It’s no secret that resistance bands can be a fantastic piece of equipment, allowing you to have effective workouts at home, the gym, on the road, and almost everywhere else.
The question is, how do you pick the right ones, and what are some of the things to consider?
Read our guide to get familiar with the best resistance bands for exercise, including what to look for and how to pick the right ones.
The 5 Best Resistance Bands for Exercise (Muscle Gain, Athleticism, and More)
- Best Tube Bands: GoFit Extreme Pro Gym Set
- Best Tube Bands On a Budget: Whatafit Resistance Bands Set
- Best Looped Resistance Bands: FitBeast Pull Up Bands Set
- Best Flat Looped Bands: RenoJ Resistance Bands Set
- Best Overall Bands Package: BodyBoss 2.0 Full Portable Home Gym Workout Package + Resistance Bands
1. Best Tube Bands: GoFit Extreme Pro Gym Set
Number of bands: 4 (green, red, blue, and orange)
Other accessories: two quality handles with carabiners, two door anchors, two ankle straps, one bag
Tension range: 20 to 50 lbs (9 to 22.6 kilograms)
- Several accessories included
- Instruction manual inside
- Good quality and durable
- Tension isn’t enough for serious resistance training
If you’re looking for affordable and versatile resistance bands for home use, look no further than those by GoFit.
The resistance band set is more than adequate, consisting of four quality bands, two handles, door anchors, and ankle straps. Plus, if you plan on taking these bands outside or on the road, the set includes a nice bag.
You also get an instruction manual that makes it easy to understand how to use everything, not that you’re required to put anything together yourself.
The only real drawback is that the bands don’t provide as much tension, with the maximum being around 50 lbs (22.6 kilograms). Still, these bands are great for beginners and early-intermediate trainees, especially those who prefer to exercise at home.
2. Best Tube Bands On a Budget: Whatafit Resistance Bands Set
Number of bands: 5 (yellow, blue, green, black, and red)
Other accessories: one door anchor, two handles, small bag
Tension range: 10 to 50 lbs (4.5 to 22.6 kilograms)
- Multiple tension levels to pick from
- Handles and a door anchor for versatility
- Cool bag to carry them around
- Might not be as durable as more expensive resistance bands
Are you interested in purchasing some resistance bands but aren’t sure if you’re going to enjoy using them? In that case, the Whatafit resistance bands set is the perfect option. It only costs about $55 (excluding shipping), so it wouldn’t be a great loss if you don’t use them as often.
Still, these bands are pretty good for the price, and the included accessories allow you to perform many fantastic exercises, including lat pulldowns, chest flyes, band rows, bicep curls, etc.
While the listed tension levels might not be completely accurate, you can tell the difference in resistance between the five colors.
3. Best Looped Resistance Bands: FitBeast Pull Up Bands Set
Number of bands: 5 (yellow, red, black, purple, green)
Other accessories: a bag
Tension range: 5 to 125 lbs (2.2 to 56.6 kilograms)
- Great variety in tension levels
- Excellent for beginners and advanced trainees
- Looped bands that allow you to do many great exercises
- No accessories, such as a door anchor
The set by FitBeast provides some of the best resistance bands for exercise on the market today.
First, the resistance level and variety are excellent. From as little as 5 to 15 lbs from the yellow band to as much as 50 to 125 lbs on the green, there is something for everyone.
The lighter bands are perfect for warming up and isolation exercises, like bicep curls and tricep extensions. In contrast, tougher bands are ideal for heavy compound training: squats, overhead presses, and even the deadlift.
Second, these bands are looped, which offers some distinct advantages. For example, you can wrap a band on a pull-up bar, let it hang like a noose, step over it, and do band-assisted pull-ups. Similarly, you can wrap a band behind your back and over your hands to make push-ups more challenging.
You can do dozens of effective exercises for all the major muscle groups in your body with some creativity.
4. Best Flat Looped Bands: RenoJ Resistance Bands Set
Number of bands: 3 (green, pink, purple)
Other accessories: no
Tension range: 14 to 50 lbs (6.3 to 22.6 kilograms)
- Grippy and non-slip material
- High-quality and durable material
- Reasonably priced
- Mostly useful for lower body exercises
- Tension might not be enough for experienced trainees
The flat looped bands by RenoJ are fantastic for everyone interested in building an impressive lower body at home, outside, or on the road.
The set includes three resistance bands that offer unique levels of resistance, which makes them great for beginners and intermediate-level trainees.
Specifically, these ‘booty bands’ are fantastic for squats, lateral walks, glute bridges, clamshells, mountain climbers, Supermans, etc. The grippy and non-slip material makes these bands a joy to use, and even vigorous activities don’t cause the bands to slip.
5. Best Overall Bands Package: BodyBoss 2.0 Full Portable Home Gym Workout Package + Resistance Bands
Number of bands: 2 (green, pink, or yellow pair)
Other accessories: instructional manual, carrying bag, foldable base, collapsable workout bar, two handles, two wrist/ankle straps, door anchor with ring
Tension range: 5 to 80 lbs, according to the manufacturer (2.2 to 36.2 kilograms)
- All-in-one tool for effective resistance exercise
- Decent levels of resistance
- The tension might not be enough for more advanced trainees
Unlike the previous options on today’s list, BodyBoss 2.0 is a complete training package consisting of a pair of resistance bands (green, pink, or yellow), a platform, a collapsable workout bar, and much more.
The set provides you with almost everything you need for effective resistance training. One thing that stands out about the set is the platform, which allows you to attach your resistance bands for various exercises: squats, bicep curls, and more.
Thanks to the great design, transitioning between exercises is seamless. You could move from squats to overhead presses to upright rows in seconds.
The resistance level isn’t too high, but it is enough for the average person to have great workouts at home. So, if you want to train at home but don’t have the budget or space for a garage gym, BodyBoss 2.0 is a fantastic alternative.
Are Resistance Bands Useful and Effective?
Some people scoff at the idea of using resistance bands, making claims like, “Nothing can replace barbell training.” or “Bands can never be as effective as free weights.”
On the one hand, I tend to agree with such statements. The primary reason is that it can be pretty challenging to know when and how to increase resistance when using bands.
For example, how would you create overload if you only have one band? Sure, stretching the band more would result in greater resistance, but how far can you go before the band simply snaps? Additionally, how do you keep track of resistance to ensure progressive overload?
Free weights are great precisely because you always know how much resistance there is, you can easily log your workouts, and increasing the difficulty is as straightforward as using more weight or doing more reps.
With that said, I still consider resistance bands to be excellent, and I’ll go over some solid benefits below.
5 Notable Benefits of Resistance Bands
1. Linear Variable Resistance (LVR)
The first notable benefit of resistance bands is something that takes time to get used to but offers tremendous training benefits down the road: linear variable resistance (LVR).
LVR simply means that bands provide more tension as they lengthen. In other words, you might not feel as much resistance when you initiate a repetition, but the difficulty will increase the closer you get to the top.
For example, if you grab a band, step over it, and do curls, your biceps will have to overcome more resistance as you bend your elbows.
LVR offers two unique advantages:
First, since the resistance increases gradually, you’re less able to use momentum to complete repetitions. You can try using jerking motions, but the initial force you produce won’t be enough to overcome the resistance as the band lengthens.
As such, your muscles must remain engaged from start to finish, leading to more tension, a stronger stimulus, and better progress.
Second, overcoming more resistance near the top of repetitions can lead to stronger concentric contractions, promoting superior strength gains.
2. Resistance In Various Planes of Motion
The issue with free weights is they rely solely on gravity to provide resistance, which can sometimes result in a lack of tension on the involved muscles.
For example, when doing dumbbell curls, your biceps don’t receive any stimulation at the bottom and only become active as you start bending your elbows.
In contrast, resistance bands are similar to cable machines because they don’t rely on gravity and can provide resistance in almost every plane of motion.
You can attach a band overhead and do lat pulldowns, take it down, step over it, and perform overhead presses. Then, anchor it at chest level, turn around, and do chest flyes.
That advantage directly ties into the next one:
3. Exercise Selection
Despite being nothing more than large pieces of rubber, resistance bands are an excellent training tool because you can use them for hundreds of exercises.
Even if you don’t have any accessories, you can anchor your resistance bands around sturdy objects at home and do great movements like:
- Chest flyes
- Bicep curls
- Overhead tricep extensions
Simple accessories like handles, ankle straps, and door anchors further expand the pool of available exercises to:
- Lat pulldowns
- Band rows
- Standing glute kickback
- Lateral raises
- Face pulls
With some creativity, you can use resistance bands to do many alternative exercises to the ones you see at the gym.
4. Overloading Potential
I previously mentioned that one potential drawback of resistance bands is how challenging it can be to create an overload.
Still, that doesn’t mean doing so is impossible. I’m just saying that it can be a bit more difficult than when using free weights.
Using progressively tougher bands is one option to make your training more challenging. For example, the FitBeast Pull Up Bands Set has the following:
- Yellow - 5 to 15 lbs (2.2 to 6.8 kilograms)
- Red - 15 to 35 lbs (6.8 to 15.8 kilograms)
- Black - 30 to 60 lbs (13.6 to 27.2 kilograms)
- Purple - 40 to 80 lbs (18.1 to 36.2 kilograms)
- Green - 50 to 125 lbs (22.6 to 56.6 kilograms)
You can start with the yellow one and gradually work up to the green color, similar to how you would use progressively heavier free weights.
The second way to create overload is to combine bands. For example, if your toughest band doesn’t provide the necessary resistance, add a second one and use them simultaneously to challenge yourself.
Your third option is to do more reps. Research suggests that even high-rep sets can promote muscle growth if you train close to failure. So, if 10, 15, or 20 reps don’t challenge you enough, you can do 25, 30, or even 35 reps per set.
5. Convenience and Cost
The final notable advantages of resistance bands are convenience and affordability. As you saw from the list above, resistance band sets don’t cost much, especially when compared to free weights like barbells, weight plates, and dumbbells.
Resistance bands are excellent workout tools because you can use them at home or put them in a bag and take them to the park or on the road. There are countless effective movements to do, and you don’t have to constrain yourself to a gym.
What Kind of Resistance Bands Should I Get?
Picking the best resistance bands for exercise comes down to your preferences, goals, and current capacity.
I’m a fan of looped bands, so I recommend FitBeast’s Pull Up Bands Set. They come in various tension levels, providing as much as 125 lbs of resistance. You can use them for compound movements like squats, overhead presses, and even the deadlift.
As an added benefit, looped bands allow you to make bodyweight exercises easier or more challenging. For example, you can wrap a band on a pull-up band, let it hang like a noose, step over it, and do band-assisted pull-ups.
Open-ended resistance bands with handles, ankle straps, and other accessories are also viable. You can use them for many activities at home and on the road. Just make sure to pick a set that offers enough resistance.
Flat and looped bands, also known as booty bands, are also great, but they are mostly suitable for women who primarily do lower body training.
You can pick a set of RenoJ Resistance Bands Set you’re a man interested in doing more glute and hip-focused training, but I recommend getting a second set for upper body training.
Conclusion: The Best Resistance Bands For Exercise
There we have it: the best resistance bands for exercise and general fitness.
As you can see, there are plenty of reasons to consider a set of resistance bands, but you should consider your choice carefully.
Each type of resistance band offers unique benefits, and you should pick the ones that fit your preferences, current fitness level, and budget.