of movement to get maximum contraction.

6. Kneeling Triceps Extension

Kneeling triceps extensions are a great single joint exercise for the triceps. This movement emphasizes stretching the triceps under a specific load which helps with muscle growth. The resistance bands provide constant tension throughout the movement including at the peak contraction point.

do resistance bands build muscle

How to:

  • Anchor the band at head level
  • Kneel down facing away from anchor and grab band with an overhand grip
  • While leaning forward with your elbows bent at the sides of your head
  • Press your hands away from your face down until your arms are fully extended
  • Slowly return to starting position
  • Repeat for desired reps

Tip: Keep elbows stationary and turn wrists inward at the end of the movement to fully contract the triceps.

7. Wrist Extensions

Wrist extensions will hit one aspect of your arms that most people overlook. We often flex our wrists in many arm exercises like bicep curls but not many exercises require you to extend your wrists. This exercise will help to balance out your forearm muscle strength and can even help to prevent tennis elbow.

resistance band arm workout for mass

How to:

  • Stand on the band feet shoulder width apart
  • Grab the band with both hands using an overhand grip
  • Raise the band to shoulder level
  • Flex wrists upwards
  • Slowly return to starting position
  • Complete desired reps

Tip: Focus on only moving your wrists while keeping arms stationary.

Resistance Band Arm Fast Workout

Sometimes we are pressed for time but we still want to get a workout in. Here's a solution to get an awesome arm workout in without spending an hour in the gym, in fact this workout will take less than 30 minutes. In a recent study published in 2019 a new training protocol, the 3/7 Method showed that it’s possible to build muscle in a short workout. Use a resistance that's 70% of your 1 rep max.

The 3/7 Method protocol is as follows:

  • 3 reps then 15 second rest
  • 4 reps then 15 second rest
  • 5 reps then 15 second rest
  • 6 reps then 15 second rest
  • 7 reps then 15 second rest
  • Followed by 2.5-minute rest, then repeat the above for another set (2 sets total for each exercise)

These are the exercises to complete using the 3/7Method. You can switch up the order of the exercises if you'd like but the time and rep protocol should remain the same as stated above.

  • Reverse Curl
  • Close Grip Curl
  • Armpit Curl
  • Overhand Grip Triceps Pressdown
  • Reverse Grip Triceps Pressdown
  • Wrist Curl

Note: You will complete each exercise then move to the next exercise going through one round of each arm exercise. This workout will take under 25 minutes to complete!

8. Reverse Curl

Reverse curls are a fantastic exercise to build arm mass. Unfortunately, many people skip this exercise when doing arms because the weight used will be much lower than the weight used for a normal bicep curl. Holding the band with a pronated (overhand) grip engages the brachialis muscle and the forearms to help lift the band upwards. This exercise will help to build both your biceps and forearms at the same time. 

forearm exercises with resistance bands

How to:

  • Stand on the band with feet shoulder width apart
  • Grab the band with an overhand grip with both hands keeping your elbows tucked to your side
  • Contract your biceps and pull the band up until your hands reach chest level
  • Pause at the top of the movement then slowly return to the starting position
  • Repeat for desired number of reps

Tip: Keep chest out and back straight throughout the movement.

9. Close Grip Curl

Close-grip bicep curls allow you to target the long head of the biceps which is vitally important in building up the peak of the bicep. When you're holding the resistance band with a narrow grip, less than shoulder-width apart your arms are turned in creating internal rotation. This leads to the long head of the bicep being activated more.

tricep exercises with resistance bands

How to:

  • Stand on the band with feet shoulder width apart
  • Grab the band in the middle of your body with an underhand grip with both hands keeping your elbows tucked to your side
  • Contract your biceps and pull the band up until your hands reach chest level
  • Pause at the top of the movement then slowly return to the starting position
  • Repeat for desired number of reps

Tips: Rotate your wrists outward at the top of the movement to get a better contraction at the peak of the bicep.

10. Armpit Curl

This curl variation engages both your biceps and your delts. By bringing the band up and close to your sides the tension placed on your biceps is different from most traditional bicep exercises. The armpit curl can help to make the bicep look fuller.

bicep exercises with resistance bands

How to:

  • Stand on the band with your feet shoulder width apart
  • Reach down and grab the band with both hands using a neutral grip
  • Raise your upper arms while keeping the band close to your sides
  • Slowly return to starting position
  • Repeat for desired reps

Tip: Start with a light resistance and squeeze your shoulders at the top.

11. Overhand Grip Triceps Pressdown

Overhand grip triceps pressdowns are the perfect exercise to target the lateral head of the triceps. Exercises that require your arms to be stuck at your sides help to target the lateral head. When using an underhand grip more stress and tension is placed on the medial head of the triceps. To build bigger stronger triceps you should focus on the lateral head as the medial head's main purpose is to stabilize the elbow.

 best arm workout using resistance bands

How to:

  • Anchor band above head level
  • Grab the band with both hands using an overhand grip
  • With your elbows bent and to your side, press down by contracting your triceps until arms are fully extended
  • Pause at the bottom of the movement then slowly return to starting position
  • Repeat for desired number of reps

Tip: Turn wrists outward at the bottom of the movement to get full triceps extension.

12. Reverse Grip Triceps Pressdown

This variation of the triceps pressdown targets the medial head of the triceps. People frequently forget to target the medial head because it is less visible than the other two heads of the triceps, so mix this one in to get that more 3D looking upper arm.

build muscle with resistance bands

How to:

  • Anchor band above head level
  • Grab the band with both hands using an underhand grip
  • With your elbows bent and to your side, press down by contracting your triceps until arms are fully extended
  • Pause at the bottom of the movement then slowly return to starting position
  • Repeat for desired number of reps

Tip: Keep shoulders back and don’t lean too far forward.

13. Wrist Curls

This is a great isolation movement that will help to improve your grip strength. Grip strength is important in improving your almost all your lifts where you have to hold a weight. You should use enough tension where the last few reps have your forearms feeling like they're on fire.

arm workout resistance bands

How To:

  • Anchor the band close to the floor
  • Stand with your back towards the anchor and grab the band behind you with an overhand grip
  • Curl your wrists up towards your lower back
  • Hold for 1-2 seconds then slowly return to starting position
  • Repeat for desired reps

Tip: Keep arms stationary throughout the movement only use your wrists.

Resistance Band Arm Workout for Beginners

Arm workouts with resistance bands can be great for beginners just getting into the fitness groove. Resistance bands are more forgiving than dumbbells and barbells while they provide results as good if not better. Using the bands for arm workouts for beginner is ideal because the band provide constant tension but with less stress on the joints. They also assist beginners to perform some exercises that require people to lift their bodyweight like pushups, pull ups, chin ups and dips.

To do the best beginner arm workout with resistance bands complete the following training protocol.

  • Assisted Chin Ups - 3 sets x 8-10reps
  • Assisted Dips - 3 sets x 10 reps
  • Single Arm Bicep Curl - 3 sets x 8-12 reps
  • Supine Triceps Pressdown - 3 sets x 8-12 reps

Note: 1 minute rest between sets

14. Assisted Chin Up

The chin up is one of the quintessential exercises that can but on some serious muscle in both your biceps and back.  Using resistance bands for assistance when doing chin ups will allow you perform the movement properly if you're not strong enough to lift your bodyweight just yet. Chin ups are great for building biceps because you need to lift your own weight which is usually more than what you could lift with dumbbells or a barbell when targeting the biceps.

resistance band arm workout for beginners

 How to:

  • Anchor band above head on pull up bar
  • Place one foot/knee on band and secure it with your other leg on top
  • Grab the bar, hands shoulder width apart palms with an underhand grip
  • Begin with arms completely straight and pull your chest up to the bar as high as you can
  • Hold briefly at the top then return to starting position
  • Repeat for desired number of reps

Tip: Retract your scapula by squeezing your shoulder blades back and down together.

15. Assisted Dips

Even through dips are one of the harder exercises you can do they are tremendously effective in building triceps and chest strength depending on the angle of your body. Assisted dips are the perfect way for beginners to get used to doing this exercise before having the strength to lift their bodyweight unassisted.

resistance band arm workout

How to:

  • Attach band to both handles of the dip bar
  • Place both knees in the center of the band
  • Start the dip by lowering your body until your upper arms are parallel with the floor
  • Push through the palms to return to starting position
  • Repeat for desired reps

Tip: Lean forward to target your chest more. Try not to lock out elbows to keep constant tension on triceps.

16. Single Arm Bicep Curls

Single arm bicep curls can be a great exercise for beginners because you can focus on one arm at a time. This exercise works the brachialis and biceps as well as your forearms. By doing unilateral bicep curls your core also helps to stabilize your body giving beginners an added benefit to work on core strength when doing arms.

arm workout with resistance bands

How to:

  • Stand on the band with feet shoulder width apart
  • Grab the band with an underhand grip with your right hand keeping your right elbow tucked to your side
  • Contract your bicep and pull the band up until your hand reaches chest level
  • Pause at the top of the movement then slowly return to the starting position
  • Repeat for desired reps then switch sides

Tip: Turn your wrist inward towards the top of the movement for added contraction of the bicep.

17. Supine Triceps Pressdown

Beginners can really hit the triceps with this resistance band exercise because while lying on the floor it makes it nearly impossible to cheat if you keep your elbow to your side and on the ground. Being in the supine position also makes it easier to only focus on the exercise at hand without having to worry about stabilizing yourself while staying in the correct body position.

 band workout for arms

How To:

  • Anchor band close to floor
  • Lie down on with head towards anchor while in line with your left shoulder
  • Reach up and grab the band with your left hand using a neutral grip with
  • your elbow at 90 degrees
  • Keeping your elbow and upper arm on the floor press down until your arm is fully extended
  • Slowly return to starting position
  • Repeat for desired reps then switch sides

Tip: Try to keep your elbow in contact with the floor throughout the movement.

resistance band eguide

Benefits of Arm Workout with Resistance Bands

  • Less Impact on Joints: You can use resistance bands like you would use dumbbells or barbells but resistance bands for arm workouts are great because they allow for more range of motion and don’t “lock” your wrist or elbow joints into place.
  • Offer Variable Resistance & Strength Curve: The more you stretch resistance bands the more tension place on them results in the resistance increasing. This is perfect for arm workouts because the bands match your natural strength curve. For example, when doing bicep curls with dumbbells or barbells the resistance level doesn’t change but with resistance bands the resistance will be more difficult on the second half of the curl where our muscles are stronger compared to the first half of the movement. The beginning part of a bicep curl is the hardest when the muscles are elongated and become easier as the arm is flexed up and muscles are shortened. Therefore, the bands match the strength curve because they become more difficult when the exercise is getting easier which activates the muscle better than free weights.
  • Large Variety of Resistance: Using only one resistance bands you can change resistance level by increasing or decreasing the slack in the band. Whether you wrap the band around an anchor or your foot more, shortening the band, change your hand position to shorten the band or stand closer/farther away from the anchor point you are able to increase/decrease the resistance level.
  • More Focus on Concentric & Eccentric Phases: To build strong and power muscles it’s important to go slow on the eccentric phase( going back to starting position) of an exercise as this phase of the movement has been proven to build more muscle and strength than the concentric phase. Using resistance bands for arm workouts you can explode with force on the concentric phase and release in a slow controlled eccentric phase while keeping good form as the bands will guide you through a linear path whereas dumbbells could be more difficult to control.

Do resistance band arm workouts work?

A resounding YES! Resistance band arm workouts will build strong yet pliable arms. Going to the gym or buying expensive gym equipment isn't an option for everyone. Resistance bands are an affordable and super effective fitness tool that can be taken with you just about anywhere enabling you to get a good arm workout in.

can you build muscles with resistance bands

CONCLUSION

We covered 17 arm exercises in 3 resistance band arm workouts that can be done but there are many more exercises, you're only limited by your effort and creativity. Give one of the resistance band arm workouts a try that's listed above, then you'll have an idea of what resistance bands can do in building strong arms. Chances are that you will be surprised in how such a seemingly insignificant fitness tool can give you the best workout you've had in a while. 

More Resources on Resistance Band Exercises & Workouts:



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