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