The best resistance bands are a simple and effective way to get fit – here are our top available picks right now
A set of the best resistance bands should be the first piece of kit you pick up for your home workouts. It’s tempting to opt for a heaving rack of free weights, a treadmill or exercise bike, but in terms of getting the most bang for your buck, you can’t do better than a set of resistance bands.
The low price isn’t the only reason resistance bands are a clever purchase. They’re portable, easily stored, and a highly effective way of training your body. You can use them for strength workouts that build larger muscles, fast-paced high-intensity interval training (HIIT) sessions that improve cardiovascular fitness, or even mobility exercises to help with injury rehabilitation and flexibility.
They are, in short, a must for any gym goer or fitness fan, so be sure to scan our top picks below to find your perfect set. Before that, however, here’s everything you need to know when buying resistance bands.
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Best resistance band: At a glance
|Best straight resistance band
|Theraband Resistance Band (~£17)
|Check price at Amazon
|Best for beginners
|Fitness Mad Mini Power Loop Set (~£8.99)
|Check price at Amazon
|Protone Resistance Band Set (~£18)
|Check price at Amazon
|Best for Pilates
|Meglio Pilates Band 2m (~£5.99)
|Check price at Amazon
|Best for full-body workout
|GymProluxe Set (~£110)
|Check price at GymProluxe
How to buy the best resistance bands for you
What types of resistance bands are there?
There are three common types of resistance bands: flat or straight bands, loop bands and tube bands.
Straight bands are the most basic kind and, while they can be used for all kinds of exercise, they’re perhaps best reserved for basic stretching and mobility work. Since they don’t have handles, they’re harder to use for strength work.
Loop resistance bands are good for strength training, especially the lower body. They come in different sizes and it’s generally worth getting a small and a large band because the former is handy for looping around your legs and the latter can be looped around both your shoulders and feet for exercises such as squats. Loop bands are also the easiest type of band to use to assist pull-ups.
One particular kind of loop band is known as a hip band. These are typically wider than standard rubber bands and made from a fabric material. Designed to be looped around your thighs to work your lower body and glutes, they’re especially handy when warming up in the gym. The wider fabric material is more comfortable to wear around the legs than a thin rubber band, and won’t slip down your thighs when doing resisted squats or walks.
Tube resistance bands, meanwhile, come with detachable handles and are the most effective type for strength training, especially when it comes to the upper body. With most sets, you can attach more than one band to the handles at a time to increase the resistance. You can also find figure-of-eight tube resistance bands with fixed handles, which are shorter than other resistance bands and so are useful for upper body exercises where you don’t need a huge range of motion.
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What extras should I get with resistance bands?
Resistance bands are simple bits of kit but there are a couple of added extras worth having, chief among which is a door attachment because anchoring the bands to a fixed point is required for many types of exercise.
A carry bag is also useful if you’re planning on taking your resistance bands on the road and you can get ankle straps to attach the bands to, which again increases the range of exercises you can do. Certain band sets will also come with a basic workout manual, which is handy for beginners.
How much resistance do I need?
As a minimum, it’s worth getting a set of three bands of differing resistances to ensure you have what you need for a variety of exercises. You can also then double or triple up bands to increase the amount of resistance, which will be important as you get stronger and require more of a challenge.
Resistance bands are typically colour-coded to indicate the different levels of resistance but – and this is crucial– there’s no universal system for these colors, so check carefully with the set you buy. As a very general rule, blacks and blues tend to indicate more resistance, greens and reds are in the middle and yellows are lighter resistance – but don’t hold us to that. Light resistance bands are usually around 4-5kg at maximum stretch, and the heaviest bands commonly found in sets will be 18kg. You can find individual bands that offer over 30kg of resistance, however, which are often gold.
How much do resistance bands cost?
You can pick up a simple set of basic loop resistance bands for £10 or less, and even comprehensive tube sets with more bands and plenty of attachments will only set you back £15-£20. Individual bands will usually cost somewhere in the range of £3-£7, with basic strap bands at the cheaper end of the scale.
How long will resistance bands last?
Strap and loop resistance bands won’t last as long as tube bands, but you can still expect them to get you through one or two years of workouts without breaking or losing their snap. Store them out of the sunlight to extend their life. Tube bands are hardier and should last a couple more years, although again it’s important to store them out of the sun.
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The best resistance bands to buy in 2024
1. Theraband Resistance Bands: Best straight resistance band
Price when reviewed: £17 (for three) | Check price at Amazon
The simplest type of resistance band of all, but it’s still possible to go wrong by buying a flimsy straight band that will only last a couple of light stretches before losing their snap. These Theraband strips are perfect for mobility and rehab sessions, and if you opt for the heavier resistance bands you can expect them to last a year or two.
It’s worth buying a few bands and progressing through the levels of resistance, making this set just right, and will work for strength workouts as well as rehab and stretching. Each band is five foot long making it easier to knot and use as a loop band too.
Key specs – Resistance range: Three levels, from yellow (1.37kg – 1.95kg) to green (2.09kg – 3.04kg); Length: 1.5m; Accessories: None
2. GymProluxe Band & Bar Set: Best resistance band for a full-body workout
Price when reviewed: £110 | Check price at GymProluxe
GymProluxe’s Band & Bar set might be the most complete resistance band on the market. One of the main benefits it has over other sets is the ability to adjust resistance on the go, as you would with adjustable dumbbells, rather than owning multiple bands.
This keeps the whole package compact and improves the fluidity of your exercise routine as you vary weight for a progressive overload. Attached handles and the supplied bar make it a much more versatile offering too, with GymProluxe claiming you can perform over 100 workouts – certainly, the range of possibilities is vastly superior to other resistance bands, as evidenced by the handy guided workouts on its YouTube channel.
The price might be a little steep, especially compared to the more basic bands here, but this GymProluxe set definitely bridges the gap between those budget options and fully fledged home gym equipment.
Key specs – Resistance range: Six belt tubes totalling 90kg of resistance (2 x 10kg; 2 x 15kg; 2x20kg); Length: 90cm (unstretched, handle to handle); Accessories: Bar (additional accessories are available)
3. ProIron Resistance Bands: Best resistance bands for pull-ups
Price when reviewed: From £9 | Check price at Amazon
Like all resistance bands, these long-looped hardy bands have a wide range of uses, but they really excel when it comes to squats and assisted pull-ups. When it comes to the former, the purple, red and black bands offer high levels of resistance that will challenge even experienced gym-goers.
All of the bands can help you on the way to completing unassisted pull-ups by providing a bit of a boost when you loop them round the bar and pop one or both feet on them for the exercise. You should take your weight and fitness into account when picking the right band to support you for pull-ups – stronger bands provide more assistance while also being better for heavier users. Or you could just go for the strongest black band which will ping you right back up to the bar on each rep.
Key specs – Resistance range: Five levels, from from green (6kg-13kg) to black (36kg-67kg); Length: 204cm; Accessories: None
4. Fitness Mad Mini Power Loop Set: Best resistance band set for beginners
Price when reviewed: £8.99 | Check price at Amazon
Fitness Mad’s set contains five 35cm long latex bands of varying resistance levels (x-light, light, medium, strong, x-strong); all this for just under £12 makes it a great set for the beginner looking to get into resistance training and to gradually build up their strength. According to Fitness Mad, the multi-purpose bands are suited to a variety of workouts including yoga, pilates, crossfit and rehab.
The set also comes with a mesh bag for tidy storage and on-the-go use, as well as a basic downloadable user guide.
Key specs – Resistance range: Five levels, from X-Light to X-Strong; Length: 35cm; Accessories: Carry bag, downloadable user guide
5. Strength Shop Hip Band: Best resistance hip band
Price when reviewed: £25 | Check price at Amazon
Strength Shop offers a range of great hip bands, including longer and stiffer options than this band. However, this is a great all-purpose choice for use during workouts, or when warming up your legs and glutes ahead of a squat-heavy session in the gym.
The wide fabric band is easy to slip up over your legs and comfortable to use because the material won’t catch and tug on your leg hairs like a rubber band. If you want something stiffer to use for warm-ups in the gym, the company’s Thor Band is the way to go.
Key specs – Resistance range: N/A; Length: 35.5cm; Accessories: None
6. Protone Resistance Bands Set: Best resistance band set
Price when reviewed: £18 | Check price at Amazon
Everything you’re likely to ever need for your resistance band workouts comes in this set, including five different bands with detachable handles so you’ll never progress out of the resistance available. If you don’t believe us, try attaching all five bands to the handles at once and knocking out a set of bicep curls.
Along with door and ankle attachments, you get a band guard with the set. This sleeve goes around the band at the point it is wrapped around a bar or similar anchor to stop the band rubbing directly on the surface during your exercises, which can damage it.
Key specs – Resistance range: Five levels, from yellow (1.4-11.8kg) to black (9-18kg); Length: Not given; Accessories: Carry bag, door attachment, ankle straps
7. Meglio Pilates Band 2m: Best resistance band for Pilates
Price when reviewed: From £5.99 | Check price at Amazon
Whether you’re an old hand at Pilates or new to the practice, a resistance band is a useful accessory to have. If you’re experienced already, you can use it to increase the difficulty of Pilates by adding resistance, while for beginners the band can be used to help support the body so you’re in the right position – and make certain moves more achievable.
The Meglio band is perfect for Pilates, with a long, wide design and a textured surface that stops it slipping if you’ve worked up a sweat. It also makes it less likely that the band will bunch up against your skin, which can be both annoying and painful. Despite being 2m long, it’s easy to roll up or fold the band and slip it into a pocket in your bag, and it’s light enough that you’ll forget about it until your next class.
Key specs – Resistance range: One level; Length: 1.2m, 2m; Accessories: None
8. Pure2Improve Pro Resistance Bands: Best large looped resistance bands
Price when reviewed: From £12 (Light) | Check price at Amazon
These heavy-duty looped bands are ideal for increasing the difficulty of moves like squats, press-ups and bench presses, and the extra heavy band in particular is a great option for experienced gym-goers looking to imitate their lifting routine at home without picking up expensive free weights. They are also great for people who use a band for assisted pull-ups, in which case it’s worth grabbing a range of bands so you can swap to a lighter band for less assistance as you get stronger.
There are four bands in the range, with the yellow band being the lightest and providing 15kg of resistance. Next it’s the red band at 20kg, then the black at 35kg and the heaviest is the grey band at 50kg. You can pick up the complete set from Eleiko for £111, or shop for individual bands on Amazon.
Key specs – Resistance range: Four levels, from light (15kg) to extra heavy (50kg); Length: 101.6cm; Accessories: None