The Best Resistance Bands of 2022 – Sports Illustrated

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The Best Resistance Bands You Can Snag Right Now

Hear us out: Resistance bands may be the most underrated piece of fitness equipment in your home gym. They’re versatile, portable, affordable and—the best part—they are highly effective training tools. Resistance bands provide similar and more cost effective strength training benefits than free weights/dumbbells. They provide a range of resistance that you can control, allow for a greater range of motion, and can be used in speed movements as well as tempo exercises—all of which are at the core of strength training. So toss out the notion that resistance bands are flimsy or ineffective because, quite simply, they are awesome.

There are more types of resistance bands on the market than flavors of Oreos, so deciding on the right ones for your goals can be overwhelming. There are bands with different load capacities, resistance levels, styles, prices and purposes. The most utilized types are loop bands, therapy bands, mini bands and tubular bands with handles. Most are low cost, and all are practical. It’s an understatement to say that you’d be missing out not to add a resistance band set to your training or recovery regime. Beyond training, resistance bands are a phenomenal tool for rehabilitation, improving mobility and stretching.

So how do you know which resistance bands are the best for you? This review of the best resistance bands in 2022 will dive into the pros, cons and distinct features of the best resistance bands you can snag right now—plus a comprehensive guide on how to choose the best bands for your fitness or recovery goals.


Our Picks for the Best Resistance Bands:


Bodylastics Bands

You would be hard pressed to find a resistance band with better anti-snap features than the Bodylastics Stackable Tube Resistance Bands. They come equipped with a unique inner cord safety system. This patented design was engineered to ensure that they don’t over stretch, which is the most common reason why bands snap. The strong inner cord not only prevents overstretching, but also prevents the tube from snapping back at you in the unlikely case that the band breaks.

These high-quality bands are made from 100% natural Malaysian latex using the “continuous dip method,” which reduces the likelihood that they’ll stretch out over time. The Bodylastics Stackable Tube Resistance Bands also provide a great range of resistance, starting at three pounds and capping off at a maximum of 202 pounds. As the name suggests, these bands are stackable, so you can simply clip on additional bands to the anchor point to increase the tension on any given exercise.

If you’re not interested in heavy resistance, but still looking for toning body exercises, simply increase the reps without stacking the bands. The patented carabiner clip is coated with fade-resistant nickel and designed to stay upright and keep any stacked bands securely clipped in.

In addition to being all-around quality bands, the Bodylastics Tube Resistance Band Sets come with two non-slip handles, an ankle strap, door anchors, a carrying bag and a PDF guide. They are available in two different sets on Amazon: the set of five bands offers up to 96 pounds of resistance, and the seven band set up provides up to 202 pounds of resistance. You’ll also want to take advantage of the free training portal, which houses over 5,600 on-demand workouts for muscle building, cardio and flexibility.


Buy Bodylastics Stackable Tube Resistance Bands ($49.95/set of 5; $91.97/set of 7)


Serious Steel Bands

Pull ups are one of the best movements you can do to build functional upper body strength, but properly executing this movement can be challenging for some. This is where the Serious Steel Assisted Pull Up Bands step in. Rather than a singular molded tube or band, the Serious Steel bands are a continuous latex loop providing varied levels of assistance. They’re sold both individually and in sets, which allow you to scale back how much resistance or assistance you use as your strength increases.

Depending on your body weight, strength and form, you can choose from a set of two that provides five to 50 pounds of assistance all the way up to a set of six that provides five to 150 pounds—all of which are available on Amazon. Though these bands are great for pull ups, their usage isn’t limited to that. The Serious Steel Bands can be used for a variety of mobility work, warm ups and strength exercises for both your upper and lower body. You can find eGuides on Serious Steel’s website that detail how to use their bands and get you to that first unassisted pull up.


Buy Serious Steel Assisted Pull Up Bands ($28.90+/set)


Rogue Monster Bands2

Rogue Monster Bands are so named because they can handle up to 200 pounds of heavy resistance. All that extra load-bearing capacity makes them a prime option for heavier individuals looking to perform assisted pull ups. The Rogue Monster Bands can be purchased individually or as a set with a starting resistance weight of 15 pounds.

All of the Rogue Monster Bands are 41 inches long and made from high-quality latex rubber, but the thicknesses and widths differ depending on the resistance level. Our favorite features? They are color-coded and have a reputation for their durability and versatility. The eight color-coded versions of the Rogue Monster Bands each lend themselves to different types of training—from stretching and mobility work to progressive load exercises. You can train from the comfort of your home gym or toss them in a gym bag and get a workout anywhere you like.


Buy Rogue Monster Bands ($80/set; individual bands $17.25+)


Perform Better Mini Band

Mini Bands have made their mark in the world of fitness as an effective and versatile training tool most often used in muscle activation and stabilization exercises. The Perform Better Mini Bands are sold at a budget-friendly price on Amazon and come in singles, sets of four, or sets of 10. All of the sets are color-coded to reflect light, medium, heavy and extra-heavy, and are available in both a 9-inch and 12-inch length for each resistance level. Potential users can purchase multiple bands at just one strength or take advantage of the variety packs that include all four resistance levels.

Like many of the top performing exercise bands, the Perform Better Mini Bands are made of natural rubber latex. Incorporate these bands into a dynamic warmup and use them to activate the core, hip, hamstring, glutes and shoulders.

In addition to their versatility, mini bands are very portable and can be used anywhere. Whether you use them for a home workout, while traveling or at the office, the Perform Better Mini Bands take up minimal real estate. Weighing less than one-half pound, they make for a great travel companion.


Buy Perform Better Mini Bands ($18.95+/set)


Fit Simplify Resistance Loop Bands

Finding a quality product at a low cost is an all-around win. Fit Simplify Resistance Loop bands are a solid budget-friendly choice for anyone looking to snag a set of resistance bands without eating into their bank account. Made from natural rubber, the Fit Simplify Resistance Loop Band comes in five different resistance levels that are color coded. The band measures 12 inches long and 2 inches wide, but the thickness varies based on the resistance it offers.

Whether you’re a seasoned athlete or just starting out your fitness journey, the extra light to extra heavy range of resistance can work for just about everyone. If you’re unsure where to start, Fit Simplify provides an instruction booklet with every purchase. These lightweight resistance training tools are portable, and, thanks to the free carry bag included with your order, it’s easy to bring them anywhere you want to sneak in a strength, mobility or stretch session.

The Fit Simplify Resistance Loop bands may also be used as part of a rehabilitation program while recovering from an injury. Often used in physical therapy sessions, resistance bands work to target stabilizer muscles and improve mobility.


Buy Fit Simplify Resistance Loop ($12.95)


Go Fit Extreme ProGym set

We found the GoFit ProGym Extreme Set to be an easy-to-use choice for beginners and anyone looking to incorporate resistance tube training into their workout routine. Each set of the GoFit ProGym Extreme bands includes four premium rubber resistance tubes at weight increments of 20, 30, 40 and 50 pounds. Because multiple bands can be used simultaneously, this set will continue to work even as your strength improves. The four tubes allow for 12 weight combinations up to 140 pounds of resistance.

Each resistance tube in the GoFit ProGym Extreme Set is constructed from extra thick nylon webbing, reinforced stitching and heavy duty metal connecting rings. The set also includes heavy caliber carabiners, metal connecting rings, reinforced door anchors, padded ankle straps, a carry bag and professional-grade handles. GoFit ProGym Extreme provides a professionally developed laminated exercise manual, which is a great perk for beginners needing some guidance when starting band training. Think of the manual as your very own personal trainer.


Buy GoFit ProGym Extreme Set ($59.99)


Best Non-Latex Resistance Bands: THERABAND

Therband

If you suffer from a latex allergy or simply prefer non-latex products, the THERABAND resistance bands may be for you. Made from all-natural rubber, this set includes three color-coded resistance levels—each with its own range of weight provided. The yellow band offers around three to four pounds of resistance, the red offers around four to five and a half pounds, and the green offers four and a half to six and a half pounds. You’re also likely to appreciate that the non-latex rubber doesn’t pinch skin when performing exercises.

Each THERABAND measures 5 feet long and 4 inches wide. This size lends itself to a large variety of exercises. Use THERABAND for yoga, pilates, strength training, rehabilitation or stretching to enhance mobility and strength. In comparison to other resistance bands, these don’t offer as much resistance. They’re more often used to work stabilizing and small muscles, as well as to improve range of motion. You’ll likely find THERABAND is used in most physical therapy sessions for rehabilitative purposes.


Buy THERABAND Resistance Band Set (Starting at $40)


Eilison Resistance Band Kit

Measuring approximately 5 feet long, the Eilison Resistance Band Kit is our top pick for shorter people. Here’s why length matters when it comes to resistance bands: If a band is too long (or the user very short), the band won’t stretch enough to provide its intended level of resistance. Consider a bicep curl; someone who is 5 feet tall will experience much less intensity curling a band that’s too long for them than would a 6 foot tall person using that same band. At 5 feet long, the Eilision Resistance Band Kit is short enough to offer a meaningful load intensity for shorter athletes.

Made from eco-friendly natural latex, the Eilison bands are durable and can withstand strong extension. These bands come with a heavy duty protective nylon sleeve that protects users from getting hurt should the band break from being overstretched. That said, the length is limiting and not suited for taller individuals.

The Eilison Resistance Band Kit includes 13 pieces: six resistance bands, two door anchors, two anti-slip foam handles, two padded ankle straps, one carrying case and one workout guidebook. Each band is color-coded for easy identification of resistance level, and the accompanying metal carabiner can be used alone or stacked in any combination up to 210 pounds of resistance. This kit is suitable for any fitness level and a wide variety of exercises. Whether you plan to use them for chest presses, squats or a full body exercise routine, this kit will get the job done.


Buy Eilison Resistance Band Kit ($43.99/kit)


Best Unique Resistance Bands: Gorilla Bow

Gorilla Bow Original

Putting a fresh spin on garden variety bands, the Gorilla Bow is one of the more unique resistance bands you’ll come across. This innovative product combines resistance bands with the fundamentals of an ancient bow and an aircraft-grade piece of aluminum. The resulting tool effectively builds muscles while reducing joint stress. With an impressive bow weight capacity of 300 pounds, the Gorilla Bow can work for those looking to lift heavy as well as those just starting out.

Included in your purchase are four exercise bands that can be stacked for increased tension. Each band stretches two and a half times its length. Ranging in weight from 10 pounds to 50 pounds, the Gorilla Bands slip into the 56 inch bow for use. What’s more, as you gain strength, you have the option to purchase additional heavy bands to continually challenge yourself. Unfortunately, the bands are not labeled with their weight, but that information can be found online should you need it.

When you purchase the Gorilla Bow, you also get a Gorilla Bow band wrap and an accessory case with a drawstring and spring-clasp lock closure. Weighing just six pounds, it’s portable and can be used anywhere to get a full body workout. Throw the bow over your shoulder for some squat work or loop the band around your feet while seated for some bicep curls.

Perhaps the most impressive thing about the Gorilla Bow is that it comes with its own all-access app, which houses a variety of interactive programming. You’ll get a 30-day free trial with your purchase, and you can purchase a monthly or yearly membership after the trial period ends. There are six categories to choose from on this app: Functional Training, High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), Flow, Strength, Beginner and Tabata.

Many users find the Gorilla Bow to be more engaging than traditional resistance bands, likely because of its unique design and programming. It’s more expensive than standard resistance bands, but in comparison to other fitness equipment, it’s cost and space effective.


Buy Gorilla Bow ($199.99)


How Do Resistance Bands Work?

Resistance bands all share one defining characteristic: as the range of motion increases on any given band, so does the resistance load. Think of it as a giant elastic band. For example, when performing a shoulder press, you must control the band as you move your arms overhead and the resistance gets progressively harder.

Unlike free weights, resistance bands provide continuous tension throughout the entire range of motion. The inherent properties of rubber/elastic encourage the muscles to remain engaged throughout the whole movement, whereas free weights do not. If you want the best of both worlds, resistance bands can effectively be added to free weight training for a more significant strength gain.

Types of Resistance Bands

Depending on your goals for resistance band use, there are several types to choose from. To help you figure out which type is best for you, we’ll explore them here and show how they can be used.

Loop Resistance Bands

Loop resistance bands are one of the most versatile tools you can add to your workout routine. They are small enough to toss in a carry bag and take with you anywhere. Sold both individually and in sets, loops are color coded by resistance level. These bands are most often used to activate and strengthen small muscle groups.

Lighter level resistance bands lend themselves to exercises that wake up and engage small muscles prior to and during a workout. When used correctly, they can even add additional resistance to improve endurance and the strength of stabilizing muscles. For example, before heading out for a run, a loop band can be used to activate the glute with exercises like single leg abductions or deadlifts. A simple Google search will yield a ton of guides on activation workouts.

Medium resistance bands are good for targeting specific singular muscle groups like triceps and biceps. You can use them for curls, tricep pull downs or face pulls—among countless other exercises. Medium bands also make a good addition to traditional strength training with a kettlebell or dumbbell.

Heavy loop resistance bands can be used to work large muscle groups such as legs, chest and back. The heavier resistance is great for chest press, resisted push ups, assisted pull ups, deadlifts, squats, overhead press and lat rows. Again, Google is a great resource for finding a seemingly endless list of exercises. Loop bands can be used entirely on their own or added to weights for additional resistance.

Tube Bands With Handles

Tube resistance bands are typically constructed with a longer tube measuring around 4 feet or more. They come with an anchor point and two plastic handles on each end. Tube bands often use a carabiner mechanism to anchor them, which allows you to stack multiple bands for greater resistance.

Tube bands are great for training the entire body. Whether you use them in pushing movements (such as chest press and overhead press) or in pulling movements (such as lat or supine rows), you’re able to tailor the resistance, adding more as your strength increases.

Therapy Bands

As the name indicates, therapy bands are most often used for rehabilitation. They have a flat surface, are typically made from latex and are used to rehabilitate problems with functional movement. They’re easy on your body and work well to target stabilizing muscles. Physical therapists use these in a variety of exercises to improve your structural balance.

Mini Bands

Mini bands are technically a subgroup of loop bands. Similar to the therapy bands, mini bands have a flat surface rather than tubular. Typically, mini bands do not provide as much resistance as tubular or longer, thicker loop bands. Don’t be fooled, though—you can still get a killer full body workout with mini bands.

To train your lower body, here are just a few of the many exercises that target legs, hips and buttocks: single leg bridges, banded squats, standing kickbacks and banded side steps. Want to engage your core? Use the mini bands to perform plank kickbacks or banded bicycle ab crunches. Last but not least, some exercises that work your upper body include banded push ups and archer pulls.

Mini bands are also used for stretching and mobility work due to their inherently smaller size and lighter resistance.

How to Choose the Right Type of Band

In order to choose the right type of band, you need to identify your skill level and how you plan to use your bands. For example, if you’re training for a marathon and want to add some muscle activation exercises before lacing up, mini bands and lightweight loop bands best suit your needs. If you’re looking to add resistance bands to your weight training regime or as a stand-alone tool to gain strength, tubular bands with handles or medium-to-heavy resistance loop bands work much better than would a therapy or mini band.

What Else to Look for in Resistance Bands

Length:

Resistance bands come in a variety of lengths. Depending on the type and brand, lengths can vary from several inches to several feet long. The length of the band is important for two reasons: First, if you’re an extremely short or tall individual, you want to ensure the length is proportional to your height. If you have a band that’s too short, it likely won’t provide enough elasticity for most movements. On the other hand, a band that’s too long won’t be tight enough to provide the resistance that you need or want. If you’re not sure about what length to choose, we recommend choosing a longer band. Most resistance bands can be tied or wrapped to shorten the band.

Material/Design

Not all resistance bands are created equal. Most are made of some kind of rubber or elastic-like tubing. Different materials have different quality levels, which affects the lifespan of your bands. A resistance band, by nature, stretches during use, and if the material is poor, the bands could overstretch and tear. Natural rubber latex is your safest bet.

Some bands come with a nylon sheath over the inner tubing. These resistance bands are made to stand up against the test of time as the nylon prevents overstretching. If the band should break, the nylon cover protects you from any snapback.

Cost

In addition to considering your intended use of a band, knowing your budget before you begin your search is critical. Resistance bands can be found at every price point, sold both individually and as sets. Don’t waste your time looking at a set that you can’t afford. Budget-friendly resistance bands can be just as durable and effective as expensive ones.

The Takeaway

Resistance bands are an underrated training tool that effectively work to improve strength, mobility and even endurance. Their versatility, small size and low cost make them a great addition to any home gym or workout routine. If you’re planning on integrating resistance bands into your training and recovery routine, there’s a lot to consider. Fundamentally, all resistance bands work the same: As they are stretched out, the resistance load increases. However, they vary greatly in design, material and price, so it’s important to know how you intend to use them before you buy.

Prices are accurate and items in stock at time of publishing.

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