Best resistance bands for strength training and active recovery

The best resistance bands are an affordable alternative to weights, helping you stay active and build muscle

Included in this guide:

One of the best resistance bands is used to perform a raised leg hip thrust by woman
(Image credit: Getty)

Warm-up, stretch out or nail your first pull-up with the best resistance bands. Whether you’re searching for a low-impact alternative to shifting heavyweight around or a tool that will help you warm up and get ready for action, exercise bands are always handy to have around. Pilates fans also swear by this piece of equipment and it’s easy to see why: the bands can help to stretch and activate your muscles, as well as increase your overall strength and stamina. 

Better yet, the best resistance bands are extremely lightweight, making them easy to shuttle around in your gym bag. The stretchy design can be rolled up and stowed away after use and won’t weigh you down wherever you go, which is why they’re such a handy alternative to the best adjustable dumbbells. Despite their functionality, you won’t have to worry about your exercise bands looking clunky or unstylish either, because there are many bands in different colors and styles for every budget and ability level. 

When you’re hunting down a resistance band, the main thing you’ll need to do is to keep an eye on the resistance level, because not all bands are made equal. Some are designed for more advanced users with high resistances, while others have lower resistances suited to newbies. With accessories such as carry bags, door attachments, and ankle straps, you’ll also be able to find a band that you can use at home or for the gym.

It’s easy to get in a good workout with the best exercise bands, as these versatile tools can be used for pull-ups or chin-ups or to increase the difficulty of exercises. They also aid recovery by getting your body primed for your next round of workouts. "By doing high reps and continuous work with little rest while using the bands, you will work on muscle endurance, strength, and compound exercises,” adds Katie Anderson, the Head of Training at FLY LDN. She recommends adding bands to exercises such as squats and glute bridges around the knees, lateral banded walks, quadruped leg extensions, quadruped donkey kicks, plank jacks, clams, and dead bugs. 

The best resistance bands you can buy right now

Best resistance bands: Odoland Exercise Resistance Bands Set

(Image credit: Odoland)

1. Odoland Exercise Resistance Bands Set

Best resistance bands for most people

Specifications
Bands included: Six tube bands, four loop bands
Length: 24cm loops
Accessories : Carry bag, door attachment, ankle straps, ebook training guide
Reasons to buy
+Everything you need to get you started +A great quality set of bands +Free ebook training guide
Reasons to avoid
-Advanced users could soon outgrow them

This Odoland Exercise Resistance Bands Set tops our list of the best resistance bands thanks to its versatility. It comes with an easy-to-follow visual guide to workout band training, making it an excellent choice for beginners. 

The exercise bands are suitable for all experience levels. However, advanced fitness enthusiasts might want to grab a set with higher resistance, as the tube bands offer up to 11.4kg, with the looped bands hitting a maximum of 18.1kg. 

The color-coded system used on resistance bands can be a bit confusing, so it's a nice touch that each band in this set is clearly marked in pounds and kilograms, so you can quickly find the right one for your workout. 

Best resistance bands: FitBeast Exercise Resistance Set

(Image credit: Fitbeast)

2. FitBeast Exercise Resistance Set

Best premium resistance bands

Specifications
Bands included: 5 resistance levels: yellow (4.5kg) to red (13kg)
Length: 24cm loops
Accessories : 4 cushioned handles, 2 ankle straps, 1 door anchor, 1 waterproof carrying bag, user guide poster
Reasons to buy
+Up to 45kg stretch  +Durable materials
Reasons to avoid
-Relatively pricey

Hitting a maximum of 70kg of resistance, this high-quality resistance band set caters to all levels. The materials are durable, so they'll last you many workouts without running the risk of strapping mid-exercise. 

Whatever your experience level, this set has you covered. Notably, there's an image-based poster to guide you through resistance band workouts and several video tutorials if you want to work on your form. 

A door anchor and an extra set of handles are included, allowing you to have two different resistances set up without stopping and changing bands, which is helpful for drop sets or moving from one exercise to another.

Best resistance bands: Proworks Resistance Bands

(Image credit: Proworks)

3. Proworks Resistance Bands

Best budget resistance bands

Specifications
Bands included: Four levels, from light (red) to extra-heavy (black)
Length: 31cm
Accessories : Drawstring pouch and workout guide
Reasons to buy
+Good value for money  +Plenty of extras included
Reasons to avoid
-Only four resistance levels -Can cause irritation on your hands

Don't be put off by the low price; the Proworks Resistance Band Set is incredible value for money. You get four 31cm bands in light, medium, heavy, and extra heavy resistances for a budget-friendly amount. 

The exercise band set also includes a workout guide to get you started and a convenient carry pouch for storage and transport. The bands are made from latex and have an anti-snap safety design. 

Some users have noted that the bands can rub against your hands and cause irritation, so it might be worth investing in a different set if this puts you off. Still, they're easy to use and do the job when it comes to a quick HIIT workout.

Best resistance bands: INMAKER Resistance Bands

(Image credit: Inmaker)

4. INMAKER Resistance Bands

The best resistance bands for beginners

Specifications
Bands included: Five levels from yellow (4.5kg) to black (18kg)
Length: 30cm
Accessories : Carry bag, workout manual, ebook, online instructional videos
Reasons to buy
+Includes workout manual and ebook +Great price
Reasons to avoid
-Quality could be better -Heavier bands are an extra purchase

You can pick up this five-band set in two styles; Funda, lower resistances suitable for beginners, and Pro. V for advancing your training. Although this means eventually buying two sets of bands, they are affordable, so it won't break the bank. 

The package also comes with a free 40-page instructional ebook to help you get the most from your new exercise bands. Similarly, there are online videos if you prefer visual guidance on your form. 

Best resistance bands: Resist Fit Resistance Bands Set

(Image credit: Resist Fit)

5. Resist Fit Resistance Bands Set

The resistance bands set that has absolutely everything

Specifications
Bands included: 5 resistance stretch wires, 5 loop resistance bands
Length: Various
Accessories : 2 foam handles, 2 ankle straps, a door anchor, instruction manual, carry bag
Reasons to buy
+10 resistance levels +Long lasting, SGS-tested latex
Reasons to avoid
-Lack of instructions for beginners

This set of resistance bands come with resistance wires from 4.5kg (yellow) to 22kg (black) and loop bands ranging between 1kg (green) and 13kg (black). They're made from SGS-tested latex, so they'll be smooth and comfortable against your skin. 

There are five resistance stretch wires, five loop bands, two handles, two ankle straps, a door anchor, and a carry bag. The set offers ten resistance levels, so you can strengthen your upper body, core, and legs for a full-body workout.

How to choose the best resistance bands

Although they seem straightforward, there are several styles of resistance band and many different colors or sizes. Some sets also come with accessories like workout guides or attachments. 

While you can buy single resistance bands, it's more common to find a set of bands with varying strengths, so that's what we'll be looking at in this guide. To help you buy the best resistance bands for your needs, it's worth exploring the key factors to consider before making your purchase. 

Color-coded resistance levels

When you look at a set of the best resistance bands, you'll notice each band is a different color. These colors represent the band's resistance level, ranging from light to heavy. 

There isn't a rule for this, so each manufacturer will approach it slightly differently. However, red bands generally offer the highest resistance level, while black bands are at the lighter end. 

The strength you use depends on the move and your goals. As Anderson explains, "If you're using the band for stability... then you can opt for a medium to high resistance." A light or medium band will do the job if you're aiming for a high rep count.

Type of band

There are three styles of resistance band to choose from; loop bands, therapy bands, and tubes. The looped variety is the most common and is usually made of latex or rubber. 

As you'd expect, it forms a closed loop, so there are no ends to grab hold of. This makes them ideal for looping around your thighs, ankles, or even your shoulders for intense push ups. 

If you're after a variety to hold, therapy bands are your best choice. These are quite like loop bands, but the loop isn't complete, allowing you to take hold of each end. 

These are the best resistance bands for shoulder and arm exercises, as you can move them about quite freely or tie them to fixed objects. You can even make them double as loop bands by tying the ends together. 

If you prefer a more substantial grip, tube bands tend to be thinner than the other two varieties but come with a clip, handles, or other attachments for the ends of the band.

Price


Another reason the best resistance bands make great dumbbell alternatives is the price. Those weights can cost anywhere from $50 to $200, while you can pick up resistance band sets for around $25/£20. 

We've found the best resistance bands around, so they're all high-quality choices, but the prices will vary depending on the extras, like carrying cases, attachments, and exercise guides.

Lee Bell
Lee Bell

Lee Bell is a London-based journalist, copywriter, specializing in all things tech and lifestyle. He is also a qualified personal trainer. He started his journalism career a decade ago as a reporter covering the latest gadgets and innovations at tech tabloid The Inquirer. Lee went freelance in 2016 to broaden his expertise, moving into news, reviews and feature writing for a host of national print and online lifestyle titles such as GQ, Forbes, Esquire, Men’s Health, Wired, The Metro, and The Mirror. He has an insatiable appetite for travel, Dharma yoga, and the odd outdoor challenge.