Best Resistance Bands of 2019

Resistance bands are affordable, versatile, and highly effective pieces of exercise equipment. Use our shopping guide to determine which resistance bands are right for you.

How Resistance Bands Tone Your Muscles

The secret to achieving any long-term goal is striking a balance between ease and variety. How many times have you given up on something because it was either too complicated or too repetitive? With resistance bands, however, it doesn't have to be that way.

A resistance band is a simple, inexpensive piece of equipment that offers endless possibilities. Resistance bands are made from an elastic material such as rubber or latex. Basically, they make it harder to do whatever it is that you are doing. Think of the resistance setting on equipment at the gym—the higher you crank up the number, the harder you have to work while doing the exercise. That's what resistance bands do. They take regular exercises (or activities) and increase the degree of difficulty, giving them a greater impact.

When lifting weights, you only use the muscles directly involved in lifting. Resistance bands require you to engage additional muscles to stabilize the band, so you get a different workout.

Who uses resistance bands?

Because resistance bands are so versatile (and affordable), people use them at home, in the gym, in school sports programs, at physical therapy, and in rehabilitation centers. People of all ages and fitness levels incorporate resistance bands into their regular workout routine.

Kids
Once your child turns eight, strength training can be incorporated into her organized sports routine. Using a light resistance band can be a safer entry point into strength training than weights. Of course, you should always consult with your child's doctor before allowing any appreciable increase in her physical activities.

Fitness enthusiasts
The rewards obtained from using resistance bands make them a must-have for anyone who is interested in toning muscle, gaining flexibility, and maintaining a healthy body weight.

Athletes
Resistance bands are highly effective for athletes as they not only promote increased flexibility but also allow the athlete to work out using movements and motions that are more native to her chosen sport.

Pregnant women
Continuing to exercise during pregnancy is important. Light resistance with higher reps (and no strain) can help keep you toned, happy, and sleeping better throughout your pregnancy. Always consult with your doctor before beginning (or continuing) any exercise regimen.

Older adults
Once you move into your 60s, if you're not careful, exercising can cause more harm than good. Resistance bands allow you to maintain muscle mass and mobility. They can even increase bone strength and help ward off osteoporosis. Again, always consult with your doctor before beginning or changing your fitness routine.

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Resistance Bands Are Beneficial to Individuals of all Fitness Levels

There is no skill level required for using resistance bands. A beginner can get as much out of them as an advanced user.

How Can Resistance Bands Help You Reach Your Goals?

Resistance bands can be used in such a wide range of situations that it would be difficult to find someone who wouldn't benefit from adding a little tension to her day. Here are the top five ways resistance bands can help you crush your goals.

Strength
Resistance bands help build and maintain strength and stability in the entire body. When used in conjunction with weightlifting, athletes tend to experience remarkable growth.

Toning
Resistance bands work in any direction: up and down, side to side, diagonally. Because of this unique feature, they can help you tone troublesome areas or target muscle groups that weights and machines just don't address.

Weight Loss
A proper diet is key to losing weight. However, resistance bands offer a high-burn, low-impact workout. Strategically adding them to exercises you already do can increase your calorie burn without increasing your exercise time.

Mobility
Using a resistance band during stretches is similar to using a partner—it helps increase your range of motion while providing pressure. If executed correctly, you can safely get more out of the assisted stretch and add greater flexibility and mobility to your everyday life.

Rehab
Under the care of a physical therapist, you can use very light resistance bands to target specific areas and gradually bring yourself back to 100 percent.

Resistance bands do more than just tone and increase flexibility; they also help you develop better balance and coordination.

Types of Resistance Bands

Resistance bands are available in many designs, and they are manufactured to facilitate specific exercises. Some of the more popular types are:

Loop bands
Like it sounds, these resistance bands form a closed loop, like a rubber band. Wrap one around the part of your body that you want to target and get to work.

Handled bands
Think of a jump rope with handles that are designed for pulling, not just holding. Some resistance bands have removable handles; others have handles that are permanently attached.

Figure eight bands
A figure eight band is a variation on the handled bands, where the center passes through a thinner area to form a type of figure eight.

Leg bands
Leg bands are another variation of handled bands. These bands feature cuffs instead of handles, so they can be worn around your ankles.

A note about flat versus tubular bands
Tubular resistance bands are available in far more variations (both resistance level and design) than flat resistance bands. If you are wrapping them around your body, tubular resistance bands can roll, and they might be more painful than flat resistance bands. Although both types will eventually break, there is often little warning before a tubular resistance band breaks. A small nick or tear could quickly give way before you even notice the damage.

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Many Beginners Start Out Using a Loop Band

There are many different types of resistance bands available. If you feel overwhelmed with options, it is best to start with a basic loop band. You can always add to your collection over time.

Important Features to Consider

Now that we've covered the basics, there are just a few more things to consider before you purchase resistance bands.

Portability
Resistance bands are the ultimate portable gym. Many can support your full body weight, yet the bands themselves only weigh a few ounces. Additionally, resistance bands without handles can be rolled up small enough to fit in your pocket.

Color coding
The different colors of resistance bands are not just for looks. Each color signifies a different level of resistance. For the most part (except for silver and gold, which offer the most resistance), the resistance level progresses from lighter colors to darker colors: yellow is extra light, red is light, green is medium, and blue is heavy.

Safety
Since resistance bands operate while under pressure, there is always a risk of tearing or breakage. While most times it is just a startle, a resistance band could snap back at the user and cause a significant injury. Follow these five tips to help lessen the event of unexpected breakage.

  • Inspect the resistance band thoroughly before using it.
  • Begin all exercises slowly to test the strength of the band.
  • Do not apply sudden force or jerk at the resistance band.
  • Handles are for hands, not feet.
  • Never let go of a resistance band when it is under tension.

Care
Since resistance bands will break down over time, proper care is essential to ensure you get the longest life from your purchase.

  • Do not expose resistance bands to prolonged periods of direct sunlight.
  • Keep resistance bands away from any and all heat sources.
  • Do not store resistance bands outside or leave them in your car.
  • Do not use any cleaning products on resistance bands. A quick wipe with a damp cloth is sufficient for cleaning.
As resistance bands age, they will begin to break down. Inspect your resistance bands before each use to help guard against preventable injuries.