Although you can grow your biceps and get big arms by using bodyweight-only exercises, adding some extra resistance to your home workout can help stimulate the muscles even further and can build muscle more effectively. And by ‘adding resistance’, we don’t mean the best barbells or best dumbbells, neither do we mean you have to start doing handstand push ups.
No, this home workout uses the best resistance bands only, one of the most underrated pieces of home gym equipment,along with the best ab rollers. Building the best home gym should include getting at least a couple of exercise bands: not only they take up less space than home weights, but resistance are also effectively replace said weights and give you a good pump too.
In this resistance band upper body workout, we will focus on building biceps, triceps, delts and pecs definition. If you want to include some abs exercises, have a look at the best core exercises or this 5-minute abs workout.
Want to hit the gym instead? Try the best full body workout or the best push-pull workout. Or the best push-pull upper body workout for that matter. We also have the best pecs exercises and the best biceps and triceps exercises too.
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Most people associate workout bands with pilates bands : pilates bands are softer and are often used for stretching only. On the other hand, the Mirafit resistance bands were designed for resistance training and therefore require a lot more effort to pull/push. There are six different resistance options with the thickest band generating as much as 230 lbs (104 kg) of resistance! Not for the faint hearted.View Deal
Muscle building starts with a good diet
You can’t build muscle if you don’t supply your body with the right nutrients. The most important macronutrient for building muscle is protein. Protein is essential for repairing and therefore building muscle. You should supply your body with protein from a variety of sources including lean meat, fish, nuts, tofu, eggs, leafy greens etc.
Alternatively, you can consider taking protein supplements. The best protein powders and the best protein bars offer a more convenient way to top up your protein protein levels on the go or after the workouts. For people who prefer more savoury flavours, there is also the best jerky options to choose from.
As well as protein, you should include plenty of good carbohydrates and water in your diet to boost metabolism, not to mention good fats as some vitamins are only soluble in fat. There is no such thing as essential carbohydrates but there are plenty of essential fatty acids, such as omega-3 and omega-6.
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Best resistance band workout for upper body
Before you start the workout, make sure there is enough space around you so you can perform the exercises without any obstruction. Always warm the muscle up before you start the bulk of your workout. Going in cold turkey might result in muscle soreness and generally a less effective workout.
If you are after muscle growth, do 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps of each exercise. Progressive overload is key to muscle growth so when workouts get too easy, switch out the resistance band you use for a stronger one.
For the best results, follow the exercises in the below order for maximum muscle activation. Starting with the pecs, we move onto the triceps area, followed by some biceps moves and finishing the workout with the delts.
All exercises feed into each other and most of them can be joined together to superset certain body areas: combine push up and overhead extension to form a triceps superset, biceps curl and upright row for a biceps superset, finally, upright row and lateral raise for a delts superset.
Resistance band push up
For many, push ups as pretty hard to do as is but admittedly, even this demanding exercise will get easier after all. When that happens, you can either don a weighted vest or get a strong resistance band and wrap it around your back, holding it with your fingers as you perform push ups to add more resistance.
As the video explains, once you get more comfortable pushing up your bodyweight and especially at the apex of the movement, you might find it less challenging to hold this pose. Resistance bands provide the most resistance when your arms are extended and as long as you don’t lock your elbows, the band’s resistance will work the triceps beautifully.
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Add extra resistance to your bodyweight training using the Adidas Weighted Vest. Also ideal for runners, the Adidas Weighted Vest is constructed from highly durable material to last. There are eight weight packs on the vest, totalling 10 kg, placed around the upper body to ensure correct balance, comfort and performance. These weight packs can be individually removed to drop resistance levels.View Deal
Resistance band overhead extension
The overhead extension is a great isolation exercise for the triceps. Much like the resistance band bicep curl (explained below), this version of the overhead extension requires more core activation to stabilise the body since you are standing and not sitting as you would normally do if you were to perform overhead extensions with dumbbells.
When you perform resistance band overhead extensions, the upper arm stays as stationary as possible and you hinge the arm in the elbow. The shoulder stays in one position and you should focus on activating the triceps only.
Resistance band curls
No arm workout is complete without bicep curls. There are plenty of other exercises that work the biceps, such as the bent over row, pull up/chin up and the seated row, but the bicep curl is here to stay as being one of the best isolation exercise for biceps.
When doing curls, it’s essential to isolate the biceps during the movement: the hinge-point is the elbow, not the shoulder. Don’t lift the arms too high so you’d have to lift the upper arm.
The biceps is a comparatively small muscle so it can lift less and gets tired sooner than the triceps, for example, please bear this in mind when picking the right resistance band for biceps curls.
Resistance band upright row
Upright rows are probably best done with resistance bands (and maybe dumbbells). Barbell upright rows can put your wrist in a funny position when the bar is close to your chin but when using resistance bands, your wrists can turn freely, making upright rows more joint-friendly.
This exercise also requires some core strength, probably more than in the previous two exercises. Upright rows mainly activate your biceps and your delts but also your upper back and the traps too. Keep your shoulders open (squeeze the shoulder blades together) and keep the core engaged all the way through the movement. Also, try not to lift the band up too high.
Resistance band lateral raise
The final move in this workout is the resistance band lateral raise. Lateral raise is one of the best exercises to work the side of the shoulders, the largest part of the muscle. A better move is the overhead press but that’s not the most ideal exercise using resistance bands.
Lateral raises can be performed with completely extended arms or the the elbows slightly bent, whichever puts the least amount of pressure on your shoulder joint.