If you subscribe to the notion that resistance band training is for wimps, then allow us to (hopefully) change your mind. Bands provide more tension through an exercise’s range of motion than dumbbells, barbells, and dumbbells. Translation: You’re going to feel a serious burn. They’re also (generally) easier on your joints, and, unlike any standard weight training tools, you can take them with you anywhere. And if you’re serious about getting strong, bands can help improve your total on the big three.
There are, however, so many types of bands. There are bands with sensors, bands with handles, bands for your shoulders, and bands for your butt. Feeling a little overwhelmed? Yeah, we get it. Below, we’ve compiled six of the best resistance bands on the market — broken down into categories — to help you pick the best one for you.
Best Resistance Bands
- Best Resistance Bands Overall: Rogue Monster Bands
- Best Resistance Bands Home Gym: Hyfit Gear 1
- Best Tube Resistance Bands: Rogue Tube Bands
- Best Resistance Bands for Prehab/Rehab: Crossover Symmetry
- Best Hip Circle Band: Slingshot Hip Circle Max
- Best Small Loop Bands: Fit Simplify Resistance Loop Exercise Bands
Best Resistance Bands Overall
Whether you want to get a pump, improve your pull-ups, mobilize your joints, or add accommodating resistance to deadlifts — Rogue has a band for you.
Rogue Monster Bands
Rogue’s Monster Bands are made from natural latex rubber and are available in eight different resistance — 15, 30, 50, 65, 100, 140, 175, and 200 pounds. The first three are categorized as “mini,” the next two are considered “light,” and the final three are called “strong.” You can use mini bands for shoulder warm-ups, assisted pull-ups, and high-rep upper-body exercises. The light bands are perfect for looping around your hips for resisted stretches. Lastly, strong bands are typically used to loop around barbells or leg presses for added resistance. Rogue offers two packages of three bands and sells each band separately.
These looped bands come in eight different resistance levels for warming up, full-body workouts, and to add to your barbell lifts for accommodating resistance.
Who Should Buy Rogue Monster Bands
- Serious strength athletes who want to use bands for deadlifts, back squats, and bench presses.
- Anyone who wants to train primarily with bands. Rogue offers enough resistance for people of all strength levels.
- Folks who appreciate color-coded workout tools. Each color is associated with a different level of resistance, so you can quickly identify what you’re using.
Who Shouldn’t Buy Rogue Monster Bands
- Anyone who wants handles with their bands. These are strictly looped bands.
- Folks who want to buy a complete band bundle for home workouts, or just in general.
Rogue offers the most resistance and variety with their durable Monster Bands.
Best Resistance Bands Home Gym
Hyfit is what you get when you combine the benefits of resistance bands with smart technology. If you’re looking to train mainly (or only) with bands at home, then this is the set you want to pick up.
Hyfit Gear 1
These resistance bands sport handles and sensors on each side, so Hyfit can track your reps, effort, and resistance used. The Hyfit app also offers a variety of trainer-led classes —Super Strength, Postpartum Amazing Abs, and Tabata Intensity, to name a few. You can anchor the bands to any sturdy surface (like the railing on a staircase) and get to performing the 500+ exercises Hyfit allows. If you prefer to train with bands, then the added tech may be worth it for you.
Hyfit's bands track your reps, calories burned, and offer a variety of trainer-led classes. If you want to work just with bands, this may be the pick for you.
Who Should Buy Hyfit Gear 1
- Folks who want to train only with bands. These are meant to act as your sole home gym.
- People who want bands with handles.
- Those who want to use an accompanying app to track your performance over time.
Who Shouldn’t Buy Hyfit Gear 1
- Strength athletes who want bands for accommodating resistance.
- Lifters who like to work out with bands occasionally but still prefer barbells, kettlebells, and dumbbells.
- Budget-conscious shoppers. With the extra accouterments, these are more pricey than other brands.
If you’re looking to get ripped at home with bands, then Hyfit’s elaborate app, workout options, and tracking capabilities will suit you well.
Best Tube Resistance Bands
If you’re looking for bands to pack in your gym bag and used for accessory movements, then look no further Than Rogue’s Tube Bands.
Rogue Tube Bands
The main difference between Rogue’s Monster Bands and Tube Bands comes down to two points — usability and resistance. The Tube Bands, which are equipped with handles on both ends, are mean to be rowed, pushed overhead, and curled. While you can do those movements with the Monster Bands, those are also made to be stretched with and looped over barbells. Rogue offers resistance in 10, 15, 30, 40, 50, and 60 pounds. While the weight seems reduced, keep in mind the heavy-ass Monster bands aren’t meant to be lifted in the same way. If you want to perform banded accessory movements, like biceps curls, then these are the model you want.
Rogue Tube Bands are perfect for performing banded versions of standard accessory moves, like curls, rows, and overhead presses. Throw them in your gym bag for your next workout.
Who Should Buy Rogue Tube Bands
- Gym-goers who want a band that can be used in addition to their typical regimen.
- Folks who prefer to work out with bands that have handles. Typically, these are easier to press, row, and curl.
Who Shouldn’t Buy Rogue Tube Bands
- Folks who want bands to loop around different workout tools. These are not for that.
- People who want to work out with bands but want higher-tech options.
Portable and perfect for accessory work, Rogue’s Tube Bands are a simple yet quality pick for those looking to add band training into their regimen.
Best Resistance Bands For Prehab/Rehab
Designed specifically for shoulder health, Crossover Symmetry allows lifters to either warm up their shoulders using various weights or crank up the resistance for more of a training session.
Crossover Symmetry was developed in part by physical therapists, coaches, and athletes to alleviate and prevent shoulder pain. The two separate cords — available in three, seven, 10, 15, and 25 pounds — must be individually attached to an anchor point, such as a power rack or Crossover Symmetry’s custom anchors. The elastic bands are also encased in a protective sleeve so that if they do ever snap, they won’t whip you. You can perform common exercises like rotator cuff warm-ups, face pulls, and Palloff presses for core strength.
Developed by physical therapists, athletes, and coaches, this unique band system can help fortify your shoulders for longevity, mobility, and strength.
Who Should Buy Crossover Symmetry
- Athletes who could benefit from improved and reinforced shoulder stability and mobility.
- Athletes like CrossFitters who routinely engage in high-volume overhead work. Keeping your shoulders supple is especially important.
Who Shouldn’t Buy Crossover Symmetry
- Folks who want bands that can be used to perform more traditional exercises. This model is specifically meant for prehab and rehab.
- Anyone on a budget. Crossover Symmetry is quality, but it does cost a little coin.
Shoulder health is vital for athletes and avid pressers. Crossover Symmetry can help you ease and prevent shoulder pain and injuries with their unique physical therapist-approved band system.
Best Hip Circle Band
Sling Shot Hip Circle Max
To use the hip circle, you step inside it with both legs, position it above your knees, and then perform various walking movements. You can assume an athletic stance and walk laterally, forward, or backward. You can do bodyweight squats with it on. You can even wear it while lifting a barbell (though we suggest keeping the weight light.) All the while, the Hip Circle Max — which is made with stronger material compared to the original Hip Circle — will compress your legs, forcing you to drive your knees out to maintain a normal stance. As a result, your glutes and adductors will fire on all cylinders, which you want before loading them up on the front squat or leg press.
This band is looped around your knees so you can squat and walk in it to activate and prime your glutes and adductors for leg day.
Who Should Buy Sling Shot Hip Circle Max
- Folks who prioritize a proper warm-up and want to make the most out of their next leg day.
- Powerlifters who need to work on overcoming knee valgus and focus on driving their knees outward.
- Anyone who wants to strengthen their glutes and adductors.
Who Shouldn’t Buy Sling Shot Hip Circle Max
- Anyone that wants to use a band for more than warming-up.
- Average gym-goers who may not need to worry about specific glute/adductor training yet.
If you’re a serious lifter who prioritizes warming up before squats (and you probably should be), then the hip circle should be in your gym bag.
Best Small Loop Bands
These are easily the most portable of all the bands on our list. They can fit into any band or suitcase so that you can train and/or warm up pretty much anywhere.
Fit Simplify Resistance Loop Exercise Bands
These are similar to Hip Circle from a design standpoint, but Fit Simplify’s bands are stretchier for more movement variety. You can loop them around your knees to perform lateral band walks, wrap them around your wrists for a more difficult push-up variation. These are 12-inches long and two inches wide. Though the specific resistance weights aren’t listed, this bundle offers five levels of difficulty — x-light, light, medium, heavy, x-heavy.
Small, portable, and easy to use — Fit Simplify has created a band that anyone benefit from for warm-ups to light workouts.
Who Should Buy Fit Simplify Resistance Loop Exercise Bands
- Anyone who wants an affordable band bundle. These are, by far, the most affordable brands on this list.
- Folks who want mini looped bands, as opposed to tube bands or longer looped bands.
- Those who like to warm up using bands. These are great to wrap around your knees and wrists to work the smaller, stabilizer muscles.
Who Shouldn’t Buy Fit Simplify Resistance Loop Exercise Bands
- People who want to train their full body with more traditional exercises.
- Folks who are looking to spend a bit more for a complete band bundle.
- Anyone who wants to add bands to their weighted lifts.
These are by far the most affordable and convenient bands available on the market, though their uses are a tad more limited compared to other models.
How We Choose the Best Resistance Bands
As you can tell, there’s a variety of bands on the mark. A few factors can help determine what may be best for different consumers with all the different options available. Here are the aspects of bands that we evaluated:
Level of Resistance
A critical decision to make when purchasing these resistance bands is how much resistance you’ll need. Certain exercises, such as face pulls and lateral raises, require less resistance. On the other hand, loaded stretches, squats, and using bands for deadlifts call for heavy bands to be used. On this list, you’ll find brands that offer a variety of different weights — from as light as three pounds up to 200 pounds.
Bands are susceptible to snapping, and if that were to happen as you trained, you could get hurt. That’s why we chose brands known for producing quality products and even feature a band on the list that encases their bands as an extra safety precaution.
Some sets of resistance bands come with additional tools that might enhance the experience. Commonly included are door anchors (which provide a static point from which the resistance bands can be pulled), soft-grip handles (which allow pulling and pushing exercises), and even sensors that track your performance. Resistance bands in loops or are flat typically will serve different exercises and won’t utilize these add-ons. Hey, it’s nice to have options, no matter how “extra” they may seem.
Colored bands won’t help your gains, but they will help you stay organized. Typically, brands will color their bands to signify a specific resistance level. Over time, you’ll be able to associate each band with their assigned weight (even if you’re half-asleep during an early morning workout). You’ll know that orange bands are for warm-ups, red bands are for pull-ups, and black bands are for deadlifts. Is it necessary? No. But is it a nice-t-have feature? You bet.
Factors to Consider Before Buying
Not sure which resistance band is right for you? We’ve compiled some questions to ask yourself before buying to hopefully help you choose the best bands for your training goals.
What exercises will you be doing?
If you have a specific exercise or type of exercise that you are hoping to use the resistance bands for, you will probably have an easier time deciding which brand to get. The offerings that include ankle straps and soft-grip handles provide utility for a wide range of exercises but may not fit the needs of all. The metal clips at the end can be uncomfortable for use if they aren’t attached to anything. If you want to do heavier-resistance training or exercises such as assisted pull-ups, you should opt for the highest resistance level possible. The resistance bands shaped in a loop are ideal for banded walks, lunges, yoga, and pilates-style exercises, as no additional tying or attachments should be necessary.
What is your budget?
These exercise resistance bands typically won’t set customers back that much in terms of price on their own, but those looking for added tools and gear will probably need to spend a bit more. Resistance bands that include ankle straps and handles typically will cost more than looped or mini-looped resistance bands.
The higher-end offerings that provide much more weight resistance will reflect that increased durability with its price. These can cost as much for a single band as whole sets of other brands do. If you are only looking to do some light resistance training, then a lower-cost and lower-resistance set is probably appropriate.
Are these for personal use or a group?
If these are for personal use, it may not matter much if the resistance bands are color-coded. However, if these are to be used in a group setting such as a physical therapy office, studio, or gym, it may be worth buying bands from the same company. Some brands have strict color coding that matches the color to resistance level throughout all of their products. This is not true of all brands, unfortunately. When buying for a group of people, it may be beneficial to purchase various sets that are clearly color-coded and even have the resistance level labeled on the latex. This may help avoid confusion when multiple users need resistance bands.
The Benefits of Resistance Bands
Bands are typically made of elastic rubber. The thicker the rubber, the more resistance the band provides. Here are some benefits of training with resistance bands.
More Muscular Tension
What makes bands unique is that they provide tension throughout an exercise’s entire range of motion. For example, when you’re doing a barbell curl, the weight is heaviest when it’s farthest away from your body — i.e., the mid-way point. Bands, however, are taught from the get, so your muscle will never get to relax. Because of the constant tension they provide, bands are a popular tool among bodybuilders to get a pump before posing on stage.
They’re More Joint-Friendly
What’s the main difference between squatting with 500 pounds on your back versus an 80-pound resistance band? Your spine isn’t being compressed under the band (not nearly as much, at least). Because bands apply tension to your muscle throughout an exercise, you don’t need as much weight as using dumbbells or kettlebells. For example, the 200-pound Monster Band that Rogue sells is considered heavy enough that it’s meant to loop over and around barbells only. However, how many people can hoist 200 pounds over their chest for reps? A lot.
Since you don’t need to lift as much, your joints won’t be under stress. Over time, that can mean fewer potential injuries and nagging aches and pains. When it comes to band training, less really is more.
Resistance Bands are Convenient
As much as you may love your bumper plates and barbell, you can’t throw those into your gym bag and hit the road. You can roll up a few light resistance bands and toss those into your bag, however. See where we’re going with this?
If you’re on vacation, on a road trip, or simply unable to get to a gym — bands are an easy and portable workout option. They’re low-maintenance and easy to use.
Different Ways to Train With Bands
Bands are one of the most versatile pieces of training equipment. You can use bands to get a workout in or enhance a workout. Or, if you need some mobility work, bands can help limber you up. Here are some common ways to train with bands.
In Place of Weights
Don’t get it twisted; you don’t need a barbell and weight plates to get swole. If you own a band, you can squat, press, row, and plank your way to more muscle or less fat. That said, one downside to training with bands is that you can’t track progression as easily — and progression is a major key to getting bigger and stronger.
When you’re using dumbbells, you know that you can, say, do 10 dumbbell presses for three sets using 80 pounds. You’ll add a rep to each set for a few weeks until you’re performing three sets of 15 reps. Then, you’ll drop the rep count back down to 10 and use 85 pounds. Simple, right?
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The weight of a band isn’t really comparable. Even if a band claims to offer 50 pounds of resistance, simply moving your hands up or down even an inch will make a move easier or harder. There’s no true way to know how much you’re lifting. You can keep track of reps, but it isn’t easy to objectively track your progress without knowing the actual load. That said, if you’re on a mission to be as strong as possible, then we doubt you’re training exclusively with bands anyway.
If you want to look a little fitter, move better, and be healthier, then focus on manipulating the tempo of your lifts, how many reps you’re doing, and cutting down rest time.
As a Part of Your Warm-Up
Bands are great to use to stretch and activate your muscles. You can do moves like band pull-aparts, banded lateral walks, and banded versions of classic moves like deadlifts, squats, rows to prime your body for heavy lifting.
They provide just enough resistance to challenge your muscles without fatiguing them. Also, the constant tension bands ensure that your muscles are active during an entire range of motion. This is important because good mobility isn’t just about how long your range of motion is but how strong you are at the end of that ROM.
Added to Barbells and Machines
We’ve mentioned this a few times throughout the articles, so allow us to dig into accommodating resistance finally. In the sport of powerlifting especially, it’s common for lifters to add bands to the big three lifts (deadlift, bench press, and back squat). You can set up the bands to either pull down or up on the barbell to either work on the lift-off or lockout phase of the lift.
Say you loop a band around the center of a bar for deadlifts and stand over it. The bar is going to feel heavier as you pull it up, and the band gets tight. So, if you load the bar with 405 pounds, you’ll be pulling what feels like 405 pounds during the lift-off phase and, depending on how heavy of a band you use, let’s say 455 at lockout. If you’re a lifter who struggles with locking out their deadlift, banded pulls may be the answer you’re looking for.
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On the flip, you can loop two bands to the top beams of a power rack and loop the other ends around the sleeves of a barbell. Because the band is starting extended and is pulling the bar up, it’ll be easier to lift. That means you’ll want to load the bar up with more weight than you’re using to lift off the floor. Say you can typically pull 405 pounds, try loading around 465-485 pounds. By the time you lock the bar out, you’ll be pulling 405 again. This banded deadlift variation improves your power off the floor.
You can apply the same logic to moves like the bench press, squat, leg press, and even chest machines.
How should I train with bands?
However you want really. Bands can be used to stretch out your muscles. You can do exercises like squats, deadlifts, and curls with them for more muscle and strength. Or, if you’re a dedicated strength athlete, use them to make your barbell movements harder and easier at certain ranges of motion.
What resistance band should I buy if I'm new to band training?
That really depends on your goal. That said, a long looped band (such as the Rogue Monster Bands) offers the most versatility. You can perform many exercises with them, strap them to barbells, and use them as a part of your warm-up.
What are the main benefits of training with bands?
The main benefits of training with bands are:
- More Muscular Tension
- They’re More Joint-Friendly
- Resistance Bands are Convenient