From simple rubber bands to complex full-body systems, these are the best resistance bands to kickstart your new year strength training and home workouts…

Resistance bands have become a staple in many homes and gyms. They’re portable and lightweight, don’t take up too much space, and – if you know what to do with them – can help you get an excellent resistance workout in the new year without spending big bucks on kit.

There’s a surprisingly wide array of resistance bands available too. You can get cheap and cheerful traditional options like the Amazon Basics TPE Resistance Band set. Or there are pricey powerhouse systems like TRX’s RIP Trainer or the Gorilla Bow Travel. Whatever your need there’s probably a resistance band that can scratch your particular itch.

There are two main categories of bands: simple resistance bands and resistance band systems. Simple bands are usually thin sheets of stretchy material, typically made of latex, silicone, synthetic rubber or TPE, though bands can be made of fabric – a popular material for thigh and bum-focused bands. These require a bit of imagination if you want a full body workout, with light or mini bands great for getting the blood pumping, and heavier options supplementing dumbbells and bars. They can also be used as pull-up assists.

How we test the best resistance bands

These bands were tested by experienced product reviewer and fitness expert Basil Kronfli. Basil tested the bands over a six-week period from his home, across a variety of exercises and home workouts. He rated the bands according to three main criteria: versatility, band quality and resistance range. From these scores he gave them an overall rating.

Versatility relates to how many exercises and workouts the band is suited to. Some bands, like the Eono Fabric, are only suited to specific strength training, i.e. quad exercises, so its versatility rating is lower. On the other hand, the Myprotein 11-piece Band Set includes a number of bands suitable for both compound movements and more targeted accessory work.

Band quality is all about the quality of materials used, and how durable the bands are. Cheap, plastic bands are unlikely to last long, whereas high-quality rubber is built to last.

Resistance range refers to the level of resistance on offer. Bands like the Amazon Basics are all fairly light, whereas with the Mirafit Band Set you have the option to go impressively heavy.

The best resistance bands

For its shear versatility and the amount of exercises it puts at your fingertips, we have to give the Gorilla Bow Travel the accolade of the best resistance band set. With three band options and resistance up to 350lb / 158.8kg, it’s a worthwhile investment that you won’t be growing out of any time soon.

Other resistance bands recommendations

Best for core strength:The TRX RIP Trainer works your core unlike any other resistance band set through making each exercise asymmetrical. Buying additional cords gives you more versatility and the door anchor and carabiner are useful accessories.
Best budget system:With five bands ranging from 10lb (4.5kg) to 50lb (22.7kg), the Myprotein 11-piece Band Set represents great value for money. Attachable handles and leg straps give you plenty of exercise variations too.
Best resistance bands with handles:Ideal for chest training, the updated Gymproluxe Band Bar Set gives you anything from 44lb (20kg) to 200lb (90kg) of resistance in a strap system with handles. It’s a design that makes dropping resistance on the fly an absolute breeze.

Theses are the best resistance bands

Mirafit Resistance Bands Set review

1a. Mirafit Resistance Bands Set

Men’s Fitness verdict

Made of non-snap, 100% natural latex, these bands felt seriously robust on test. With a large, colour-coded resistance range, the set is ideal for home gyms that are short on space.
Pros
  • Excellent range of resistance levels
  • Robust-feeling
Cons
  • Novices may struggle with traditional bands
  • Plastic-heavy packaging
Resistance:15-230lb (6.8-104.3kg)
Materials:100% natural latex
Colours:Grey, orange, black
Number of bands:6

The comprehensive Mirafit Resistance Bands Set features six traditional bands with a range perfectly suited for both muscle building and stretching. The bands are made of non-snap, 100% natural latex, and feel seriously robust.

The lighter bands are grey, giving 15-25lb (6.8-11.3kg) and 45-50lb (20.4-22.7kg) of resistance, the two middle bands go from 75-100lb (34-45.3kg) and 100-120lb (45.3-54.4kg) and are orange, while the heaviest bands are black with a range of 120-175lb (54.4-79.4kg) and 175-230lb (79.4-104.3kg).

Eono Fabric Resistance Bands

1b. Eono Fabric Resistance Bands

Men’s Fitness verdict

The Eono fabric resistance bands are comfortable to use and are great for passively adding some extra resistance to squats and glute bridges.
Pros
  • Super-comfortable to use
  • Excellent for thighs and backside
Cons
  • Limited uses
  • Fabric is less hygienic
Resistance:15lb to 50lb (6.8-22.7kg)
Materials:Polyester, latex
Colours:Pink, cyan, blue
Number of bands:3
Features:Carry pouch

The Eono Fabric Resistance Bands are great for passively adding some extra resistance to squats and glute bridges. They serve up versatility with three strengths, and they also offer decent value, working out to roughly £5 each.

As well as being soft and comfortable, they’re also more taught than traditional bands – a standard characteristic of fabric alternatives. This extra tension is good for working out your glutes.

Each band is a 15-inch loop, with the light band being pink, medium being cyan, and heavy being blue. Eono has even sewn in internal grip strips inside the workout bands which help keep them steady and prevent any slipping or rolling during workouts.

Amazon Basics TPE Resistance Band Set Review

1c. Amazon Basics TPE Resistance Band Set

Men’s Fitness verdict

The Amazon Basics TPE resistance band set is a great no-frills option for those looking for light resistance workouts or injury rehabilitation.
Pros
  • Affordable and portable
  • Drawstring carry case incuded
Cons
  • Slightly sticky out of the box – may require talc
  • Too light for serious muscle building
Material:Latex-free TPE
Colours:Pink, green, orange
Number of bands:3

The Amazon Basics TPE resistance band set is a no-frills stretching aid for light resistance workouts, injury rehabilitation and increasing blood flow to an area. The set gives you three long, versatile bands for under £10 – pink is heavy resistance, green is medium and orange light.

Amazon doesn’t offer corresponding weight ratings for each band. But, they’re all on the lighter side when compared to the other bands on test.

These aren’t looped either, so will rely on you to grip them in order to create tension, but I found that actually makes them a bit more versatile for certain two-handed exercises like lat raises, which wouldn’t be possible with a looped band.

Myprotein Resistance Bands 2 piece set

1d. Myprotein Resistance Bands

Men’s Fitness verdict

Myprotein’s pair of bands are the ideal tool to get out for leg day. They’re nothing fancy but are great value and tough enough for low rep ranges.
Pros
  • Affordable, tough bands
  • Great for lower-body work
Cons
  • No instructions or guides
  • Too small for most upper body training
Resistance:50.7lb to 119lb (23kg to 54kg) each
Colour:Dark grey
Number of bands:2

The Myprotein two-band set is an excellent shout, especially for anyone who wants to amp up their lower-body training. Taught and tough, I found the bands to be great pull-up aids, and they can help you lock into larger muscle groups like glutes and lower back.

There’s nothing fancy about the Myprotein Resistance Bands beyond the fact they’re great quality. Unlike the MyProtein 11-Piece Band Set, these two tough cookies won’t be too light for low rep ranges. In fact, if you’re looking for bands to exercise your arms or upper body, these will probably be too high-resistance.

These are the best resistance bands with handles

Product shot of the Gorilla Bow Travel in use

2a. Gorilla Bow Travel

Men’s Fitness verdict

This powerhouse band system provides a challenging full-body workout. You can use multiple bands to layer resistance, however loading heavier bands can be tricky.
Pros
  • Powerful full-body system
  • Supports multiple bands simultaneously
Cons
  • Priciest band system on test
  • Too large and cumbersome for some
Resistance:Up to 350lb (158.8kg)
Colours:Black with coloured bands
Number of bands:9 or 11
Features:3-piece bow; simultaneous band use; carry case

If, like me, you’re someone who likes the idea of investing in a system that covers full-body fitness, the Gorilla Bow Travel should float your boat. With two different sets available offering 9 or 11 bands and up to 330lb (149.7kg) or 350lb (158.8kg) or resistance respectively, you can get a highly effective workout in.

You can load the bow with up to four bands, so that means four resistance strengths when you use one band at a time. You can also use multiple bands simultaneously to layer resistance. In testing, that meant it was easy to quickly drop the weight when you fatigue – perfect for drop sets.

Roughly 55in (140cm) tall when assembled, the Gorilla Bow is the most commanding of all our fitness band systems and the bulkiest. In its travel version, though, it detaches into three elements that help it fit easily in a large bag or small suitcase.

2b. Gymproluxe Band Bar Set

Men’s Fitness verdict

Version 2.0 has been updated to give you everything you need for upper body training in one set. It’s a good value kit and intuitive to use, but lower body training options are limited.
Pros
  • Excellent for chest and upper body
  • Quick and easy to adjust
Cons
  • Limited lower body benefit
  • Additional kit required for full-body training
Resistance:From 44 – 200lb / 20 – 90kg
Material:Latex
Colour:Black with black, green and white bands
Number of bands:6 (2 x 22lb / 10kg, 2 x 33lb / 15kg, 2 x 44lb / 20kg)

The Gymproluxe Band Bar Set used to come in five flavours, each giving you three resistance bands. Gymproluxe 2.0 now gives you everything you need in one set. It’s still an impressive range of resistance, but it takes all the guesswork out of which version to get. In the box you get 2 x 22lb / 10kg white bands, 2 x 33lb / 15kg green bands and 2 x 44lb / 20kg black bands. You also get the detachable steel bar, padded exercise belt and carry bag.

Load up all the bands and you have 200lb / 90kg of resistance in one convenient, lightweight belt. Or you could load up just the white bands and have 20kg of resistance. Or you can go anywhere in between. We found it simple to release individual bands to drop the weight in increments too. Presses, rows, curls and flyers are all easy to perform whether standing up or lying down, so we found we could smash out a decent workout pretty much anywhere.

The bar lets you do some of the best chest training we’ve experienced from a band system.

Product shot of TRX RIP Trainer

2c. TRX RIP Trainer

Men’s Fitness verdict

You’ll want extra bands to give your exercises variability, but this is a stellar piece of kit for sculpting defined abs. Just check your ceiling height before you get started…
Pros
  • Excellent core training kit
  • Ships with a workout guide
Cons
  • Only the medium resistance band included
  • Requires ample space to train
Resistance:20lb (9kg) – 15lb (7kg), 25lb (11kg), 38lb (17kg) and 50lb (23kg) are optional extras
Colours:Black and yellow
Features:Door anchor; carabiner; six-year guarantee

The TRX RIP Trainer is not just a pole with a band on the end; it’s a core annihilator in disguise.

Excellent for turning traditional moves into asymmetric exercises, I enjoyed the fact the TRX focuses the resistance on one side of your body, forcing you to compensate, and in turn develop muscles you’d usually lock into with pilates or other core-focused training.

The TRX RIP Trainer is covered by a six-year warranty and comes with a medium chord, which packs 20lb (9kg) of resistance. Four other cords are available: light (15lb / 7kg); heavy (25lb / 11kg); the extra-heavy (38lb / 17kg); and XX-heavy (50lb / 23kg), each costing around £15.

I also appreciated the included door anchor and carabiner, which give you options to use it indoors and out – although the system requires a few clear square meters beyond as well as relatively high ceilings.

Product shot of Myprotein 11-piece band set

2d. Myprotein 11-Piece Band Set

Men’s Fitness verdict

Another great-value set, Myprotein’s bands come complete with leg straps, handles and door anchor. It’s a versatile piece of kit ideal for high rep-range conditioning.
Pros
  • Excellent value
  • Enables loads of exercises
Cons
  • Too light for low rep ranges
  • No instructions or quick-start guide
Resistance:10lb (4.5kg), 20lb (9.1kg), 30lb (13.6kg), 40lb (18.1kg), 50lb (22.7kg)
Colour:Black
Number of bands:5
Features:Leg straps; door anchor

You’ll be hard-pressed to find a better set of bands for beginners than the MyProtein 11-Piece Band Set. The system is big on bands and value, shipping with five tube bands, two handles, two leg straps and a door anchor, tucked away in a breathable net bag.

The five bands are all different colours and range from 10lb (4.5kg) to 50lb (22.7kg) in resistance. Each end of each band features a carabiner (clamp), which can latch onto either a handle, a leg strap or the door anchor. I used the leg strap around my ankle, and found it ideal for abductor, adductor and glute exercises. With the handles on both sides, you’ve got shoulder and chest presses covered.

The MyProtein 11-Piece Band Set isn’t as high resistance as much of the competition, but for constant tension and high rep range conditioning, I found the five bands – which can be doubled up for extra resistance – work a treat.

Product shot of a TRX resistance band

2e. TRX Bandit Resistance Band Kit

Men’s Fitness verdict

If you’re starting out using resistance bands, we can’t think of an easier way than with the TRX Bandit. It’s not one for putting on serious mass but it still provides a decent workout.
Pros
  • Portable and lightweight
  • Comfortable to use
Cons
  • Won’t be for heavy strength training
  • More expensive than four individual bands
Resistance:5lb (2.3kg) to 60lb (27.2kg)
Colours:Black and yellow
Number of bands:5
Features:Six-year guarantee; compatible with other TRX bands

The TRX Bandit Resistance Band Kit is incredibly simple, but it’s also very effective and user-friendly, consisting of two light bands and two medium bands, as well as two handles.

Up to two bands can slide into each handle at a time, creating an easy-to-grip resistance band system with up to four resistance strengths. Tension ranges from 5lb (2.3kg, one light band) to 60lbs (27.2kg, two medium bands), and I found the Bandit handles work with heavier TRX bands, which can be bought separately for around £20.

While it won’t be for anyone looking to put on serious mass, I think the Bandit can still help most people get a tough, muscle-building workout in higher rep ranges.

What makes a good resistance band?

Rather than asking what makes a good resistance band, you should be asking what makes a good resistance band for you.

Most bands on the market serve a purpose, with lightweight options being great for stretches and basic resistance training, and more heavyweight bands being better for muscle building. Standard bands are generally more portable, while systems take up more space.

From a safety point of view, a good band is one that won’t snap. You should always check that your band doesn’t have any micro tears in it before you start working out. Imagine being flicked with the biggest elastic band by the most brutish bully in school – if a resistance band snaps mid-workout, it won’t be pretty.

By their nature, bands also have variable resistance. Often their resistance is measured by two corresponding weights – 5-10lb (2.3-4.5kg), for example. The first weight measurement – 5lb – is the band at 50% tension. The second weight – 10lb – is the band at 100% tension. Bands usually hit 100% when stretched to double their starting length.

If you have shorter limbs and want maximum tension, you shouldn’t opt for really long bands as it may be tough to hit that 100% resistance. Likewise, tall people shouldn’t opt for bands that are too short, as they might hit full tension too soon, preventing them from being able to get a full range of motion when training.

Once you decide what you need from your band – one that is travel-friendly, easy to use, comes with training videos etc – then you can pinpoint what makes a good band for your training needs.

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