4 Resistance Band Bicep Workouts: Detailed Steps To Practice In 2024

As is true of all consistent exercise, strength training when done effectively should be purposely varied and manipulated due to the body’s impressive ability to adapt to what challenges it. The effect of resistance bands[1] on our muscles is a valuable technique for maximizing that variability and taking strength-toning gains to new levels in our training programs.

When speaking about biceps specifically, a resistance band bicep workout provides a unique set of elements for muscle growth above free weights, creating new challenges posed and improved results. If you want fuller, stronger, and more toned biceps you owe it to yourself to try it. The inherent features of bandwork define what it is that drives training!

Let’s dive into some exercises and workouts, and how to use band resistance for more benefits.

Best Resistance Band Bicep Exercises

The best bicep workouts should not only showcase the elbow curling movements that are classic to isolated bicep exercises but should also incorporate the compound multi-joint pulling movements that can utilize the biceps under potentially higher resistances.  

Here are four of the best:

Resistance Band Bicep Workout: Best Exercises To Try

The following exercises work great in a quick morning workout routine. Or you can incorporate them into a 5-day workout split! Each is to be done by pairing the two exercises per arm to comprise one set and then performing four sets with 90 seconds of rest between.

Resistance Band Bicep Curl

The Resistance Band Bicep Curls exercise is a foundational movement that has been a go-to for fitness enthusiasts of all levels for decades. Whether you’re looking to build impressive biceps, increase your upper body strength, or simply enhance your overall fitness, Bicep Curls are an essential addition to your workout routine. Its simplicity and effectiveness make it a fantastic choice for anyone striving for stronger, more defined arms.

Resistance Band Bicep Curl
Resistance Band Bicep Curl Instruction. Photo: Aliaksandr Makatserchyk

How To Do

  1. Begin by standing on the middle of a resistance band with your feet hip-width apart, holding one end of the band in each hand, palms facing forward.
  2. Keep your back straight, chest up, and shoulders relaxed.
  3. With your arms fully extended by your sides, engage your core for stability.
  4. Slowly curl the band upwards by flexing your elbows, exhaling as you bring your hands towards your shoulders.
  5. Squeeze your biceps at the top of the movement and hold for a brief pause.
  6. Lower your hands back down to the starting position in a controlled manner, inhaling as you extend your arms.
  7. Repeat the curl for the desired number of repetitions while maintaining proper form and control.

Tips 

  • Ensure proper technique by keeping your elbows close to your body and avoiding swinging or using momentum during the exercise.
  • Perform the Bicep Curl through a complete range of motion, allowing your biceps to stretch fully at the bottom and contract at the top for optimal muscle engagement.
  • Gradually increase the weight you lift as you become stronger to challenge your biceps and promote muscle growth.

Optimal Sets And Reps

Training StyleSetsReps
Strength Training3-46-8
Hypertrophy3-48-12
Endurance Training2-312-15+
Power Training3-44-6

Resistance Band Reverse Bicep Curl

The reverse bicep curl using resistance bands can be performed in the same way as the regular bicep curl except for just the wrist positioning. With the regular bicep curl, you are doing the exercise with your palms facing upwards. Doing the reverse curl the palms face downwards in what is called an overhand grip or away from you. 

The major difference in using this wrist position is in the specificity of the muscles used. The reverse curl[2] targets the outer upper arm and forearm muscles while the regular biceps curl targets much more of the front of the upper arm.

Resistance Band Reverse Bicep Curl
Resistance Band Reverse Bicep Curl Instruction. Photo: Aliaksandr Makatserchyk

How To Do

  1. Begin by standing on the middle of a resistance band with your feet shoulder-width apart, ensuring both ends of the band are in your hands.
  2. Hold the resistance band with an overhand grip, palms facing down, and your arms fully extended by your sides.
  3. Keep your back straight, chest up, and shoulders relaxed.
  4. Slowly curl the band upwards by flexing your elbows, exhaling as you bring your hands towards your shoulders.
  5. Squeeze your biceps at the top of the movement and hold for a brief pause.
  6. Lower your hands back down to the starting position in a controlled manner, inhaling as you extend your arms.
  7. Repeat the curl for the desired number of repetitions while maintaining proper form and control.

Tips

  • Maintain a slow and controlled tempo throughout the exercise to engage the target muscles effectively and minimize the risk of injury.
  • Keep your wrists in a neutral, straight position to reduce strain and maximize the engagement of the forearm muscles.
  • Start with a lighter weight to master proper form, then gradually increase the resistance to challenge your brachialis and forearm strength.

Optimal Sets And Reps

Training StyleSetsReps
Strength Training3-46-8
Hypertrophy3-48-12
Endurance Training2-312-15+
Power Training3-44-6

Resistance Band Concentration Curl

For the resistance band concentration curl, either sit on a bench, squat or kneel with at least one of your feet flat on the floor (only in a kneeling position). The same side foot as the curling arm should anchor the resistance band while you lean forward and rest your curling elbow on the same side knee. The movement should be performed with the hand holding the handle of the band and starting at the ankle to slowly curl it up to the center of the chest

The concentration implied in the title of this exercise is felt through the high stability level accomplished through the pinning of the elbow against the knee and the fixed body leaning position. This “concentrated” feature[3] of all resistance band exercises translates to unique results on a physiological level.

Resistance Band Concentration Curl
Resistance Band Concentration Curl Instruction. Photo: Aliaksandr Makatserchyk

How To Do

  1. Sit on a bench or chair with your back straight, chest up, and feet flat on the floor.
  2. Place one end of a resistance band under your right foot and hold the other end with your right hand, ensuring the band has tension when your arm is fully extended.
  3. Position your upper arm against the inside of your right thigh, with your elbow fully extended and aligned with your knee.
  4. Slowly curl the resistance band upwards by flexing your elbow, exhaling as you lift your hand towards your shoulder.
  5. Squeeze your biceps at the top of the movement and hold for a brief pause.
  6. Lower your hand back down to the starting position in a controlled manner, inhaling as you extend your arm.
  7. Repeat the curl for the desired number of repetitions while maintaining proper form and control.
  8. Once you’ve completed your set on one arm, switch to the other arm to work both biceps evenly.

Tips

  • Concentrate on the bicep muscle by keeping your upper arm stationary throughout the movement, ensuring that only your forearm is in motion.
  • Curl the weight all the way up to your shoulder and fully extend your arm during each repetition to maximize muscle engagement.
  • Maintain a slow and controlled pace during both the lifting and lowering phases of the exercise to target the biceps effectively and reduce the risk of injury.

Optimal Sets And Reps

Training StyleSetsReps (per side)
Strength Training3-46-8
Hypertrophy3-48-12
Endurance Training2-312-15+
Power Training3-44-6

Resistance Band Preacher Curl

The resistance band preacher curl exercise is an interesting curl variation and requires a preacher curl bench which is a seat with a downward angled chest level pad attached in front of it for you to rest your arms over the top of.

The resistance band also needs to be anchored out in front of the bench just as it does in the seated versions of the bicep curl exercises previously mentioned. While leaning over the top of the preacher curl pad holding the band handles, curl the hands towards your chin from an original start of just slight elbow flexion.

Resistance Band Preacher Curl
Resistance Band Preacher Curl Instruction. Photo: Aliaksandr Makatserchyk

How To Do

  1. Begin by attaching a resistance band to a sturdy anchor point or use a band with handles, securing it at the bottom.
  2. Sit with your feet flat on the floor.
  3. Hold the band handles with an underhand grip, ensuring your hands are shoulder-width apart.
  4. Position your upper arms against the bench or the backrest of the chair, with your elbows fully extended and aligned with your shoulders.
  5. Slowly curl the band upwards by flexing your elbows, exhaling as you lift the handles towards your shoulders.
  6. Squeeze your biceps at the top of the movement and hold for a brief pause.
  7. Lower the handles back down to the starting position in a controlled manner, inhaling as you extend your arms.
  8. Repeat the curl for the desired number of repetitions while maintaining proper form and control.
  9. Once you’ve completed your set, release the tension on the band and carefully stand up.

Tips

  • Ensure your chest is firmly against the preacher bench pad, providing stability and preventing cheating during the exercise.
  • Focus on a controlled tempo throughout the movement, both on the way up and during the lowering phase, to effectively target the biceps.
  • Curl the weight all the way up to your shoulders, and fully extend your arms during each repetition to maximize muscle engagement and results.

Optimal Sets And Reps

Training StyleSetsReps
Strength Training3-46-8
Hypertrophy3-48-12
Endurance Training2-312-15+
Power Training3-44-6

Benefits Of A Resistance Band Bicep Workout 

Bicep resistance band workouts provide a constant level of tension to the biceps through all points of the motion. Strength gains seen in training with elastic devices such as resistance bands are comparable to those seen in training with conventional devices like dumbbells or machines because the constant tension produces the recruitment of a larger variety of muscle fibers. The endurance element here is extremely useful in building muscle.

Resistance bands are also low impact on the joints and can be a safe way to increase work volume through the back-to-back pairing of exercises.

Additionally, they are very inexpensive. Resistance bands are portable and easy to include in any training routine. It promotes flexibility. Bicep resistance band workouts are great for recovery training due to lower resistance levels.

Lastly, you can use resistance bands to improve speed and power[4] of movement to further increase strength during your dumbbell and machine work. 

Other Tips For Bicep Resistance Band Exercises

Other Tips For Bicep Resistance Band Exercises
Here are some tips for you while practicing resistance band exercises for your biceps. Photo: diana.grytsku/Freepik
  • Your biceps and anterior deltoids attach similarly at the shoulder, so consider front delt workouts to enhance your bicep strength.
  • Add resistance bands any time you are looking to train lower intensities or safely add volume to already highly fatigued muscles.
  • Make sure you understand the strength and resistance level of the band you’re using and match it appropriately to that needed for the specific exercise you are doing.
  • Adjust tension appropriately by choosing between a one-foot anchor, two-foot narrow stance anchor, or two-foot wide stance anchor when performing any standing band exercise where the action is to move the resistance upward.
  • When performing an exercise where the anchor point is out in front of you, adjust the appropriate tension needed by moving closer or further away from the anchor point.
  • Maintain enough tension during any exercise so as not to allow the resistance of the band to jerk your movement too quickly back toward the starting position of the exercise.
  • Be sure to make sure that the angle of the band aligns in the same direction as the line of pull of your movement as your hands reach the end point of your repetition.

Conclusion

Training the biceps traditionally involves a large number of dumbbell curls or a weight machine, limiting the versatility needed to properly stimulate and challenge the biceps from a completeness standpoint.

Even if you employ variability by strategically increasing dumbbell resistance or using different time under tension techniques, you are still missing the ever-so-important elements of full-range tension that very few equipment types can produce. The biceps need more than resistance to be their strongest. All muscles need to be tested under time and endurance[5] as well, to truly achieve the strength and growth possible.

The best biceps exercises with resistance bands can do just that by maximizing the efficiency of entire repetitions and filling in the training gaps of stimuli that our biceps need to be most thoroughly challenged. The bottom line is, that a resistance band bicep workout offers a refreshing, easily adaptable, and low-impact way to make your workout program its best!

Frequently Asked Questions

I can curl 50-pound dumbbells with great form. How would resistance bands benefit me?

Resistance band bicep curl can be a great super setting or post-set burnout tool due to their tension requirement. If you’re looking to increase strength or muscle, this can take your muscle fatigue to another level and recruit more muscle fibers.

Why do I need to control the movement when I’m returning to the starting position?

Because the resistance band employs tension regardless of where you are in your motion, if you do not maintain tension on the way back to slowly return to the start you will be missing out on that end of motion muscle activity that is unique to band work.

What can I do to make the bands feel more challenging?

You can structure your routine to use them immediately following high-resistance exercises, such as burnout or superset intentioned movements. You can also implement isometric or time under tension-based sets of your band exercises to force your biceps to hold contractions as long as possible within your normal fixed rep ranges.

When should I use resistance bands?

Resistance bands are most effective when used on recovery or low-intensity days, as well as for extra volume and muscle fatigue on higher-intensity days. If you want to accelerate your strength gains consider working your bicep muscles in a 3-day workout split for higher exercise volume.

Resources

  1. Andersen, V., H. Winding Pedersen, Marius Steiro Fimland, Shaw, M., Erik, T., Stien, N., Kristoffer Toldnes Cumming and Atle Hole Sæterbakken (2020). Acute Effects of Elastic Bands as Resistance or Assistance on EMG, Kinetics, and Kinematics During Deadlift in Resistance-Trained Men. Frontiers in sports and active living, [online] 2. doi:https://doi.org/10.3389/fspor.2020.598284.
  2. Ott, N., Harland, A., Knevels, M., Hackl, M., Leschinger, T., Lanzerath, F., Scaal, M., Wegmann, K. and Lars Peter Müller (2021). The role of the brachialis muscle in elbow stability with collateral ligament injury: A biomechanical investigation. Clinical Biomechanics, [online] 89, pp.105478–105478. doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.clinbiomech.2021.105478.
  3. Burd, N.A., Andrews, R.J., Daniel, Little, J.P., Cochran, A.J., Hector, A.J., Joshua, Gibala, M.J., Potvin, J.R., Baker, S.K. and Phillips, S.M. (2012). Muscle time under tension during resistance exercise stimulates differential muscle protein sub‐fractional synthetic responses in men. The Journal of Physiology, [online] 590(2), pp.351–362. doi:https://doi.org/10.1113/jphysiol.2011.221200.
  4. Naryana Mascarin, Andre, C., Vancini, R. and Andrade, S. (2016). Strength Training Using Elastic Band Improves Muscle Power and Throwing Performance in Young Female… [online] ResearchGate. Available at: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/292072512_Strength_Training_Using_Elastic_Band_Improves_Muscle_Power_and_Throwing_Performance_in_Young_Female_Handball_Players.
  5. Burd, N.A., Andrews, R.J., Daniel, Little, J.P., Cochran, A.J., Hector, A.J., Joshua, Gibala, M.J., Potvin, J.R., Baker, S.K. and Phillips, S.M. (2012). Muscle time under tension during resistance exercise stimulates differential muscle protein sub‐fractional synthetic responses in men. The Journal of Physiology, [online] 590(2), pp.351–362. doi:https://doi.org/10.1113/jphysiol.2011.221200.