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What are Bicep Bands?

By Micki Elizabeth
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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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.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

Discussion Comments

By anon992209 — On Aug 22, 2015

My boyfriend wears bicep bands all of the time to enhance the muscles in his upper arms. They are the coolest, sexiest ever! And they do work as they are supposed to! I recommend them for anyone wanting to bulk up their upper arms. And also: they do not cut off the circulation if they are fitted properly.

By anon956136 — On Jun 11, 2014

I think tight-fitting bicep bands are sexy!

By chivebasil — On Aug 22, 2011

I use to play college football (division 3 but still college football) and we had a guy on our team that sweat more than anyone I have ever seen sweat. In football you sweat a lot. It is not uncommon to see guys whose skin looks like a waterfall. But this one guy trumped them all.

He wore bicep bands because it was pretty much the only way he could play the game. He was big and strong and fast and played on the line, but without the band his arms got so ridiculously sweayt that he couldn't keep contact with anyone. He was slipping all over the place.

It took him his whole freshman season to find the solution of the bicep bands. It kind of became a joke after that. Who wants to think about having slippery arms?

By whiteplane — On Aug 22, 2011

When I think of bicep bands I always think of the ultimate warrior, a professional wrestler with the WWF in the late 70s and early 90s.

He was one of their odder characters. he kind of fashioned himself as a neon Indian. He had a sort of headdress and war paint and weird spandex pants that I think were lime green. Looking back it is all impossibly 80s.

But he also has hot pink bicep bands that were kind of the defining feature of his outfit. I think he used them mostly to look more muscular but surprisingly he is the only wrestler I have ever seen try this gimmick.

The ultimate warrior seemed to wash out of the circuit pretty quickly. I'm not sure whatever happened to him. He might still be diving of the top ropes with pink bands around his arms for all I know.

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