Resistance bands offer a convenient alternative to dumbbells. Keep one in your gym bag to perform this resistance band arms workout any time.

This arms workout is suggested by personal trainer, running coach, fitness consultant and co-founder of Track Life Ldn, Omar Mansour. You’ll need a set of the best resistance bands – according to Mansour, these should challenge you while allowing you to focus on slow, controlled movements as you create that mind-muscle connection.

“If you’re new to strength training or coming back from an injury,” says Mansour, “resistance band workouts are an excellent choice. They can be a safer option than dumbbells and still achieve a similar stimulus.

Resistance band arms workout

Complete 15 reps of each exercise, and work through as many rounds as you can in 20 minutes.

  1. Resistance band biceps curl  
  2. Banded overhead triceps extension  
  3. Resistance band shoulder press  
  4. Banded triceps press-up 
  5. Resistance band pull-apart 

Keep reading for full workout instructions.

Man performing a banded biceps curl - resistance band arm exercisesMan performing end of a banded biceps curl - resistance band arm exercises

1. Resistance band biceps curl  

  • Stand in the middle of a resistance band, feet shoulder-width apart. 
  • Grab the top of the band with both hands with a similar gap between them.  
  • Brace your core and then curl the band up until your hands reach about shoulder level, before lowering with control. 

Man performing a banded overhead triceps extension - resistance band arm exercisesMan performing end of a banded overhead triceps extension - resistance band arm exercises

2. Resistance band overhead triceps extension  

  • Start in a staggered stance, looping one end of a long resistance band under your rear foot. Stretch the other end of the band up behind you in line with your spine.
  • Extend your elbows and drive your wrists to the sky, pulling the band upwards until the elbows are almost locked out.
  • Slowly lower under control back to the starting position. Aim to avoid your elbows flaring and overarching your lower back.  

Man performing a banded shoulder press Man performing end of a banded overhead shoulder press - resistance band arm exercises
3. Banded shoulder press 

  • Step onto the resistance band, feet shoulder-width apart. Grab both sides of the band near the top and bring it to shoulder height.
  • Brace your core and press the band overhead until your arms are locked out.
  • Lower with control back to shoulder height. 

Man starting a banded triceps press-up - resistance band arm exercisesMan performing a banded press-up
4. Banded triceps press-up

  • Place the band around your mid/upper back, under your arms, and loop the band through the palm of your hands. Have your hands narrower than shoulder width apart. Keep your head in front of the hands and your shoulders set back, keeping your elbows pointing in.   
  • From a high plank position, bend elbows and lower body as one unit until your elbows are bent at least 90 degrees. (If you can keep form, go lower.)
  • Push the ground away from you and lock out as you return to the top of the movement.   

Man performing a band pull-apart - resistance band arm exercisesMan performing end of a band pull-apart

5. Resistance band pull-apart 

  • Take a wide stance with the resistance band held in both hands, shoulder-width apart, straight out in front of you.
  • Tighten your core and squeeze your glutes. Stretch the band by moving your hands out to either side.
  • When you reach the greatest possible distance, reverse slowly back to the starting position.
  • Make sure your shoulders don’t rise up as you repeat.

Can you build strength using resistance bands?

They are often seen as rehab tools only, but indeed, you can also build muscle with resistance bands – and there are extra benefits too. “When it comes to resistance bands vs weights, bands can challenge you in different ways compared to free weights. Typically the upper portion of the movement is harder, because that’s when the band is stretched tight with the most resistance. Overloading the top part of an exercise in this way can create greater muscular activation.”

Words: Omar Mansour, co-founder of Track Life Ldn

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