Resistance bands are the ultimate workout excuse-buster. No space to store weights? Travel all the time? Stuck at work all day? No problem! All you need is a resistance band, which tucks easily into a drawer, tote bag, or suitcase. A band allows you to work with resistance in the same way weights do, but with one key difference: The tauter the band gets (the more elongated it is), the more challenging it becomes. You can do many of the same moves as you would with weights, and since you can anchor it on things, you can be more creative with exercises as well.The following arm workouts utilize a single band to target your biceps, triceps, and shoulders.
Resistance bands have tons of benefits, but there are a few things you should note. For your protection, keep a tight grip on the ends and make sure you’re not using a band that’s been stuffed in a drawer for years. As rubber ages, it gets little tears and is more likely to rip as you’re using it, potentially injuring your face. Oh, snap!
- What To Do: Perform one set of 12 reps of each move in order, resting for 30 seconds to a minute between sets. Repeat the series twice.
- Gear: You’ll need a flat resistance band. Tension varies by color and by manufacturer. Yellow, orange, and red are often on the easier end, and darker colors, like black or dark blue, are usually more challenging.
- Get Started: Warm up for five minutes beforehand. Add cardio at the end to extend your workout time if you want, or add 30 seconds of jumping jacks between sets for a cardio blast.
1. Biceps Curl
This exercise works your biceps. Stand with feet slightly staggered, front foot on center of band, and hold an end of the band in each hand at your sides, palms facing forward. Keeping your abs engaged and upper arms still, curl hands toward your chest. Slowly lower hands to sides and repeat.
2. Standing Lateral Raise
This exercise works your shoulders. Stand with feet slightly staggered, front foot on center of band, and hold an end of the band in each hand at your sides, palms facing thighs. Keeping your shoulders down, elbows slightly bent, and abs tight, raise arms out to sides to shoulder height. Hold for one count, then lower arms and repeat.
3. Seated Row
This exercise works back and biceps. Sit with center of band wrapped around arches of feet so it won’t pop out. Hold an end of band in each hand, palms facing each other, and extend arms toward feet. Band should have no slack at this point. Sit tall and draw elbows behind you, squeezing shoulder blades together and lifting chest. Hold for one count, then slowly release and repeat.
4. Triceps Extension
This exercise works triceps. Stand with right foot on one end of band and hold the other end in right hand. Raise right arm overhead and bend elbow so hand rests behind head and elbow points up. Band should be straight but not taut here. Keeping upper arm still and abs engaged, straighten arm overhead. Hold for one count, then lower and repeat. Do all reps, then switch arms to complete set.
A version of this article appeared in our partner magazine, Get in Shape 2022.