The 10 Best Resistance Bands of 2023, Tested and Reviewed
From long loops to booty bands, we tried dozens of resistance bands and judged these to be the best.
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Shape / David Hattan
The term ‘resistance bands’ may bring to mind (and ear) feminist punk bands of the 90s like Bikini Kill, Bratmobile, Le Tigre, and Sleater Kenney. But as fitness trainers and regular exercisers know, resistance bands are also the name for elastic bands that can be used for strength training, pre-hab, re-hab, mobility work, and more.
“Resistance bands apply resistance to and force against your muscles as you move and elongate the band,” explains certified personal trainer Jonathan Tylicki NASM-CPT, CES, PPNS, Director of Education for AKT, a dance-inspired functional fitness provider. Between large loops and mini loops, handled ribbons and flat strings, there are a variety of different types of resistance bands on the market, each of which is best for a different set of exercises, he says. All in all, however, whether you purchase just one resistance band or a whole collection (cheers to space-efficient exercise equipment!) they are a lightweight, cost-effective, travel-friendly exercise equipment alternative.
So, which resistance band is best for you based on your current fitness goals and needs? We tested 21 options to find out. Each resistance band included here has undergone over 630 hours of testing in our New York testing lab and the real world. So, you can trust that they're durable and effective for use during any type of workout. With any of these multifunctional resistance bands on hand, you can fit in a workout no matter where you are or how much time you have.
Why We Like It: You get a tremendous bang for your buck with this 16-piece combo set.
It's Worth Noting: The grips on these bands offer you a no-slip hold. But, in certain positions the material on them can feel a little abrasive.
We’ve chosen to award the gold medal of resistance bands to VEICK resistance bands, a 16-pack collection of bands and band accessories that can take you from point A (having fitness goals) to point B (meeting fitness goals).
In each $40 package, you’ll get five 48-inch long colored exercise bands that come with built-in carabiners you can clip handles into (which are also included), ankle straps, a door anchor, an instruction manual, and a carrying case.
Because the handles are clipped in separately, this option gives you the ability to pair multiple bands together at a time to really increase the resistance. For individuals who have some serious strength goals, this comes in clutch.
One of the best parts? The rubber on the tubes is very smooth to the touch! The rubber won’t snag on your arm or leg hair, tugging it off when you’re just trying to train.
Price at time of publish: $40
Type: Loop & Handle | Number of Bands: 10 | Weight Range: Up to 15 lb each | Material: Natural Rubber
Why We Like It: For just $25, you get 23 different parts, which can be combined to give you the best workout ever.
It's Worth Noting: Given that there are so many parts, there will be a bit of a learning curve in figuring out how to pair them together for your most optimal sweat session.
Hate being limited? Love options? Check out this all-in-one resistance band set if you want to try various types of exercise bands.
This set comes with 23 different doo-dads, including five large tube bands, five mini loop bands, a door anchor, two cushioned handles, ankle straps, sliders, and a jump rope. Basically, this pack includes e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g you need for a killer exercise band workout at home. It also comes with a carry case so you can reap the benefits of a resistance band workout on the road.
The set comes with instructions that show you how to mix and match the various parts, so you can get the workout you want. Truly, there are more ways to combine the parts of these resistance band packages than there are to combine butter and flour into different dessert treats. So, whether you want to stretch or get strong, this pack can help you get there.
Price at time of publish: $40
Type: Loop & Handle | Number of Bands: 10 | Weight Range: Up to 50 lb each | Material: Natural Rubber
Why We Like It: This non-latex option is as sweat-resistant as resistance bands get (meaning, very)!
It's Worth Noting: Measuring in at 29 inches around, this loop is smaller than other options.
From leggings to zip-ups, shoes to socks, Lululemon is widely known for carrying gear to exercise in — but the activewear brand also carries gear to exercise with. Behold: The Lululemon Resistance Band Set.
As to be expected from a company known for its high-quality, durable clothing, what sets the three resistance bands sold in this set apart from other options is just how grippy they are. Indeed whether performed with sweaty hands or dry hands, or placed over skin, dry leggings, or sweaty sweatpants, these bands stayed in place. The bands also folded, twisted, or bunched up around the knees during movements like monster walks or banded glute bridges.
Each of the three bands in this set is a mini loop resistance band, each of which offers a different degree of resistance. As you get stronger, you can graduate to a greater degree of resistance. Or, you can rotate between the three as your different exercises demand.
One thing to keep in mind is that the circumference of this band is just 29 inches. While this is within the realm of ‘normal’ for mini bands, the smaller size somewhat limits its usage. You won’t, for example, be able to use it for banded pull-ups, banded good morning, lat pull-downs, or banded lifts.
Price at time of publish: $58
Type: Loop | Number of Bands: 3 | Weight Range: Low, Medium, High resistance | Material: Elasticated fabric
Why We Like It: As far as latex bands go, the Rogue Echo Resistance Bands are the most durable and long-lasting.
It's Worth Noting: Each resistance level (aka band) is sold separately. Spend some time noodling on exactly how you want to use these bands before purchasing so you get the type of tension you need.
The Rogue Echo Resistance Bands are to resistance bands what Peloton is to at-home bikes: iconic. The option most CrossFit boxes stock their gyms with, these latex bands are built to withstand the wear and tear of regular use. Indeed, you can confidently use these to do everything from banded pull-ups to banded deadlifts, without worrying that the friction of the pull-up bar or barbell will rip ‘em to shreds (it won’t).
With their 41-inch circumference, this option has a wide range of uses for bodyweight-based exercises — including (but not limited to!) hamstring stretches, banded pull-ups, banded ring dips, monster walks, and more.
Worth noting: Each band is sold separately. On the bright side, this means you won’t be sent an option that you know you won’t use. But on the downside, this means you’ll have to know before you buy exactly what level of resistance you’re on the hunt for.
Price at time of publish: From $14
Type: Loop | Number of Bands: 1 or 2 | Weight Range: 15 lb each | Material: Latex Rubber
Why We Like It: This collection transforms your space into an at-home gym, lickity split. Truly, you do not need other exercise equipment to get in a good workout if you own these.
It's Worth Noting: While the variety makes it a good travel option, the travel case is a little flimsy.
If you abide by the motto that variety is the spice of life, then this resistance band set is for you. Each package comes with two handled resistance bands, two long-loop resistance bands, and two mini-loop resistance bands. Plus, additional accouterments like a door anchor, door strap, two carabiners, and a storage bag.
The packages themselves are available in two different “sizes”: light/medium and heavy/x-heavy. The former is most optimal for individuals who are newer to exercise, strength training, or resistance band play. Meanwhile, the latter is ideal for athletes, competitors, and advanced resistance band users.
(Though bluntly, if you fall into the advanced athlete camp, this collection of bands may be overkill for you and your current exercise routine. After all, if you already have a workout regime and other exercise equipment, you probably don’t need the door anchor or door strap that helps these bands provide a true, full-body workout).
Regardless of which of the two “size” kits you get, you can trust that you can use the bands inside for a wide range of upper-body, lower-body, and mobility exercises.
Price at time of publish: $175
Type: Loop & Handle | Number of Bands: 6 | Weight Range: Up to 33 lb each | Material: Various
Why We Like It: These bands come with everything you need to blast your bum: the bands, a carrying case, and access to an online library of exercise.
It's Worth Noting: You may need to wash these from time-to-time if you get sweaty when you exercise. The fabric will absorb some of your sweat and start to smell.
Wanna build your booty? Activate the glutes? Or jazz up your Pilates routine? Look no further. These small loop bands by Bala Bands are the perfect addition to your at-home gym if building big glutes or mastering Pilates are your fitness goals. (Truly, as far as glute-tastic bands go, none are better for activating your glutes more during strength exercises than these cutie bands).
These circular loop bands are made with a durable material that is similar to that of lifting wrist wraps. The woven fabric stretch is ideal for individuals who are allergic to latex. Plus, they can easily be positioned around your thighs or lower legs during hip thrusts or squats, and since the inside of each band is equipped with grips, they won't roll or slide down your legs (which is common with typical latex bands).
The stretchy bands come in three different resistance levels (light, medium, and heavy), and there's even a handy carrying case to store them. Oh, and the whole thing rings in at just $35 buckaroos, making them more financially accessible than other options on the list!
Price at time of publish: $35
Type: Loop | Number of Bands: 3 | Weight Range: Light, Medium, Heavy | Material: Woven Fabric Elastic
Why We Like It: The handles on either end of the band are designed with comfort in mind.
It's Worth Noting: You can buy each band individually, but to really get a solid upper-body workout in with these you’ll want to go for the six-pack instead.
If you’re looking to buff up your pulling and pushing muscles — or simply get a sick pump — the Rogue Tube Bands has got your back (literally).
A resistance band with a handle on either end, this option is ideal for upper-body activation and exercises. Exercises you can do with these bad boys include banded rows, banded bicep curls, tricep pull-downs, overhead pull-aparts, and overhead presses.
Importantly, the handles themselves are soft and sweat-proof. This combo keeps you from hurting your hand as you press and pull and also reduces the risk of the handle slipping out of your fingers and snapping on you below.
Our tip: Buy the complete package, which includes all six of the different resistance options. Why? Because the resistance you’ll want for back exercises is going to be different than the resistance you can handle for smaller muscle groups.
Price at time of publish: Starting at $22
Type: Handle | Number of Bands: 2 | Weight Range: Up to 60lb each | Material: Latex Based
Black Mountain Products
Why We Like It: No doubt, the bands themselves are great. But it’s really the starter kit that we love most.
It's Worth Noting: This five-pack offers an impressive range of resistance ranging from 2 to 30 pounds.
The best option for upper body days, this 5-piece resistance band set by Black Mountain comes with five resistance bands that range from 2 to 30 pounds. Plus, door anchor, protective band sleeve, anywhere anchor, a carrying bag, and a starter guide (!!).
The protective band sleeve is designed to go over the band when you are doing exercises that involve stepping on the band, such as banded rows, banded monster walks, and good mornings. Meanwhile, the anywhere anchor allows you to position the resistance band mid-air so that you can use it the way you might a cable machine.
We love this option for anyone who needs exercise inspo because it even comes with a starter guide replete with workout ideas. Though, you can also try this upper-body resistance band workout that's meant to be done with a handled resistance band.
Price at time of publish: $39
Type: Handle | Number of Bands: 5 | Weight Range: Up to 30lb each | Material: Various
Why We Like It: Simply put, it’s different.
It's Worth Noting: The “bow” tool may look heavy, but it measures in at just 6 pounds.
No, this isn't any ‘ole resistance band — this is a cool resistance band. The Gorilla Bow combines resistance band technology with a bow (and arrow) shaped device to help give you a full-body workout.
Here’s how it works: On either end of the aircraft-grade aluminum Gorilla bow are hooks that you can attach different resistance bands to, ultimately allowing you to customize the exercise tool to your current strength needs.
Depending on how you choose to utilize the device, you can use it for chest and triceps day, leg day, back and bicep day, or core day. Admittedly, there is a bit of a learning curve required in understanding exactly how to use this tool. However, every purchase comes with an exercise guide, and you get a free trial of live & on-demand classes with Gorilla Bow All-Access Membership where you can learn everything you need to know to meet your fitness goals with this tool's help.
Price at time of publish: $300
Type: Bow & Handle | Number of Bands: 11 | Weight Range: Up to 60lb each | Material: Various
Why We Like It: This stretch band features many different handhold placements, making it extraordinarily customizable.
It's Worth Noting: This is a stretch (not strength!) strap.
Calling all yogis and wanna-be yogis: This resistance band is for you. Made from soft-to-the-touch fabric, this stretch band features many handholds (or footholds) that allow you to customize how long the band is, and therefore how much stretch it is giving you.
From one end to the other, the band measures 40 inches, making it long enough for tall athletes to use it for stretches that require more length, like the hamstring stretch.
Note: While it is called a resistance band, it’s really a stretching strap. So, don’t be surprised when you can’t use it for as wide a range of strength exercises as you can for other resistance bands.
Price at time of publish: $13
Type: Strap | Number of Bands: 1 | Weight Range: Medium Resistance | Material: Various
Every resistance band listed above was put through a long series of at-home and in-gym exercises. The exact tests that the band was put through, however, depended on the type of resistance band it was.
We put loop bands through a series of squats, lateral walks and clamshells — three movements commonly performed with loop bands to activate the glute and hip flexor muscles, as well as strengthen them. We put the tube bands through a three-movement circuit with bicep curls, seated rows, and shoulder press to make sure that all the tube bands listed above can safely be used for upper-body gains. Finally, we put resistance straps through a full-body circuit of squats, split-stance shoulder press, and hamstring stretch.
We performed each set of exercises multiple times per week throughout a ten-week period to really put the band’s quality and durability to the test. Any band that showed wear-and-tear after just a few weeks of use were not included in the list above, because if you’re going to invest in a piece of exercise equipment, you’ll want it to last.
Oh, and for good measure: We also spritzed water on our hands before running the band through the aforementioned tests. Why? To see how the bands will feel with sweaty hands.
Of the 21 resistance bands that we tested, these 10 passed our standards for quality, versatility, ease of use, grip, and value.
Sight set on strength? Hankering to become as flexible as a Cirque du Soleil performer? (Or simply, a smidge more mobile?). On the hunt for a tool that supports your warm-ups or cool-down routines? If so, a resistance band is a great, budget-friendly investment.
Yep, you read that right: A band that weighs under a pound can help you put on muscle mass. “Using resistance bands can elicit the same strength benefits as using machines or free weights,” says Tylicki. Actually, resistance bands may offer greater strength benefits to your smaller stabilizer muscles and midline.
“Where resistance bands stand out is that they require additional muscle recruitment to stabilize during an exercise, so instead of being focused on one main muscle, you get the benefit of working more of the muscles that surround and stabilize the joint,” he says.
Good news: Resistance bands are a very beginner friendly piece of exercise equipment. “You don’t have to worry about dropping them and hurting yourself or hurting yourself when you pick them up off the ground and getting them in position,” says Tylicki. Still, it can be tricky to figure out how to use a slinky lil band to make gains.
Your move: Watch a few videos about resistance band exercises — or read about resistance band movements. A good place to start is with these resistance band squat variations, these resistance band back exercises, these resistance band ab moves, and these resistance band chest exercises.
“If you have the ability to workout in front of a mirror, the visual feedback of the resistance band can be really helpful to assess your form,” says Tylicki. A personal trainer can also be
As far as the resistance band vs dumbbell debate, the truth is that they are different and neither is better than the other.
One of the key differences between dumbbells and resistance bands is that while dumbbells (and other free weights) apply a lot of force on the muscle at their end ranges of motion, “a resistance band distributes tension equally across the muscle in all phases of the muscle contraction,” explains Tylicki.
When you use a resistance band, you get constant tension in all phases of the exercise: the concentric contraction, the eccentric lengthening and isometric isolation, he says. In turn, “a lot of the momentum that people use to lift weights is eliminated when you use a resistance band,” he explains. This improves movement quality, which decreases the risk of injury.
That said, while most free-weight exercisers have a resistance band alternative, there are times when dumbbells are superior — notably, if muscle hypertrophy (increased muscle size) is the goal. After all, even the highest-resistance resistance band is “lighter” than a heavy dumbbell.
Still, even if size is your particular “prize”, resistance bands can be incorporated into your routine pre-lift to help you warm-up and activate the muscle group in question. Ahead of deadlift day, for example, you might do some banded good morning. Likewise, ahead of dumbbell cleaning, you might use a resistance band to help open up your front rack position.
Ultimately, it depends on your goals. One resistance band has many uses, so for the occasional hotel or at-home workout, you can get away with just one. However, if resistance bands are going to become a mainstay of your exercise routine you probably want to have a collection of at least three with all different resistance levels. This variety will help you get the most out of your workout.
If you plan to become a resistance band junkie, it may be wise for you to get a package (rather than buying one band at a time).
Resistance bands are multi-use fitness tools that make it possible (and so easy) to get in a great workout or stretch anywhere — even when you're stuck at home. On top of adding an extra layer of resistance and intensity to any type of exercise, the adaptability of exercise bands makes them the perfect addition to any home gym. And since they're so lightweight and compact, it's no hassle to bring them with you when you travel. Believe it or not, at-home fitness equipment doesn't have to be expensive — in fact, resistance bands are known to be budget-friendly, and many of them come in value packs, so you'll get even more bang for your buck.
Resistance bands of all types have a wide variety of uses. However, in general “smaller loop bands are best for a smaller range of motion exercises because they have a close loop of tension,” says Tylicki. Meanwhile, large loop bands are a bit more versatile because they are easier to use for big muscle group and compound exercises, like squats and thrusters, he says. And resistance bands with handles are, in general, best for pushing and pulling exercises.
Gabrielle Kassel (she/her) is a freelance fitness journalist with nearly a decade of experience writing about strength training, exercise equipment, and workout wear. In addition to Shape, her work has appeared in publications such as Health, SELF, Women's Health, Men’s Health, Greatist, Bustle, and more.
She is also a CF-L1 certified CrossFit trainer who coaches at her local affiliate and a regionally competitive CrossFit athlete who is always on the hunt for a new piece of equipment to elevate her fitness game. (Just recently she started incorporating resistance bands into her warm-up routine to help improve her mobility, activate her muscles ahead of heavy lifts, and stretch post-sweat sessions).
For this article, she recruited fitness experts who are familiar with the perks of resistance bands, analyzed detailed reviews that talked about resistance band materials, durability, and safety.Why We Like It:It's Worth Noting: Price at time of publish: Type:Number of Bands: Weight Range: Material:Why We Like It:It's Worth Noting: Price at time of publish: Type:Number of Bands: Weight Range: Material:Why We Like It:It's Worth Noting: Price at time of publish: Type:Number of Bands: Weight Range: Material:Why We Like It:It's Worth Noting: Price at time of publish: Type:Number of Bands: Weight Range: Material:Why We Like It:It's Worth Noting: Price at time of publish: Type:Number of Bands: Weight Range: Material:Why We Like It:It's Worth Noting: Price at time of publish: Type:Number of Bands: Weight Range: Material:Why We Like It:It's Worth Noting: Price at time of publish: Type:Number of Bands: Weight Range: Material:Why We Like It:It's Worth Noting: Price at time of publish: Type:Number of Bands: Weight Range: Material:Why We Like It:It's Worth Noting: Price at time of publish: Type:Number of Bands: Weight Range: Material:Why We Like It:It's Worth Noting: Price at time of publish: Type:Number of Bands: Weight Range: Material: