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Resistance bands are an underrated addition to any home gym. When most of us go to stock up on fitness equipment, we prioritize weights, yoga mats—maybe even a cardio machine. Forgotten in this sea of obvious must-haves is the resistance band, a piece of equipment that is space-efficient, versatile, and extremely useful.
“Resistance bands are a perfect addition to your workouts if you’re traveling or whenever weights aren’t available,” Liz Chestang, an instructor at Obé Fitness, says. Bree Branker Koegel, a certified personal trainer for the FitOn App, agrees. “Bands are such an underrated workout tool,” Koegel says. “Their most obvious benefit is their versatility.” Koegel says she loves to use resistance bands to supplement her strength training, check her form, and enhance her stretches—especially when she’s working out at home.
Read on for the best resistance bands available now.
You can’t go wrong with Obé’s Resistance Loops. The bands are versatile enough to be used during any kind of workout—legs, glutes, arm, back, you name it. And because the set includes a Level I and Level II resistance band, it’s easy to make sure your workouts stay challenging as you get stronger. “Not only do I use the Obé Fitness resistance loops very often, but I love the durability and strength variation of them,” Chestang says. “Highly recommend.” Byrdie associate editor Holly Rhue agrees: "These resistance bands stay perfectly in place every time—even during jump squats,” she says.
If you’re shopping resistance bands on a budget, Fit Simplify’s Resistance Bands are a dream come true. For less than $12, you can score five resistance bands—all of which are crafted from durable, natural latex. Each band boasts a different resistance level—ranging from extra-light to extra-heavy—so you can easily customize your workouts based on how much you want to be challenged. They’re also conveniently color-coordinated, so you never have to worry about mixing them up.
Chareada’s Resistance Bands Set is basically a gym you can carry with you. The set comes with a whopping 23 pieces: five resistance loops, five resistance tubes, two handles, two ankle straps, two wrist wraps, two core sliders, one door anchor, two carrying bags, one jump rope, and one cooling towel for good measure. This may sound like a lot, but since all the pieces are so small, you won’t have to worry about them hogging a ton of space in your home. Plus, you’ll have everything you could possibly need to tackle a killer workout.
Peach Bands are a best-in-class addition to any lower-body exercise. And because they’re so cute, you might actually look for excuses to work out with them. Each set comes with four resistance bands, which are color-coded based on their resistance level. The lightest band is the most beginner-friendly, and the darkest one is the most challenging. Toss them in your bag and carry them to the gym, on trips, or anywhere else you’re planning to work up a sweat.
Byrdie senior editor Lindsey Metrus loves Tone It Up’s Booty Bands—and she’s not the only one. The lightweight loops make an awesome addition to any lower-body workout. Use the blue band for general strengthening and the pink band for more precise toning. And slip the bands on any time you need an added challenge.
Standard latex bands are usually really durable. Chestang says she’s never had any problems with them, especially when she’s kept them cool, clean, and dry. But if you’re looking for a different option—or if you just don’t like the way latex feels—fabric bands, like Peach Bands’ Fabric Resistance Bands, are an amazing alternative. Use the bands the same way you’d use any others. And don’t worry about them slipping mid-workout—the insides of the bands are lined with no-slip grippers.
Many resistance bands are 2 inches wide. So at 3.15 inches wide, Recredo’s Non-Slip Bands are particularly thick. According to Recredo, this makes the bands even more durable, even more challenging, and even less likely to slip during workouts. So if you’re searching for an alternative to the classic latex loop, Recredo’s thicker, fabric bands may be just what you’re looking for.
We’ve spent a lot of time talking about resistance loops, but resistance tubes can be just as useful. Koegel says resistance tubes can be great for push-and-pull strength-training exercises. Simply attach them to handles or door anchors, and use them to build strength in your legs, arms, back, and more. This Bodylastics Resistance Bands set is great because it covers all your resistance tubes bases. The set comes with five resistance tubes (with resistance levels ranging from 3–96 lbs.), two attachable handles, two attachable wrist straps, and one door anchor—everything you need to knock out a classic resistance tube workout.
Looking to improve your pull-ups? There’s a resistance band for that. This set from INTEY comes with four resistance bands, all of which are designed to help you master pull-ups. Start with the thickest band, and work your way down to the thinnest one. Though the thicker bands offer more resistance, they’ll also give you more support as you attempt your pull-ups.
Stretching straps look a lot like resistance loops—they’re just not circular. Instead, they come with two ends, which you can wrap around your hands to get a good grip as you stretch. This Azure Life Resistance Bands set comes with three rubber stretching straps, each of which boasts a different resistance level. If you’re looking for an intense stretch, opt for the purple (heavy) strap. And when you want to keep things more low-key, use the green (light) strap instead.
Gradient’s Fitness Stretching Strap is an innovative take on the classic stretching strap. The resistance band is lined with loops you can slide your hands and feet into, making it easy for you to customize the intensity of a stretch. If you want to make the strap feel shorter, use loops that are closer together. And if you’d rather spread things out, take advantage of the strap’s full extra-long length.
The SPRI Xercuff Exercise Cord is like a Pilates ring that’s easy to wear. Simply slide your ankles into the adjustable ankle straps, and go about your favorite lower-body exercises. The attached resistance cord —which is available in resistance levels between very light and heavy—will add just enough of a challenge to keep things interesting.
The iRibit Figure 8 Resistance Tube is like a resistance tube, a resistance loop, and a pilates ring in one. Its two-handle design makes it easy to use as a resistance tube. No, you probably can’t attach it to your door, but the built-in handles are comfortable enough to loop around your hands and ankles. Its figure-8 shape makes it easy to slide around your legs like a pilates ring. And if you ever find yourself craving a resistance loop, you can remove the tube’s middle piece—and voilà, you’ve got one.
The Aynone Pedal Resistance Band is a unique resistance band designed with core work in mind. Though the band boasts two pedals, it’s not intended for cycling. Instead, you slide your feet through the pedals to establish one anchor point, while you wrap your hands around the handle to establish another. You can press the pedal into the ground and lean back for crunches, or you can experiment with Russian twists.