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The Best Resistance Bands: Wirecutter Reviews


Our picks for best resistance bands laying on the floor.
These are just our picks. Photo: Michael Hession

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.

Pull Quote

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.

For this guide, we chose sets rather than bands sold individually: The experts and trainers we interviewed stressed the importance of using different resistances for different exercises as well as the ability to increase resistance as you get stronger. If you are easily able to stretch any band to the end of its give in any given exercise (or need to do so in order to feel the effects of the exercise), not only are you not getting good strength adaptations in your muscles, you could also be compromising the band’s integrity by constantly pushing it to its potential breaking point.

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’.

Pull Quote

The experts and trainers we interviewed stressed the importance of using different resistances for different exercises.

To narrow the dozens of options per type, we considered customer reviews, cross-referenced with Fakespot.com, and editorial ones from the likes of BestProducts.com, ThoroughlyReviewed, BestReviews, and Heavy. We prioritized brands I’ve seen and used as a trainer over some of the lesser-known ones found on Amazon’s best-sellers list. (From my experience purchasing fitness equipment over the years, I’ve seen that certain brands can crop up, sell a bunch of products, then disappear into the Internet ether.) We also considered price, keeping in mind that most resistance bands will last for up to a year or so.

We ended up with four sets of handled tube bands, three sets of superbands, and three sets of mini bands.



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