The Best Resistance Bands to Buy 2018
Last updated: January 2018.
Many people are beginning to see the benefits of using resistance bands in their workouts, but picking the right band can be confusing.
Today we're going to explain the difference between various bands out there and recommend the best resistance band for your workout.
- Our recommended resistance bands list
- The two resistance band workout types, and how this should affect your workout?
- The best 'tubular' resistance bands
- The best 'flat loop' resistance bands
- How does resistance band sizes work, and how does length compare to resistance?
- Choosing the correct resistance based on your chosen exercises and goals
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The Different Resistance Band Workouts - Resistance vs Assistance
Firstly it is important to understand the two key types of workout that resistance bands provide, that way you can pick the right band to achieve your own goals.
Resistance Workouts - This is where the band acts as a weight in order to make the exercise harder. Wide rows by The Live Fit Girl is an example of this type.
Assisted Workouts - This is where the band acts as an aid in order to make the exercise easier. Assisted Planches by Calisthenicmovement is an example of this type.
Resistance workouts are the most common types, as many people use resistance bands as a replacement to weights so they can workout at home or on the move. Assisted workouts (although less common) are great to help you complete harder exercises and techniques which you've been struggling with. Check out one of our other posts 10 Calisthenics Exercises with Resistance Bands to see examples of resistance bands being used as an assistance.
What Types of Resistance Band Works Best for Me?
Typically you'll find most resistance bands are either flat bands which form a continuous loop or are tubular bands which have handles or other attachment types at each end. Although both can technically be used for resistance and assistance workouts, the flat looping bands are best suited to assistance workouts, and the tubular bands are best suited to resistance workouts.
Best Tubular Resistance Bands
Black Mountain Products Resistance Bands
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.
Protone Resistance Bands
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.
Best Flat Loop Resistance Bands
Rubberbanditz Crossfit / Calisthenics Bands
The Rubberbanditz resistance bands are my personal favourites and the ones I use in my regular workouts, specifically the Light and Robust versions within the 10 Calisthenics Exercises with Resistance Bands post.
The bands are excellent quality and Rubberbanditz offer the largest variety, with a total of 9 different bands available on their US website. Speaking of which the 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.
Their Amazon UK band bundle is also a great starter choice for those unsure of which band to go for, offering the Medium, Heavy and Robust resistance band varieties.
The quality, of course, comes with a price tag, so if you're looking for something a bit cheaper then check out the Valkyrie bands below.
Valkyrie Calisthenics Resistance Bands
These bands aren't as great in quality in my opinion compared to the Rubberbanditz bands (and I've read of the occasional band snapping), but for those on a budget, they may be a better pick.
In comparison to the set of 3 bands offered by Rubberbanditz on Amazon at £74.99, the 3 most similar bands by Valkyrie will only set you back around £35, which is a much more attractive purchase to those who are buying their first resistance band set.
One thing to note - Valkyrie resistance bands are sold in singles yet the most common complaint is from buyers who picked the wrong band size for their desired exercise. I strongly recommend getting two or three bands in a variety of resistances, as you will find different exercises require different bands.
Resistance Band Sizes - How Do These Work and How Does Length Compare to Resistance?
If you purchase a variety of resistance bands which are all of the same brand then they should all be the same length. With resistance bands, it's not about the length but the resistance the bands give when stretched that makes them unique.
Like an elastic band, each resistance band stretches to a limit and offers different resistances between those limits. The more the band is stretched, the greater its resistance.
Choosing the Correct Resistance Based on Your Chosen Exercises and Goals
Now we've gone over the basics, I'm going to break down the various resistance values into what I'd recommend you use the different bands for.
For this next part, I'm going to be a superstar and give all values in both lbs and kg. I'm also going to evaluate the resistance band range offered by Rubberbanditz resistance band selection, but there's plenty of others on the market and they all use the same resistance measurements.
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, therefore, 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...
I myself weigh 75kgs (175lbs), so the resistance offered by this band is around 10-20% of my bodyweight.
For a beginner starting out in bodyweight training, 10-20% of your bodyweight is a good figure. If you're a bit lighter than my example then you may even get more mileage from the band as you get stronger.
For those using the resistance bands to assist them, then 10-20% is ideal for those who are just not quite able to complete an exercise, such as a pull-up. By effectively reducing your bodyweight by 10-20% the band should be fantastic at helping you complete the exercise and get you one step closer to completing the exercise without any help.
Heavy - 14kgs to 23kgs (30lbs to 50lbs)
This resistance range isn't too different to 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!