Bicep bands are circular, stretchy or elastic accessories made of absorbent materials such as terry cloth, nylon, or thick cotton. Athletes, especially football players, tend to wear this product around the bicep muscles on each arm, above the elbow and below the shoulder. Much like wristbands or headbands of the same material, their most notable function is to catch and absorb sweat. Many people have made unsubstantiated claims that the bands can also help to prevent tendinitis or build muscles faster during strength training — several studies by medical professionals do not give these claims much validity, though. It has been suggested in the media that the bands are often worn for no other reason than as a fashion statement.
The reason that bicep bands have been brought into the spotlight is due to the product’s use by professional football and basketball players in the US. As profuse sweating can make an athlete’s job more difficult, efforts have long been taken to help reduce or curb perspiration. Bands have been worn for decades by several pros in many different sports, and on various parts of the body. Some football players recommend wearing them on the biceps as a means to help catch a ball. For this reason, there has been some conjecture over whether or not the bands should be allowed during games; so far, no national sports associations have banned the product.
Some believe that a bicep band creates enough pressure on the tendons above the elbow to help ensure that they stay intact with the bone, possibly helping ward against painful tendinitis. No studies performed by fitness or medical experts have proven this claim. Another rumor regarding the product is that a very tight band will help to tear more muscles during weight training, which could then build larger muscles as they repair themselves. This assertion has also been debunked. In fact, wearing an extremely tight band during weight training could actually have negative results, as blood flow may be restricted.
Some people have accused athletes of wearing the bands only as fashion accessories. It has also been pointed out that, as most bands bear the name or logo of popular sports gear companies, the accessories may be merely another form of advertising. Even some pro football players have admitted that the bicep bands have simply become a routine and that they give little thought to their actual function. The counterargument has been made, however, that fashion and sports have long been associated with one another.