hulk resistance bands

Resistance bands are an excellent addition to your workouts.  You can do a number of exercises, anywhere. I’ve used them many times, and I created this buying guide to help you get started with bands, understand the benefits and find the perfect bands for YOUR needs.

The best brands

These aren’t in any specific order, but after some testing and research, these are the top 5 brands on the market – in terms of quality, accessibility, track record, user feedback and affordability. There are brands that offer higher quality, but they’re generally more expensive and used for high level athletic training. There are also cheaper brands, but they’re not worth it. You’ll have to replace them faster, eventually costing you more. Also, they’re less safe because the material is cheaper.

Here’s the list. Click any of the links to buy them on Amazon, or keep reading before you decide.

  1. Bodylastics
  2. Black Mountain
  3. SPRI
  4. DynaPro
  5. Lifeline USA

What should I start with?

Usually, beginners should start with the lightest resistance. That also depends on your size, strength and goals. For anyone, I recommend at least two bands of different resistance levels, or getting an entire set. A set is cheaper than buying individual bands each time you need more resistance.

Also, don’t start with the cheapest set you can find. Most resistance bands aren’t that expensive, so get the highest quality you can afford. It’ll save you money because they’ll last longer. Bodylastics and Black Mountains are both quality brands that are reasonably priced.

How much resistance do I need?

It depends on many factors. So get at least 2 bands of different resistance levels or get a set. A set will give you more resistance options, which you’ll need for different exercises.

Here are some guidelines that may help:

  • Extra light resistance is usually good for senior citizens, frail users, or rehab.
  • Light for rehab or beginner females.
  • Medium for older or less strong men in average shape, or women in average shape.
  • Heavy for active men or women with experience.
  • Extra heavy for active men and strong women.
  • Ultra heavy for strong men and female lifters or bodybuilders.

Many bands are color coordinated by resistance level, but there’s no industry standard. Don’t rely solely on color to choose the right band for you. Each manufacturer is different.

What are they good for?

  • Constant resistance throughout the entire exercise.
  • You can’t use momentum to cheat.
  • Adding challenge and variety to your training.
  • Safer than free weights (when used properly).
  • Convenience.
  • Full body workouts.
  • Rehabilitation.
  • Affordability.
  • Resistance is similar to your natural strength curves (muscle’s change of strength over it’s range of motion).
  • Greater range of motion for exercises. This is especially important for athletes.
  • Linear variable resistance (resistance increases as range of motion does). This means more muscle fibers are used for each exercise.

What are they made of?

Most are made of rubber latex. There are also latex-free options available.

Are they safe?

Yes, if used properly. Accidents can happen, so make sure you understand proper use beforehand. More about safety, here.

How often do they break?

If used properly, not often. However, this also depends on brand, quality and usage. For most bands, don’t stretch them beyond 2-3x their contracted length.

Bodylastics have “Snap Guard Technology”; a strong, woven inner cord stops the band before it’s overstretched.

Flat loop or tube bands?

Tube bands are more durable and will last longer, but flat bands typically cost less.

Tubes can also be used with accessories (handles, door anchors, ankle straps, etc.), for exercises you can’t do with flat bands.

How long do they last?

In a gym or therapy clinic with daily users, about 1-2 months. For home use, usually 6-24 months. This all depends on brand and proper use/storage.

Where can I get them?

Stores like Walmart or Target or sporting goods stores like Sports Authority or Big 5, all carry them. But the best are sold online. The brands I mentioned are sold on Amazon or directly from the company.

Resistance BandsCostResistanceCustomer RatingBuy on Amazon
SPRI Xertubes (Individual)
$10.26 - $13.90Very light - Ultra heavy4.2 out of 5
Bodylastics 12 pc set$29.95Up to 142 lbs.4.8 out of 5
Black Mountain Band Set$29.99Up to 75 lbs.4.6 out of 5
Lifeline 10-130 Resistance Cable Kit$50 - $160Up to 130 lbs.4.8 out of 5
Bodylastics 21 pc STRONG MAN XT set$87.95Up to 262 lbs.4.8 out of 5
Bodylastics 14 pc set$39.95Up to 142 lbs.4.8 out of 5
Black Mountain Strong Man Set$39.98Up to 40 lb. band (not stackable)4.6 out of 5
Bodylastics 19 pc STRONG MAN set$69.95Up to 202 lbs.4.8 out of 5

Costs: Based on lowest prices we’ve seen on Amazon, but prices vary for individual bands based on the amount of resistance.