The Only 5 Resistance Band Exercises You Need for Toned Arms

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Tone and strengthen your arms with resistance band curls.
Image Credit: martin-dm/E+/GettyImages

Many fitness accounts on social media have become glossaries of resistance band exercises. And it's no surprise, given that this inexpensive and versatile tool can be used by beginners and experienced athletes alike — no matter the skill level, everyone can benefit from some resistance band work.

Even popular arm exercises like the biceps curl can be re-imagined with a resistance band. Next time you want to skip your workout because don't have weights available, grab a long-loop resistance band and give your arms a killer workout with these five exercises.

Move 1: Band Pull-Apart

Move 1: Band Pull-Apart
Image Credit: K. Aleisha Fetters/LIVESTRONG.com
Sets 3
Reps 12
Body Part Arms
  1. Stand tall with your back flat, tailbone tucked. Hold one end of your band in each hand. Raise your arms straight out in front of you at shoulder height.
  2. Brace your core and pull the two ends of the bands apart as far as possible.
  3. Then, bring your hands back together with control without using tension of the band.

Tip

"Make sure all of the movement comes from those shoulders," K. Aleisha Fetters, CSCS and author of Fitness Hacks for Over 50, says. "Focus on feeling the space between your shoulder blades squeeze."

Move 2: Scaption Shoulder Raise

Move 2: Scaption Shoulder Raise
Image Credit: K. Aleisha Fetters/LIVESTRONG.com
Sets 3
Reps 12
Body Part Arms
  1. Stand with feet about shoulder-width apart. Place one end of your long band under your left foot and hold the other end in your right hand.
  2. On an exhale, brace your core and raise your right arm straight up up toward the ceiling.
  3. Then, lower your arm back down to your side with control.

Tip

Hold the band in a neutral grip, thumb facing up, Fetters says. As you raise your arm for each repetition, contract your core to avoid over-arching your lower back. And once you perform all the reps on the left, switch sides, placing the band under your right foot and raising your left arm.

Move 3: Bow and Arrow

Move 3: Bow and Arrow
Image Credit: K. Aleisha Fetters/LIVESTRONG.com
Sets 3
Reps 12
Body Part Arms
  1. Stand with feet hip-width apart, holding an end of your long resistance band in each hand. Bring your arms straight out to shoulder height.
  2. Keeping your right arm in place, draw your left elbow back until your left fist is in line with your chest.
  3. Pause here for a moment, squeezing your left lat and shoulder blade.
  4. Then, reverse the motion, bringing your left arm back to meet the right.

Move 4: Alternating Isometric and Active Biceps Curl

Move 4: Alternating Isometric and Active Biceps Curl
Image Credit: K. Aleisha Fetters/LIVESTRONG.com
Sets 3
Reps 12
Body Part Arms
  1. Stand tall with your core active. Loop one end of the band under your foot and hold the other end of the band in both hands hip-width apart.
  2. Curl both hands up to your shoulders.
  3. Lower your left hand until your forearm is parallel to the ground and hold here.
  4. At the same time, lower your your right arm completely.
  5. Holding your left arm where it is, complete all your reps with the right arm, curling the band up to the shoulder, then releasing down.

Tip

As you perform your curls, keep your elbows close to your sides. This will really work your biceps and help you get the most out of the exercise.

Move 5: Overhead Triceps Extension

Move 5: Overhead Triceps Extension
Image Credit: K. Aleisha Fetters/LIVESTRONG.com
Sets 3
Reps 12
Body Part Arms
  1. Stand with feet staggered — right foot a few feet in front of the left. Loop the band under your left foot and hold the other end with both hands.
  2. Raise your hands up toward the ceiling, keeping the elbows close to your ears.
  3. Bend your elbows to a 90-degree angle.
  4. Then, fighting the tension of the band, straighten your arms back up toward the ceiling.
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