Best Resistance Bands of 2020
Most resistance bands have very specific exercises they can be used for. The Whatafit Resistance Bands Set, on the other hand, is a great choice if you're looking for a full-body strength training workout without breaking the bank or fussing with weights. The handles, ankle straps, and door anchor make this one of the more versatile sets, not to mention the countless ways you can combine the bands to switch up your load options. The set comes with five different bands with resistances ranging from 10 lbs to 50 lbs, adding up to an impressive 150 lbs. The handles are very comfortable for your hands, while the ankle straps fit a wide range of ankle sizes. The steel clips and natural latex make for a durable product, and considering the versatility of the bands, we think this set is worth the extra few bucks.
This set is a bit pricier than some with simpler setups, but the quality and versatility make it worthwhile. If you're looking for something on the smaller side to take with you while traveling, however, it may not be the best choice, as it's a little bulkier than the rest of the sets in this review. But if you've got a bit of space and want something scalable, we love this set. It's lightweight, versatile, durable, and works well for both upper and lower body workouts.
The SUNPOW Pull Up Assistance Bands are a great way to train pull-ups, but their usefulness doesn't stop there. With such a high resistance range and number of bands (five), this set can be an excellent tool for adding resistance to lower body exercises, like squats, or even upper body strength training, such as overhead pressing. The durable latex rubber showed no signs of wear during our test period — though they may feel a little stiff when you first use them, it's not long into the first use before they begin to feel more stretchy. The rubber is comfortable on the skin and in the hands, and overall the bands provide a great full-body strength training workout.
This set of exercise resistance bands is advertised towards improving your pull-up game, and, while it definitely does the trick, you do need more than just the bands to do so, such as an actual pull-up bar! We just so happened to have one lying around and love the way the two tools work together, but It's important to note that if pull-ups are what you're looking to improve upon, the bands themselves won't be enough. These are a bit pricer compared to the smaller resistance bands in our review, but that cost is worth it when you consider the durability, versatility, and resistance range. The SUNPOW Bands are a great fit for anyone looking to work on their pull-ups at home or in the gym and are often used in pilates, powerlifting, and physical therapy.
Are you looking to work that gluteus to the maximus? The OMERIL Resistance Bands are an awesome and inexpensive way to really get that booty burning. The bands are made of a fabric and elastic combo, complete with two comfortable grip strips to mitigate slippage. From pants to shorts and bridges to squats, all three bands stay put. They come in easy, medium, and hard resistances, with considerable difference between each level, which makes them relatively scalable. Some bands of the same design come in three resistances, but actually are all the same resistance and only differ in length. Luckily, that was not the case for this set.
There is something to be said about using the right tool for the job. The best tool for the job is often the most specific one, which means it lacks versatility. Unfortunately, the OMERIL Bands really only work when used on the lower half of your body. That being said, there are plenty of ways to use them. If, however, you're looking for something that will work equally as well for your upper body, then you will probably need to take a look at our Editors' Choice Winner, the Whatafit. This OMERIL set is best used by someone looking to add resistance to their lower body workout specifically, and it's also a great set for travel.
The CANWAY Pull Up Bands are both multifunctional and durable. They are longer, thicker, and can also handle a higher resistance than most of the smaller, thin loops you generally see on the market. There are four bands, specifically made to assist pull-ups by removing a little weight from your hands as you train and which offer a large range of assistance, though not as much as the SUNPOW set. Once you've mastered your pull-ups, these bands can also be used to add resistance to calisthenic exercises like bodyweight squats. The set is a little bulky but is easy to travel with, so you can ensure you're not losing all the progress you've made while on vacation or traveling for work. You could also opt to travel with just one or two bands rather than the entire set if you're short on space.
Four bands are great, but five is better! Some of the other sets of this style that we researched come with five different resistances, which offers a bit more of a sliding scale to work with. That being said, you can combine the bands in this set to create a few more weight options. However, don't use them in place of a suspension trainer as these are not meant to hold the entire body's weight. The CANWAY Pull Up Bands are most often used for safely training pull-ups and chin-ups, with the addition of a pull-up bar, but can also be used for legs, glutes, shoulders, arms, and physical therapy.
The Letsfit Resistance Loop Bands are a great compact set, complete with a mesh carrying bag and a small booklet that outlines its uses. The five resistances are listed as extra light, light, medium, heavy, and extra heavy. The difference between each band is substantial, so scalability is actually quite high. When first unpacking them, we were slightly worried that the bands were rigid and might snap. However, they softened up and became very elastic within a few minutes. We also weren't certain if they would feel comfortable on bare skin, but we were pleasantly surprised! We put them on our arms and legs and found them all to be quite comfortable. The bands don't roll up, even when placed on the thighs. However, they do have a tendency to slip down to the most narrow part of your body, so be sure to place them at your wrists, upper forearm or elbow, ankles, and just behind or just above the knee to help mitigate slippage.
Although there are five different resistance options, the two easiest, very light and light, are in fact quite light. They may be good for rehabilitation of sorts, but their use is limited and are not quite heavy enough to gain strength. That being said, everyone is at different levels, and one person's easy is another person's hard, so we appreciate the larger scale of resistance available with this set. We did like the light band placed down at our ankle for hip exercises, though! Like most stretchy bands these tend to have a bit of an odor when they first come out of the package but have no fear, the smell quickly goes away. The Letsfit bands are great for anyone who is currently rehabbing or rehabbing, or simply wants to add a little resistance to their workouts. And as they take next to no space up in a suitcase, they are especially good for those who are traveling. We also like the fun color options.
The Fit Simplifly Resistance Loop set consists of five bands and a small carrying bag. These are very compact, and the five different resistances offer a lot of different options for various body parts. Got hip flexor issues? Throw one around your ankles. How about shoulder issues? They sit nicely on your wrists as well. With latex loops like this, the main worry is that they will roll-up and pinch the skin. We are happy to announce that we didn't find this to be an issue, however, it's worth noting that the placement affects this. If you want the bands on your thighs, place them a little closer to your knee so that they are already at the narrowest part of your leg. This will ensure that they don't slip and slide around.
There isn't much we can complain about as far as function with the Fit Simplify, though we did like the Letsfit set a little better. They work how you want them to, and they stood up to our durability tests. This particular set only comes in one color — you can't really go wrong with trusty prime colors, but we wouldn't mind a few others to choose from. The carry bag is stiff and papery, which doesn't affect the integrity of the bands at all, but probably won't be able to take much wear and tear and is rather unpleasant to the touch. Again, the bands work exactly how they should and are best used for a range of workouts from glute and hip activation to arms and shoulder workouts to prehab and rehab — and they are small enough to take with you on the go.
The Potok Resistance Band Set is a great compact set of bands to take with you on the go. Whether you're a flight attendant looking to get a light burn in your hotel room or you're a backcountry excursionist with a torn rotator cuff, this three-band set is sure to do the trick without taking up too much space. The overall resistance range is low, but the light, medium, and heavy bands are noticeably different and can be combined for a total of 50lbs resistance. The bands are 6 foot long straps and about as simplistic as they come. They are not loops, and they don't offer handles, ankle straps, or door anchors like some of the pricier sets. This set is very basic, but sometimes that's all you need.
This band set alone is not going to get you jacked, but it will help you get a light workout in when on the move. All three bands made it through our rigorous workouts with no sign of wear or tear, but the thinness of the bands leads us to believe that the durability may fail under very heavy tension for an extended period of time. That being said, these bands are meant for a lighter and lower resistance, so if used correctly, they will hold up just fine. The Potok bands are a great lower price option for conditioning or rehabbing muscles and lower resistance full-body training.
Why You Should Trust Us
The person in charge of this review is Hayley Thomas from Denver, Colorado. She is a climber who has suffered a plethora of shoulder issues, which have made her very familiar with rehab and exercise band usage. From warming up at the crag before attempting her hardest climb to date, to rehabbing a torn labrum, stretchy bands have been a big part of Hayley's life for a long time.
While we would love to test every single resistance band known to humankind, that might pose the problem of having a super long article that no one actually wants to read. So instead, we took ample time to research the highest-rated resistance bands on the market. We read through user comments and analyzed the reviews until we landed on the best of the best for this review. We then purchased each set and had folks of different body types with different needs test out each band rigorously over several weeks, all the while assessing ergonomics, durability, ease of use, versatility, and scalability. We used each band for its recommended uses and then even tried to widen their range by using them in less recommended ways to really push the limits. In fact, we tested a few more than appear in this review but ultimately decided that they didn't belong among these top performers and gave them the boot.
Analysis and Test Results
In order to ensure we are offering the most accurate comparisons, we chose five different metrics to pay special attention to while testing out each exercise resistance band. Read on to learn about our findings for each metric.
In the case of this test suite, ergonomics refers to how efficiently and safely the product performs. We were essentially testing out oversized rubber bands, and, as you can imagine, straight rubber on the skin — especially under tension — can potentially be quite uncomfortable, or worse. If a band were to snap it could cause some serious damage. We tested each and every product while wearing different clothing and during different exercises to ensure that booty bands do in fact work the booty and pull-up sets actually help with the pull-up game.
Our Editors' Choice Winner, the Whatafit, is a favorite here. High-quality latex, comfortable ankle straps, and durable handles make for a very ergonomic and workout-friendly setup. We also really like the OMERIL set, our Top Pick for Glutes, because the bands are a comfortable fabric with no-slip grips. Our two picks for prehab and rehab, the Letsfit and Fit Simplify, are also high-scorers in this metric.
If you've seen the resistance band fail videos all over the internet, then you know that you don't want to be on the receiving end of a snapping band. Aside from ensuring that you're using the bands correctly, be sure to always look your bands over for rips or tears before starting your workout. For this metric, we pulled on each band the way it was intended, over and over and over again, checking between each stretch for signs of wear. In this case, the thicker the band and the less moving parts, the better.
There were two clear winners of this category: the CANWAY and SUNPOW pull-up bands. Both are made of thick natural latex rubber and showed zero signs of stress after loading them heavily. Once again, our Editors' Choice Whatafit and the OMERIL booty bands were also top performers here. Be sure to keep your bands away from excessive heat and sun to help preserve their longevity.
Ease of Use
Not everything in life needs to be easy, but working out is hard enough, so we probably don't want to give ourselves any more reasons to skip the sweat and watch TV instead. Exercise resistance bands are pretty simple by nature, but just because the item itself is simple doesn't mean that figuring out how to use it is. Most of the bands we had the pleasure of using came with a small instruction book, and, truthfully, they were all very easy to use. There was, however, one clear winner in this category, the Whatafit, yet again. This set comes with handles, a door anchor, and ankle straps, which may make the set as a whole more complicated, but it also ensures a little more direction. When you're using the handles, you know you're pulling with your hands, and when you use the ankle straps, you're meant to be moving your legs. This, in the end, actually provided us with a little additional guidance.
Having the right tool for the job is great, but having the right tool for many jobs is even better! We love a specialized tool, but having five different sets of stretchy bands isn't every fitness guru's dream. It's nice to know that the set you use for pull-ups can also be used for your lower body. We wouldn't want to buy a set of bands that we can only use for three months while rehabbing a shoulder, just so they can inevitably end up in the trash, right? We took the time to test each band out for its intended uses as well as non-intended uses.
And again, (do you see a theme here?), the Whatafit set is the most versatile exercise resistance band set in our test suite. The tradeoff is that it's also the most expensive — but hey, you get what you pay for! The other sets were all pretty similar, though the SUNPOW bands provide the widest range of resistance: all the way from 5 lbs to a whopping 170 lbs. These bands can be part of your home gym for a long time to come.
Working out and physical therapy is all about progress through small gains. Lifting the same five-pound weight every day for the rest of your life may help you maintain a bit of tone, but we are constantly looking forward and striving to be better, so five pounds this week might need to be ten pounds in a month. We chose scalability as one of our metrics to help showcase how long these band sets may last you and how long they will prove to be an efficient work out for their users.
We tested the bands from easiest to hardest to gather how long one may be able to use each set, and there were two clear winners, the SUNPOW Pull Up Bands and the Whatafit Bands. The amount of bands and range of resistance makes the SUNPOW a great choice for long-term use, and the Whatafit set provides the most ways to mix and match out of any of the tested sets.
Whether you're intimidated by the gym, on the go all the time, don't enjoy fussing with weights and complex machines, or you're in the middle of an intense rehab regimen, you can probably benefit from exercise band work. It can be quite difficult to choose the right exercise resistance band without trying them all out, and searching the internet can only take you so far. This is why we did the research for you, focusing on key metrics to ensure that each product was properly tested. We hope that our hands-on time has helped you in your search for the perfect exercise resistance band set. Now go get swole!
— Hayley Thomas