As a personal trainer, I like bands because they add resistance without adding weight, and provide tension that’s independent of gravity, meaning you can do actions such as rowing or chest-pressing from a standing position rather than a bent-over or back-lying one. Bands also make it easy to add pulling exercises to a program, which strengthen back muscles that are typically neglected in bodyweight-only, at-home workouts.
We looked at the three main types of resistance bands:
Interchangeable tubes can stack together and clip to a handle or ankle strap and be anchored to create a safe tension point for pulling or pushing.The tubes themselves are hollow inside, and may have reinforcements outside or in to help protect the tube from getting overstretched.
Superbands look like gigantic rubber bands. You can use them on their own or affix them to a bar or pole by looping one end around the bar and through the loop and pulling tight. Some companies sell handles and anchors separately, or as part of a set.
Mini bands are flat loops about a foot in diameter and usually 2 inches across. They’re commonly used by looping around a limb or limbs, such that another part of the body becomes the tension point.
Bands also make it easy to add pulling exercises to a program, which strengthen back muscles that are typically neglected in bodyweight-only, at-home workouts.
Some tubed sets come with an anchor, which consists of a looped strap, typically made of woven nylon, and a large, covered plastic bead on the opposite end—you thread the loop end between the doorframe and door on its hinge side, then close (and lock, ideally) the door, so the bead is securely pinned on the far side of the door. You can then thread a tube or tubes through the loop. Some superband manufacturers sell separate anchors similar to the tube sets’.
The experts and trainers we interviewed stressed the importance of using different resistances for different exercises.