"What makes resistance bands so handy is that they boost your regular bodyweight exercise, making the moves a bit more challenging without the potential risk of overextending or adding extra pressure to the joints, which can happen when using free weights. This means the risk of injury is lower when using bands instead of weights," explains Nicole Blades, a NASM-certified trainer at BodyRoc FitLab in Connecticut.
With different levels of resistance, from light to heavy, resistance bands can help you improve your mobility too. This is why many physical therapists like to use bands with patients recovering after an injury. "You can vary the amount of resistance you get through the range of motion of an exercise. The more you stretch the band, the more resistance you get and muscles have to work to overcome that resistance," Blades says.
Depending on what type of workout you're doing, certain resistance bands are better suited than others. For instance, if you're doing yoga or stretches, it's best to use a longer and wider band so you can wrap your hands around them and secure a grip. On the other hand, if you're doing HIIT or any type of cross training, a looped band can increase the intensity of bodyweight moves.
Here, we rounded up the best resistance bands out there to help you choose the right ones for your health and fitness goals.
Achieving the perfect pull-up is no easy feat, but using a resistance band, like this one, can give you a little lift while still stimulating the right muscle groups. These durable bands come in seven resistance levels and can be used for a variety of exercises. For instance, the red band is best for bicep and tricep exercises because they offer light-to-medium resistance, while the heavy-duty purple one is ideal for assisted pull ups and back exercises.
"A person can do practically any major muscle group resistance exercise with these bands. I use these bands with the pull-up bar to do triceps and lats exercises," writes an Amazon customer.
Whether you want to put more power behind your squats or push-ups, these 100 percent latex resistance bands are a top pick for Blades. This pack of five bands comes in different levels of resistance, from very light to extra heavy. It also comes with a printed instruction guide and e-book on how to use the bands for a variety of exercises.
"I've used these and incorporated them into my workout for my glutes, thighs, and abs, and I swear to God I have lost 5.5 pounds in three weeks and gained muscle in all the right areas," says an Amazon customer. Another reviewer says, "I love these! I wasn't expecting them to be so durable, but the extra-heavy one is legitimately solid, and I'm not afraid to do deep lunges or squats with these."
TheraBand's resistance bands are one of the most well-known in the market for rehabilitation. Whether you're recovering from an injury, or are looking to reduce joint pain and increase your range of motion, these resistance bands are for you. These bands are five feet long and five inches wide, so you can easily use them to do ab, leg, and shoulder stretches.
"I used these to rebuild strength after a shoulder injury. It was hard to target the exact areas and types of movement that were still weak so I got these resistance bands. I was able to quickly get back my full range of motion after using these bands," says an Amazon customer.
Best for targeting your arms, shoulders, and back, these resistance bands with handles help activate those muscles by securing a grip. Tie them around a sturdy poll or stand right on top of them to perform classic "pulling" movements, like back rows, shoulder raises, and bicep curls. Better yet, double the movements with compound exercises to work your lower body too.
"These are very nice bands. I like the handles that were included, and they easily hook to one or several bands for additional tension. Although there are higher strength bands on the market, these are very versatile and support my training needs. I bring them on my business trips and use them when the gym is not convenient," says an Amazon customer.
Your inner thighs and glutes will get some extra love with these versatile resistance bands, which work great with a variety of lower-body exercises. Use them to do squats, lunges, donkey kicks, and much more. They come in five resistance levels and have a user guide for doing workouts at home, the gym, the beach—wherever you are.
"I would highly recommend these bands as they have already helped me build muscle and tone my abs, glutes, and legs. There are so many exercises that can be done with these handy little bands, and for such an inexpensive price!," says an enthused customer.
Stephen Pasterino, celebrity trainer and P.volve founder, created these resistance bands. Designed with hand wraps, these bands help activate hard-to-target muscles and have the added benefit of making overhead exercises more seamless.
"Resistance bands, like the p.band, which is a patented piece of equipment I created, is perfect for upper-body strength because it allows you to do a variety of arm movements above the head without overbearing the shoulders," Pasterino says.
And because you're better able to utilize your shoulder and back muscles with these bands, they also help prevent neck injuries. Pasterino also created ankle bands for lower-body exercises. "This is the best equipment to use to help our aging bodies create strong active muscles. We're challenging them, but not overworking them," he says.
Pasterino says these Performance Better bands are another one of his top picks because they're highly effective for working the core. "Using bands versus weights is the safest way to properly engage and activate your core, and strengthen it to ensure you have a strong spine," Pasterino says.
He says the most common injury with weightlifting is back injuries, and using a band helps you stay upright. The benefit of using a resistance band made with tubes is that it provides consistent resistance throughout the movement. This one is four feet and 10 inches long, so you can do different exercises with a wider reach.
If you don't like the way rubber or latex resistance bands roll or slide off, these fabric-based bands are a great alternative. Packaged with light, medium, and heavy bands, reviewers like them because they're durable and more gentle on the skin. They also come in different sizes. The green band is the smallest of the bunch and is best for exercises with partial range of motion, like squat pulses and kickbacks, while the pink and purple bands are good for moves with a full range of motion, such as glute bridges and leg lifts.
"These bands were exactly what I needed! I have been using the rubber resistance loops and they get too stretched out too quickly. These have help up for a while now, and I use them daily," an Amazon customer says.
Made with eco-friendly rubber, these resistance bands are lightweight and durable enough for a variety of rehabilitation stretches and strength training exercises. At five feet long and six inches wide, you can loop these bands around your hands and arms to do mountain climbers, bicep curls, figure-four quad stretches, and much more. There are three levels of resistance, which are color coded: light (green), medium (blue), and heavy (purple).
Adjustable Foot Drop Brace
"They are extremely durable, and the elastic is great quality. They are super stretchy and have a good amount of resistance," a happy Amazon customer writes. Another reviewer says they loved using these bands during their water aerobics classes: "They are worth every penny and more. They work amazingly in the water. They also dry really fast and pop right into my workout bag."
The ankle straps in this resistance band set makes them a great tool for doing multi-directional movements. Think: lateral leg raises, chest presses, and oblique mountain climbers. This set also includes a door anchor, exercise chart, a travel bag, and a starter guide.
"I can do squats with the bands, placing the door anchor at top of door frame, and I have no trouble doing squats. Plus, it feels like I'm working areas out I wasn't before," an Amazon customer says.
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