The Best Resistance Bands to Buy 2018
Last updated: September 2018.
Many people are beginning to see the benefits of using resistance bands in their workouts, but picking the right band can be confusing.
In this guide, we're going to outline the two different resistance bands available, detail our recommendations for the best resistance band in each category, and help answer your most commonly asked questions on resistance bands.
- Overview of The Best Resistance Bands
- The Two Different Types of Resistance Band
- The Best Flat Loop Resistance Bands
- The Best Tubular Resistance Bands
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Resistance Band Sizing Guide
The table below provides an overview of the different resistance bands we reviewed, ranked best to worst. Click on any title to check its current price.
|#6 Physix Gear Sport Resistance Bands||2|
If you have already tried shopping for a set of resistance bands then you may have noticed there are two distinct types of bands available.
These are the flat loop band and the tubular band style which you can see below.
Flat loop bands form a continuous loop and are designed to assist you to make an exercise easier. These bands are most commonly used with exercises like pull-ups, chin-ups and dips, where the user struggles to perform a rep using their body weight and uses the band to support some of their body weight.
Tubular bands are a single length and typically have handles at the end of each band. They also often have other attachment types which you can swap on the ends to allow you to attach them to structures like a doorframe. These bands are designed to act as a resistance to replace the need for weights or make an exercise harder. Wide rows by The Live Fit Girl is an example of using tubular bands as a resistance.
But which type of band will be best for you?
To answer this you need to think about your goals and workout...
Flat resistance bands are best for those who are training calisthenics and bodyweight exercises. These types of bands come in different resistances so a lighter resistance band can be used to give you that little extra help or a heavier resistance band can be used to help you learn advanced bodyweight exercises that would seem impossible without a band.
Check out 10 Calisthenics Exercises with Resistance Bands to see some of the more advanced exercises that this band can help with (images included!).
Tubular resistance bands are ideal for those looking to start out with simpler exercises at home, where the bands can be used instead of dumbbells or kettlebells to perform basic full body workouts.
Note: You may also find a very small and thin version of the flat resistance bands which are much cheaper than any other type of band. These are often used in yoga, but offer very little resistance and are therefore useless for any other type of workout.
Now that you know which type of band is best for your workout, have a look at some of the most popular resistance bands below to find the best resistance bands set for you.
When it comes to buying flat loop resistance bands, the most common buyer complaints aren't issues with the quality of the bands themselves but instead frustration at purchasing a band which doesn't match the resistance the user needed.
The easiest way around this problem is to buy a set of resistance bands (each brand usually has a standard set of two or three bands). This is recommended anyway as you will often need more than one resistance size if you are using them for various exercise types.
If you really do just want to purchase the one single band then read our resistance guide at the bottom of this post here to help find the best resistance bands for your need.
#1. Rubberbanditz Crossfit / Calisthenics Bands
The Rubberbanditz resistance bands are my personal favourites and the ones I use in my regular workouts. You can see that the 'Light' and 'Robust' variations of the bands are used in the 10 Calisthenics Exercises with Resistance Bands post I mentioned earlier.
The bands are excellent quality and Rubberbanditz offer the largest variety, with a total of 9 different bands available. I recommend purchasing one of their combo bundles as a great starter choice for those unsure of which band to go for, or are looking for a mix of resistances.
Top tip: their Medium and Heavy resistance band varieties are most suited for your average Calisthenics exercises.
Back in 2017, the Rubberbanditz resistance bands were the top pick for quality but were often beaten by competitors on value. Rubberbanditz has dropped the price of the bands over the last 6 months making them the best quality and best value loop band on the market.
Their website is also one of the better ones out there for resistance band suppliers, with some great videos, photos and tutorials to help you get going.
#2 Iron Core Fitness Resistance Bands
Apart from the irritating fact that they appear to have been on a '48 hour sale' for the last 12 months, the Iron Core Fitness resistance bands are a popular choice with users and find themselves at number two on our recommended flat loop band list.
I have found that the Iron Core Fitness bands are a little bit more expensive than the Rubberbanditz resistance bands and don't feel as higher quality.
Whereas the Rubberbanditz bands have a smooth feel - the best way I can describe this is to imagine the bands are rubbed in talcing powder after they are manufactured! - the Iron Core Fitness bands have a clean, shiny and 'squeakier' feel to them. The edges of the bands are also very rectangular and not softened in any way, which may be uncomfortable to some users.
Overall I wouldn't imagine this difference is even noticeable to most users. These bands worked a treat and I was very happy with the Iron Core Fitness bands.
#3. Valkyrie Calisthenics Resistance Bands
These bands aren't as great in quality in my opinion compared to the Rubberbanditz bands, and there have been reviews online of the occasional band snapping.
In terms of how they feel, they are most similar to the Iron Core Fitness bands previously mentioned.
What I do like about the Valkyrie bands is that the brand is great at keeping their range of 8 different resistances bands constantly stocked online, especially to UK buyers. Many of the other resistance band retailers such as Rubberbanditz are American retailers, whereas Valkyrie keeps Amazon EU stocked much more regularly than their American competitors.
#1. Black Mountain Products Resistance Bands (Best Quality)
Black Mountain resistance bands are highly rated due to their versatility. The kit includes a range of pieces allowing you to use the bands with handles, with an ankle strap, or even anchored to a door, allowing you to mix and match the 5 bands as you choose. They also include a lifetime warranty, and as an added bonus you even get a branded bag to keep them in!
Due to how streamline these are you can even stack them together to benefit from the combined resistance of multiple bands. If you're looking for quality tubular bands then these are the right choice for you.
#2. Protone Resistance Bands (Best Value)
Similar to Black Mountain resistance bands, the Protone resistance bands come as a kit of 5 bands with handles, ankle straps, and a door anchor, but the set of 5 bands offer lighter resistance compared to the equivalent Black Mountain band set, and they don't appear to live up to the same quality.
When it comes to Protone the advantage is certainly the price. At only £15.99 these bands are a steal for first-time buyers and those who are intrigued to find out what all the resistance band hype is about. Beware though that the cost will match the quality, and with lighter resistances, these bands may prove to not hold up expectations, especially to those of you really putting them to the test and using them for higher resistances.
In this section, we're going to break down some of the more commonly asked questions about resistance bands and how they can benefit your workout.
What Length Resistance Band Do I Need?
With resistance bands, it is not about length, but the level of resistance that the band offers. Resistance bands of the same brand will often be the same length but the width of the band will differ for each resistance.
A wider band has a higher resistance meaning it is harder to stretch and will support more of your weight. A thinner band has a lower resistance meaning it will be much easier to stretch and will not support as much of your weight.
How is The Resistance of Each Band Measured?
The level of resistance each band offers is measured in a weight range. Like an elastic band, each resistance band stretches to a limit and offers different resistances between those limits.
The weight range value represents the weight the band is designed to support up to the max weight as it is stretched.
What Do The Different Resistance Band Colours Represent?
Each colour band refers to a different level of resistance which the band offers and each brand has its own colour coding system. From experience, we have found that bands that offer little resistance are often coloured black or red and bands that offer a higher resistance are often coloured green or purple.
Can I Build Muscle Using Resistance Bands?
Because a resistance band acts like a weight, it is a great alternative to standard gym weights for building muscle.
Using resistance bands with bodyweight exercises will build muscle, but how effective this will be compared to weight training depends on your workout.
What Are The Benefits of Using Resistance Bands?
There are many benefits to using resistance bands; they offer much more variety to your workout, they are fantastic for using to train progressions, and they are easy to put in your bag and take to the gym with you.
For further reading see the 7 benefits of using resistance bands.
In this section you can find out which resistance band size you need based on matching the resistance value to the exercise or training goal you wish to use the band for.
Although all brands of flat loop resistance bands should use the same sizing metrics, the sizes below are based on the Rubberbanditz resistance band selection.
All weights are listed in both imperial and metric.
Light - 2kg to 7kg (5lbs to 15lbs)
First up is the Light band which as you can see really doesn't offer much resistance.
It offers no worthwhile strength training resistance and at such a low resistance it offers almost no assistance to bodyweight exercises.
This band is best used as a stretching and rehabilitation aid.
Medium - 9kgs to 16kgs (20lbs to 35lbs)
Let's move on to this next band with some real figures for comparison...
If you were to weigh 75kgs (175lbs) then the resistance offered by this band is around 10-20% of your bodyweight.
If you're a bodyweight training beginner and struggling to perform a pull-up, then a band which assists 10-20% of your bodyweight will be perfect to help you achieve the pull-up without making the exercise too easy. If you're a bit lighter than the example above then you may even get more mileage from the band as you get stronger.
Heavy - 14kgs to 23kgs (30lbs to 50lbs)
This resistance range isn't too different from the previous range.
It would suit somebody who is either heavier than my example or would like a higher range of resistance.
Even better, I'd recommend both bands as inevitably you'll progress with your training and find that each band is suited to a different exercise depending on your progression.
Robust - 18kgs to 36kgs (40lbs to 80lbs)
This resistance range is my personal favourite. It supports around 25-50% of my bodyweight, which is perfect for someone like myself who uses the bands to support a portion of my body weight when doing more complex Calisthenics exercises.
If you're struggling with those elusive exercises which require plenty of patience and training, such as Front/Back Levers, Human Flags and Muscle-ups, then this is the perfect resistance band range for you.
Power - 23kgs to 55kgs (50lbs to 120lbs)
At 23kgs (50lbs) I think these resistance bands really come into their own as a replacement (or addition) to weight training.
You can wrap the bands around a barbell and then simply anchor the bands to a fixed item on the floor, or even a couple of heavy kettlebells to keep them anchored.
From here you can perform the same types of exercises which you would usually do with a barbell or dumbbell, but the 'weight' provided by the resistance bands get heavier as you stretch them during the movement.
Don't forget that you'll need to buy two identical bands to use the bands for powerlifting exercises on a barbell such as squats, bench press and deadlifts.
Strong - 27kgs to 68kgs (60lbs to 150lbs)
I'm going to say the same as I said with the Heavy band resistance range here, in that it's not awfully different to the previous resistance range, and therefore the resistance bands would compliment each other well when bought as a pair.
The additional resistance here may also be useful for those training plyometric or explosive exercises where a stronger band is definitely needed.
Monster - 36kgs to 91kgs (80lbs to 200lbs)
There are resistance bands that offer greater resistance bands than this, but at this point, I'm going to group anything of this resistance and higher together.
The resistances at this range span higher than the weight of the average user themselves, so at this point, the bands should only be used in a resistive manner, most likely for strength training.
Have anything to say about the above recommendations or any further suggestions and tips from purchasing resistance bands yourself? Contact us and let us know your thoughts!