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Fitness bands are a great addition to any training program. They’re versatile, inexpensive, and offer a variety of different exercises for everything from intense strength training to rehabilitation.
So why isn’t everyone incorporating resistance bands in their exercise routine?
The truth is, with so many different styles, lengths, colors, and materials of bands out there, finding the right ones to help you reach your specific fitness goals can be a little bit daunting.
But not to worry, our 2021 Buyer’s Guide to Fitness Bands will break down the types of bands available and offer some helpful tips on what to look for when you shop so you can find the best bands for you and start maximizing your workouts.
Benefits of Using Fitness Bands
- You’ll get a great workout. Resistance bands work your muscles in a totally different way than weights do and there are seemingly endless ways to incorporate resistance bands into your workout.
- Good for all fitness levels. Whether you’re a professional athlete or just setting out on your fitness journey, fitness bands can be a safe and effective way to challenge your body and build your strength.
- Add variety to your workout. Fitness bands give you the freedom to change your body position and create resistance in more ways than a lot of other gym equipment can.
- Small and easy to store. Resistance bands are easy to put away in a drawer or closet and won’t take up valuable space in your living room or gym.
- Great for traveling. Lightweight, easy to store and difficult to damage, resistance bands are the perfect piece of equipment to take with you when you travel.
- Won’t break the bank. Most fitness bands and fitness band sets range from about $5 to $40.
What Type of Resistance Bands Should You Buy?
The right bands for you will depend on your strength and skill level, your fitness goals, and the types of exercises you plan to use them for. The great thing about resistance bands being inexpensive and easy to store, is that you don’t need to limit yourself to just one.
When adding resistance bands to your routine, we recommend starting with a set that will allow you to do a variety of different exercises and to increase the resistance and intensity as you progress.
Before you go looking for your perfect set of bands, it will help to know what makes one band different from another. Resistance bands will vary in terms of:
- Material. While pretty much all bands are made of a rubber-like material, some are more resistant to tearing or overstretching than others. Look for bands made from a blend of latex and genuine rubber for durability.
- Length. Resistance bands vary quite a lot in length to make them ideal for different types of exercises. If you’re unsure of what lengths you might need, you can look for a set that includes multiple lengths or opt on the longer side since a band that is too long can often be modified but you can make a short band longer.
- Shape. Fitness bands come in several different shapes from strips to loops and figure 8s. Different shaped bands are ideal for different types of exercises, so it is good to know what exercises you intend to use them for before making a selection.
- Resistance level. Fitness bands come in different colors to denote different resistance levels. Color coding often varies from brand to brand.
- Handles. When choosing a resistance band, it is important to decide whether you want a band with handles. For example, if you are performing exercises where you are substituting a band for a dumbbell, like bicep curls, a handle is recommended.
The qualities of resistance bands described above make different ones ideal for different things. Below are some of the main types of resistance bands available.
- Compact Resistance Bands – Compact resistance bands (a.k.a. “fit tube” resistance bands) are long, tube-shaped bands with a handle on each end. They have a wide variety of uses for training the arms, upper body, and lower body and are especially ideal for exercises where a band is being substituted for a barbell. If you’re looking to get a full body workout with minimal equipment, fit tube bands might be right for you.
- Therapy Bands – Therapy bands are often used for rehabilitation but can be used for a number of different exercises as well. Therapy bands are flat, rather than tube-shaped, and tend to be about 4 feet long.
- Fit Loop – Fit loop bands (a.k.a. “mini bands”) come in the shape of a flat, 4-inch to 2-foot continuous loop. They are most often used in strength training for the lower body including the hips, legs, and glutes.
- Pull Up Bands – Just like the name suggests, pull up bands are designed to assist with performing pull ups. Many people experience difficulties when learning to perform pull ups. The pull up band allows you to build the strength needed to perform pull ups while practicing the same type of motion.
- Figure 8 Resistance Bands – Figure 8 bands consist of a tube in a figure 8 shape with a handle at each end. These bands are typically only about 20 inches long and are used to train the arms and upper body.
- Lateral Bands – Lateral bands are about 1 foot long and have a Velcro cuff at each end. Typically, the Velcro cuffs are wrapped around the ankles to allow for training the lower body.
- Ring Resistance Bands – Ring resistance bands are tube-shaped bands, about 1 foot in length, with soft plastic handles on each end. They are typically used for lower body strength training.
Tips for Buying Resistance Bands
Once you’ve determined the types of bands that are best suited to your exercise and fitness goals, it’s time to start shopping. Below are our top 5 tips for buying resistance bands:
- Start simple – With such a wide variety of bands available, it doesn’t hurt to start with a simple and versatile band like a compact “fit tube” band with handles or a set of mini bands.
- Look for comfortable bands that are easy to use – Few things are less motivating for training than equipment that is overly complicated or uncomfortable to use. Details that might seem minor, like that need to be switched from one band to another or are made of uncomfortably hard plastic, can be enough to keep you from getting in your workout.
- Invest in versatile bands – Versatile bands will allow you to do more exercises with less equipment and give you the ability to progress. Aim to purchase fitness band sets with at least three different resistance levels (light, medium, heavy).
- Accessorize to maximize your bands – Part of the amazing versatility of fitness bands is in the different ways that you can hold, position, and attach them. A door attachment will allow you to use bands for exercise like seated rows or chest press. You might also want to consider purchasing different types of handles or Velcro cuffs.
- Try shopping online – You can find a lot of different types of bands at sporting goods stores and even retail stores like Walmart. But if you’re looking to find the best bands for you from a wide variety of styles, shopping online will likely give you more to choose from and access to the best brands.
Best Fitness Band Sets for 2021
Below are our top 3 picks for fitness band sets for 2021. These sets by Rogue Fitness offer great quality and versatility at a reasonable price.
These versatile “fit loop” bands can be customized to suit any exercise program. With varying widths and thicknesses available in pairs or as a full set, these bands can be used for mobility work, banded squats, pull up assistance, and more. Check it out at Rogue.
This set of 41” looped bands come in 8 different resistance levels and can be used for rehab, conditioning, mobility work, and strength training. Whether you’re looking for a band to assist in stretching or want to get maximum resistance in your squats or deadlifts, these bands are a great addition to a home gym or training facility. Check it out at Rogue.
A shorter 12” version of Rogue’s Echo Resistance Bands, the shorty bands allow you to perform banded deadlifts, bench press, stretching exercises, and more without having to double or triple wrap the band to get the desired length. Check it out at Rogue.
Fitness bands are the perfect low-risk, inexpensive investment for anyone who is looking to change up their workout routine, up their strength training, come back after an injury or achieve whatever their fitness goals may be. We hope this 2021 Buyer’s Guide to Fitness Bands helps you find the perfect new equipment to take your workouts to the next level.