How to Choose a Resistance Band – Ultimate Visual Guide You Need

If you have come here, it is probably because you have already understood the benefits and effectiveness of resistance bands. So i am not going to cover the all these aspects.

You are now in next step of buying resistance bands. But confused over how to choose a resistance band given the huge variety of exercise bands in the market.

Even if few out of you are still in dilemma about selecting resistance bands over dumbbells/free weights, you can jump over to the below mentioned great articles which uncovers all the science and facts behind the workout bands

Now let us jump directly into our main question

Choosing a particular resistance band out of many is not that easy especially if you are just starting out.

So I have broken down your question into following STEPS –

INDEX

1. Which material of resistance bands you need?
2.What are the different types of resistance bands available in market?
3. What do you mean by different color codes of resistance bands?
4.What kind of fitness goals you want to achieve with resistance bands?
5. Which resistance band type matches your fitness goal?

a) Matching based on color coding of resistance band
b) Matching based on design of resistance band

6. Our recommendation…

Now I have transformed your generic question into some specific enquiries.

If your dilemma also breaks down like above,

say ‘YES’ in comment box and if some other doubts are skipped by me, let me know those in comment box.

I shall try to cover those in next articles.

Here we begin the journey, Follow me….

STEP #1 : Which material of resistance bands do you need?

The first step towards choosing the resistance band starts with the material of strength bands. Unfortunately, this is also the most ignored question and very few people care about it.

All you might be feeling like below…

Hey, how rubbish this question is!. Don’t we know its rubber of cause?

And yes, you are right, its rubber. But there is one more material which may put you in anxiety.

There are two types of material used in stretch bands

  • NRL (Natural Rubber Latex)
  • TPE (Thermoplastic Elastomer )

Do you need to read all this chemistry?

If I am giving this topic a space in this article, you definitely need to read this, believe me. Its quiet simple.

NRL ( Natural Rubber Latex)-

It is the natural occurring thermoset elastomer or we can say purely a milky liquid coming out from the trunk of rubber trees which is later processed in to  a more usable form as shown in the picture below..

Here is the picture –

Depicting natural milky rubber liquid coming out from the trunk

This natural latex rubber is used in variety of applications such as rubber gloves, balloons, tyres, windshield wipers and many others.

So what is the issue with latex  material used for resistance bands!

There are two main issues –

  • Some people develop skin allergy with the fitness resistance bands made out of latex rubber when used over the long period due to rubbing of latex rubber over their skin.

You may start itching or feel like dried skin with watery eyes.

CDC’s notes that some allergic reactions can become quite serious and even cause life threatening shocks in rare cases if ignored. Check with your doctor or observe yourself.

  • Natural Rubber latex is sensitive to ultraviolet light and ozone. As such, it becomes brittle and cracks when exposed to UV rays.

“It is always advised to keep latex strength training bands away from direct sunlight and heated environment.”

TPE (Thermoplastic Elastomer) –

This is the man made artificial material which acts as alternative to natural latex rubber and resistance bands made from this material are called as latex free resistance bands.

Here are some of the benefits of TPE over natural rubber latex –

  • TPE is inert in nature which means it doesn’t react with other materials when it comes in contact with. So TPE also finds applications in medical equipments, utensils for storing food and drinks.
  • Thermoplastic elastomers are much better ozone and ultraviolet rays resistant than the natural rubber.

Downside with TPE is that they are non bio degradable and harmful to the environment. Further, they don’t exhibit as much elasticity as the natural rubber.

“In my opinion, if you don’t have latex allergy, go for latex elastic bands being more environment friendly and better elasticity with longer life span.”

Check out the key differences between Natural Latex Rubber And Thermoplastic Elastomer  below

Here is the picture-

Briefing the key differences betwee Natural Rubber Latex and TPE

Let’s move onto the next doubt…

STEP #2: What are the different types of resistance bands available in the market?

The resistance bands though simple do come in plenty of designs. Some are more general and some adapts better to specific exercises.

So the type of resistance band you choose highly depends upon your current fitness level and your goals.

But before I discuss about goals, you first need to know the types of resistance training bands in the market and their purpose.

So let’s begin…

1) Therapy type Flat Resistance Bands – 

These are just the extra wide flat rubber sheets with minimum thickness cut into the appropriate lengths with no handles at both ends.

Check out here the example of kind of therapy style resistance bands available in the market.

Typical specifications – Therapy type fitness bands typically comes in length of 5 foot to 8 foot with width of 5 inches on average. They typically offer resistance on average of 3 to 10 pounds.

How to use therapy type flat bands?

These flat resistance bands provide endless possibilities of exercises. You can easily wrap the ends of therapy band around your hands to carry all exercises of upper and lower body.

You can also double fold them to increase the resistance. You can also tie the knot between the loose ends to make it a loop resistance band for doing lateral exercises of legs.

PRO  –

  • Their main advantage stands in their much better flexibility given the fact that they are extra wide for better distribution of tension over body and thin enough for enhanced stretching.
  • Quiet inexpensive owing to its simple design and usually comes in price range of 8 USD to 14 USD
  • Great for travelling as it occupies negligible space in travel bag.

CON –  These stretching bands can break easily if overstretched due to its design and therefore offers less resistance for serious muscle building.

Preferable Use –  The above exercising bands are popular for doing Yoga, Pilates and muscles toning and strengthening for beginners as well as elder people looking for general fitness.

Exercises –

Here is the video by Natalie Jill –

To give you an idea about the kind of exercises possible with therapy style flat resistance bands …

2) Flat loop Resistance Bands –

These resistance bands as the name implies are also the flat bands but makes a loop with no loose end to grip in hands. They also have lesser width and slightly more thickness as compared to therapy type flat bands. 

Check out here an example of kind of flat loop resistance bands available in the market…

Typical Specs–  Mini loop resistance bands typically comes in length of up to 2 feet with average width of 5cm.  Flat loop bands offers resistance from the range of 20 pounds to 80 pounds depending upon the selected color of resistance band.

How to use Flat loop resistance bands? 

You can wear the flat loop resistance bands around your ankle, knees or thighs to perform lateral movements such as side by side squats, butt kicks and many more to activate hamstrings, quadriceps and glute muscles.

You can also perform great upper body exercise variations.

Here is the video by sweetsweat –

Where she displays the kind of exercises possible with flat loop resistance bands 

PRO –  

  • They are great in comfort owing to larger width (though not as much as therapy bands) as you can place one side of loop bands under the feet without any stress as the stress of stretching gets distributed over the whole feet.
  • Generally cheaper though a bit expensive than therapy type flat resistance bands.

CONS –

  • They offer better resistance and exercise opportunities as compared to therapy type resistance bands. But lacks the power you need if you are looking for some serious muscle building.
  • These gym workout bands can snap easily during exercise if over stretched. However, it doesn’t harm you even when breaking under stress during the exercise due to its wide design.

3) Power Resistance Loop Bands 

These bands are also the loop bands but these are much more powerful as compared to the ordinary mini loop resistance bands.

They are generally much thicker and lengthier than resistance loop bands to provide them the power as their name suggests.

Typical Specifications – Power loop bands typically offers resistance up to 200 pounds with length of up to 7 feet.

How to use Power Resistance Loop Bands –

Because of their stronger design, they can easily carry complete weight of your body. As such, you can carry out pull ups in gym by tying a knot of power loop bands along the horizontal bar.

Similarly, other bodyweight exercises such as dips, pushups, squats, box jumps can also be performed.

Further, push running against the power loops can also be performed by anchoring one end of power loop over the vertical bar.

Here is video by TrainingPal

Wherein he explains various bodyweight exercises using power loop gym bands to learn calisthenics…

TIP –   You can also perform various heavy weight exercises by clubbing power loop bands with barbells and dumbbells such as chest press, squats, biceps, dead lifts to reap in the benefits of both.

PRO –  

  • As you already know, the amount of resistance they offer is the big advantage for professional athletes and advanced body building.
  • Due to their thickness, these workout bands are more durable and much less likely to snap under tension.

CON – Being bulkier than flat loop resistance bands, they occupies more space than other bands. These are also more expensive.

These strength training bands generally comes in price range of 10 usd to 40 usd for the set of four.

4) Tube Resistance Bands –

These gym exercise bands are made out of hollow rubber tube or solid tube instead of being flat as in case of previous bands discussed above.

They generally comes with the clips at both ends to attach optional handles or other accessories such as ankle cuffs or door attachments.

Check out full here the example of the kind of tube resistance bandcombo kits available in the market.

Typical Specs – These bands generally offers resistance in range of 8 to 60 pounds and comes in length of up to 3 feet and suitable for beginner to advanced level of fitness.

These versatile training bands usually come in kits in price range of 20 USD to 40 USD. As a result, they are costlier than flat resistance bands because of their higher production cost.

How to use Tube Resistance Bands –

The Big Advantage with tube resistance bands is their modular design which means it has clips at both ends so that we attach different modules/attachments at the ends to bring them close in functioning to dumbbells and cable machines.

We can also fold the tube exercise bands or even double up the existing different color bands by clipping them together to increase resistance manifold.

Or simply clip one end of tube resistance band with door attachment and carry out infinite exercise variations similar to what you perform at the gym.

Here is the video by WebMD –

Where he demonstrates various exercises using tube resistance bands..

PRO –The flexibility in terms of using different attachments to mimic gym exercises and detachable handles makes them an ideal choice as a kit.

CON – Not everything is too fancy about tube resistance bands, there are also some downsides about using them though you don’t need to worry much about them…

  • When tube resistance bands breaks under tension, they backfires and may injure you. Due precautions needs to be taken care off while performing exercise with them.
  • In case you are performing few exercises such as squats where you have to wrap the tube workout band around the thighs or press below the feets, you shall feel discomfort as stress is not equally distributed across the feet area or around the thighs and waist. Flat training bands works better in such cases.

5) Fit Tube Resistance Band –

These are the tube resistance bands with pre- fitted handles at both the ends which are made out of plastic with foam cover for better grip. You can’t detach the handles.

Typical Specs – Their specifications are similar to tube resistance bands. They usually come as single piece in price range of up to 10usd. It is fit for medium level of fitness.

PRO – The main advantage of fit tube training bands is the ease of using as you don’t have to attach the handles manually every time you perform exercise. Rest all is the same as for tube resistance bands.

Cons – Its advantage is also its limitation as you do need to buy separate color coded fit tube gym bands for different fitness needs and all those bands comes with handles of their own making them a costly affair.

Here is the video by Michelle Kenway

Where she performs upper back strengthning exercises using fit tube resistance bands..

6) Figure 8 Resistance bands –

Figure 8 resistance bands as the name implies are made in shape of eight with soft foam handles at both the ends.

They are actually a type of tube resistance bands and acts as a mediator to reap in the benefits of flat loop resistance bands and tube resistance bands.

Typical specs – These versatile easy to use bands offer resistance in range of 7 to 22 pounds depending upon the color coding of resistance bands and comes in the price range of 6usd to 17usd. Best fit for beginner to medium level of fitness.

How to use figure 8 resistance bands –

Figure 8 resistance bands works similar to fit tube resistance bands for all lower body and upper body exercises such as dead lifts, squats, biceps , triceps, rowing etc.

In addition, they also works like flat loop resistance bands and can be used in exercises with lateral movements for strengthening inner/outer thigh muscles.

Here is the video by Ellie Activewear-

Where she demonstrates few exercises with figure 8 resistance bands

PRO- Their advantage is again the ease of use as it comes with soft handles at both ends. Further, it somewhat mimics flat loop elastic bands and saves you some money.

CON – As in case of fit tube resistance bands, its advantage is also its limitation as you need to buy separate color coded fit tube resistance bands for different fitness needs making them a costly affair.

7) Bungee Style Resistance Bands 

These professional strength training bands are normally used by the athletes during training. But its not limited to athletes only.

These training bands are made up of braided rubber bungee (the braids keep the cord more durable) which helps it to stretch many fold as compared to other bands discussed above.

How to use bungee style resistance bands –  

The one end of the stretch band is attached to the waist of the athlete and other end is either held by the coach/trainer or parachute or some weight/pillar.

Then athletes moves against the resistance of bungee style bands to create more power, agility, explosiveness in their sports specific movements.

Here is the video by Achilles Williams –

Where he explains various exercises using bungee style resistance band

Typical Specs – It can stretch from 8ft to 22 ft providing resistance of 20 to 50lbs. They usually come with clips at both ends to attach handles, ankle straps, door anchor. These strength training bands normally comes in the price range of 30USD to 40 USD.

PRO – Their main pro lies in functional/dynamic resistance provided by these bands within the original movements of specific sports without altering or modifying the range of motion. This is the reason that it is popular in athletics.

CONS – Their only disadvantage is that you can’t use them for typical gym exercises such as biceps, triceps, rowing, chest press etc owing to their design features.

Here is the brief summary in form of a visual showing the types of resistance bands and kind of exercises they are typically meant for –

STEP #3 What do you mean by different color codes of resistance bands?

The resistance bands have variable resistance and their resistance keeps varying depending upon the amount of stretching. So these elastic bands are not defined by any fixed resistance as the dumbbells.

Instead they are given different color codes defining the range of resistance depending upon the amount of stretching.

Most of the times, these color codes are defined by the maximum resistance bands of that particular color can offer when stretched to maximum safe limits. 

Without writing too much about this topic,

I have made visual chart citing color codes of resistance and their corresponding resistance to help you decide the color of resistance band matching  your level of fitness…

Here, please note that standards of color codes are just approximate and keep varying from brand to brand –

STEP #4 What kind of fitness goals you want to achieve with resistance bands?

In previous step, I have covered almost all the types of resistance bands available in market with their pro and cons.

Now you must be well aware of which band type suits you the best. Right!

Still it is very important that you assess the current fitness level and identify your immediate goals.

For example – if you are a beginner and looking to just stretch and tone muscles in comfort of home then always start with yellow and blue color flat therapy and mini loop bands.

Deciding your level of fitness is critical to choosing the color and type of bands. So I leave this home work to you only.

Still I have made an interesting visual overview of which resistance band types and their colors matches to which kind of fitness level you are currently in.

So, stick with me in next step…

STEP #5 Which resistance band type matches your fitness goal?

Here as promised above, I have simplified the matching process of fitness goals to resistance bands further by breaking down the above step in to two parts based on following parameters for resistance type…

  1. Fitness goal matching based on color coding of resistance band
  2. Fitness goal matching based on design of resistance band (as mentioned in STEP #3)

1) Matching based on color coding of resistance band

At the outset, you must decide which color of resistance band you prefer depending upon your fitness level.

As you have already gone throught the various kind of color codes available in the market and their max resistance in STEP #3, so you just need to refer to the handy  table of color codes and match their resistance to your current fitness level.

2) Matching based on design of resistance band

Congrats for selecting the color code of resistance band that you will love to workout with.. The last choice left is which kind of resistance band (refer types as mentioned in STEP #3 ) shall work best for you…

As you must have tired reading this mammoth guide, I have made it easy for you by providing a informative visual.  

Just go through this informative picture and decide which type of resistance band shall best match your goals in this final step…

STEP #6  OUR RECOMMENDATION –

 This is actually not a step as you have already covered all steps you need in totality before choosing the best fitting resistance band for you.

I tried my best. Even if anything else is left mistakenly,

let me know in comment box. I shall definitely address that missing issue as soon as possible.

Here is my brief analysis on above article along with some recommendation –

“Choosing the right resistance band is only the first baby step towards reinventing yourself especially for beginners. Ultimately, your willpower and goal clarity & specificity of the same has big role to play.

                        As far as the type of resistance bands I recommend, the tube resistance band kit with accessories is must have for all level of players. Though some kind of exercises as mentioned for mini loop resistance bands are very uncomfortable to perform with tube resistance bands.

                     So I would also suggest you to buy a set of flat loop resistance bands/ figure 8 resistance band along with tube resistance band kit. These two kinds of band shall make it possible for you to do almost all kind of exercises an average enthusiast may be interested in”

Good Luck…..

// <![CDATA[
(function() { var v = document.getElementsByClassName(“youtube-player”); for (var n = 0; n

Leave a Comment