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Why Do Players Wear Bands Around Their Biceps?

The most functional reason football players wear bands around their biceps is to absorb moisture and keep it from running down their arms and onto their hands. This keeps their hands or gloves dry and reduces the chance of them fumbling or dropping the ball. There’s the belief that the bands may help reduce the chance of injury, but this hasn’t been proven. The biggest reason? The bands look aesthetically cool.

When I played football growing up, I don’t remember the bicep band fad being a thing. But as a chronic sweater, perhaps I wouldn’t have fumbled the ball so much if I’d known about these contraptions.

How helpful are these bands, and what are they even made of? In this article we’ll dive a little deeper into these funky little bands and why so many players seem to be wearing them today.

Key Takeaways

  • Players wear bands on their biceps primarily to wick sweat away from their bodies and keep moisture from running down their arms and onto their hands
  • Despite the belief that the bands also help prevent injury, there’s no proof of that
  • In general, the main reason most players wear them is probably aesthetic

How Bands Prevent Players From Fumbling

Part of the reason for players wearing bands is certainly aesthetic. Like a dark visor on the helmet or a flashy pair of cleats, the bands can just look cool and add some additional color to the player’s uniform.

But they can provide some usefulness too. Just like a wrist or headband, the primary function of these wraps on the biceps or elbows is to absorb sweat or other types of moisture. This keeps it from dripping down a player’s arm and onto their hands or gloves, preventing them from becoming slippery and making them more prone to fumbling or dropping the ball. [1]

You’ll most often see skill position players like receivers, running backs, and quarterbacks strap on the bicep bands for this reason. However, the bands do reduce the player’s flexibility, so it’s probably best to only wear them if you’re a chronic sweater or it’s a rainy day.


Additional Protection From Injury

This one’s a little more debatable. In theory, wrapping the bicep and tricep with elastic bands serves a similar purpose to a player wrapping their fingers or ankle. Creating additional resistance around the joints reduces the risk of the muscle being hyperextended or torn if it’s grabbed or twisted the wrong way. But this may be more theoretical than practical as there’s no medical proof that wrapping bands around the elbow joint prevents injury. [2]

What are the Bands Made of?

The bands are usually made of a combination of polyester or nylon. This gives them a stretchy and flexible fit that can move with a player’s arm and will contract or expand without creating discomfort. [3]

The material also allows them to absorb moisture, wicking it away from the body and making sure it doesn’t continue dripping down the arm and getting the player’s hands wet. 


If you ask me, the primary reason players wear bicep bands is the aesthetic. But I’m willing to entertain the possibility that they can absorb enough moisture to make them worth wearing when the weather gets bad or if they’re prone to sweating. If the player thinks that the band’s help prevents injury, perhaps that mentality even gives them more confidence when they take the field. 

What do you think of the bicep band fad? If you were a professional football player would you wear them? Let us know in the comments below.


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