Triceps and Biceps: Top Five Upper Body Exercises Using the Resistance Band or Tube

Biceps Curls, www.beachbootcamp.netFor an investment of about $10, you can be the proud owner of a piece of exercise equipment that will give you all the strength training you need for daily life. These five basic exercises are foundational and will strengthen and tone the triceps, biceps, shoulders and many more upper body muscles.

This is the most portable and affordable piece of equipment you can use for your workouts anywhere, anytime. It's called the resistance band or tube. It is an oversized rubber band with handles on each end for your hands and can be purchased for around $10. There are many manufacturers out there and many levels of resistance, all color-coded. Here is an example to help you find the right resistance band for you.

You need to go by your current strength and fitness level, not by what you would like to be in order to work your muscles effectively and to prevent injuries.

Lavender - very light - rehab, medical conditions and frail people.

Yellow - light - children, rehab, some women and seniors, 2-5 lbs.

Green - medium - average (inactive) women and some older men, 5-10 lbs.

Red - heavy - average men and active, fairly strong women, 11-16 lbs.

Blue - extra-heavy - active men and very strong women, 17-22 lbs.

Purple/black - ultra-heavy - strong men or women bodybuilders, 23-30 lbs.

Choosing a band will depend upon the type of workout you are doing. If you are performing high reps of 50 to 100, you will probably use at least one level down compared to performing just 10 to 20 reps per set. Your fatigue level while performing circuit training (combined cardio and strength training) will also play a roll when choosing a resistance band. You may or may not choose a high resistance level depending upon how intense you conduct your circuit training.


Grab each handle with your left and right hand. Your feet are shoulder width apart and you are standing firmly on the band with the band in the center of your shoes. Bend your knees slightly to stabilize your lower back with your palms facing out and your arms extended down. Pull the band up to your shoulder joint and resist it going down.


Grab each handle with your left and right hand. Two feet on the band, your feet are shoulder width apart with a slight bend in the knees to stabilize your lower back. With both wrists hanging down, pull the band up to your shoulder joint while maintaining your wrists in the down position and then back to the starting position while resisting it going down. Let's practice. And one, two, three, four, five.


Biceps Curls, www.beachbootcamp.netGrab each handle with your left and right hand. Your left foot is on the band in the center of the shoe. Step through the band/tube with your right foot. Bring your arms up to a ninety-degree break in your elbows. Your wrists are straight and the band is behind the arms.


Grab each handle with your left and right hand. This next exercise will really demonstrate the versatility of the resistance band and how to incorporate your environment into the workout. Wrap the band around a tree or pole. We're going to perform a standing row exercise. Your band is wrapped around the tree. Get some resistance in the band with palms facing inward and an exaggerated bend in your knees to stabilize your lower back. Your back is straight and arms completely extended for the starting position. Pull back on the band in line with your chest and resist it going all the way back out. Find a distance that will allow you to have enough resistance to work your muscles and still perform the complete range of motion. That's one rep.


Grab each handle with your left and right hand. Let's move on to another great triceps exercise with the resistance band. It's called the standing triceps push. Take the band in your right hand and place the other end on the ground in front of your right foot. Place your right foot six to eight inches into the band and firmly onto to the band with the ball of your foot so that it does not slip. Now step forward with your left foot, while keeping your right foot on the band. Take your right hand with the band and bring it up behind your head. The starting position is with the hand lowered behind your head. Push up on the band until the arm is completely extended. That's one rep. Switch hands and feet and do the same thing with the left side of your body.

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The author is Lt. Col. Bob Weinstein, USAR-Ret. More about him at

Author's Bio: 

Lt. Col. Bob Weinstein, USAR-Ret.
Fitness Boot Camp Instructor and Personal Trainer
Lt. Col. Weinstein, nationally known as the Health Colonel, has been featured on the History Channel and specializes in a military-style workout for all fitness levels on Fort Lauderdale Beach in South Florida. He is the author of Boot Camp Fitness for All Shapes and Sizes.