Resistance Band Arm Workouts For Building and Toning Arm Muscles

A great resistance band arm workout gives you all the muscle building and toning benefits of weights.

There are other advantages to using bands, too. They're low impact on your joints, making them great for new fitness enthusiasts and seniors, and much easier to pack if you need to workout on the road or at a hotel.

Give these 12 exercises a try next time you're looking for a killer arm workout.

Getting Set Up for Arm Exercises With Resistance Bands

You should always warm up before doing resistance workouts, even if you're using bands.

Here's a quick warmup you can do before you start your arm exercises with bands.

  • 3 to 5 minutes of light cardio (jogging, jumping rope, slow burpees, mountain climbers)

  • 3 sets of 10 to 15 seconds of each dynamic arm and shoulder stretch below:

    • Arm swings

    • Arm circles (forward)

    • Arm circles (backward)

    • Standing tricep stretch

    • Chest opener stretch (lock your hands behind your back and puff your chest out)

  • Anything else you need

If you're anchoring your bands-to a bed, to a pole, or some other object-make sure the object is secure before starting. (You only need to have a band snap on you once to understand how painful it can be.)

Likewise, if you're using bands with a handle, be sure the handles are secure before starting.

Exercises for Building Arm Muscles With Resistance Bands

Here are 7 resistance band exercises that'll help you build arm muscles using only resistance training bands. All you need are bands and a sturdy anchor point for some of the exercises.

1. Standing Bicep Curls

Good for: biceps, shoulders

  • Stand with your left foot and right foot on one end of the band. Grab both handles in a supine position. If you don't have handles, place your hands approximately 2 feet apart on the band. 

  • Lock your upper body and knees; curl the bands up to your shoulders.

  • Lower the bands slowly, then repeat

Tip: The wider your stance, the higher the resistance. Stand wide to maximize gains!

2. Standing Banded Push Downs 

Good for: triceps, shoulders, core

  • Hook the band up to a door fixture or overhead anchor point (make sure it's secure!).
  • Make a tight upper body; grip both ends of the band with your knuckles touching. 
  • Pull the band down to the floor; slowly release on the way up.
  • Repeat.

3. Banded Front Raise

Good for: front deltoids, traps

  • Stand on your band with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Let your hands fall in front of you with your hands on the bands (again, shoulder-width is good).
  • Lock your elbows; raise the bands with straight arms up to eye level (or at least your shoulder blade).
  • Slowly lower, and repeat.

4. Lateral Raises

Good for: lateral deltoids, rear deltoids, traps, 

  • Stand on your band with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.
  • Place one hand on the band; lock your elbow.
  • Raise the band straight to the side of your body to about eye level (or shoulder height).
  • Slowly lower; complete the desired number of reps then repeat on the other side.

5. Bent Over Banded Rows

Good for: lats, biceps, forearms, shoulders

  • Stand on your band with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Set up in a slightly higher than bottom of a deadlift position; maintain a tight back and proud chest.
  • Grip the band so that it has tension while your arms are straight.
  • Pull the band into your rib cage, then slowly release tension.
  • Repeat.

6. Banded Curl To Press

Good for: biceps, triceps, shoulders

  • Stand with your feet on one end of the band. Grab both handles in a neutral position (fingers pointing towards each other). If you don't have handles, place your hands approximately 2 feet apart on the band. 
  • Curl the band to your shoulder; keeping a tight core, press the band overhead.
  • Lower the band then do a reverse curl to bring it back to where you started.
  • Repeat.

7. Banded Lat Pull Downs 

Good for: Lats, shoulders, biceps, forearms

  • Anchor your band into a doorway or other sturdy overhead position.*
  • Set up like you would to do a lat pull-down: 
    •  Arms above your head firmly gripped the bands
    • Tight core and glutes
  • Pull the band down in front of your face; slowly relieve tension to go back up.
  • You can alternate reps if you want, bringing the band behind your head and in front.

*If you can't find a sturdy point to anchor the band above you, try hooking it to a railing and performing horizontal lat pull downs. Same exercise, different angle.

Exercises for Building Arm Muscles With Resistance Bands

Trying to tone your arms with resistance bands? These 5 movements target the smaller muscles in your arms and get your heart rate up to burn calories, shed fat, and help you tighten up your arms.

1. Pull Aparts

Good for: Lateral and rear deltoids, back, biceps

  • Start with one end of the band in both hands; place your arms out in front of your body straight with your elbows locked.
    • For grip, either have your knuckles facing the ceiling (prone) or pointing to both walls (neutral).
  • Pull the band apart; stop when your body looks like a T with straight arms.
  • Slowly relieve tension by returning to where you started.
  • Repeat.

2. Banded Single Arm Tricep Extensions

Good for: Triceps, rear delts

This is a great arm exercise for women trying to tone their under arms or for women over 60 who have difficulty pressing.

  • Step on your band with both feet; place the band behind your left shoulder.
  • With your elbow pointed toward the ceiling, grip the band. Stand tall with good posture.
  • Press the band overhead; slowly lower it to your shoulder.
  • Do the desired number of reps, then repeat on the other side.

3. Banded Hammer Curls

Good for: Biceps, upper arm, forearms

This bicep curl exercise is great for high-rep toning. Create momentum with your hips to double your rep count and really pump those biceps!

  • Stand with your feet on one end of the band. Grab both handles in a supine position. If you don't have handles, place your hands approximately 2 feet apart on the band. 
  • Grip the handles or band with a neutral grip (thumbs pointing up).
  • Aggressively curl the bands up as you would with a standard biceps curl; immediately go back down. 
  • Repeat this faster cadence and use momentum to complete each rep.

4. Banded Pushups

Good for: Arms, shoulders

This exercise, while more advanced, will give you a total upper body workout and help pump up your arms. It's a great bench press substitute when you don't have access to weights.

  • Start on the floor; wrap your band around your back (across the lats) and set the band up so it's locked around both hands.
  • Set up in a push-up position.
  • Lower yourself to the floor; at the bottom, press up against the resistance of the band.
  • Repeat.

You can change up hand positions (close-grip, wide-grip, etc.) to target different muscles in your arms and upper body.

5. Banded Thrusters

Good for: Arms, shoulders and cardio!

  • Set up in a front rack position with the band under both feet; distribute the band's resistance across your collar bone instead of keeping tension in your arms.
  • Drop your hips back (knees follow) into the bottom of a parallel squat.
  • Drive through your heels up from the squat; at the top, use the momentum generated to press the band overhead.
  • Finish each repetition with the band directly positioned over the crown of your head.
  • Lower back to the front rack, then repeat.

1. Standing Bicep Curls

Good for: biceps, shoulders

  • Stand with your left foot and right foot on one end of the band. Grab both handles in a supine position. If you don't have handles, place your hands approximately 2 feet apart on the band. 

  • Lock your upper body and knees; curl the bands up to your shoulders.

  • Lower the bands slowly, then repeat

Tip: The wider your stance, the higher the resistance. Stand wide to maximize gains!

2. Standing Banded Push Downs 

Good for: triceps, shoulders, core

  • Hook the band up to a door fixture or overhead anchor point (make sure it's secure!).

  • Make a tight upper body; grip both ends of the band with your knuckles touching. 

  • Pull the band down to the floor; slowly release on the way up.

  • Repeat.

3. Banded Front Raise

Good for: front deltoids, traps

  • Stand on your band with your feet shoulder-width apart.

  • Let your hands fall in front of you with your hands on the bands (again, shoulder-width is good).

  • Lock your elbows; raise the bands with straight arms up to eye level (or at least your shoulder blade).

  • Slowly lower, and repeat.

4. Lateral Raises

Good for: lateral deltoids, rear deltoids, traps, 

  • Stand on your band with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.

  • Place one hand on the band; lock your elbow.

  • Raise the band straight to the side of your body to about eye level (or shoulder height).

  • Slowly lower; complete the desired number of reps then repeat on the other side.

5. Bent Over Banded Rows

Good for: lats, biceps, forearms, shoulders

  • Stand on your band with your feet shoulder-width apart.

  • Set up in a slightly higher than bottom of a deadlift position; maintain a tight back and proud chest.

  • Grip the band so that it has tension while your arms are straight.

  • Pull the band into your rib cage, then slowly release tension.

  • Repeat.

6. Banded Curl To Press

Good for: biceps, triceps, shoulders

  • Stand with your feet on one end of the band. Grab both handles in a neutral position (fingers pointing towards each other). If you don't have handles, place your hands approximately 2 feet apart on the band. 

  • Curl the band to your shoulder; keeping a tight core, press the band overhead.

  • Lower the band then do a reverse curl to bring it back to where you started.

  • Repeat.

7. Banded Lat Pull Downs 

Good for: Lats, shoulders, biceps, forearms

  • Anchor your band into a doorway or other sturdy overhead position.*

  • Set up like you would to do a lat pull-down: 

    •  Arms above your head firmly gripped the bands

    • Tight core and glutes

  • Pull the band down in front of your face; slowly relieve tension to go back up.

  • You can alternate reps if you want, bringing the band behind your head and in front.

*If you can't find a sturdy point to anchor the band above you, try hooking it to a railing and performing horizontal lat pull downs. Same exercise, different angle.

Conclusion

Whether you use one band exercise from this list or combine them all into a killer resistance band arm workout, you can't go wrong with these movements.

They're all low-impact, safe on the joints, easy to do without much equipment—and most importantly, effective!

For more training advice, check out our archive of workouts and tips!

Ben Kissam

Ben Kissam

I help college athletes maximize their 4-year sports window and succeed after graduation.

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