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Athletic goals aren’t one-size-fits-all, and neither are resistance bands.
The ones on this list were chosen for their ability to address specific needs and perform uses that people are looking for.
We looked at features like:
- and price
We also checked out online user reviews and manufacturer’s guarantees.
Resistance bands may look like nothing more than a few feet of latex or rubber. In actuality, they’re sophisticated pieces of exercise equipment that are able to improve muscle strength, tone, and flexibility. They’re also affordable and transportable.
Resistance bands have value for many needs, from training for competitive performance and recuperating from injury to just getting creative about fitting in physical activity.
- $: $10
- $$: $11–$20
- $$$: $21+
Circumference: 24 inches
Unlike flat resistance bands, loop bands connect end to end. This frees you up from having to tie and untie knots, which can accelerate wear and tear on flat bands.
Loop bands are great for both men and women. They can increase the results you get from tons of exercises, such as squats and lat pulldowns, plus add extra muscle-building power to Pilates and yoga moves.
This highly versatile set from Fit Simplify is made from natural latex. If you’ve ever had a resistance band rip in half during exercise, you already know that natural latex can dry out over time, making it snap.
However, these bands are made to be durable, and they’re backed by a lifetime manufacturer’s guarantee, so no worries there.
This set includes five color-coded loop bands of varying strengths from light to extra heavy, so you can work up to maximum resistance, or use different strengths for different muscle groups.
If you’re new to loop bands, the printed instruction guide and 41-page workout e-book that are included with purchase will be more than enough to get you started.
Length: 66 inches
Resistance bands that have handles provide you with the security of a sturdy grip while exercising. They’re perfect for any move designed to build muscle mass and strength, taking the place of free weights or machines.
Many resistance bands with handles are just too short to perform overhead exercises. These bands by Dynapro are 66 inches long and have adjustable length thanks to an attachment for the handles.
The handles are fully padded, sturdy, and have an easy, ridged grip, making them a good choice for people with hand arthritis or other concerns. Users report that, unlike some other resistance bands with handles, these ones don’t create hand blisters.
They’re sold individually by level of resistance or as a set. Users also report sometimes buying the wrong resistance level and having to go back for a different one. Buying the set overrides this concern but makes the bands expensive.
If you’re sensitive or allergic to certain chemicals, latex, or other substances, please note that Dynapro doesn’t reference the materials used to make these bands.
Circumference: 27 inches
Fabric resistance bands are more comfortable on the skin for some people. They also tend to roll and slip less since they absorb sweat.
The Arena Strength fabric booty bands are wide loop bands designed to maximize thigh and glute workouts. The set includes three resistance levels: beginner, intermediate, and advanced. The set comes with a carrying case and printed exercise guide.
Despite marketing that delineates them for women, anyone can use these bands.
If you’re allergic to latex, be aware that many fabric resistance bands, including this set, contain latex.
If you’re looking for bands that can accommodate full-body workouts, these may not be your best bet. They are, however, perfect for upper leg and glute exercises.
Length: 44 inches
Flat resistance bands that feature minimal tension can typically be used by older adults. What sets this resistance band apart is its length. It has a minimal amount of resistance, plus it’s long enough to accommodate seated workouts.
If you work out from a wheelchair or practice chair yoga, this band may come in handy. It comes with an instruction guide to help you get started.
This resistance band complements a seated exercise program by trainer Curtis Adams.
Circumference: 44 inches
You can use WODFitters pullup bands individually or combined with each other. They’re also sold individually and as a bundle. They’re available in five different, color-coded resistance levels.
These bands are designed for cross-training and can be used to work out every muscle group of the body.
If you’re new to resistance bands, consider buying a set that includes a variety of resistance levels.
Even if you’re a gym rat who’s racked up countless hours of strength training, the thickest, heaviest bands may not be appropriate for you. Take your level of fitness and your goals into account when you buy.
If you’re recuperating from an injury and looking to build strength in a particular area, opt for the lightest resistance band you can find to start, unless your physical therapist or doctor recommends otherwise.
Also think about your fitness goals and the areas of your body you wish to strengthen or tone. Some bands are specifically designed for the lower body. Others can be used for full-body workouts.
Check out the manufacturer’s guarantee or warranty, too. Some brands have been reported to snap or fray very quickly.
Most resistance bands are made from latex or rubber. If you have a sensitivity or allergy to these materials, double-check that the band you buy doesn’t include them.
If you’re using resistance bands to build muscle, keep in mind that they work the same way free weights do: They generate external resistance that your muscles work against.
Unlike free weights, however, resistance bands require you to maintain external pressure at all times, even between reps.
For this reason, you may find that you need to do fewer reps with a resistance band than you do on an exercise machine or with free weights.
To avoid really sore muscles, let yourself get used to them. Start slowly.
If the bands you buy come with an exercise guide, video how-tos, or an instruction book, take a look before you get started.
You may wish to tie your band to a door handle, pullup bar, or other piece of furniture. If so, always use a knot that won’t come undone, and don’t use a band that’s old or shows wear and tear.
You can also look for resistance bands that come with accessories meant for this purpose, such as door attachments.
Almost any adult can safely use resistance bands. Unattended children shouldn’t use them.
Use loop bands with caution, particularly when they’re around your ankles. Don’t use them for dancing or during fast-paced aerobics to avoid falling and injury.
Always inspect your bands for signs of wear and tear before a workout. That way, you’ll never have to worry about them snapping mid-move.
To prolong their life, store them away from the sun.
Resistance bands can add muscle-building power to most types of workouts. They’re also excellent for rehabilitating muscles after injury.
Resistance bands come in several strengths, making them highly usable by most people. They’re inexpensive and transportable, too.
If you’re looking to tone, strengthen, or add flexibility to your physique, these easy-to-use pieces of equipment are a great bet.