Female lower legs using a resistance band
Lifestyle

The Best Resistance Bands to Get More from Your Workout

Lightweight, portable and great for building strength, add the humble resistance band to your at-home workout repertoire.

At the height of the pandemic, you would have been lucky to find a set of resistance bands in stock. What was once the dark horse of the at-home fitness equipment world, these figure-transforming oversized elastic bands have really come into their own over the past couple of years and are now widely lauded by trainers and fitness fanatics for both their muscle building and rehabilitation effects. After all, they’re extremely lightweight, easy to carry around, inexpensive and offer real, no-fuss results – what’s not to love?

Do Resistance Bands Really Work?

In one word, yes. “Resistance bands simply diversify your workout and keep your muscles constantly guessing,” explains Ashley Verma, founder of Define London. “Not only are they a valuable tool for building muscle, they also create positive growth in all areas of your fitness. Whether you're using them in the comfort of your own home or adding them into your weights session to really feel that burn, resistance band workouts are a great way to change up your training.” If you need more convincing, recent research published in the Journal of Human Kinetics considers resistance band training a “feasible alternative” to lifting weights after the study’s authors compared muscle activation during upper-body strength training exercises with resistance bands versus free weights and found the results to be very similar.

What are the different types and colours of resistance bands?

There’s a portfolio of different resistance bands, each suited for different workouts or needs. The big rubber bands, or flat resistance bands, are good for toning, yoga and Pilates, as well as specific exercises such as bench press and assisted pull-ups. Tube resistance bands, on the other hand, include a handle and can be used for a comprehensive, full-body workout that challenges every major muscle group in the body. Mini loop resistance bands are great for targeting and activating the glutes.

The colours dictate the strength of the band. Most come in light, medium, heavy or very heavy tension levels, but keep in mind the colour coding isn’t universal, so check first before making your purchase. Start light and work your way up as you go.

Can resistance bands really replace dumbbells?

While they may appear pretty innocuous, resistance bands have the power to make your muscles stand to attention like nothing else – even your dumbbells. “When used correctly and with good form, resistance bands can offer just as much of a workout as conventional dumbbells,” says Ashley. “Incorporating resistance bands into your training triggers muscle growth in exactly the same way.”

Which resistance bands should I buy?

We’re glad you asked. Read on for 55/Redefined’s pick of the best resistance bands to suit every need.

Best for:Beginners

Gritin Resistance Bands, set of five, £9.59 at Amazon

An Amazon bestseller (and for good reason), these bands come in a range of resistances ranging from X Light for beginners to X Heavy, giving you the opportunity to progress as you get stronger.

Gritin resistance bands

Best for:Resistance bands with handles

Ryderwear Medium Tube Handle Resistance Band, £7.79 at Ryderwear

Highly versatile and ideal if you struggle with pain in your wrists, WonderCore’s bands come with foam handles and a medium resistance ideal for both upper and lower body exercises.

Ryderwear medium tube handle resistance band in blue

Best for:Comfort  

Isla Short Bands Bundle, pack of three, £29 at Isla Bands [hello@islacreations.com]

Thanks to its unique latex and fabric blend that provides 400% more glute activation, you’ll experience no uncomfortable rubbing or rolling from this bundle of bands.

Isla short bands bundle, set of three

Best for:An environmentally-friendly workout 

The Shreddy Stripe Band, £14 at shreddy.com

Perhaps the most aesthetically-pleasing brand of resistance bands on the market, Shreddy is also crafted from high calibre, vegan material that doesn’t pinch or dig in. What’s more, you’ll also receive a free PDF with suggested exercises, circuits, and diagrams.

Shreddy stripe resistance band in yellow and pink

Best for:Women 

Peak Supps Resistance Bands, set of three, £13.49 at Amazon

Designed specifically with the fairer sex in mind, these pastel bands are perfect for waking up your hip, thigh and glute muscles to take your leg training to a whole new level.

Peak Supps resistance bands, set of three

Best for:Upper body exercises 

Gym Shark Long Medium Resistance Band, £15 at Gymshark

Improve upper body strength and mobility right in your living room with this stylish long resistance band that’s also available in light and heavy weights.

Gym Shark long medium resistance band

Best for:Lower body exercises

SPRI Xering Resistance Band Exercise Cords, £23 at Amazon

Great for toning the glutes while strengthening calves, the Xering cord’s rubber grips provide a slip-free surface for stay-in-place convenience.

SPRI Xering resistance band blue exercise cords

Best for:A full body workout 

Botthms Premium Gym Resistance Bands Set, £39.99 at Botthms

Designed to enable more than 150 different exercises, Botthms provides a door anchor, handles, ankle straps and a carrying back with its resistance bands, making them perfect for travel.

Botthms premium gym restance bands set

Best for:A motivation boost 

Bala Resistance Bands, set of five, £21.95 at John Lewis

Struggling to get going? Each Bala resistance band is topped with a motivational quote to help push you through your next rep. With five to a pack, start slow and work your way up.

Bala resistance bands, set of five

Written by Naomi Chadderton

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