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Types of Resistance Bands + Which to Use For Your Workout

Types of Resistance Bands

You can use all types of resistance exercise bands for significant strength and mobility gains, but not every band is the same. We're sharing the tools you need to correctly choose the right type of resistance band each time you workout, so you start seeing even more results!

Have you ever noticed some of the most substantial things come in the smallest packages? 

That's what we think of the resistance band; a small, unassuming piece of rubber or fabric that might make heavy lifters scoff at first glance. But resistance bands get the last laugh - these tiny pieces of workout equipment can work your body just as well as a set of big, tough-looking, heavyweights. 

While resistance bands are a useful, inexpensive tool you need to immediately add to your exercise routine, there isn't one universal resistance band option that works for every exercise. Resistance bands come in several sizes, shapes, and materials - and they all best perform different duties. 

We've rounded up the 4 most useful resistance bands that all bring something a little different to the table, so you can make the right choice when it's time to buy.

What are Resistance Bands?

  • Resistance bands are thin rubber bands that provide strength training in a much different way than traditional weights - as your body pushes or pulls on the band, it opposes that force of your own body weight.

In a nutshell, whatever you push at the resistance band, it pushes right back at you, making a workout as challenging or as easy as you'd like.

Why Use Resistance Bands?

While both traditional weights and resistance bands are just as effective at building muscle, there are a few reasons why we prefer resistance bands. 

  • Compact size. A band is small and virtually weightless, making it great for workouts in small spaces and taking on the go. 
  • Inexpensive. You can buy a practical set of resistance bands for a fraction of the price of a free weight set. 
  • Great for all levels. Resistance bands are easy enough for beginners to use and great for advanced workouts.
  • Less joint pressure. The nature of a resistance band's design prevents you from moving further than the safe range of motion, helping prevent injuries from misuse.
  • Core and stability training. The uneven pressure of a resistance band causes your core and stabilizer muscles to work harder to keep the entire body stable as you move, which strengthens these helpful muscles better than traditional weightlifting. 

The 4 Best Types of Workout Resistance Bands

#1: Pull-Up Resistance Bands

  • There's no way around it - a pull-up is a pretty tough move that not everyone can do naturally.
  • Supporting and lifting your whole body weight with your upper body is a tough feat, especially for those of us that are more bottom-heavy. 
  • If you're not able to perform one pull-up unassisted at your starting point, it's a challenging skill to train effectively.
  • You can try hang training, and strengthening the arms, shoulders, back, and lats, but far more effective use of your time is to train with assisted pull-ups. 

Of all the different types of resistance bands, pull-up bands are the most fun ones to use. 

  • Assisted pull-ups use an extra-strong and durable band, as it supports a potentially large portion of your body weight.
  • The best ones are made of a combination of fabric and latex, as a latex band alone can snap under pressure more easily. 

Best Workouts for Pull-up Bands

  • Assisted Pull-Up - The bread and butter move for this type of resistance band, you'll need to loop and knot the band around a pull-up bar, so you can step one foot into the band while you perform pull-ups, allowing the band to bear as much weight as you need. Works your lats, pecs, teres major, biceps, and triceps. 
  • Bent-Over Row - Works your traps, rhomboids, delts, and lats.
  • Assisted Squat - Works your quads, hamstrings, glutes, and calves.

#2: Booty Bands

We can't work our butts, or glutes, as easily or naturally as we can the quadriceps, which love to take over and provide the strength behind lower-body moves. That's why it's essential to target your booty specifically, and booty bands provide a fantastic way to add some extra resistance and ensure that you don't leave your bum out of the muscle-burning fun. 

  • Booty bands are small, flat, loop bands with firm stitching to easily wrap around your shins, ankles, or thighs while you perform lower-body moves.
  • They tend to be broad and thick for comfort and to prevent the bands from slipping as you work. 
  • These booty bands, also called hip circle bands, typically come in a resistance bands set, so you can up the resistance as your strength progresses.
  • While these bands are quite effective at burning out your booty and lower body muscle groups, you can use them to effectively work your upper body parts, too. 

Best Workouts for Booty Bands

  • Lateral Band Walk - Works glute muscles, tensor fasciae latae, and quads.
  • Squat - Works glute muscles, quads, hamstrings, and hip adductors.
  • Clamshell - Works glute muscles, inner thighs, and outer thighs.

#3: Mobility Resistance Bands

Mobility bands are a little trickier to use than a basic band but advantageous - many high level and professional athletes use mobility bands to train their skills to the next level. 
  • Typically, a mobility band is a long rubber tube with a velcro wrist strap on each end.
  • The tube is thick and strong, so that it can take a ton of resistance.
  • You wrap the straps around your wrists and secure the tube with your feet or a stable, stationary object, like a pole. 
  • These mighty bands are fantastic for throw training by increasing the shoulder joint's range of motion and strength. 

Best Workouts for Mobility Resistance Bands

  • Forearm Extension - Works the biceps, triceps, and supinator muscles.
  • Superfly - Works the pecs, delts, and core muscles.

#4: Power Loop Resistance Bands

These large, flat bands are similar to a pull-up band but are a closed-loop instead of a strap. 

  • Much like the pull-up band, these loop bands are a great, all-around band that you can use for several different upper or lower body exercises.
  • The power loop resistance bands range from 5 to 175 lbs of resistance, making them suitable for even your most challenging workouts.
  • Physiotherapists often work with the lighter version of these bands to safely help their clients' rehabilitation after injuries.
  • We don't recommend you use a rubber resistance band for pull-ups, as the material isn't as strong and prone to snapping - but you can still use the power loop for a ton of other exercises. 

Best Workouts for Power Loop Resistance Bands

  • Push-up - Works your pecs, delts, triceps, and abs. 
  • Bear Crawl - Works your delts, chest, back, quads, and glutes.
  • Shoulder Press - Works your pecs, delts, triceps, and traps. 

Best Resistance Bands To Use

All 4 of these resistance bands have a lot to offer anyone. Consider the fitness goals you have ahead of you to decide which type of band will fit best into your plans.

Resistance bands are reasonably inexpensive, so choose the type you'll use the most and then slowly expand your band collection as time and budget allow you. 

If you can only invest in one, we recommend choosing a set, so you have varying resistance options and can increase the resistance as your strength improves. We hope your muscles are burning from one of these bands soon!

Katherine Holden

Katherine Holden

Katherine is a CrossFit expert with humble origins. Starting out on a ranch, ever since she was nine, she spent most of her life roping and competing in team roping. After finding bodyweight exercises interesting she sought after a career in CrossFit and dedicated her life towards achieving the body of her dreams. Today Katherine is a personal trainer that loves to travel the world and change the lives of her clients.

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