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When you think of gym equipment, the items that usually come to mind are dumbbells, kettlebells and cardio machines. But, there is one piece of equipment that’s always overlooked: resistance bands. Though resistance bands are usually small, they can have a big impact on a workout. If you’re someone who’s used to body weight workouts and you’re looking to kick it up a notch before moving to free weights, resistance bands are the perfect in-between, to give your muscles a serious burn.
What Are the Best Resistance Bands?
The best resistance bands are made of latex and either come as long bands with handles or mini loops. Some bands have add-ons that allow them to attach to your wrists and ankles or to a wall. Using a resistance band during a workout allows you to have external resistance without needing to add weight — your muscles are being engaged to fight tension, rather than relying on gravity work with a weight.
For example, if you’re doing a squat with a mini loop around your legs, you’re using your leg muscles automatically to keep tension on the band. You then have to continue to press against the band as you go down into the squat in order to keep the tension. Using a resistance band with moves like a squat means your muscles are always engaged — even if you’re in standing position.
Resistance Bands Buying Guide
Quality: Not all bands are created equal. Mini loops are definitely more susceptible to breakage since they can range from light to heavy and work off one small latex band. Longer resistance bands are more cord-like and therefore more durable.
Type: While all resistance bands up the intensity of any workout, mini loops work a lot differently than long bands. Mini loops usually go around your arms or legs, while long bands can be attached to a piece of gym equipment or door frame and connect to your wrist or ankle.
Resistance: Since resistance bands are a lot cheaper than other types of gym equipment, you’ll want to invest in a few of them. They usually range from light resistance (to be used for higher reps) to extra heavy (to stimulate feeling like a heavier weight). Start light, then work your way up.
1. Fit Simplify Resistance Loop Exercise Bands
This mini loops set comes with resistance ranging from extra light to extra heavy. The bands are 12 inches long by two inches wide, which allows you to put them easily around your arms or legs.
This set is perfect for someone looking to work their way up, or for an exercise junkie who wants to use them for everything from Pilates to strength training.
Each band in the set is a different color to help differentiate how much resistance they have. The set also includes a small pouch to store the loops.
2. Black Mountain Products Resistance Band Set
If you’re worried that mini loops won’t provide enough resistance, this set includes five, 48-inch cords that can produce up to 75 pounds. These long bands feature a metal clipping system for a door anchor, soft-grip handles, or ankle straps. With this set, you’ll never get bored of your workouts because there are so many different things you can do with them.
This set also includes an exercise chart so you won’t be completely in the dark with how to use the bands and straps. The carrying case makes it easy to take this set with you, even when you’re traveling; it’s like having a gym in your back pocket (well.. or in your bag).
3. GYMBANDIT – The Heavy Set
You might have no idea what kind of resistance bands you want and that’s cool too. This trio of bands, ranging from light to medium to heavy, is good for a beginner or someone doesn’t need a lot of options. These bands are also super high quality — they’re made with latex at widths of 1.5mm, 1.7mm and 2.0mm. Plus, they have up to 100 pounds of resistance.