Not a fan of lifting heavy dumbbells? Don’t fret, there are plenty of other ways to build some serious strength without all that metal equipment. The secret is having alternative gym gear to help you reach your fitness goals.
Enter: Resistance bands, the most affordable, travel-friendly and versatile pieces of exercise gear you can buy. As a bonus, they barely take up any space in your house, making them a good option for those without a lot of room in their homes.
Perfect for working out both your upper and lower body, resistance bands can help anyone (at any fitness level!) get into shape. However, not all resistance bands are created equal. Here, we’ve rounded up the best bands on the market. From budget-friendly options to picks that target specific muscle groups, these choices will help you build muscle in no time.
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Best resistance bands for the upper body
Built to last, these tube bands utilize no-slip grips and latex rubber to offer a high-quality alternative to dumbbells. Simply slide the center of the band under your feet while gripping the handles to perform a bicep curl or a row for a full arm workout.
If pullups are your preferred form of upper body workouts, then these resistance bands are for you. They come in four intensity levels, and the amount of resistance of the workout bands can be adjusted by giving more or less slack on the band. Not only does this band work great for assisted pullups, it can also add resistance to your pushups. Simply lay the band across your upper back, loop each end of the band into each hand and complete your pushups as you normally would.
Best resistance bands for the lower body
Take your workout to the next level with resistance bands from the popular fitness brand Tone It Up. The light and heavy stretch bands cost less than $10, and if you’re not sure how to incorporate them into your exercise routine, you can download the Tone It Up app to find workouts that utilize your new gear.
This trio of resistance bands includes three different colors to differentiate the three different resistances. As a bonus, the set comes with a trendy black carry bag.
As a favorite on Amazon, this four-piece set ranges from 10 to 35 pounds of resistance. Customer reviews rave that the bands are both cute and effective, and that the included pouch makes traveling with them a breeze.
Best resistance bands for stretching
If you’re looking for bands that provide more rehabilitative results, then this option is for you. Often used by physical therapists to help heal injuries, these non-latex elastic bands measure five feet and are easier to use than their circular counterparts. The color-coded options also make it easy to tell which fitness level you’re at.
Made specifically with stretching in mind, these four-foot bands act similarly to a yoga strap. Pro tip: fold the band in half to add more tension when stretching.
Best overall resistance bands
With over 56,000 five-star reviews, these resistance bands are clearly a fan favorite. They come in five varying resistances making them optimal for any fitness level, and they’re made of high-quality latex to ensure they stretch further than other options.
It should be no surprise that Bala makes this list. After all, the brand’s workout gear already has a lot of people hooked on it (us included). Simply set these bands around your calves or thighs to get the ultimate leg burn, or use them to strengthen your core, quads and hamstrings.
As the most versatile option on this list, this set includes five resistance bands, a door anchor, an ankle strap, a carry bag and a starter guide with detailed workout instructions. The five resistance bands are color coded and range from two to 30 pounds of resistance. In order to help users attach handles (for upper body workouts) or ankle straps (for lower body workouts), each resistance tube comes complete with a metal clipping system for easy set up.
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