Resistance bands have taken the fitness community by storm in the last 10 years. Nowadays, almost every type of athlete implements at least one type of resistance band workout in his training routine. They are good for warming up, stretching, strengthening your core muscles, reduce injuries from heavy gym equipment, and even rehabilitation. The best resistance bands will come in a variety of sizes, resistances, and materials, making them a bit tricky to choose.
This is why I made this guide where we will go through some of the top models for this year as well as learn more about the different types of bands out there. Let’s start with the models that I’ve picked for 2020. I’ve separated them into different categories to make it easier to browse through them if you need a new set of resistance bands for a specific reason…
Best Overall – Fit Simplify Resistance Loop Bands
The Fit Simplify resistance loop bands are one of the highest-rated and highest-selling bands out there due to their excellent price and wide range of exercises you can do with them. The package comes with 5 bands with different thicknesses and resistances ranging from extra light to extra heavy.
The bands are made out of 100% natural latex and not out of TPE like some other cheap sets out there. The latex works well with both wet and dry skin and is also quite long-lasting no matter the conditions you use it in. All of the bands are 12 inches long and 2 inches wide although, as I mentioned, they vary in their thickness. The thicker ones (yellow, blue, and black) are the heaviest ones, while the red and green are light and ideal for rehabilitation or dynamic stretches. Despite having a few thick bands in your set, the set as a whole doesn’t weigh too much and can be easily put in your fitness bag.
In addition to everything here, you get a carrying bag that also makes this set of bands convenient for people that are on the go and want to be able to fit a quick workout into their busy schedules. As a whole, thanks to their low price and high functionality, I couldn’t rank them anywhere but the first sport here.
- Excellent price
- Wide choice of resistances
- Come with a carrying bag
- 100% natural latex
- Very durable
- Great for beginners
- Even the X-Heavy band will feel moderately easy to pros
Best for Travel – Gymbee Resistance Bands
Cloth resistance bands have been slowly but surely making their way into the market and many people are starting to prefer them over latex bands since they are easier on the skin and offer a much softer experience. The Gymbee Reistance bands are one of the top cloth bands out there and are one of the few affordable sets that has multiple resistance levels.
With this package, you get three 14 inch bands colored black, grey, and pink with grey being the easiest resistance level. The black cloth band has around 40-50lbs of tensile strength which is quite a lot for a short band. The pink one has 25-35 lbs of strength and the grey one has between 15 and 25 lbs of tensile strength which is ideal for beginners. The bands are perfect for training your glutes, lower body, and other leg muscles. The bands themselves are anti-slip, non-rolling, and non-pinching thanks to their advanced stitching technologies.
Additionally, you get a stylish carrying bag allowing with a printed booklet with various exercises you can do with these bands. If you aren’t happy with your purchase, Gymbee will return your money if you return the product in the first 180 days after the purchase.
- Three resistance levels
- Come with free exercises
- Free stylish carry bag
- Very comfortable
- Excellent price per value ratio
- Good for people who travel
- Cloth bands don’t provide a ton of resistance
- Not as flexible as latex bands
Best For Squats – RIMSports Hip Resistance Band
If you’re looking for a resistance band that is specifically designed for squats in mind, then you need to check out the RIMSports Hip Resistance band. Despite it being a non-latex band, it still has some decent flex to it and offers plenty of resistance for women who like to buy a single band meant for this exact exercise.
Like most other new cloth bands, this features a non-slip grip, non-pinch construction, and progressive stitching that helps the band last longer. It won’t outlast a proper latex band but it will surely last longer than some other cheaper resistance bands. The band is also fully machine-washable. it comes in three sizes – Medium, Large, and X-Large with those sizes mainly affecting the tension of the band. If you’re above 150 lbs I suggest going for the Large version.
This band is also covered by RIMSports’ refund or replacement policies which have been great along with their customer support. All of the products are made in the USA and it is easy to work with the company.
- Excellent for squats
- Good resistance levels
- Three sizes
- Non-pinching design
- Even the Medium version offers a ton of resistance
- Not good for beginners
- No small version
Best for Full-Body Workout – Undersun Complete Exercise Band Set
One of my favorite full-body workout sets for this year again is the Undersun Complete exercise band set. it is one of the most expensive sets on this list but is also one of the most durable ones. Performance and quality-wise, there are few other band sets that even come close to this.
Within the set, you get 5 different bands that range from Extra light to Extra heavy in terms of their tensions. The bands also vary in terms of their width with the Extra light band measuring just 0.25 inches across, while the Extra heavy one is 1.7 inches wide. The X-heavy one also has up to 120 lbs of tension which is great for professional and heavy-duty use. Those five bands ensure that you have something suitable for all parts of your body, no matter if you’re a beginner, intermediate, or a power band aficionado.
All of the bands are made out of 100% genuine latex which will mean it is easy on the skin and will last a lot of time no matter the conditions it is put through. Make sure if you have a latex allergy before using them, though.
The bands come with a comfortable bag to carry them in, although they are a bit bulky and heavy compared to other sets. As a whole, if you’re not on a tight budget, this is the most durable and well-rounded set of power bands out there.
- Large range of resistances
- 5 different bands
- 100% genuine latex
- Ideal for beginners and pros
- Come with a carrying bag
- Very durable
- Heavy and bulky
Best Fabric Resistance Bands -Recredo Booty Bands
Out of all the fabric resistance bands, there is a brand that really sticks out with their progressive materials and excellent value for your money. That brand is Recredo and their Booty bands are selling like hotcakes.
Inside the package, you get a few things – three bands with different resistances, instructional videos, an ebook, and a carrying bag. The bands themselves feature a non-slip, non-pinch, non-roll construction and offer three resistances which are good both for beginners and intermediates. For professionals, they won’t quite cut it. The bands also vary in size. The green band is 12 inches in length, while the purple one is the longest at almost 16 inches. They are all 3.15 inches wide, making them quite comfortable on your legs.
Another thing that is very impressive with these fabric bands is that they are unusually thicker than most other models from competitor brands. They measure 0.12 inches in thickness which is almost double what most other fabric bands are at. As a whole, for the money, there aren’t many other fabric bands that are going to do a better job.
- Highest quality fabric
- Thick and durable
- Easy to carry around
- Come with a lot of additional materials
- Three resistance levels
- Three lengths
- Not great for professionals
Best Value – Luyata Resistance Bands
When it comes to the value you are getting from your resistance band set there are a few things you need to take into account. First, what is the quality of all the bands and accessories? Secondly, are there any competitors out there that give you a better deal. With the Luyata Resistance bands set, you can rest assured that there is hardly any better deal out there.
What makes this the best isn’t the resistance bands themselves but rather all the other accessories and additional gear that you’re getting. In your package, you will be getting – 5 resistance bands that range in tensions from 10 to 50 lbs in 10lbs increments, 10pcs carabiners, 5 resistance loop bands, carry bag, 1 door anchor, 2 ankle straps, 2 foam handles, figure-8 stretch band, jump rope, an exercise mat, an additional carry bag for the whole set. The jump rope has an adjustable rope length with a 9ft rope as standard.
All the bands in this set are made out of 100% natural latex and the rest of the accessories are well-made too. As a whole, there is not even a close second place when it comes to the number of items you are getting in this set. If you are a beginner and want an all-in-one product, this is without a doubt what you’re looking for.
- 5 resistance bands
- 5 resistance loops
- Jump rope
- Two carrying bags
- Exercise mat
- Figure-8 stretch band
- Insane value for your money
- Excellent for beginners
- Not great for professionals since the resistances are low
- The quality of the bands isn’t stellar
Best Resistance Band Set – Fitness Insanity Resistance Bands
Despite a lot of fitness sets having tube-styled resistance bands in them, few brands truly nail them in terms of quality, durability, and practicality. The Fitness Insanity Resistance Bands is hands down, one of the best beginner sets and is packed full of unique features and accessories that will really help you crawl your way up the resistance bands workout ladder.
The stars of the show here are the 5 tube resistance bands that range from 10lbs to 50lbs in 10lbs increments in terms of their tension. They all end with a carabiner that can be attached to the two soft handles that you get in the pack. The tubes are made out of 100% latex and have reinforced heavy-duty links. Those link points are the typical breaking points with cheaper models. Along with the bands, you also get a carrying bag, a door anchor, the 2 cushioned hand straps, 2 ankle straps, a workout poster with a ton of workout combinations, and a workout guide. With all that, you can start training all of your muscle groups from the upper body ones to lower body muscles such as your glutes.
As a whole, the only downside to this set is that it is slightly more expensive than some other resistance band sets out there. If you look past that, though, it is a solid option for any beginner and intermediate.
- Excellent for beginners
- High-quality tube bands
- 5 resistance levels
- Workout guide
- Workout poster
- Good for full-body workouts
- Don’t come with a ton of accessories like other sets
Best With Handles – SPRI Xertube Resistance Band
If you’re looking for a single tube-styled resistance band that you can take with you everywhere and that is comfortable enough thanks to its flexible handles, the SPRI Xertube resistance band is a solid option. It comes in two variations – with and without a door attachment, suitable for both people that want to use it outdoors as well as people that train at their home.
It also comes in 5 different resistance levels ranging from Light (yellow) to Ultra Heavy (purple). Despite having different tension to them, they are also different in length. The light tube is 44 inches while the ultra-heavy is measuring 53 inches in length. The band itself is made out of 100% genuine latex and is extremely durable. That makes it suitable for continuous upper-body workouts.
- Decently priced
- Very durable
- 5 resistance options
- Can come with a door attachment
- Excellent for upper body workouts
- Comfortable handles
- Limited practicality
- The ultra-heavy option isn’t good enough for pros
Resistance Bands Buyer’s Guide
If you’re new to resistance bands, buying a new set might be quite difficult due to the insane amount of models out there. There are sets, various tensions, uses, handles, and a whole lot of other features that can confuse even someone familiar with bands. This is why now we will talk more about all the different types of bands out there and then discuss the features that define a good resistance band. That way, even if you haven’t set your eyes on a certain model, you will know what to look for.
Types of Resistance Bands
While there are is a huge variety of resistance bands out there, you can boil down most models to 5 individual types. Those are:
- Power bands
- Tube bands
- Mini bands
- Figure-8 bands
- Therapy bands
Let’s take a look at each one of those types now and see what their biggest advantages and disadvantages are compared to the other types…
Power bands (or loop bands) are essentially what you see in almost every gym when it comes to resistance bands. They are large and flat rubber bands that are used for a wide variety of exercises. Apart from their versatility, they allow you to work through your full range of motions as well as implement them in any part of your workout, no matter if it is aerobically focused or built around muscle gains. In most cases, these bands come in sets with varying resistance numbers ranging from 10 to 150 lbs.
Tube bands (with or without handles) are another type of resistance bands that are designed to mimic gym equipment more accurately. They can easily be attached to anchor points as well as doors and/or poles. They all good for chest and hand exercises and come with resistance levels between 5 and 50 lbs. Some people even argue that they bring a more realistic feeling of resistance, although their durability is often questionable compared to the power bands.
Mini bands are exactly what you’d expect them to be – small, practical, and with enough resistance to allow you to do hip exercises and other workouts that don’t require large ranges of motion. They are smaller, wider, and thinner and are often made out of different materials than rubber (such as fabric). Their primary use is to exercises your legs by attaching them to your upper legs, knees, or ankles. They are ideal for rehabilitation and women that want to slowly work their way into power bands.
As their name suggests, figure 8 bands are shaped with two separate loops combined with a middle part that is often padded. On both sides, you have handles which make them very easy to hold and use. They are focused primarily on upper body exercises. Where they truly shine is that they can double as a mini band or even as a tube band, depending on their size and resistance.
Speaking of rehabilitation, the therapy bands are a larger alternative to mini bands. They are equally thin but often way longer. By being that long and that thin, they provide little resistance combined with a lot of potential range. That means that you can provide your body with a low-impact workout that makes them ideal for physical therapy. Also, they are an excellent addition to your dynamic workout routine.
Now that we’re done discussing the different types of bands and their benefits and drawbacks, let’s go through some of the most important features that you should be looking for before you buy your first set…
Important Resistance Band Features
- Number of bands
As we already discussed, there are quite a lot of types out there and you should be picking your bands based upon that. However, I would always recommend getting a full set of bands that has tube and power bands of different resistances, thicknesses, and lengths. This will be more expensive but will ultimately give you the freedom to choose your exercise resistances and build your way up the ladder. If you are looking for a band that will help you for a specific muscle group, such as glutes, then look for mini bands or power bands that are shorter in length and have a relatively low resistance to them (10-50 lbs). For more diverse workouts, look for longer bands with higher resistance levels or figure-8 bands.
Up until a few years ago, resistance bands only came in one or two material options, mostly rubber-related. Rubber and skin, however, don’t go well together, which created an opportunity for brands to come up with better material options such as natural latex and fabric. The natural latex is extremely durable and has a long service life while being easy on your skin at the same time. Still, if you are all about comfort, fabric bands are the way to go. They are extremely comfortable and don’t slip on your skin too much. They are fairly limited in the amount of resistance they can provide, though, which makes them a good option only for a few certain exercises mostly geared towards women and kids.
The resistance is arguably the most important metric that you should be looking for in your bands. While most manufacturers claim different tension numbers (measured in lbs.) you should be taking that wit ha grain of salt, according to experts. See, resistance bands work best when you stretch them. The more you stretch, the harder it gets. This means that it is rather hard to add a number to the resistance every person will be feeling when stretching the said band since everyone will be stretching it to a different point. This is why the pounds of resistance of each band should only serve as a guide to how hard it will be to stretch that specific band, rather than an accurate representation of its tension capabilities.
If you are really set on measuring your strength, doing it with weights is always going to be a much more accurate way rather than bands. Bands have different thicknesses, lengths, and resistances to them, giving them a very wide range of weight. For example, some power bands can have a weight range from 40 to 100 lbs. This is far too wide for it to be any sort of guidance for your strength.
The rule of thumb here is to choose resistance bands that don’t snap back as soon as you’re done with the exercise movement. Choose models (weights/resistances) that you can easily control throughout the whole range of movement. If you can control the band for a few sets with 10+ reps each, then this is just about right for you. Once this gets easy, move onto to the next resistance level or weight.
The length of your resistance band matters only for the type of exercises you will be performing. If you’re going to work on your upper body with the band locked underneath your legs, you will need longer bands. That isn’t everything though. A long band that has its tension kick in late is practically useless in these situations. This is why you need to find the band with the perfect balance between length and tension activation. Some bands become hard to pull as soon as you go beyond their normal length. These are typically the heaviest ones. If you will train your thighs or glutes most of the time, look for wider and shorter bands that will be comfortable around your legs and that will provide tension at a shorter length.
Handles are found primarily on resistance tubes. Look for tubes with soft handles that turn 360-degrees and don’t tangle your cable as you move around. That will give you greater freedom of motion when working out. There are some detachable handles that end with a carabiner that can be attached to any of the resistance bands from your tube set. In fact, most training sets that offer multiple weights offer you handles that are interchangeable.
The convenience of any set of resistance bands comes from a few factors – how easy they are to use and set up, how bulky they are, and how much they weigh. All that determines their portability and whether or not you can easily pack them for your next trip for a quick workout in the hotel. Natural latex and fabric materials are quite lightweight, although fabric resistance bands are much slimmer and easier to carry around, especially since they mostly come with a carrying bag.
Another thing that adds to the convenience of some bands is their handles. Tube bands are the ones that come with handles most of the time. Look for comfortable handles that aren’t too soft and can twist with your wrist movements. Door attachments are also a welcome feature, especially for tube bands.
Number of bands
The number of bands in your pack is going to determine the value of it. While most bands for squats or figure-8 bands sell individually, power bands and resistance tubes tend to sell in sets of 5-8 bands with varying tension. In other words, you get a full-body workout set with bands that are thin and lightweight as well as thick and heavy bands. If you’re sure you want to get a set, try to avoid the cheaper ones as they tend to rip or break and aren’t often made out of 100% genuine latex. You can identify the cheaper models by the fact that they are made out of TPE (thermoplastic elastomer) which is much cheaper and far less durable in the long run.
The more accessories you get the better. There is no way around it. There are some packs out there that come with jump ropes, removable handles, carry bags, yoga/warm-up mats, door anchor attachments, and more. All of these are great to have if you want a one set to rule them all but as with my previous point was, make sure that you aren’t cutting any corners with the budget on such a set since most of the cheap ones aren’t of the best quality either.
A single good resistance band should cost you anywhere between 10 and 30 bucks depending on its type. Smaller, cloth bands tend to be cheaper and are in the 10-15 dollar range. Bigger sets of bands cost more than 30 dollars and, based on what they bring to the table, can cost as much as 100 dollars.
Benefits of Using Resistance Bands
There are a ton of reasons behind the surging success of resistance bands in the last decade. They have taken the fitness world by storm and now almost every type of athlete is using them in one way or another. Some of the best benefits of using them are:
- You go through the same range of motion and muscle activity without the high chance of injuring yourself from performing the normal exercise with machines or other gear
- Resistance bands provide a large amount of exercising for your muscles
- Your core muscles’ power greatly improves
- Your body’s stabilization abilities will get on a whole new level
- They are an inexpensive way to workout from home
- Resistance bands are excellent for static and dynamic stretching as well as for mobility training
- They are being used more and more in rehabilitation procedures
- A simple resistance band set can equip you with the tools to perform countless exercises
Frequently Asked Questions
Do resistance bands actually work?
Resistance bands can actually mimic most of the exercises you do at the gym or outdoors. They definitely work, albeit in a slightly different fashion. See, for instance, biceps curls will have the majority of the muscle’s effort in the middle of the movement, while with resistance band you will always have it at the end since they provide a function of well… resistance. The more you pull the harder it gets. This is why they aren’t perfectly suitable for certain movements but are more than ideal for others.
Do resistance bands make your booty bigger?
If you use your resistance bands to focus on exercises that train your glutes, you will eventually increase the muscle sizes in that area, ultimately leading to a bigger and fitter booty.
Are resistance bands better than weights?
Inherently, weights are much more prone to injuring your body due to a variety of reasons. Resistance bands, on the other hand, are going to be much more gentle on your joints and have a smaller risk of causing any injuries to your muscles, especially if you start from lower resistances and build your way up.
When choosing the best resistance bands, you need to look for features such as their materials, resistance levels, and material quality. The type of band is also going to be important if you plan on using them for a certain exercise. As a whole, choosing a set of bands with different resistance levels is going to be the safest option for you if you’re just now getting started.