In days gone by your gym bag probably contained your kit, maybe a protein shake for afterwards and not a lot else, but nowadays no gym bag is complete without a set of resistance bands. Often touted as one of the most effective pieces of workout gear, gym-goers old and new have cottoned onto the idea that the humble resistance band is the perfect bit of low-cost and high-impact kit for building muscle, increasing mobility and staying fit.
However, demand for resistance bands (particularly in the New Year) means that it can be difficult to get your hands on a set. That's why we've done the searching for you and found these in-stock sets of resistance bands that are lightweight but still deliver heavyweight results.
As we're sure you'll agree, as well as knowing where to find resistance bands, it's also important you know how to use them, so consider this your induction guide to the humble — yet devilishly effective — gym tool, which should be a staple of your workouts, wherever you're getting your session in.
Best Resistance Bands
In a hurry? Here's a quick round-up of our favourite resistance bands and sets. For a more detailed breakdown of each, keep scrolling.
Why Use Resistance Bands?
Resistance bands are, you guessed it, bands of rubber — at various lengths, thicknesses and durability — that are designed to help you stay fit, flexible, mobile and strong wherever you are. Resistance bands can also be used for stretching or mobility routines and can be used on their own or as part of another exercise to increase or decrease resistance.
For example, adding a resistance band to your pull-ups, regardless of your current pull-up progression, will train your body to build the strength for a full rep, helping to get your chest to the bar. Conversely, adding a resistance band to a deadlift or another pull-focused exercise like the bicep curl will increase resistance, helping you get more out of the lift. It's perfect if you're not ready to shift up a weight, but still want a little extra challenge.
In short, resistance bands are ideal for the guy who wants to get a workout in absolutely anywhere — from the living room, to the garden and to the park.
Which Resistance Band is Best for Me?
For those unaware, resistance bands come in different formats, each with a different intended purpose. Some resistance bands are more effective on different muscle groups. Here's what to look out for:
Tube Resistance Bands
These are the resistance bands that come with handles and door attachments — they're perfect for interior home gyms, where you can be short on space and can be packed away easily. An ideal resistance band for hypertrophy.
Flat Resistance Bands
Like an enormous elastic band, flat resistance bands are the typical mobility and strength-work-on-the-fly bands that you've seen peppered all over fitness-focused social media accounts. They're the ultimate space saver, weigh almost nothing and are incredibly affordable. Similarly, you can grind out almost every standard exercise with one of these resistance bands. That they're suitable for yoga and pilates is just an added bonus.
Mini Resistance Bands
Lastly, 'mini' resistance bands — the circumference of a large dinner plate — are ideal for lower-body warm-up and strengthening work — such as glute bridges — while also helping correct lifting form, such as knees caving during squats.
What Science Says About Resistance Bands
Recent research published in the Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport compared the effects of variable resistance training (with bands) and traditional weight training on maximal muscle strength and muscle power in healthy adults. The study found that the results were largely similar, with no statistically significant differences between variable resistance training and traditional resistance training for the lower or the upper body. Not bad for a fraction of the price.
The Best Resistance Bands for Workouts in 2023
As you've probably guessed, certain resistance bands work better for certain activities than others. Below you can see our top picks to find the one that’s right for you.
TRX Strength Bands
Best Loop Resistance Bands
If you're after a durable and high-quality resistance band at an affordable price point, you'll struggle to find a better option than the TRX Strength Band. Available to buy in resistances ranging from 5bls to 150lbs, it's ideal for full-body, low-impact training on the go.
GOWOD Super Band - Blue
Best Resistance Bands for Core Training
Specifically designed to help stabilise your core and for targeted training of your back muscles, GOWOD's Super Bands are said to to be tear-resistant, stretchy and extremely flexible. They're available to buy in three colours and strengths, which you can combine for a varied workout. Thanks to the natural fibres used, they're also washable and skin-friendly.
Bulldog Gear Resistance Bands
Best Heavy-Duty Resistance Bands
Made of 100% seamless latex, these loop resistance bands from Bulldog Gear are incredibly strong. Available to buy individually in a choice of five resistances ranging from 2kg to 70kg, or as a set of three, Bulldog say they are specifically designed for performing assisted pull ups, dips and deltoid exercises.
CoreZone Heavy Duty Resistance Bands
Best Weightlifting Alternative
This set of seven heavy-duty resistance bands from CoreZone includes everything you need for varied, weight-free workouts at home. Each band is colour coded to represent its resistance level, which range from just 5lbs to an impressive 250lbs — one of the highest tensions we've spotted. The price tag is on the more premium end, but with a high build quality and such a large choice of resistance levels, it's worth the investment.
Myprotein Multi-Use 11 Piece Resistance Band Set
Best Tube Resistance Bands
This set of tube resistance bands from Myprotein is ideal for home gyms. It contains two leg straps, two foam handles, one door anchor, five tubes ranging from 10lbs to 50lbs of resistance, and a handy nylon bag for storage.
Core Balance Resistance Bands Set
Best Range of Resistances
This set of five natural latex tube bands from Core Balance includes everything you need to get you through a wide range of workouts at home. Choose either the 100lb, 150lb or 200lb set depending on your strength — each of which contains five colour-coded tubes of varying resistances, as well as four foam-padded handles, two ankle traps, and a door anchor for performing a variety of exercises.
RenoJ Resistance Bands
Best Resistance Bands for Lower-Body
These hip resistance bands will help you target your glutes, abductors and quads during squats, while encouraging razor-sharp form. These are made from durable fabric and latex, for a strong non-slip design.
Lets Bands Powerband Set Pro
Best Mini Resistance Bands
Best suited to lower-body warm-ups and strengthening work, this resistance band set from Lets Bands contains three mini bands and a carry bag. Designed for plyometrics, speed work, agility training, stretching and improving your flexibility, these versatile bands are also incredibly lightweight and minimal, making them a great option for always keeping in your gym bag.
Core Balance Mini Resistance Bands
Best Resistance Bands For Squats
This super-affordable set of mini resistance bands contains five colour-coded loop bands each with a unique tension level — ranging from extra-light to extra-heavy. They are particularly effective for lower-body warm-up exercises and strength work.
Gritin Resistance Bands
Best Lightweight Resistance Bands
Consisting of five mini bands of varying resistance levels, these mini resistance bands from Gritin offer incremental resistance weights of 10,15, 20, 30 and 40lbs. They're seriously light too, meaning you'll never need to take them out of your gym bag.
Decathlon Pilates Resistance Band
Best Flat Resistance Band
Suitable for both mobility and strength work, this low-resistance, flat band from Decathlon is a highly versatile choice. It has a no-loop design, which means that while it lacks handles, it's super stretchy — great for yoga and pilates, as well as rehabilitation exercises.
RDX Flat Resistance Training Bands Set
Best For Mobility Training
These flat resistance bands from RDX are best suited to stretching and mobility work — offering a low-impact alternative to lifting weights. Each set contains three resistances — 10lbs, 15lbs, and 20lbs — for increasing or decreasing the intensity of your exercise. Made from a non-toxic rubber, they are designed to provide long-lasting and durable elasticity.
Leekey Resistance Band Set
Best Long Resistance Bands
Extra-long resistance bands such as this rubber set of four are perfect for providing assistance to pull-focussed bodyweight exercises where your form would benefit from some additional support — similar to an assisted dip machine. These bands measure 81.9 inches, which is ideal for attaching to gym equipment.
Myprotein Resistance Bands — 2 Pack (23-54kg)
Best for Strength Training
Whether you're looking to increase the load of a pull-focused exercise, or you need some assistance in your efforts to perform the perfect pull-up, this set of two Myprotein resistance bands are ideal for both increasing or decreasing the difficulty of your workouts. This set of bands comes in a choice of three tension levels — 2-16kg, 11-36kg, and 23-54kg — great for both beginners and experienced users.
Pepmune Pull Up Assist Bands Set
Best Basic Resistance Band Set
Unlike some sets of resistance bands, this set from Pepmune incorporates different thicknesses to help you activate your muscles, stretch out sore areas and assist or challenge a range of bodyweight moves like pull-ups, dips and press-ups.
Fitbeast Pull Up Bands - Set of 5
Best Affordable Resistance Band Set
This affordable set of natural latex resistance bands includes five individual bands, each one coloured to indicate a different resistance level — ranging from 5lbs up to 125lbs. The set also consists of a thick foam door anchor for performing pull-ups at home, as well as two soft grip pads designed to protect your hands.
Decathlon High Resistance Fabric Fitness Band
Best Budget Resistance Band
Lightweight and flexible, this resistance band packs 15kg of resistance for under £10. Perfect if you're on a budget, it's available to buy in three resistance levels depending on your strength and experience — light (7kg), medium (10kg), or strong (15kg).
How To Use Resistance Bands
Now you've got your resistance bands, here's an example of how to use them in a workout, with a few superset examples thrown in for good measure.
Perform this workout three times a week to improve strength and definition, and remember, by maintaining constant tension throughout each exercise you’ll recruit more muscle fibres for faster growth.
Resistance Band Workout
1A) Resisted Press-Up 5 rounds, 30sec max reps
Make regular press-ups more challenging by crossing a band across your back and looping your thumbs through each end. Assume the press-up position (A). Lower yourself (B), then press up, hard – the extra resistance will activate more muscles in your upper body. Stick with it for 30 seconds.
1B) Assisted Press-Up 5 rounds, 1min max reps
Go straight into your assisted press-ups without rest. With your resistance band tight around your forearms, set up at the top of a press-up (A). Lower yourself until your chest almost touches the floor (B). Using the spring of the band, you’ll find it much easier to press back up. When the minute is up, rest for 90 seconds, before beginning round two.
2A) Pull-Up 5 Rounds, 30sec Max Reps
This will push your body to its limit. With your arms straight below the bar (A), lift your head above it by squeezing your back and biceps (B). If one rep is a struggle, perform jumping pull-ups, in which you jump up to the bar, then slowly lower your body under control.
2B) Assisted Pull-Up 5 rounds, 1min max reps
As with the press-ups, a band makes pull-ups easier, so use this move to perfect your form. Wrap a band around the bar, looping the other end around your feet (A). The band will help you to raise your chest to the bar (B). Lower under control. Again, 60 seconds’ work, then rest for 90 seconds before round two.
3A) Resisted Squat Jump 5 Rounds, 30sec Max Reps
Keeping your legs under tension quickly builds power. With the band around a fixed object behind you, wrap the other end around your hips and step away. Lean slightly forward as you squat (A), then explode up, jumping as high as you can (B). Cushion your landing with bent legs. Push it for 30 seconds.
3B) Air Squat 5 Rounds, 1min Max Reps
Step out of the band and switch to bodyweight squats. Stand with your torso upright (A), then drop your hips back to sink into a deep squat (B). Hold for a second, before pressing through your heels to stand up. Go hard until the minute is up – 90 seconds of rest await you, so hold nothing back.
Try This Resistance Band Copenhagen Miniband Plank Challenge
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