Resistance bands are an incredible piece of fitness equipment. They come in many different shapes and sizes, including long thin or thick loops, smaller loops, straight bands with and without handles on the end, and even figure-eight shaped bands. Depending on the design, resistance bands can be used to work just about every single muscle group in your body. Plus, they’re the perfect way to warm up your glutes, quads, and hamstrings before heading out for a run.
Best Resistance Bands
Widest Resistance RangeWodFitters Assisted Pull-Up Resistance Bands WodFitters Read More
Best GripLit Resistance Band Lit Read More
Best for TravelingPerform Better First Place Mini Bands Perform Better Read More
Most DurableTe-Rich Resistance Band Set Te-Rich Read More
Best SetWhatafit Resistance Bands 11-Piece Set Whatafit Read More
The Expert: As a health and fitness journalist for over 12 years now, I’ve been testing gear and trying out new fitness gadgets, machines, and other technology for a long time. I absolutely live for comparing new pieces of clothing, shoes, or other fitness tools to previous models or other gear available on the market. Resistance bands have always been a part of my fitness regimen, whether I’m doing ancillary muscle work, stepping up a bodyweight workout, or completing a physical therapy protocol when I’ve been injured. I own countless bands and use them for all types of exercises. I became a National Academy of Sports Medicine–Certified Personal Trainer right before the pandemic in 2020, and resistance bands are something I both use and recommend for clients of all different ages and fitness levels. They’re extremely versatile, take up little room, and are perfect for an at-home or on-the-go workout, too.
How Resistance Bands Work
Bands provide progressive resistance: The farther apart you pull the band, the more resistance you’ll experience. The thickness of the band can also determine the amount of initial resistance, and different size bands or different configurations are better for working different areas. For example, the smaller loops are great for glute work, where the larger loops can be perfect for full body moves like squats, good mornings, and lunges.
Don’t think of these as only light-duty workout tools; some bands can offer up to 200 pounds of resistance. But know that there’s no standard rating system: Bands can be listed by a static level of resistance, a dynamic range, or just relative levels, such as “light” or “medium.” Bands are often coded by color according to how much resistance they provide, but each brand uses a different color scheme, so compare resistance by weight or difficulty level, not color, when selecting a set.
Finally, beware that some resistance bands are made with latex. If you have an allergy, look for a latex-free model, often made with thermoplastic elastomer instead.
How We Evaluated
When it comes to resistance bands, durability is key. The last thing you want to happen while pulling a band apart to stretch or add resistance is for it to snap. That was the biggest factor that I considered when testing the bands during weekly workouts and when recommending these models. I wanted to be sure that the bands could be used for basic bodyweight exercises, strength training, and rehabbing injuries. The bands below offer various size, configuration, and tension options, as well as multiple price points. Based on my testing, research, and trainer and user reviews, here are the best resistance bands that you can buy.
Perform Multiple Exercises
Resistance bands can be used to replicate many exercises you’d perform with free weights or even certain machines in the gym. You can wrap a band around an anchor point to perform resistance rows or flys instead of cable variations, stand on the middle and grab the handles or ends to perform bicep curls or tricep kickbacks versus dumbbell variations, or stand on the band and wrap it around your neck and shoulders to do a squat without a barbell.
Provide Constant Tension
Because a resistance band provides resistance throughout an exercise, you’re forcing your body to work even at the starting point of a movement, so the band challenges your body in a different way. It’s a nice change from a free-weight routine, and they can even feel a bit safer for some exercises—you don’t have to worry about dropping them on yourself if you can’t complete a rep.
Compact by Design
Resistance bands take up little to no space, making them the perfect piece of equipment to add to your home gym. They’re also a great travel companion, as you can easily stuff them into your luggage for work travel or vacation or throw them into your gym bag.
Great Tool for Stretching, Mobility, and Rehab
Although they can be used for full workouts and strength moves, resistance bands are also a great tool for stretching, rehabbing injuries, and mobility work. They’re gentle on joints and can help provide a little or a lot of resistance when you’re working to strengthen your muscles after an injury or to increase your range of motion and depth in a stretch.