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.

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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 were these resistance bands tested?

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.

The bands were rated according to three main criteria: Versatility, Band quality and Resistance range. They were also given 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.

Best for:

Core strength TRX RIP Trainer
Beginners TRX Bandit
Budget systems Myprotein 11-Piece Band Set
Travel Myprotein 2 Band Set
Guided workouts Gorilla Bow Travel
Seasoned trainers Mirafit Resistance Band Set
Quad training Eono Fabric Resistance Bands
Stretching Amazon Basics TPE Resistance Bands

Theses are the best resistance bands

TRX RIP Trainer

Best for core strength

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Product shot of TRX RIP Trainer

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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

Versatility: 4/5
Band quality: 5/5
Resistance range: 3/5
OVERALL: 4/5

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.

Read our full TRX RIP Trainer review

TRX Bandit Resistance Band Kit

Best for beginners

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Product shot of a TRX resistance band

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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

Versatility: 4/5
Band quality: 4.5/5
Resistance range: 3.5/5
OVERALL: 4/5

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.

Read our full TRX Bandit Resistance Band Kit review

Myprotein 11-Piece Band Set

Best system on a budget

$64 / £50 / myprotein.com

Product shot of Myprotein 11-piece band set

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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

Versatility: 4.5/5
Band quality: 4/5
Resistance range: 3.5/5
OVERALL: 4/5

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.

Read our full Myprotein 11-Piece Band Set review

Myprotein Resistance Bands

Best for lower body

$36 / £27 / myprotein.com

Myprotein Resistance Bands 2 piece set

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Resistance: 50.7lb to 119lb (23kg to 54kg) each
Colour: Dark grey
Number of bands: 2

Versatility: 4/5
Band quality: 4.5/5
Resistance range: 2/5
OVERALL: 4/5

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.

Read our full Myprotein Resistance Bands review

Gorilla Bow Travel

Best for guided workouts

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Product shot of the Gorilla Bow Travel in use

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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

Versatility: 4/5
Band quality: 4/5
Resistance range: 5/5
OVERALL: 4.5/5

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.

Read our full Gorilla Bow Travel review

Mirafit Resistance Bands Set

Best for experienced lifters

£74.95 / mirafit.co.uk (not available in the US)

Mirafit Resistance Bands Set review

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Resistance: 15-230lb (6.8-104.3kg)
Materials: 100% natural latex
Colours: Grey, orange, black
Number of bands: 6

Versatility: 4.5/5
Band quality: 4/5
Resistance range: 5/5
OVERALL: 4.5/5

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).

Read our full Mirafit Resistance Bands Set review

Eono Fabric Resistance Bands

Best for thigh training

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Eono Fabric Resistance BandsMen's Fitness Endorsed badge

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Resistance: 15lb to 50lb (6.8-22.7kg)
Materials: Polyester, latex
Colours: Pink, cyan, blue
Number of bands: 3
Features: Carry pouch

Versatility: 3.5/5
Band quality: 4.5/5
Resistance range: 3/5
OVERALL: 4/5

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.

Read our full Eono Fabric Resistance Bands review

Amazon Basics TPE Resistance Band Set

Best for stretching

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Amazon Basics TPE Resistance Band Set Review

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Material: Latex-free TPE
Colours: Pink, green, orange
Number of bands: 3

Versatility: 5/5
Band quality: 3/5
Resistance range: 3/5
OVERALL: 4/5

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.

Read our full Amazon Basics TPE Resistance Band set review

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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