Resistance bands (sometimes called exercise bands) have been popular in rehabilitation exercises, but mainstream fitness experts are also turning to them. As it turns out, resistance bands offer a ton of great benefits, not the least of which includes an easy to transport method of working out.
There are, however, a ton of resistance bands to choose from, and you can pay anywhere from a few dollars to much more. If you choose the wrong bands or use them incorrectly, you can end up injuring yourself, so it’s more important than ever to make sure you’re making the right picks.
After excruciating research, we’ve rounded up the best resistance bands for workouts and listed them below, along with tips and tricks for getting the most out of each one. Are you a beginner wanting to lose some weight? A runner looking to increase your stamina? Or a yoga enthusiast wanting to add a layer of challenge to your practice? We’ve got you covered!
Why Resistance Bands Are Awesome (And What Can They Do That Weights)
Resistance bands are usually tubs of rubber or nylon cords that are flexible and strong. Some have handles (that are interchangeable), and some are loops. Others are simple bands. Resistance bands are mostly used to replace weights, to assist with rehab or physical therapy, and along with body resistance workouts.
Here’s why you can love a good resistance band:
Here’s what you need to know about finding the best resistance band: there are a lot of good options out there! Here’s how you should sort through your options:
How Will You Use Your Resistance Band?
To sort through the various options and identify the best resistance bands for you, first get clear on how you want to use your band.
Bands are usually rated by their resistance in pounds; something with lower resistance will be better for somebody who wants lean muscle (low resistance and high reps), a beginner, or somebody who is rehabbing.
Something with high resistance will be better for somebody who is already training. Unsure? We love sets that provide a range of options, growing with you as you grow in strength.
The length of your band should match its intended use and your height. Some bands allow you to adjust the length, while others are static. A general rule of thumb is that tall people need long bands and short people need short bands.
Consider The Handles
As we’ve already mentioned, some handles are removable, some offer tremendous support, and some bands don’t even have handles. Keep in mind that if you are exercising vigorously, a plastic tubing can be difficult to hold onto with sweaty hands.
Some resistance band sets offer unique handle configuration that allows you to swap handles or even stack bands to increase resistance exponentially.
Set Your Budget
Working out can get real expensive, real fast. The trick is to set your budget before you start your shopping. Then, stick to it! We appreciate the value in a set of resistance bands, but we’re also not above recommending a single, inexpensive band to get you started until you feel confident about knowing what you want.
How We Chose Our Ratings
Working out is extremely personal, and there’s a lot of risk--the wrong information can set you back tremendously in your workout goals! That’s why accuracy and honesty are so important to us. To gather the best resistance bands below, we’ve analyzed available data and scoured online reviews.
Top 6 Best Resistance Bands
We’ll just start this review by explaining that in 2,300 online reviews, only 2% are less than two stars, and only 4% are less than three stars. This means that a whopping 2,200 people gave this set four-stars or better!
Frankly, there are many reasons to love this set. While it can be purchased in higher weights with additional pieces, the 14-piece is perfect for most. The system consists of extremely strong cords that connect via rings to clips and high-quality handles. Because the handles can be removed, you’re able to connect multiple resistance bands to increase the resistance or variety in your workout.
Also, the Bodylastics kit comes with a door anchor and a small anywhere anchor that allows you to use doors, furniture, and so forth, to workout safely. The company utilizes something it calls “patented anti-snap safety design” to make sure the cords won’t snap, and reviewer after reviewer pointed out that this is, indeed, the case.
- STRENGTHEN, STABILIZE AND TONE MUSCLES: Heavy duty mini loop resistance bands work to...
- INTEGRATES WITH ANY WORKOUT: The durable resistance bands can be used for general...
- VARIED RESISTANCE LEVELS: Each of the five mini loop bands has a different resistance...
Another set (but at about a third of the price of the Bodylastics), this one from VIVE comes with five mini loop bands at varying levels of resistance and one straight band. Bands are made from premium TPE material that maintains elasticity.
These types of bands won’t come with handles, but they are extremely well suited for rehabilitation purposes. They’re also popular in programs like Insanity, CrossFit, Beach Body, P90x, Pilates, and yoga, and we love that you’ll have to pay less than $12 for them.
- Bands included: Yellow (2-4 lbs.), blue (4-6 lbs.), green (10-12 lbs.), black (15-20...
- This stackable set of resistance bands can produce up to 75 lbs
- Features a metal clipping System on bands for attachment to soft-grip handles or...
This resistance band set from Black Mountain Products is very similar to the one we’ve already listed from Bodylastics, but it’s about $15 cheaper. The downside is that we don’t feel the quality is quite as high as Bodylastic’s, but this won’t be a problem for most (if any) people.
Here’s what you’ll get in this kit: a door anchor, ankle strap, starting guide, and carrying bag, as well as five 48-in. bands color coded so you can easily identify their resistance levels (yellow is 2-4lbs., blue is 4-6lbs., green is 10-12lbs., black is 15-20lbs., and red is 25-30lbs.).
What we love about kits like these is that they’re “stackable”; you can combine resistance levels to get a customized regimen (much like stacking weights). It’s worth noting, also, that out of more than 6,600 reviews online, this kit gets an average of 4.5 stars.
- Sale is for a SINGLE BAND - not a set. Please choose from our six different...
- YOU ARE CURRENTLY VIEWING OUR #1 (PURPLE) Mini BAND. This band measures 1/2" wide,...
- PULL-UPS: Serious Steel Bands are a perfect tool to help you with your pull ups, dips...
Serious Steel makes extremely high-quality exercise bands. These are not inexpensive purchases; you purchase single bands that range in price from about $10 to almost $40 for the heaviest resistance. You may also purchase sets that come with multiple bands and are a better value.
What especially helps these resistance bands stand out is that they perform extremely well as pull-up assist bands. Whether you’re rehabbing, are just beginning pullups, or making modifications due to an injury, using a band as a pull-up assist can help you achieve your strength and fitness goals without further injuring yourself.
If you’re not sure which band or bands to purchase, Serious Steel makes a great job of making the process easy by providing a graph that matches your current ability and weight to the correct band.
The tan band, for example, is recommended for speed barbell training and shoulder mobility, while the red band is a great high-tension band for barbell speed work and traditional resistance band exercises.
Another option to purchase a single band or a set of bands, these from WODFitters are shaped like thick, giant rubber bands. They’re very similar in price and construction to those from Serious Steel, the main difference being that they’re thinner. This will mean smaller hands will find them more usable; larger hands will not.
WODFitters takes great pains to help you find the right band for your size and weight. They often recommend the green band, for example, which is for provides resistance between 50-125lbs., and seems to work very well for beginners or women.
- 5 COLOR-CODED RESISTANCE BANDS INCLUDED - Yellow (10 lbs), Blue (20 lbs), Green (30...
- ANTI-SNAP TECHNOLOGY - Made of the highest quality & eco-friendly natural latex which...
- SUITABLE FOR ANY FITNESS LEVEL - Whether you're a beginner or an expert, these...
Resistance Band Training has managed to combine some of the great features of nylon cord resistance bands (interchangeable handles and additional support) with the flexibility and usability of plastic straps.
This particular set comes with two four different resistance bands, plus training handles, a band utility strap, a workout, and a storage bag.
These bands won’t be suitable for extremely high-performance workouts (or, probably, for pull-up assistance), but if you’re looking for a beginner’s kit, it’s a great option.
Final Fitness Tips
Whichever bands you choose, here’s something to keep in mind: one of the most common mistakes people make when they start using resistance bands is to fail to control each movement. In other words, we don’t want any sprints here! Use careful, controlled motions and listen to your body.
Our Final Word
As you can tell, we’ve rounded up six truly powerful additions to your home gym. Whether you’d prefer the enclosed-strap style of Serious Steel or WODFitness bands, the nylon cords and interchangeable handles of Bodylastics of VIVE, or a hybrid version of the best resistance bands (Resistance Band Training), we’ve culled six fantastic picks for you.
We’ve even helped you locate a great value buy: the set from Black Mountain Products! Whichever you decide on, we’re confident you’re going to love how resistance band training will up your workout game. Good luck and have fun!