If you're looking for a way to upgrade your home gym, the best resistance bands are a great way to go: they're small so they won't clutter up your living spaces, and are relatively affordable. We've asked personal trainer Josh Peters his opinion, and he said resistance bands are "an alternative to using more traditional equipment such as barbells and dumbbells".
"The beauty of resistance bands is that they can be purchased in a variety of different strengths - this means that not only can you slowly add more challenge to rehab movements over time, but the movements can be performed in the gym, home or at an outdoor venue," says Josh Peters, Personal Trainer at SIX3NINE gym
"As the length of the band increases, the amount of resistance increases too. This means that we can alter the strength curve of certain movements, meaning our muscles are being challenged at different parts of the exercise," says Peters.
Strength bands are not only a great replacement for barbells and dumbbells, they can be a good tool to improve your flexibility. They are also a great way to ease back in to exercise after an injury. However, Josh Peters says "this must be done in a progressive manner as it is common for people to push too hard too soon after injury."
The choice of materials, strengths, and brand can be a bit overwhelming in your search for the best resistance bands for you - luckily, we've rounded up and tested a range of products suited for different abilities and budgets. If you're after more home gym kit, check out our roundup of the best home weights set deals.
Best resistance bands
These latex bands are a bright and colorful way to make your workout more challenging.
The Fit Simplify resistance bands scores 4.5 out of 5 from Amazon customers, who mention their great quality, despite their low price and their variety of tensions. Positive reviews concentrate how sturdy they feel and also how they are better than some of their competitors, at the same price. However, negative reviews claim that the bands roll when using them, making them uncomfortable, while they also give off a latex smell.
The short loops are perfect for arm and glute movements and the five different tension ranges are great for the whole family, or to use for different workout moves. The bands are clearly marked with which tension they are, so you’ll never exercise with the wrong one, plus they also come with a small booklet for different exercises that you can perform with them.
Some latex bands can pinch the skin and feel flimsy, but this smooth design means that you shouldn’t be able to feel them as you exercise. The bands come in a small black bag, which should make them great for packing away when you’ve finished using them, or if you want to take on holiday with you. Their budget price also means you won’t be spending a fortune when adding to your home gym.
These small loop resistance bands are designed to be lightweight but durable.
Customers on Amazon give the Perform Better Exercise Mini Band an average score of 4.5 out of 5, however, many complained that they broke or snapped when using them. However, some positive reviews say that the bands are easy to clean and store, because of how small they are. Negative reviews cited that they roll up when using them, especially on the thighs, and others say that the biggest band, XL, was very large and hard to use.
This should make them a great choice for leg and glute workouts as well as small arm exercises. They’re available in four different sizes – yellow is light resistance, green is medium resistance, blue is heavy resistance and black is extra-heavy resistance.
You also have a choice on how you can buy them - either as a single band, as a set of 4 with the different resistances or as a set of 10, where they’re all the same resistance. In the mid range of affordability, some users have stated that the bands don’t feel very durable, especially when performing intense moves. Meanwhile, they can also apparently unravel on the skin, which would make them uncomfortable to use for some exercises.
These non loop resistance bands are available in three different colors and tensions - starting at 3lbs and going up to 4.6lbs.
The TheraBand Resistance Bands Set has a 4.5 average score out of 5 on Amazon, with 70 percent of happy customers giving the band 5 stars. Positive reviews concentrated on how the red band is a great way to warm the muscles up before you use the heavier bands, while others say they are perfect for toning. Negative reviews claim that the packaging was poor, while some questioned why they don’t come with an instruction or exercise booklet
This makes them perfect for beginners or for those who want to add a small amount of tension to their exercises. The 150cm long bands come as a set, helping you gradually increase the weight as you get fitter. Perfect for toning and stretching they can also be used in pilates or as part of a yoga class.
Theraband are a well respected brand in the fitness world, so you can expect durable bands that will last for years. Made from a natural rubber latex, the smoothness of the bands means that they shouldn’t rub on skin as you use them to workout. At just over $20 for three bands, these bands are not only lightweight and easy to store, they’re also affordable too.
If you want to buy numerous resistance bands in a bundle this set could be just the thing.
Amazon customers have rated the set of bands 4.7 out of 5, with only 3 percent marking them below a 3. Positive reviewers on Amazon said that the longer bands were great quality, despite their cheap price, while others said they were perfect for using at home and storing away afterwards. Negative reviews said that the door anchor wasn’t made well and didn’t last long and that the smaller bands are quick to snap.
It's made up of five longer bands with varying resistance, five smaller looped bands and accessories such as ankle straps, handles and door anchors. In fact, this bundle has everything you need for a full-body workout. Light and durable, these resistance bands can also be packed away in the black case that comes with them.
The colored longer resistance bands start with a 10lb yellow band and go up to a 50lbs red band. Meanwhile, the smaller loop bands also differ in weight - ranging from light to XX heavy. The longer bands attach to the non-slip handle and ankle straps and can be paired together to create more resistance. At just over $25 they are a very affordable way to add to your home gym.
If you’ve had enough of small flimsy bands breaking on you, then these heavy duty bands could be exactly what you’re looking for.
Gaining a reputable 4.6 points out of 5 on Amazon the bands have positive reviews claiming they are great for assisted pull ups and the range of weights means they’re a great way to exercise at home. However negative reviews say that, despite claiming that they are heavy duty, they can still snap after a few years.
Made with high quality latex, the thick bands are durable and shouldn’t snap easily. The long loops are great for overhead arm exercises and for making leg and glute exercises such as overhead squats harder.
The five bands are both sold separately and as part of a set, with the resistance starting at just 2lbs and going up to 200lbs. This would make them perfect for anyone who wants to increase the weight they’re working with over time. The 41" bands are color–coded for their different resistance, helping you know exactly which one to pick up when performing a varied workout. For a set of four the bands cost just over $30, so they’re also an affordable option.
As the name suggests, this isn’t just a resistance band, but bands that attach to a bow and give you a full body workout.
Despite the premium pricing, over 72% of Amazon reviewers gave the set of bands a 5 star review, commenting on the quality of the bands and the variety in resistance. The Gorilla Bow Portable Home Gym also has an average rating of 4.4 out of 5, with positive reviews citing how great it is for someone with storage issues, as it’s easy and light enough to pack away, and a perfect addition to your home gym. Negative reviews say that some exercises, such as chest presses, are hard to perform with the bow, and another says that it's not for anyone with bad flexibility or balance.
The four resistance bands, which have different resistances and colors to indicate their weights, easily clip on to the bow and can be used for arm, leg and glute exercises. The bow, which comes in 2 different weights, can also be used on its own as a weightlifting bar.
The two bars come in original or lite and they also have travel versions. They’re designed to be easy to dismantle and small enough to be popped in a suitcase, along with the bands. From 10lbs to 100lbs the 11 bands have a great variety in resistance, which should make them perfect for weightlifters and gym newbies. Meanwhile, up to four bands can be used together to create more resistance for particular moves.
These longer bands come with handles, ankle straps and even door anchors, which means that you can adapt them for different exercises.
The Bodylastics Stackable Tension Resistance Bands Set have a scoring of 4.7 out of 5 on Amazon, with over 80% 5 star reviews. Many agree that the bands are well made and are great for a full body workout. Positive comments say that they’re great for toning, while others praised them for the variety in their weights. Negative comments focus on how expensive they are and how awkward it feels when the ankle attachments are used.
The anti-snap bands come in packs of five, six or seven, dependent on the weight. With loops on the end they can easily attach the accessories by clipping them on. With the handles attached you can perform full body exercises, while the ankle straps allow you to adapt the bands for glute moves.
All the bands have the brand's Snap Guard inner safety cord, making them safe if they do snap when you’re exercising. The variety in resistance means you can easily and quickly increase the resistance to match your exercise. Meanwhile, the three options mean that they’re suitable for anyone from beginners to those who are more experienced. Starting at just under $50 and going up to just over $80, these bands are more expensive than your traditional resistance band. However, they’re a worthy investment if you’re going to use them as part of your new home gym.
Some bands can pinch on the skin, but these bands are made from Thermoplastic rubber, a non latex material that’s designed to be super soft on the skin.
Meglio Latex Free Resistance Bands score an impressive 4.9 out of 5 on Amazon, with positive reviews mentioning the quality of the material used to make the bands and their affordable price. However negative reviews mention that the loops are smaller than they expected and some have found that they roll up easily when using them.
The band either comes in the traditional loop form or in 25 or 50 yard rolls, so you cut off different lengths for different exercises. The bands also come in different tension ranges from extra light for beginners to extra extra heavy for more experienced weight lifters.
Designed to be incredibly light, these rolls or looks should be able to be stored easily. To use the rolls, you simply snip your desired length off and pack it in a case for exercise on the go. The rolls are also great for physiotherapists who might want to show different patients the right exercises for rehabilitation. These bands are relatively cheap and can be bought as singles or as a set of four.
- Read our full Meglio Latex-Free Resistance Bands review
These resistance bands are longer and thicker and framed in a loop design, which should make them great for more robust movements and hanging from other pieces of equipment.
The TRX Strength bands score 3.9 out of 5 on Amazon - with over half giving the bands 5 stars. Many warn customers that they are sold separately and how resistances are heavier than they may have thought. Positive reviews concentrate on the great quality of the bands, however negative reviews warn that the heavy is very heavy and instead advise that light and medium resistance are best for stretching and exercises.
Available in five different tensions, represented by their colors, the bands get thicker the heavier they are. All bought separately, the lightest one is set at an affordable price, but the heavier the band, the more expensive they get - so it could get costly if you were looking for different tensions for multiple exercises.
Made with a durable thick rubber material, these bands shouldn’t snap easily, but they could dig or rub into your hands and legs after repetitive use. Perfect for multiple exercises - including leg stretches to weight training - they’re an alternative to traditional weights, which could take up more room. These bands can be tucked away in a drawer or cupboard and even be taken away with you - for a workout on the go.
• Read our full TRX Strength Bands review
How to choose the best resistance band for you
Resistance bands come in all shapes and sizes and are a great way to increase the resistance of some exercises. While cheap adjustable dumbbell deals and home weights set deals can certainly shave a few dollars off expensive pieces of equipment, the best resistance bands are not only even more affordable, but they're also a great space-saver too.
However, you should have in mind what types of exercises you’ll be doing before you start to shop, as different sizes can work better for different exercises. Long resistance bands are great for arm exercises, as you can use them for moves such as tricep curls and to increase the resistance of overhead squats. Meanwhile, the smaller bands are more suited for smaller, isometric movements.
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You will also need to bear in mind the weight of the bands: "When choosing a strength of the band, it is always sensible to buy a variety of bands ranging from easy to hard," personal trainer Josh Peters told Live Science, "When you first introduce a band to your workout, make sure you start with the easiest one and look to progress over time. Adding a band to an exercise can sometimes make it feel unusual and it may take a few sessions to get used to how it feels."
Peters also warns that it’s important to "buy from a reputable brand to ensure that the quality of the band is high."
The benefits of using the best resistance bands
If you’re using one of the best resistance bands in the right way, they can act as a traditional weight does - adding more weight to an exercise. Peters explains: "By adding a band to a traditional movement you can alter how hard your muscles are being challenged in certain positions. For example, in a traditional push-up - after you pass halfway up the movement starts to become easier. By adding a band, you can make the exercise harder as you pass halfway altering the traditional strength curve."
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Resistance bands can have multiple uses too. Many users will use bands to stretch after a workout in order to avoid injury and for rehabilitation purposes. It’s also worth pointing out that resistance bands are also a less expensive way to add weight or resistance to your workout - with some dumbbells or kettlebells over double the price of how much a band could cost. Plus, if space is also an issue, most resistance bands are easy to store in cupboards or drawers.