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- Resistance bands are simple pieces of elastic that create constant tension to stimulate muscle growth and increase the value of your workout.
- Of all the resistance bands out there, TheraBand makes the best ones because they’re effective, easy to use, and affordable.
If you find it hard to find the motivation to hit the gym, you may want to invest in a home gym solution. Because let’s be honest – being forced to actually leave your house to work out can sometimes be a tall order.
Luckily, you don’t have to spend thousands of dollars outfitting your home with all the latest exercise equipment and weight loss watchamacallits. Really, all you need is your body and a couple resistance bands to make a real difference in your body.
I was first introduced to resistance bands in 2014, when I became the most recent convert to the burgeoning barre trend. Although I’ve since traded the ballet-based workout for other workouts, I’ve remained a fan of resistance bands, because these simple pieces of elastic create constant tension, they effectively stimulate muscle growth. And to make things even better, they don’t add strain onto your joints in the same way, say, a set of dumbbells might. Better yet, resistance bands are super lightweight and portable, so you can take your workout anywhere you go.
When picking a great set of resistance bands, you’ll want to ask yourself a few questions. First and foremost, what type of workout are you most interested in pursuing? A pilates-based workout will require something different from a HIIT workout, though both can be equally effective in upping your fitness levels.
Next, think about what parts of your body you’re most interested in working. While some resistance bands are best suited for your lower body, others are great for pullup training, while others still can be used for full-body workouts.
Then, consider the level of resistance you’re looking for. If you’re already quite advanced in your fitness journey, you may be fine with a some seriously tight bands. But if you’re just getting started on your resolution, you may be better off with some more elastic bands.
Finally, like any purchase, you’ll want to keep the price point of your resistance bands in mind. Granted, few of these sets will set you back more than $40 or so, but if you’re also looking to slim down your spending habits in the new year, this could be an important point to consider.
No matter which of our favorite resistance bands you choose, we’re confident you’ll get a great workout in.
Here are the best resistance bands you can buy:
- Best resistance bands overall: TheraBand
- Best resistance bands for a total-body workout: Bodylastics Stackable Tube Resistance Band set
- Best resistance bands to travel with: Perform Better Mini Resistance Band set
- Best versatile resistance bands: Serious Steel Resistance Band set
- Best resistance band for squats: RIMSport Elite Hip Sling Resistance Band
Read on in the slides below to check out our top picks.
The best resistance bands overall
Why you’ll love them: Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced athlete, TheraBand resistance bands can provide you with a killer workout and are thin and lightweight enough to take anywhere.
My first experience with resistance bands was with TheraBands, and I’ve never looked back. Incredibly thin and lightweight, while somehow maintaining their strength and durability, these non-latex bands do an excellent job helping you develop muscle strength.
I’ve used them around my thighs during squats, and between my arms while working my triceps, but the possibilities (and potential muscle groups) are virtually endless.
Compared to other bands, the TheraBands offer slightly lighter resistance, starting at 2.4 pounds and ranging up to 21.3 pounds. As such, I like these bands for a wide range of exercises. Whether you’re making your barre workout just a bit harder or using them for some quick HIIT moves, the TheraBands will do the trick. That said, if you’re looking for serious resistance, you may need something a bit heftier.
I’ve also been impressed by just how durable these bands really are. While they look as though they might snap at any given moment, I’ve had mine for years without issue. My old gym also kept these around, and despite their constant usage by hundreds of clients, the TheraBands withstood the test of time. If they do break, their lack of any metal or plastic parts will help keep you safe.
Thanks to the latex-free construction of these bands, folks with allergies or sensitivities won’t have to worry. While other bands may have handles or thick, cord-like composition, these supremely portable bands are easily compacted, making them a breeze to throw in your gym bag or your suitcase.
Pros: Latex-free, lightweight, extremely versatile in function, inexpensive
Cons: If you’re looking for more resistance, this may not be quite enough for you
The best resistance bands for a total-body workout
Why you’ll love them: If you’re looking for a comprehensive workout with your new favorite accessories, the Bodylastics Stackable Tube Resistance Bands may be the way to go.
For a full workout in a bag, turn to the Bodylastics Stackable Tube Resistance Band set. I love this set because it not only comes with five bands of varying resistance – from three to 19 pounds – but also includes two handles, two ankle straps, one door anchor, a carrying bag, and an instructional book.
Key to the popularity of this set is its patented anti-snap safety design, which involves a Snap Guard inner safety cord to prevent any unfortunate mishaps. While some similar offerings have a nasty habit of snapping, sending metal or plastic pieces into your wall or, worse yet, your face, this set is designed to avoid these situations.
While each individual band doesn’t have huge amounts of resistance, the stackable design of this set allows you to add or subtract resistance as needed for various muscle groups, all the way up to 96 pounds.
The set also comes with an exercise book that contains exercises designed to target biceps, triceps, chest, upper/lower back, abs/core, and legs. If you’re a beginner in the world of fitness, using this guidebook can be an excellent starting point. Alternatively, if you’re well-versed in your workouts, you can modify these suggestions to create a customized workout that is as safe as it is tough.
Pros: Wide range of resistance, comes with exercise book and accessories, effectively a “mini gym” in a bag, extremely safe
Cons: Pricier than others
The best resistance bands to travel with
- Perform Better
Why you’ll love them: The Professional Mini Exercise Bands are small yet mighty, making them ideal for taking on the road.
This resistance band set from Perform Better is intended to help with physical therapy and rehabilitation exercises, but can also be put to work on a wide range of other uses. I love that these mini bands are, as the name suggests, small and portable, which makes them super convenient to take to hotel gyms or other temporary workout locations.
Happy customers have noted that the four bands included in this set really do offer varying levels of intensity for your workout. One Amazon reviewer wrote, “Many brands claim to be “extra-heavy” or “extra-strength” resistance but are not actually enough resistance for some of us who work out often and have built up a lot of muscle.” The Perform Better set, however, seems to deliver.
Moreover, thanks to these bands’ relatively small size, they’re especially effective for more petite users. All four of the bands are 9 inches by 2 inches and can be used around the ankles, the legs, thighs, and wrists.
Pros: Offers a great workout due to small size, lightweight, portable
Cons: Because these bands are smaller, your workout starts immediately, which may be a bit intense for some
The best versatile resistance bands
- Serious Steel Fitness
Why you’ll love them: With resistance up to 120 pounds and a considerable variation in lengths and widths, the Serious Steel Resistance Bands are our favorites for diverse exercises.
Serious Steel Assisted Pull-Up, Resistance, and Stretch Bands are sold both as individuals and as sets, which means that you can easily choose your own adventure. And for the most adventurous, you can get pretty steep resistance.
The most serious of the Serious bands clocks resistances of up to 150 pounds, but don’t worry – if you want something less intimidating, the brand also sells bands with resistances of just two pounds.
Thanks to this wide range, this set is particularly useful for developing strength over time or working up to exercises like pullups. They’re also great for stretching and building overall strength. Because the finish on the Serious set is more of a powder than the classic slick rubber feel, you won’t lose your grip on these bands as you work up a sweat.
These bands are made of fused latex sheets, which makes them particularly durable. That said, if you have a latex allergy or sensitivity, you’ll want to stay far away from these guys. If not, however, you’ll be able to enjoy the smooth stretch of these bands, and an odd but not at all upsetting vanilla-esque scent.
Pros: Wide range of resistance, length, and width; extremely durable; great for stretching and assisted strength exercises
Cons: Much more expensive than others
Buy the full Serious Steel Resistance Band set on Amazon for $109.90 – or get individual bands for $9 to $30
The best resistance band for squats
Why you’ll love it: For folks working specifically on their squat form, one of the best bands on the market is the RIMSports Elite Hip Sling Resistance.
You won’t be overwhelmed by optionality when it comes to the RIMSports Elite Hip Sling Resistance Band. Rather than giving you multiple bands with varying resistance levels to choose from, this singular circle hip band does a great job all on its lonesome.
In particular, the RIMSports offering is intended to help you achieve perfect form when squatting. It works well for both men and women and doesn’t slip as you squat, deadlift, or lunge – all exercises that require excellent lower-body form.
On its own, the band offers relatively high resistance, and you can make adjustments as needed by spreading your legs further apart or bringing them closer together. The band comes in just two sizes – Small/Medium for folks under 150 pounds, and Medium/Large for folks who have surpassed that threshold. Regardless of which suits you best, the abductor resistance band will help you strengthen your glutes and hips, or provide a great stretch pre or post-workout.
I also appreciate the soft and durable material used in the RIMSport band, which makes it comfortable to wear around your thighs even for longer periods of time. Plus, these bands promise to be snap, stretch, and sweat resistant.
If you’ve been looking for a way to ensure that your knees are pointing in the same direction of your toes, or that your back remains straight while squatting, this may be the resistance band for you.
Pros: Encourages great form, straightforward to use, non-slip, comfortable material
Cons: Comparatively limited in function