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 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, bicep resistance band workouts provide a unique set of elements to 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 band work basically 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 Bicep Resistance Band Workouts
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 that you can incorporate into a 5-day workout split! Each is to be done pairing the two exercises per arm to comprise one set, and then performing 4 sets with 90 seconds rest between.
- Assisted Pull Up and Standing Bicep Curl
- Pulldowns with Seated Bicep Curls
- Wide Rows with Seated Preacher Curls
- Opposing Arm Single Arm Row and Bicep Curls
Best Biceps Exercises With Resistance Bands
The following exercises work great in a quick morning workout routine.
1. Bicep Curl
To do a resistance band bicep curl, hold the resistance band or its handles with either a palms up (underhand grip), or facing (hammer curls) posture and anchor the band to the floor by standing on it. One or two feet may be used to anchor the band depending on the strength level of the band and your ability to curl through a full range of motion.
Your hands should start at hip level and you should then slowly curl them up to shoulder height before lowering them back down to the starting position. This exercise can be done from a seated position as well, with the anchor to pull against needing to be any fixed point out in front of you.
2. Reverse Bicep Curl
The reverse bicep curl using resistance bands can be performed in exactly the same way as the regular bicep curl with the exception of 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 muscles used. The reverse curl targets the outer upper arm and forearm muscles while the regular biceps curl targets much more of the front of the upper arm.
3. 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 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 of all resistance band exercises translates to unique results on a physiological level.
4. 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.
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 that 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 of movement to further increase strength during your dumbbell and machine work.
Other Tips For Bicep Resistance Band Exercises
- 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.
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 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, bicep resistance band workouts offer a refreshing, easily adaptable, and low-impact way to make your workout program its best!
Frequently Asked Questions
Resistance band bicep curls 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.
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.
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.
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 really want to accelerate your strength gains consider working your biceps muscles in a 3-day workout split for higher exercise volume.