The best resistance bands are an affordable and underrated piece of fitness gear. They’re often overlooked when people are buying the best home gym equipment. But resistance bands are extremely versatile and can be used to create total body workouts that target every muscle group.
Yes, this seemingly simple piece of elastic can deliver a strength training workout that tones muscle and enhances mobility. A study in the Journal of Sports Science & Medicine found that just five weeks of resistance band training significantly improved hamstring and inner thigh flexibility. And resistance bands are easy on the joints.
Resistance bands come in a variety of lengths and sizes to meet individual needs. They’re much lighter and are portable, so you can easily pack them in a bag to take while traveling. And they take up much less space, too, which is perfect if you live in an apartment (and they make less noise if you live in a higher-floor apartment).
Even better, resistance bands tend to be cheaper than other strength training gear, like kettlebells and dumbbells. You can get a complete workout for less than the cost of one month’s gym membership.
What are the best resistance bands?
The best resistance bands are durable and made of stretchy, high-quality material that won’t tear or snap. They come in a set, to offer a variety of tension levels.
Our top choice, Bodylastics Resistance Bands, come with five tubes made extra-tough by reinforced stitching and an internal cord. A suite of attachments, including handles and a door anchor, offer versatility and flexibility in the types of workouts that can be performed. Use them for bodyweight exercises like pull-ups or to stretch your limbs.
The Fit Simplify Resistance Bands are almost unbelievably cheap (around or under $15), making them our budget pick. They don’t come with any accessories other than a bag, but they’re sturdy and sweat-resistant. The set comes with an instruction booklet, which outlines exercises that target your arms, legs, glutes and other parts of your body.
If you’re looking for a smart fitness solution, the Hyfit Gear 1 boasts sensors that connect via Bluetooth to an app on your phone. You can track all your stats in real-time, including duration and repetitions.
The best resistance bands right now
This Bodylastics resistance tube set has it all: five resistance bands and attachments including handles, straps and a door anchor. The durable, anti-snap latex bands range in resistance from three to 19 pounds and they can even be used together for a total resistance of 96 pounds. Each tube features reinforced stitching and an internal cord to guard against breakage.
Bodylastics Resistance Bands have over 4,000 reviews on Amazon with an average 4.7 star rating. One reviewer said, “Take it from someone that has used resistance bands for many years, this is a really great set. I have used other, cheaper, sets, and I can attest to the carnage of the broken bands left in the corner.” Another raved, “Purchase one of these sets now. In fact, I recommend purchasing an extra set just to make certain you have enough of this superbly designed and high-quality system(s) to last you for years to come!”
While resistance bands are already generally affordable, Fit Simplify’s best-selling set is almost shockingly inexpensive. The five loops range from extra-light to extra-heavy resistance and are made from heavy-duty, tear-free latex. Stash them in the accompanying bag to store or take them with you to perform your strength training exercises wherever you go.
Fit Simplify’s bands have a 4.5 average rating in over 60,000 reviews on Amazon. “I never knew that elastic bands could cause me to feel so much burn! I was very surprised by how durable and elastic these bands are. Even after prolonged rigorous workout sessions, I have noticed absolutely no wear or tear whatsoever!” a reviewer wrote. Another added, “ This is the best exercise investment I have made! These bands are easy to use. The pamphlet shows some of the exercises that can be performed and I have been creative with a number of others.”
Wearables are a hot commodity in recent years and Hyfit Gear 1 purports to be the first-ever smart strength-training resistance band. It comes with built-in Bluetooth sensors that connect to an app (available on iOS and Android) tracking repetitions, duration, force and calories burned. The adjustable bands are strong and durable, while the included accessories allow for many different workouts. Anchor it to a door to use your full bodyweight or loop the band around your ankles to add tension to squats.
Since the Hyfit Gear 1 is fairly new, there aren’t many ratings on Amazon. One reviewer said, “I love tech and I love exercise even more so I said to myself why not to try it.” However, a few others had some issues with connecting to the app. “I got all set up and used the bands and they worked great for my first workout,” one said, but noted that one of the sensors didn’t record data in subsequent use.
Mini bands are often used for physical therapy, but can also be helpful if you’re traveling and don’t want to take up too much space. The Perform Better Mini Band set comes with four loops ranging from light to extra heavy. They measure just 10 inches in diameter, which ensures immediate tension. Larger people may find using them to be a bit too intense and might prefer Perform Better’s XL size.
The light weight and small size of the Perform Better Mini Bands make them very portable, a major plus that netted a 4.5 star rating out of more than 1,300 reviews on Amazon. One noted, “I absolutely love mini-bands as a workout tool to take with me when I travel or carry on runs so I can integrate strength and plyometric exercises wherever I go.” Another praised the mini bands’ tension, saying, “If you want legit levels of resistance to boost your workout, these are your new best friends. Their heavy (black) band is a serious beast to use and even the lighter ones offer good, useful resistance for working smaller muscle groups.”
Serious Steel’s Heavy Duty Resistance Band Set comes with six loops that are made with fused latex sheets, making them seriously strong. The highest level can withstand 150 pounds of tension, so you can perform pull-ups, squats, deadlifts and leg presses with confidence. The lower levels are good for warm-ups and stretches.
They’re more expensive than other resistance band sets, but you get one more loop than the usual five and the quality is top-notch. The 425 Amazon ratings average to 4.8 stars. “There are a number of high quality ‘name brand’ resistance bands on the market, but our purchase was due personal preference after seeing how they have held up at our fitness club,” one reviewer wrote. Another raved about their durability: “I’ve stretched them pretty dang far, and they have shown no signs of cracking, tearing, etc. due to stress.”
Many of the best resistance bands are made of natural rubber latex, but some people are allergic or have sensitivity to the material.TheraBand’s trio of synthetic rubber bands help those who are allergic avoid hives or anaphylactic shock. The sturdy loops are ideal for strengthening and stretching, especially when rehabbing after an injury. However, their resistance levels are much lower than other bands on this list.
On Amazon, the TheraBand set averages 4.6 stars in more than 5,500 ratings. A physical therapist wrote, “I’ve been using the TheraBand exercise bands for 15 years. I find them to be the best in terms of quality and reliability. This is the only brand I recommend to my patients.” Another reviewer said, “These have worked wonders in only a week as far as my shoulder rehab. They are portable, easily stored away, and can be used to exercise almost any area you want to work on with no set-up time and no bulky equipment to store or take up space in your house.”
How to choose the best resistance bands for you
When it comes to choosing the best resistance bands, you will want to purchase a set with multiple bands offering different levels of resistance. Sometimes, you will use a resistance band to make a move harder, while other times, you’ll use a lower-resistance band to make a move easier.
Resistance bands come in several types, such as tubes, superbands and mini bands. The one that’s best for you will depend on the workouts you want to perform. For instance, superbands are basically giant rubber bands that are ideal for bodyweight exercises like pull-ups. Mini bands are smaller, which makes them good for stretching limbs and targeting glutes. Resistance tubes have handles and are often used for bicep curls and shoulder presses.
Most resistance bands are made of latex, and if you have an allergy to that material, you will want to look at other options.
Of course, price is always a consideration for fitness gear, but most resistance band sets are very affordable, often costing less than $100 for a set of bands.