Cover photo for the best resistance bands buying guide

The Best Resistance Bands: Reviews and Buyer’s Guide

by Cole Matthews - Last Updated May 16, 2017

Resistance bands are one of the simplest yet most beneficial additions you can make to your collection of home exercise equipment. They’ve become increasingly popular over the years as more people start to realize the amazing benefits of training with elastic resistance, such as increased muscle strength, injury prevention, and physical therapy (just to name a few). They can be used to train any muscle, and their super convenient size makes them easy to throw in your gym bag and use anytime, anywhere. Since they’re a rather simple product, finding the best resistance bands isn’t too difficult! The choice really just comes down to comfort and material quality, which we’ll go over in our resistance band reviews below.

Since there are hundreds of different brands for sale online, I took the top 4 best-selling sets (2 tube-style and 2 loop-style) and compared them against each other to find out which brand really makes the best resistance bands. The full reviews of each set are further down the page, but here’s an easy comparison table to see the key differences.

Product image of the Bodylastics resistance bands Product image of the Black Mountain resistance bands Product image of the Sport2People loop bands Product image of the TNT Pro Series loop bands
Product Name Product Name Product Name Product Name
Rating
4.9/5

4.9/5

4.9/5

4.9/5
Type Tube Tube Loop Loop
What's Included 6 Bands
2 Handles
2 Ankle Straps
2 Anchors
5 Bands
2 Handles
1 Ankle Strap
1 Anchor
5 Bands 4 Bands
Resistance 3-142 lbs 2-75 lbs Extra-Light to Extra-Heavy Extra-Light to Heavy
Warranty Lifetime Lifetime Lifetime Lifetime
Other Unique anti-snap design to prevent breaking and prolong lifespan Great value for your dollar Great value for your dollar Extra-thick bands make them more comfortable and easier to use
Find Best Price Find Best Price Find Best Price Find Best Price

Tube resistance bands are the most common type. They are usually about 4 feet long (end to end) and have different thicknesses to provide different amounts of resistance. On each end of the band, there are clips that allow you to attach things handles or straps, which is why this type is primarily used for strength training exercises, often in conjunction with free weights.


Loop bands, on the other hand, do not have handles and instead are one continuous band. Think of these like really big rubber bands. They’re primarily used for rehabilitation purposes or activities like yoga or pilates because the flat-band style allows the band to be placed comfortably against the body for stretching and conditioning.


Why Resistance Bands?


Amazing Muscular Benefits

If I told you resistance bands offered more muscular benefits than free weights, would you believe me? Probably not. One look at those little resistance bands next to a heavy set of dumbbells and common sense tells you that dumbbells are the way to go. But take a look at the science of things, and you’re going to be pretty surprised.

Dr. Jim Stoppani, a world-renowned fitness expert with a PhD in exercise physiology, conducted a study comparing elastic resistance and traditional free weights. After several pages of research and comparison, Jim’s study concludes with this statement: “A program using elastic tubing resistance can provide similar benefits to a program that uses free-weight resistance, such as increased muscle group strength, increase muscle tone and size and decreased body fat. In addition, a program that uses elastic tubing resistance can also provide benefits that are not offered by free-weight resistance programs, such as more functional strength, better injury prevention, greater ability to change muscle emphasis during exercises, greater muscle power development and easier use.” (See full study here)

But why is this? The most important reason is that resistance bands don’t rely on gravity to provide tension (whereas free weights do), which is the reason why workouts with resistance bands feel more intense than free weights. With free weights, you get full resistance when you’re lifting the weight upwards against gravity, but much less resistance when lowering the weights because gravity is essentially helping you lower them. Since resistance bands aren’t affected by gravity, you get constant resistance on both the lifting AND lowering movements, which makes you work harder to manage the tension and ultimately gives you a more intense workout.

Another advantage to not relying on gravity for resistance is that the bands can be used to get tension in any direction whether it be up, down, sideways – you name it. This is beneficial because it allows you to mimic more realistic movements, which builds more functional strength and makes your muscles more useful in real-life applications like daily activities or sports. For example, many professional athletes favor resistance bands over free weights because they can use the bands to mimic movements like swinging a baseball bat, passing a basketball, and swimming (just to name a few). Free weights simply can’t do this because they’re restricted to gravitational movements, which in most cases are not realistic movements that you would ever use in daily life. In addition to improved muscle power, the elastic resistance really stretches out your muscles which gives you increased flexibility, a greater range of motion, and allows a full, natural exercise movement to ensure you’re using every little fiber in each muscle group.

Bowflex uses this same type of elastic resistance in their home gyms, which is why they are such popular sellers. Their resistance rod system (or as they call it, Power Rods) has proven to be more effective in building muscle than a traditional weight stack home gym.

Muscle Rehabilitation & Injury Prevention

As Dr. Stoppani noted above, resistance bands were also found to provide better injury prevention and fantastic physical rehabilitation (aka physical therapy). This is because the progressive nature of the elastic material, to start at an easier resistance and then build tension throughout the movement, allows the body to gradually build strength without too much initial pressure on joints, rotator cuffs, etc. Free weights are linear, which means you’re receiving the same amount of tension and pressure from start to finish on any movement or exercise, which can be taxing on joints and other parts of the body. With that being said, I have the perfect personal example on how helpful this is to your body.

In early 2010, I crashed while riding my mountain bike and separated my shoulder pretty bad. For those who don’t know, a shoulder separation is where you stretch and/or tear the ligaments that hold your collar bone to the top of your shoulder bone. My particular injury was deemed just shy of a Stage 3 separation, which is the worst stage you can have. The doctors told me it would be around 6 months until I was fully recovered and that I would have to be extremely conservative when retraining my shoulder because weights could prolong the recovery process. They also said I may never regain full range of motion or be able to give that shoulder 100% again.

After about a month in a sling, I began physical therapy, which is where I was first introduced to resistance bands. In the beginning, my physical therapist had me use resistance bands for basic exercises like chest presses or shoulder raises, and it felt so nice being able to start an exercise movement at an easy resistance and have it get more challenging as the band exercise continued. The bands helped to provide a light-pressure way to retrain my muscles both in strength and motion. As the weeks went by, I gradually began to build my strength again and was able to incorporate dozens of other band exercises, entirely using elastic bands instead of traditional free weights. My range of motion began to return, and I learned to use the bands for everything from muscle training to stretching. Within 3 months, my shoulder was completely recovered and I had 100% range of motion, quickly on my way back to full strength. Resistance bands literally cut my recovery process in HALF and gave me my full range of motion back, and needless to say I’ve been using them in my workouts ever since.

Workout Variety

It’s always important to add variety to your workouts to ensure you don’t hit a plateau. A plateau is a term the fitness industry uses to describe a phenomenon where your muscles no longer gain size or strength because they have become too used to doing the same thing over and over. You see, the human body is extremely smart and your muscles are quick to adapt, which is why you need to be constantly changing up your workouts in order to keep your muscles challenged and fresh. Quick example off the top of my head: you can’t keep doing bench press over and over and expect your chest to grow stronger. You have to mix it up and throw in other chest exercises like dumbbell press, fly’s, incline, decline, etc. Varying exercises is one way to keep your muscles strong, but you should train your muscles with several resistance types as well if you really want the best workouts. Elastic resistance bands do exactly that.

Resistance bands give you truly limitless exercise options because they can be used in any different direction to create tension, allowing you to work any muscle you want in any way you want. In addition, it’s a completely unique type of resistance that no other machine or free weight can replicate because it provides constant tension at every point in the movement. With each of these points in mind, you start to realize how many different ways that bands add variety, and so far this is only talking about using resistance bands by themselves.

One of the most popular ways to add variety is to use the bands with traditional free weights. You can clip them onto barbells, dumbbells, or any other type of weight for added resistance with your exercises and workouts. Believe me, you’ve never felt a bicep burn quite like curling with a barbell that’s got a resistance band tied around it. In my opinion, using both resistance bands and free weight together is the by far the best type of workout.

They’re Cheap!

You’d think that a piece of equipment that offers so many fitness benefits would probably come at a hefty price tag, right? Not even close. Most sets of resistance bands are only $20-30, making this the cheapest type of home gym equipment you can buy. The typical set comes with about 5 bands ranging in resistance amounts from 3 lbs up to as much as 20 or 30 lbs. The resistance amount is measured per handle (i.e. if you’re doing curls with a 15 lb band, each handle is going to give 15 lbs of resistance) and you can even combine multiple bands on one handle in order to reach higher resistance ranges. With so many benefits at such a low price, there’s literally not a single downside to buying a set of these.

Resistance Bands Reviews

Since resistance bands are a rather simple product, there are literally hundreds of different brands for sale online, all of which offer pretty much the same basic product. Well, the entire purpose of this guide is to find the best resistance bands, so I decided to take the top 4 hottest-selling resistance bands (2 tube-style and 2 loop-style) and test them against each other to help make your decision process simple and straightforward.

Bodylastics Resistance Bands Set

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Notes & Review

The Bodylastics resistance bands set is undoubtedly the best resistance bands set on the market. When I first started doing my research to write this guide, I thought, “Okay, there’s really not much to these things, they’re probably all exactly the same. How can one set be better than the others?” And truthfully, that is the case with 95% of them. They’re all just the same elastic band set sourced from some manufacturer in China and branded with a different company name. But not Bodylastics. These guys really do have a superior product, and I’m actually proud to say that because I didn’t think it was possible to be better in the resistance band category. Let me tell you how and why they’re better than the rest.

Regular resistance bands are made with an elastic latex material, and that’s it. The Bodylastics bands, however, are made with a premium-quality Malaysian latex, and beneath this latex shell is a strong braided core. Why is this important? This is Bodylastics’ answer to the #1 biggest problem with any resistance bands: snapping. Resistance bands snap as a result of over-stretching, and this patented 2-layer design, which Bodylastics calls Snap Guard, uses that strong braided core to prevent the outer latex material from being stretched beyond its capabilities. We provided a video below that demonstrates how the system works. Say goodbye to snapped bands forever with Bodylastics resistance bands!

With each set, you’ll receive 6 bands of multiple resistances, and each band is color-coded with a label for the amount of resistance (Yellow: 3 lbs, Green: 5 lbs, Red: 8 lbs, Blue: 13 lbs, Black: 19 lbs, Purple: 23 lbs). One of my favorite parts about the Bodylastics resistance bands is that they can also be stacked to add more resistance. There is a heavy duty nylon connection point at the end of each band with a metal carabiner clip that allows you to combine any of the 6 bands together to create more resistance. There will probably be certain exercises where you need more resistance than the heaviest band can offer, so if that’s the case, just clip two bands together and now you have more resistance. Still looking for more? You can clip all 6 of the Bodylastics bands together if you really wanted to, which would be a total of 142 lbs of resistance. That’s the beauty of these, you have so much resistance customization.

Beyond the bands themselves, Bodylastics also includes quite a few little goodies with each of their resistance bands set. The first is a pair of handles, and these aren’t your typical basic foam handles that come with other sets. These are heavy duty ABS plastic handles with sweat-resistance rubber grips that are super comfortable and really nice to use. As funny as this sounds, these are even better than the handles on my Bowflex home gym! In addition to that, you’ll also receive a pair of soft-touch nylon ankle straps for added leg exercise variation, as well a door anchor and an anywhere anchor to give you the ability to really workout anywhere. They throw in a detailed exercise guide for workout ideas, and a nice little carrying bag to store everything in while you travel. If none of this impresses you and you really don’t like your set, Bodylastics also offers a 100% money back guarantee so you can send it back.

Video Review


The Verdict

Overall, it’s pretty easy to see why the Bodylastics set is the best resistance bands set available. Their premium quality and anti-snap design really does put their product far above the competition. You get 6 bands with the ability to customize resistance from a mere 3 lbs to a massive 142 lbs. They give you super comfortable high-quality handles and ankle straps along with 2 door anchors and an exercise guide to give you more versatility than any other resistance bands set you can buy. For only $39, choosing the Bodylastics set over anything else is a no-brainer.

Read more customer reviews of the Bodylastics resistance bands…

Black Mountain Products Resistance Bands Set

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Notes & Review

For the sake of comparison, I also wanted to write a review for the Black Mountain Products resistance bands set so you could see the difference between Bodylastics and another brand. Black Mountain’s resistance bands set is one of the hottest selling sets on the market. In fact, it’s the #1 best-selling set in Amazon’s exercise band category, and over 4,000 customer reviews rave about how amazing their product is. With that being said, this review is NOT to say their product is bad, because it’s not. The Black Mountain resistance bands are a great product, I just think the Bodylastics set offers many more benefits for nearly the same amount of money.

For starters, the Black Mountain Products resistance bands are made with a natural latex material, which is said to ensure long product life. The odds of this material snapping or tearing is slim, but is still possible because they don’t offer any sort of anti-snap material like the Bodylastics design does (that’s one of the key differences that makes the Bodylastics stand out to me). With each Black Mountain set, you’ll receive 5 bands of multiple resistances. These are also color-coded for resistance, but instead of labels showing the amounts, you have to look in their booklet to see which color is which resistance (Yellow: 2-4 lbs, Blue: 4-6 lbs, Green: 10-12 lbs, Black: 15-20 lbs, Red: 25-30 lbs). Just like the Bodylastics, the Black Mountain resistance bands are also stackable and can be clipped together to reach a higher resistance level, but these can only reach a max resistance level of 75 lbs whereas the Bodylastics set can reach 142 lbs.

The Black Mountain Products resistance bands set also comes with two detachable handles that clip onto each end of the band. They’re rather basic foam handles, which isn’t necessarily a problem; the Bodylastics ones are just a little more comfortable to hold since they’re rubber instead of foam. Black Mountain also includes one ankle strap and one door anchor for added variation, along with a starter guide that displays the resistance chart as well as a few starting exercises to help beginners. Finally, just like all great resistance band sets, you’ll receive a branded carrying bag for easy transport of your bands when you’re traveling. If you ever experience trouble with anything included in the set, Black Mountain offers a lifetime warranty to back up all of their products.

Video Review


The Verdict

Overall, I’d say the Black Mountain Products resistance bands are a great product. They include 5 bands of different resistances and can be stacked to reach higher resistance, as well as having handles, a strap, and an anchor to add versatility to the bands. They offer quite a lot of benefits, but unfortunately they just cannot compete with the superiority of the Bodylastics set. For a mere $8 more than the Black Mountain set, Bodylastics gives you an incredible anti-snap design, a 6th band, better handles, and an 2nd strap and anchor. The choice is simple.

Read more customer reviews of the Black Mountain Products resistance bands…

Sport2People Loop Bands Set

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Notes & Review

As I said above in my review of the Bodylastics set, prior to writing this guide, I was a little worried that resistance band products were too simple to really deem any set as “better” than another. However, I was happy to find that there WAS actually a difference in the product development that made Bodylastics leagues ahead of the competition. But that was with tube bands. Unfortunately, after doing quite a bit of research on loops bands, there really isn’t anything that makes one set truly better than others as far as design or innovation is concerned. So instead of looking for major differences, I went back to the basics and considered things like quality, size, and strength (because of the elastic material) as a basis for finding the best loop bands.

After reading through hundreds of products, the Sport2People set was the overall best loop bands set. As it turns out, their package is actually the #1 Best Seller on Amazon in the rehabilitation bands section, so apparently I made the right choice! I immediately bought a set and haven’t regretted it since. Sport2People includes 5 loop bands of varying resistances (X-Light, Light, Medium, Heavy, and X-Heavy), and each resistance level is a different color to make it easy to tell them apart. Most sets only come with 4 bands, so I like that the Sport2People resistance bands set comes with 5 just to give you that added variation. Just like tube bands, you can double up and use more than one of these at a time to reach higher resistance levels, so that’s nice too. The Sport2People bands are 2″ wide and 10″ long. That’s pretty much standard for loop bands, but there are also some other sets that offer extra-wide 3″ bands if you prefer a wider feel (the best wide-band set I found was the TNT Pro Series).

On a different note, I like that Sport2People is really confident about their product. Their bands are made with a high-quality elastic, but if you ever experience a problem like loss of elasticity or a tear, they promise to replace or refund you right away. That’s customer service you just can’t beat. I was also impressed to find out that the Sport2People bands are actually lab-tested and stretched to their max to ensure their strength and durability, which is a pretty rigorous testament to their quality. Companies that go the extra mile to prove they’re the best are always the greatest products to have. In addition to the bands, Sport2People includes a little carrying case for easy storage while you travel and an eBook exercise guide as well.

Video Review


The Verdict

Overall, after spending hours researching such a simple product category, the Sport2People resistance band set were the best loop bands. They include 5 bands instead of the usual 4, and offer a well-tested high-quality product. Best of all, if you ever have an issue with them, Sport2People is right there by your side to replace or refund anyone who isn’t satisfied. They’re the #1 Best-Seller on Amazon, so that many people can’t possibly be wrong.

Read more customer reviews of the Sport2People loop bands…

Conclusion: The Winners

As you can see by the rather short list of reviews above, there wasn’t really much of a resistance bands product showdown like you would see with some of the other more complex fitness equipment like adjustable dumbbells or home gyms. Resistance bands are a rather simple product and because of that, there wasn’t much variation to discuss or compare.

With that being said, if you’re looking for tube resistance bands, there was one brand that truly set themselves apart and had a totally superior product, and that was Bodylastics. The Bodylastics resistance bands set is completely different than any other elastic bands you’ll find because they have a unique patented anti-snap design (meaning nobody else can use their technology). Their multi-layer anti-snap design, high quality materials, and comfortable rubber handles make them hands-down the best resistance bands on the market if you’re looking for tube-style bands.

On the flip side, if you’re looking for the best loop bands set, we have a top pick for you in that category too. Unfortunately, there wasn’t some crazy superior product in this category like there was in the tube bands category. Most of the loop bands sets you’ll find online are honestly just the same basic elastic latex bands with different company names and branding. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t still find an awesome deal. After searching high and low, the Sport2People loop bands set offers the best value for your dollar. You’ll receive 5 bands (instead of the typical 4), and considering the thousands of positive reviews they have on Amazon, you’ll be very happy with them.