While they might not look like much, resistance bands are a convenient and versatile gym accessory that can bring a range of benefits to your workouts, regardless of your fitness level.
Kind on joints, but hard on muscles, resistance bands sets deliver a low-impact alternative to lifting weights, allowing you to target and isolate specific muscle groups without the need to switch between heavy machines and equipment.
But like any gym accessory, resistance bands are not one-size-fits-all. With a variety of materials and resistances to choose from, it’s important to understand which options are best suited to your individual fitness goals.
To help you make that decision, The Recommended spoke to two of the most knowledgeable personal trainers to find out what you should look out for (and avoid) when shopping for resistance bands.
Jump to the best resistance bands:
- Best resistance bands for lower body: LDM Mini Loop Band Set
- Best overall resistance bands : TRX Exercise Bands
- Best resistance bands for comfort: ELVIRE Fabric Resistance Bands Set
- Best resistance bands for building mass: Protone Resistance Bands Set
- Best resistance bands for toning: Gritin Resistance Bands
- Best resistance bands for versatility: Potok Resistance Exercise Band Kit
- Best resistance bands for high-intensity training: Takemirth Store Resistance Bands Set Exercise Bands
- Best resistance bands for strength training: FitBeast Resistance Bands Pull Up Assist Bands Set
- Best resistance bands for assisted pull-ups: COREZONE Resistance Pull Up Bands
Our fitness experts
Tom House and Louisa Drake are two personal trainers and fitness experts who help their clients get fitter, happier and stronger through personalised sessions tailored to support them in achieving their individual fitness goals.
After re-evaluating what mattered to him, Tom House retrained as a personal trainer after years working in the city. Having been a competitive rugby and cricket player since school, Tom now shares this passion for being fit, strong and lean by helping his clients get the most out of their training through friendly and supportive in-personal training and online remote classes.
Louisa Drake is the founder of the Louisa Drake Method, a unique approach to fitness derived from her background as a professional dancer and choreographer. Having trained some of the biggest household names including Gwyneth Paltrow and Victoria Beckham, Louisa and her team offer fitness classes and private training sessions at her LDM Studio in Fitzrovia, London.
We put three questions to both of them to understand exactly what you need to know when shopping for resistance bands and got their expert recommendations of some of the best resistance bands to buy and why.
What should you look for when buying resistance bands?
“Dimensions are key,” says Tom. “They can be quite misleading from photos, so be clear what you want them for and ask yourself whether they will be fit for purpose.”
“I have bought fabric resistance bands that I can barely get one leg in — and I have very modest thighs. Get a pack with a number of different resistances so you can make it harder as you get more confident.”
Louisa agrees to opt for a mix of resistances, adding that different muscles have different strengths. “In general, a thicker band equals more resistance (or assistance). You can use a resistance band to assist in a pull-up and make it easier: the stronger the resistance band, the easier the movement will be. Or you can use a band to make a movement like squat or glute bridge harder: the stronger the resistance, the harder the movement will be.”
What should you avoid when looking for resistance bands?
While it can be tempting to go with the first cheap option you find online, for the best results, Tom warns against a hasty purchase. “Avoid buying the first ones you see,” he says. “The term ‘resistance band’ covers a lot of different products so be clear about what you’re after.”
Louisa adds that each style of resistance band lends itself to different uses, so you should avoid buying one set of bands for every kind of use.
Flat resistance bands, for example, are “super versatile” for achieving a total-body workout, as they are easy to wrap around your hand and adjust the length, says Louisa. Whereas, power bands are more suited to cross training and powerlifting, as you can add variable resistances to weight training.
Another example is resistance bands with handles. Louisa says that handles are most suited to building muscle strength and performing exercises with free weights and machines like you would in the gym. Whereas leg and arm tube bands are more muscle-specific and limited in the variety of exercises that can be performed.
Which are the best resistance bands?
“I love the LDM Mini Loop Bands to target the legs,” says Louisa, “and they are ideal to activate my glutes. I also rely on them when programming or while performing more dynamic leg work and cardio exercises, as they can sit securely around the ankles and thighs. The mini loop bands are also great for toning the arms, the triceps and biceps in particular.”
Tom recommends opting for good quality options that will last, such as from TRX.
Find out more about each of these expert-recommended resistance bands and some of our own top picks below.
The best resistance bands
Best resistance bands for lower body: LDM Mini Loop Band Set
A latex-free option
This resistance band set is from one of our experts, Louisa. She praises mini-loop bands such as this for targeting legs and activating the glutes.
This option is latex-free, comes with two bands in a choice of two resistances – light and heavy – and also includes a bag for transport. Louisa adds that it is great for dynamic leg work and cardio exercises.
Best overall resistance bands: TRX Exercise Bands
Versatile and portable
TRX’s exercise bands come recommended by our fitness expert Tom, who rate its durability and quality, despite the low price.
TRX’s exercise bands come in a choice of resistances ranging from 2lbs to 25lbs, and at just 12 inches long they are ideal for taking with you on the go. Their mini loop design lends well to strength and stability training, hip stability, stretching and mobility exercises.
Best resistance bands for comfort: ELVIRE Fabric Resistance Bands Set
Great colour options
If you’re looking for a set of comfortable fabric resistance bands, this set from ELVIRE is a great choice and comes in three resistance levels ranging from 5kg to 30kg.
This set also comes in a choice of five colours and features reinforced stitching and anti-slip rubber layers that keep the bands in place during workouts. It also comes with a travel bag, which is great for taking your workouts with you wherever you go.
Best resistance bands for building mass: Protone Resistance Bands Set
For gaining muscle strength and size
This five-piece resistance band set is made from natural rubber and comes with a great choice of tensions ranging from 5kg to 20kg.
Our expert Louisa says resistance bands with handles are great for muscle growth and can be used for a variety of exercises. This set also includes extra accessories including carabiner hooks, a door anchor, carry bag, two padded ankle straps, and a band guard.
Best resistance bands for toning: Gritin Resistance Bands
Made from latex, this set of loop-style resistance bands come in five tensile force levels ranging from 5lbs to 40lbs, and measure 600mm x 50mm.
Louisa recommends loop resistance bands for strengthening the lower body – legs and bums in particular. This set, which the manufacturer claims does not deform during stretching, comes with a portable storage bag and is available in a range of seven colours.
Best resistance bands for versatility: Potok Resistance Exercise Band Kit
Ideal for full-body workouts
These flat bands come in packs of three resistances ranging from 15lbs to 25lbs and are great for full-body training.
As our expert Tom recommends, it’s important to pick out a resistance band set that comes in a range of sizes. This set comes in lengths of 1.2, 1.5, 1.8 and 2 metres, while our other fitness expert Louisa says flat bands, such as these, are easy to wrap around your hand and allow you to adjust the length easily during workouts.
Best resistance bands for high-intensity training: Takemirth Store Resistance Bands Set Exercise Bands
A mobile home gym
These versatile resistance bands from Takemirth come with a range of accessories, which is great for home workouts.
This resistance band set comes with five fitness tubes with resistances ranging from 10lbs to 50lbs. It also includes two foam handles, two ankle straps, two door anchors and a carrying pouch, which is ideal for anyone looking to perform a range of exercises at home, without needing to go to the gym.
Best resistance bands for strength training: FitBeast Resistance Bands Pull Up Assist Bands Set
A great range of resistances
These resistance bands from FitBeast are great for replicating weight training exercises you might do in the gym. This set comes in a choice of five resistances ranging from 5 to 125lbs.
These FitBeast bands come with grip pads to help protect your hands during strength training, as well as foam door anchors, which can be used for a range of exercises. This set isn’t solely for building muscle though, it’s also a great option for stretching, yoga and pilates.
Best resistance bands for assisted pull-ups: COREZONE Resistance Pull Up Bands
A heavy-duty option
At 208cm in length, this set of resistance bands from COREZONE is ideal for assisted pull-ups, thanks to its long-range elasticity and snap resistance.
Made from 100 percent natural latex, this resistance band set comes with three resistance levels and as well as pull-ups can be used for cross fit, HIIT training, general fitness and weightlifting.
If you would like to read more expert-recommended fitness round-ups, check out our Fitness page for a full list of recommendations, including the best dumbbells, the best kettlebells, the best pull up bars, and the best weight benches, recommended by personal trainers.