I duly understand your anxieties around resistance bands related to their shelf life considering the vulnerable soft rubber material used in the resistance bands.
To calm down your worries,
I have unraveled some facts about the life span of resistance bands and provided some practical tips that can increase the life of resistance bands multiple times.
So how long do resistance bands last? Numerous factors affect the life of resistance bands. On average, resistance bands last up to 1 year with heavy usage of 5 to 6 times per week. With light to medium usage of 2 to 3 times per week, they can last up to two and a half years.
Many of you would say that it isn’t worth the investment for hard-earned money!
Why you should not panic with a lower life span of resistance bands?
When exercising with resistance bands, you need a different mind-set. Resistance bands are designed to be flexible to serve you as a versatile accessory to be used by every individual, no matter where they train.
Accept the shorter life span of exercise bands with the right mindset –
To provide the kind of versatility to replace nearly all premium gym exercises, they have to be manufactured with a highly soft and flexible material like natural rubber.
Furthermore, the natural rubber is bound to deteriorate with time no matter you use resistance bands daily or store them forever.
Resistance Bands are still way cheaper despite their shorter shelf life –
Here is simple math that will diminish all your worries from the financial aspects
Expenses you pay for a premium gym (if you don’t opt for resistance bands)
|Hefty gym membership fees + fashionable gym clothing + transportation expenses on a monthly basis|
These expenses are way more than the one-time expenses that you may have to pay every 2 years or so for few sets of resistance bands.
➧ NOTE –
Even otherwise, free weights also need to be replaced every few months with a higher capacity dumbbells to match your improving fitness level. The life span of 2 to 3 years for resistance bands must be enough to switch over to thicker resistance bands.
That said, many cases have been reported where resistance bands get snapped way before average life span, in 2 to 3 months for reputed brands as well.
Something is not right, then.
As I stated during the start of this discussion, several other factors may cause resistance bands to break abruptly and injure you. Here are some of the crucial tips to keep in mind –
Best tips to ensure that resistance bands last much longer
For your convenience, I have divided the tips into 4 major categories for better understanding.
Tips for ensuring best workout area conditions for resistance bands –
Generally, people accustomed to gym workouts or newbies assume resistance bands to be equivalent to the dumbbells and barbells.
Resistance bands are made from a super soft material that can get pinched easily from sharp items just like your soft leather jacket or a purse. Here are some of the tips worth knowing –
1. Never workout on the rough floor with resistance bands –
In case of free weights, the kind of surface of workout area hardly makes any difference, However, with resistance bands, it can make or break your resistance bands workouts.
Always use a smooth floor surface which is generally there inside the houses. If you are training in the park, then avoid exercises where resistance bands touch the ground underneath your shoes.
Repeated rubbing of resistance bands over the rough floor can cause the rubber to crack over time.
In case, such a smooth surface isn’t accessible to you, then that doesn’t mean resistance bands aren’t for you. You may use a mat and use resistance bands over the mat for exercises such as biceps, triceps, shoulder raise, etc. as shown in the picture below
2. Keep sharp objects away from workout area of resistance bands –
Usually, while training with resistance bands inside the drawing-room or bedroom, resistance bands rub over the sharp edges of nearby steel chairs, tables and other furniture. You may unknowingly damage the latex rubber which can’t be restored.
Keep all furniture away from the reach of resistance bands during the exercise to ensure the safety and longevity of resistance bands.
3. Use proper anchoring system only –
Due to the wrong mindset as described earlier, people assume workout bands to be hard enough and anchor them around the door handles and legs of the dining table. The sharp edges of door handles and table feet are bound to cause damage to the resistance bands.
Even anchoring resistance bands around the wooden and steel handles with round edges is also not advisable.
As the resistance bands don’t remain stationary at its position over the hard objects and consistent rubbing over the hard surface causes deterioration of rubber over some months.
Always invest in recommended anchoring systems such as door anchors made from dense nylon webbing which keeps resistance bands secure in its position and prevents rubbing.
Here is an important article revealing best tips for Installing door anchors for resistance bands – Installing door anchors for resistance bands
Tips for Proper Handling of resistance bands
Never use and throw resistance bands with a jerk as we do with dumbbells and barbells. They need several other precautions while handling as under –
1. Cut your nails while using resistance bands –
Often women having long nails while training with resistance bands unintentionally cuts the resistance tubing at places. It doesn’t mean that women fond of long nails can’t use exercise bands.
Even if you keep the nails intact, do practice caution while doing the workout with resistance bands.
2. Don’t wear jewellery and other sharp wearable accessories-
Showcasing your favourite diamond ring in your hands and other body ornaments is a matter of pride for you and me, but not in case of resistance bands.
You need to keep your expensive digital watches, rings, bangles, and other wearable items away from your body to avoid unnecessary harm to the resistance bands while working out with them.
3. Wash your hands before using resistance bands –
Don’t get overwhelmed by this suggestion, after all, we are not entering into a clinic with tons of patients where you may need to follow medical guidelines.
In some of the cases due to the presence of thick dust particles on hands, dirt may cause very fine abrasion on the surface of resistance bands. Such minor abrasions may build up over time causing resistance bands to snap.
So, just make sure that hands are clean in broad terms before putting your hands on resistance bands.
4. Don’t work out in the damped area –
The properties of latex rubber are such that it gets swelled up when exposed repeatedly to the moisture.
Further, repeated exposure to chlorinated water can cause serious damage to the resistance bands.
So, it is always advised to avoid working out with resistance bands near the seashore and inside the swimming pool.
Alternatively, make sure to wipe and clean resistance bands with a soft cloth after every use in damped workout areas.
5. Wear shoes with smooth soles while pressing resistance bands beneath your footwear-
There are the number of instances where you need to anchor resistance bands below the feet to perform biceps, triceps, lunges, etc. However, some shoes (for example used by the footballers) come with sharp spikes for better ground grip. Such shoe soles can make the surface of resistance bands rough and develop cracks.
So, always use shoes with flat and smooth soles. Alternatively, pass the resistance bands from underneath the mat and put your feet over the mat to avoid direct contact of shoes with the resistance bands during resistance training.
There are also protective sleeves available in the market which can be wrapped around the resistance bands around the place of anchoring to prevent damage to resistance bands. Here are one such good quality protection sleeves available on amazon.com for your reference.
6. Don’t tie resistance bands together in wrongful ways
Sometimes, you feel the need to tie resistance bands together for increasing the range of motion for some exercises.
However, be conservative while tying the knot of resistance bands and ensure the minimum possible twisting of elastic bands.
Regular twisting of latex bands may cause cracks at such places.
Here is an article discussing the best possible ways to tie two resistance bands together –
7. Don’t overstretch resistance bands beyond safe limits –
Often people become greedy and keep stretching the existing exercises bands beyond the permissible limits to get higher resistance in order to avoid the next purchase of higher-level resistance bands.
Never stretch resistance bands beyond 2.5 times the resting length. Though some manufacturers claim their bands to be stretchable up to 4 times. It is better to apply caution.
Here is the detail of stretching limits specified by popular brands for some of their products.
|Sr. No.||Brand Name||Stretchability Limits|
|1.||Thera Bands||4 times the resting length|
|2.||Bodylastic||3 times the resting length|
|3.||Rubberbanditz||2.5 times the resting length|
|4.||Quantum||3 times the resting length|
➧ NOTE – The above limits were observed as on the time of writing this article and may vary with time.
To avoid the risk of overstretching, it is a much better idea to double up the different color resistance bands as a single unit as shown in the picture below –
As such, you shall be able to get enough resistance without any risk of violating stretching limits.
Read here a crucial article discussing the best practical ways to avoid overstretching – how far resistance bands can be stretched?
8. Never apply cooking oil, soap and alcoholic agents over resistance bands –
Over various online forums, I have seen people advising the use of soap, cooking oil and other alcoholic agents to clean resistance bands to ensure the longevity of resistance bands.
However, it is a proven fact that the cross-linked chains of natural rubber responsible for elasticity react with soap, cooking oil, alcoholic products, and breaks down causing the rubber to loosen up affecting its elasticity.
Do read this article we published recently – do we need to lubricate resistance bands?
It is recommended to only use a damped piece of cotton cloth to wipe the resistance bands twice a month to remove oils and dust accumulated over the rubber tubing as also shown in the picture below
9. Keep resistance bands out of reach from the kids –
Often kids get easily attracted to the resistance bands seeing adults doing resistance training inside the house. Allowing the kids, you do not only risk the resistance bands but also the safety of children. Keep your children away from resistance bands at all costs.
The elasticity of resistance bands is a nice addition for a quality workout but may also cause serious injuries to the kiddos
Tips for proper storage of resistance bands
1. Reduce the twisting of resistance bands in storage–
Resistance bands when delivered by the manufacturers are usually packed in cotton net bags or small cardboard boxes. The resistance bands remain densely stacked one over another inside such packaging causing unnecessary strains alongside the sharp bends of resistance bands.
Discard those small carrying bags provided by the suppliers and store resistance bands in dedicated and spacious bags.
It is a good idea to invest some bucks in a big storage box or a dedicated resistance band racks where bands can be hanged on the hooks. Such racks are available as a single standing unit and as a wall-mounted unit in both online and offline markets.
Check the interesting article covering the most innovative ways to store resistance bands – Best ways to store resistance bands
2. Don’t store resistance bands in damped areas–
As already stated earlier, latex rubber used in resistance bands swells upon repeated exposure to moisture and softens up. Soft rubber starts losing elasticity at a rapid pace.
So, always store resistance bands in a cool and dry area.
3. Keep resistance bands away from heat and high temperature –
The latex rubber like any other rubber becomes brittle when heated up persistently by exposure to high temperatures.
There are various sources of heat inside the houses such as video players, speakers, heaters, ovens, etc.
Keep resistance bands at a distance from such heat emitting appliances.
4. Don’t expose resistance bands to direct sunlight –
Just like heat, when resistance bands are stored in open under direct sunlight, the natural rubber starts becoming hard due to UV rays.
So, it is recommended to avoid direct exposure to UV rays.
5. Lubricate resistance bands when storage is needed for an extended period –
Often some of our buyers complain about the failing of workout bands despite using them sparingly.
Well, this is a common phenomenon that happens with almost every resistance band you buy offline and online.
The natural rubber is bound to decay with time no matter, you use resistance bands or store them fore ever. However, the rate of decay is relatively lower when you keep the bands stored.
So, it is recommended to use silicone grease at maximum to lubricate resistance bands especially when you are not going to use them for months together.
Here is an informative piece of an article worth reading – how to lubricate resistance bands () which also provides reasoning and evidence behind our recommendation of silicon grease.
Tips for choosing the right type of resistance bands
The type and quality of resistance bands you purchase can be a deal-breaker. If you buy some cheap quality resistance bands from the local markets, you won’t be able to achieve the desired results and life span for the money you invested, no matter how much you care for the resistance bands.
Here are some of my best favourite tips to ensure you buy the best quality and right kind of resistance bands in the first place.
1. Buy Layered Resistance bands for longevity –
Most of the resistance bands in the market come with a single thick layer of latex or non-latex rubber.
A single layer of rubber shall not be as flexible and durable as the multi-layered rubber sheets stacked over each other. It is similar to the copper wire cable where stranded wires are much more efficient and stronger than a single piece of copper wire.
There are lots of popular brands that are already selling layered resistance bands. Buying the layered resistance bands is one of the easy ways to ensure the longevity of resistance bands.
2. Prefer resistance bands with protection sleeves –
When there are layered power loop resistance bands in the market, there are resistance tube bands that come wrapped inside cotton sleeves. The cotton sleeves serve the two purposes –
- Protection sleeves prevent the ends of snapped resistance bands from reflecting towards your body and protects you from potential injuries.
- The cotton sleeves also protect the resistance bands from physical damage that happens due to rubbing of bands over hard surfaces and sharp edges.
The resistance tube bands with protection sleeves are often bulkier and costlier than counterparts. However, they are worth the investment considering safety and protection they provide to the resistance bands.
3. Buy thick resistance bands for long life –
I have personally experienced that the mini loop bands & therapy bands made out of extra thin rubber sheets hardly survived for 9 to 10 months. However, thick power loop bands, I purchased lasted for over 4 years.
My resistance tube bands also lasted for over four years with very low usage and proper care. In nutshell, the delicate resistance bands demand more care and wear out much faster than the power loop bands with a thickness of one inch and above.
4. Buy Resistance bands from a reliable supplier –
Well, there are numerous brands in the market like Theraband, Black Mountain, Bodylastic, Canway, Rubberbanditz, etc. Buying from reputed brands does make a difference in the quality which considerably improves the life of resistance bands by a significant amount.
However, don’t overspend just for the sake of brand as resistance bands can’t remain sturdy and fore ever like hard weights such as dumbbells and barbells.
Just buy a decent quality resistance band and adhere to the suggestions and tips mentioned here.
5. Don’t buy one set of resistance band for full-body exercises –
There is no doubt that the resistance bands are extremely versatile. However, resistance bands do come in several lengths, sizes, and designs. Each size, length, and design of resistance bands have their limitations in terms of kind of exercises, you can perform with them.
For example – Mini loop bands are perfect for leg abduction, adduction and glute muscles. However, you would snap mini loop bands if you try to perform a biceps curl, triceps curl, shoulder press, shoulder raise, squats with them due to overstretching. People often do so to save some extra money.
So, never try to use a single set of resistance bands for all body parts. Instead, I recommend you to go for 2 to 3 different kinds of resistance bands to train multiple body parts.
If you are just going to purchase your first set of resistance bands, do visit this amazing article demystifying the best method to select the resistance bands – how to choose resistance bands?
Bonus tips to ascertain that it is the time to replace resistance bands with new ones
Applying the above useful and handy tips for a long life of resistance bands doesn’t mean that they won’t break.
It also doesn’t mean that you can use resistance bands literally to the point that resistance bands break apart completely.
Best way to prevent injuries due to malfunctioning of resistance bands are to observe resistance bands for signs of damage and replace elastic bands with new ones before they finally break under high tension
Here are some of the symptoms worth observing before the abrupt snapping of resistance bands.
- Check for discoloration of resistance bands at the places which are the sign of irreparable damage to the resistance bands and needs immediate replacement.
- Inspect resistance bands for change in the texture of the surface of resistance bands.
In normal cases, the surface of the exercise bands is smooth. However, due to repeated rubbing around the anchors and fine cracks, you would find the rough patches along the length of resistance tubing. If found, then it is time to replace resistance bands with new ones.
- The latex rubber bands become sticky. More often, it is the sign of considerable damage already caused to the resistance bands. In the case of natural rubber, due to the rupture of bonding between the chains of vulcanized rubber, the rubber starts becoming stickier and attracts dust.
To know more about the reasons behind stickiness of bands and its repairing options, check this well-researched article – Why do my resistance bands stick together
- There is a noticeable fall in the elasticity of resistance bands. Often the same green color resistance band which was enough to meet the demands of your muscles starts providing comparatively lower resistance for the same level of elongation.
To minimize the chances of injury from sudden snapping of resistance bands under extreme tension, always wear good quality eye protection gear. If budget allows, do invest in resistance bands with anti-snap technology.
Here are a fantastic article discussing the kind of anti-snap technologies and listing the best resistance bands available with such anti-snap technology – Best resistance bands that don’t snap
Keep realistic expectations from the resistance bands you buy and don’t expect the resistance bands to work for decades by following suggestions cited here.
My goal here is not to provide you with a rosy picture and push you to buy the resistance bands from us on premium. If you accept the risks associated with resistance bands and learn the appropriate skills, nothing wrong is gonna happen.
To know more about how to keep you and your family members safe while doing resistance bands training, bookmark this detailed visual article – Are resistance bands safe to use?
I have been using resistance bands for the last 10 years from different brands including our own (check here our collection of unique resistance bands), all elastic bands lasted more than 2 years easily.
Just provide resistance bands some extra care as compared to the other gym equipment.
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Coming Soon: how to measure the weight of resistance bands