X3 Bar with resistance bands

Resistance bands are some of the best and most affordable fitness tools you can use at home.

If you've ever had a gym membership, you've probably seen people lying around in the stretching area, performing mobility exercises with light resistance bands. Many people first experience resistance bands during a physical therapy session.

There is a seemingly endless amount of resistance bands on the market, which can make choosing the right one feel like a Herculean task. Different types of bands serve different purposes, and not all are created equally.

To make it even more complicated, resistance band sets typically come with varying degrees of difficulty. So how do you know which level of resistance is appropriate for you?

If you like the idea of training with resistance bands at home, but the task of understanding which band is best for you seems overwhelming---you're in the right place.

This is a comprehensive overview of the best resistance bands for home workouts. You'll learn why resistance bands have become so popular, the different types of bands available, and most importantly, how to choose the right resistance band for you.

Doctor Jaquish doing bicep curls with X3 Bar

You might be wondering what makes us an authority on resistance bands. We’re not into keeping secrets, so if you already haven’t noticed, we make resistance bands as part of our popular X3 Bar workout system.

To no surprise, we think ours are the best overall resistance bands available. But we back it up with science and data, all of which we’ll get into in this article.

Let’s dive into the world of resistance bands, and find the best one for you.

Resistance Bands

What is a Resistance Band? #

A resistance band is an elastic band used to induce muscular contraction. Resistance bands have been in use since the early 20th century. Originally invented in 1896 by Mr. Gustav Gossweiler in Sweden, it wasn’t until the 1960s that resistance bands became widely adopted.

Today, the resistance band has evolved as a total body workout solution. You can now use resistance bands for cardio and complete body strength training in the comfort of your home. Mr. Gossweiler would be impressed.

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Types of Resistance Bands #

The resistance band has come a long way since the original therapeutic bands. With so many options to choose from, understanding the different types of bands and their purposes is step one in finding the right band for you.

There are nine main types of resistance bands on the market. Some of these bands have add-ons, such as the X3 Bar System, that make them much more than just a resistance band.

  1. Therapy Bands

  2. Fit Loop Resistance Bands

  3. Figure 8 Resistance Bands

  4. Ring Resistance Bands

  5. Lateral Resistance Bands

  6. Pull up Bands

  7. Tube Bands with Handles

  8. Power Resistance Bands

  9. Portable Home Gym Resistance Bands

These are the major types of resistance bands out there. Some come with add-ons, and others are sold as stand-alone workout accessories. Let’s take a closer look at these different types of bands, their features, uses, and benefits.

Best Therapy Resistance Bands #

The therapy resistance band is the original resistance band. These bands are straight, thin elastic bands that provide minor resistance. They’re used for rehabbing injuries by rebuilding basic strength and stability.

These bands are the lightest bands available. Therefore, they are not suitable for building muscle but can help you regain some lost strength.

If you’re looking for a no-frills therapy resistance band for home rehab, the therapy band by TheraBand is often used by physical therapists. TheraBand resistance bands include three non-latex elastic bands with varying intensities for around $15.

Sizes and Resistance #

On average, sets of therapy bands offer 3-10 pounds of resistance.

Should You Use Therapy Resistance Bands? #

You will benefit from therapy resistance bands if you have the following goals:

  • Physical therapy and rehabilitation

  • Regaining lost stability

  • Muscle strengthening (for beginners or people with muscle weakness)

  • Improving flexibility

Here's Our Pick For The Best Therapy Resistance Band:

TheraBand Therapy Resistance Bands

Our Pick for the Best Therapy Resistance Band

Best Mini Resistance Bands #

Mini resistance bands are small closed-loop bands, typically around 9 inches in length. They secure to your knees, calves, thighs, or ankles.

Because they’re so small, some people use them as a progression step after using therapeutic resistance bands. Loop resistance bands look very similar to therapeutic bands but generally provide higher resistance levels.

If you’re looking for the next step above therapy bands, there are many very affordable loop resistance bands on the market to choose from—some cost as little as $10 for a set of three.

Sizes and Resistance #

Sets of mini bands are usually labeled as light, medium, heavy, and extra heavy. These typically provide between 5 and 50 pounds of resistance. Depending on their resistance, the bands will vary in length and thickness, but all are made to wrap around the legs.

Should You Use Mini Resistance Bands? #

Mini resistance bands can work for you if your goal is to:

  • Warm-up

  • Maintain muscle tone

  • Build baseline muscle strength and endurance

  • Improve stability

  • Reduce impact on joints

  • Recover and rehabilitate

Here's Our Pick For The Best Mini Resistance Band:

ProsourceFit Loop Resistance Bands

Mini Resistance Bands
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Figure 8 Resistance Bands #

Figure 8 resistance bands are shaped just like you’d imagine. They come with soft handles at the top and bottom of the figure 8 shape.

Figure 8 bands are mostly used to target your upper body but can also be used like mini bands for lateral movements, and mimic some machine and dumbbell exercises. They’re best used for pushing and pulling exercises.

Sizes and Resistance  #

On average, sets of figure 8 bands will offer 8-20 pounds of resistance.

Should You Use Figure 8 Resistance Bands? #

These bands can be a good option for:

  • Physical therapy and rehabilitation

  • Weight loss

  • Muscle tone maintenance

  • Muscle endurance maintenance

  • Stability training

Here's Our Pick For The Best Figure 8 Resistance Band:

The SPRI Ultra Toner

Figure 8 Resistance Bands

Ring Resistance Bands #

A ring resistance band looks like several links of a chain put together.

The idea behind the design is that with a quick change to your grip width, you can increase or decrease resistance while maintaining access to the handle.

Ring resistance bands are fairly versatile, allowing you to target your hands, arms, neck, shoulders, and legs, depending on your grip and exercise.

Sizes and Resistance  #

Ring resistance bands typically come in three different levels of resistance ranges: 10-12, 12-14, and 15-18 pounds.

Who Should Use Ring Resistance Bands? #

You might like ring resistance bands if you have the following goals:

  • Physical therapy and rehabilitation

  • Stretching

  • Muscle tone maintenance

  • Muscle endurance maintenance

  • Stability training

Here's Our Pick For The Best Ring Resistance Band:

Fomi 7 Ring Resistance Band

Ring Resistance Bands
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Lateral Resistance Bands #

Lateral resistance bands are long bands with two cuffs attached to each end. Most people wrap the cuffs around their ankles to perform leg-strengthening lateral walks.

Walking exercises with resistance bands help target your glutes and hip abductors.

These bands are a great warmup routine before heading into tough cardiovascular exercises. In addition, they can help with knee joint stabilization and ankle stability when rehabbing from surgery.

Athletes often train with lateral resistance bands to help increase first-step quickness and lateral speed.

Sizes and Resistance  #

Most lateral resistance band products come with three levels of interchangeable resistance tubing.

Who Should Use Lateral Resistance Bands? #

These bands can be a great option if you’re looking to:

  • Develop first-step quickness

  • Increase lateral speed

  • Strengthen lower body for fluid movement and proper body positioning

  • Stabilize knees and ankles following surgery

Here's Our Pick For The Best Lateral Resistance Band:

Lateral Resistor Pro

Lateral Resistance Bands

Pull Up Resistance Bands #

Also known as pull-up assist bands, pull-up resistance bands are a special type of resistance band designed to help you with pull-ups. For a lot of people, doing a single pull-up can be difficult or impossible.

If you want to develop your back with pull-ups but don’t have enough strength to do even one, using a pull-up resistance band can get you started.

Band-assisted pull-ups strengthen your trapezius, biceps, rhomboids, and lats. Eventually, you’ll build enough strength to do unassisted pull-ups without the aid of the resistance band.

Sizes and Resistance  #

Pull-up resistance bands typically come in sets offering four levels of resistance ranging from 5-15 pounds.

Who Should Use Pull-Up Resistance Bands? #

These bands can be a good option if you’re looking to:

  • Conquer your first real pull up

  • Incorporate pull-ups, chin-ups, or ring dips into your training

  • Strengthen your back with bodyweight exercises

Here's Our Pick For The Best Pull Up Resistance Band:

WODFitters Assisted Pull-Up Resistance Bands

Best Pull Up Resistance Band

Tube Resistance Bands with Handles #

Tube resistance bands with handles are designed to mimic gym machines and dumbbell exercises. They can easily anchor to most doors or can wrap around a pole.

They can be used for chest presses, curls, back rows, shoulder presses, and other exercises that involve pressing and pulling motions. They gained widespread popularity with the introduction of the P90X workout program and others like it.

These resistance bands can be a good option for those who like to train outdoors and want something easy and portable.

Sizes and Resistance  #

On average, sets of tube bands will offer 10-50 pounds of resistance.

Who Should Use Tube Resistance Bands With Handles? #

These bands can be a good option if you’re looking to:

  • Maintain muscle and tendon strength

  • Lightly engage muscles

  • Improve range of motion

  • Rehab an injury

Here's Our Pick For The Best Tube Resistance Band With Handles:

Rogue Tube Bands

Tube Resistance Bands with Handles

Power Resistance Loop Bands #

You can think of power resistance loop bands like massive rubber bands. They are continuous flat loops that can be used for a wide range of purposes.

Power resistance loop bands are used for bodyweight assistance, bodyweight resistance, and full-body workouts. Professional athletes on the tail end of rehab will use these before and during their transition back into weight training.

Some powerlifters couple these bands with free weights for variable resistance during squats, bench press, or other power lifts.

Power resistance loop bands are the strongest stand-alone bands on the market.

All in all, they are super versatile, allowing you to work through all three planes of motion, and power loop bands can be used for every aspect of training, whether it’s athletic focused or bodybuilding focused.

Sizes and Resistance #

Typical power resistance bands are 41 inches in length and 0.18 inches in thickness. The difference between the sizes is the width of the band; the width determines the level of resistance. Resistance ranges start at 5 pounds and go as high as 175.

Who Should Use Power Resistance Bands? #

These bands can be a good option if your goal centers around:

  • Muscle endurance

  • Muscle strength

  • Balance and Coordination

  • Stability

  • Flexibility

  • Mobility and increased range of motion

  • Rehabilitation

  • Low impact on joints

  • Multiplanar exercises and unilateral movements

Here's Our Pick For The Best Power Resistance Loop Band:

Set for Set Power Bands

Power Resistance Bands
X3 Banner with listed qualities Portable Home Gym Resistance Bands

Portable Home Gym Resistance Bands #

So far, we’ve covered the basic types of resistance bands. The next evolution in resistance band training has emerged in just the past few years with portable home gym resistance bands. These are similar to power band systems and provide users with something closer to what they could get at the gym using weights and machines.

These Portable Home Gym Resistance Band systems have disrupted the home gym market by providing an affordable and effective at-home replacement for the gym membership. These systems are the perfect solution for those that hate battling crowds and waiting on equipment at the gym.

And because they’re portable, you never have to miss a workout when traveling for business or pleasure. They save space, money, and are proven to be one of the safest ways to train.

So which is the best portable home gym resistance band?

X3 Bar with the Elite Band

Best Overall Resistance Band #

If you’re looking for the best overall resistance band for strength and muscle building the X3 Bar is the hands-down winner.

The X3 Bar is not for rehab, stretching, or cardio. The X3 Bar is a portable strength and muscle-building gym. You’ve probably heard that the only way to build muscle is to lift heavy weights. And for most of history, that was true.

But like all technologies, muscle-building technology has evolved.

We now know through years of research that variable resistance training, not weight-lifting, is the most efficient means of building muscle mass.[1(https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25968227/) The X3 Bar has simply found the most efficient and cost-effective way to tap into the massive benefits of variable resistance training.

When you use the X3 Bar you tap into the three principles of optimal resistance training:

  1. Variable Resistance: When a weighted load changes, it gets lighter at your weakest point and heavier at your strongest.

  2. Constant Tension: There is no resting at the bottom or top of a lift. The amount of tension decreases and increases, but never disappears altogether.

  3. Diminishing Range: A reduction in range of motion but continuation as you fatigue allows you to achieve optimal muscle growth.

Variable Resistance Bands

Variable Resistance Creates Faster Muscle Gains #

Variable resistance training creates faster muscle gains than conventional training. A randomized controlled trial on Cornel University athletes showed that training with resistance is better than free weights alone for developing lower and upper body strength, and lower body power in resistance-trained individuals. [2(https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18550975/)

When compared to weight training in a controlled environment, head to head, variable resistance training led to greater gains in one-rep max and greater gains in average power during the testing period.

During this convention-breaking study, the athletes used conventional bars and plates outfitted with the addition of elastic bands. With X3, however, improved band strength and grip-enhancing accessories make the use of weights unnecessary. Keep reading to learn why.

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How the X3 Bar Replicates Variable Resistance Training #

The X3 Bar variable resistance training system and its workout programs were designed to replicate variable resistance training without the need for heavy free weights or customized equipment.

The X3 Bar system consists of a barbell component, footplate component, and a series of interchangeable power resistance loop bands. When you perform an exercise, the design replicates that of traditional free weight training. However, superior band strength makes free weights unnecessary.

Why not use these strong bands alone? Our bands are so strong, you’d be limited by an uncomfortable grip and stress on the ankle and wrist joints. The barbell and footplate solve this problem, allowing for super heavy lifts with greater benefit than anything you could do with free weights at the gym.

When you train using the X3 12-Week Program , you’ll start each exercise “under load” because of the position and length of the band. This replicates a baseline fixed weight. As you proceed through the range of motion, the band is stretched further and the load applied increases.

Regarding the most important variable for muscle gains—force application—as shown in the Cornell study, the X3 Bar provides faster results than conventional free weights. Plus, there’s the bonus of not needing to spend thousands of dollars on customized gym equipment, nor find the space to set everything up.

The bottom line with these findings? Your muscle tissue can’t tell if force is being applied by an elastic band, or from gravity pulling against a massive chunk of iron. All it knows is that there’s resistance. And as it turns out, resistance is better when it’s variable.

Using A Resistance Band on one leg

How Your Body Reacts to Variable Resistance Training #

Compared to conventional weight lifting, your body has a more beneficial reaction to variable resistance, especially if your goal is to gain muscle faster. Variable resistance training has a greater anabolic hormone response when compared to traditional weight training.[3(https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20473217/)

One study showed variable resistance routines provide a greater increase in serum testosterone and growth hormone compared to weight lifting. This is not only important for gaining muscle mass but equally important for burning fat. [3(https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20473217/)

It’s been repeatedly shown that exercising to create a caloric deficit is difficult. However, increased HGH levels lead to loss of body fat and an increase in muscle mass even when diet remains constant. So, from a weight loss perspective, the fact that variable resistance training leads to greater growth hormone production when compared to weight lifting, indicates the X3 Bar is a big win for those trying to lose weight.

One of the biggest benefits of training with variable resistance is that it allows you to train against more force in the positions where you’re able to use the most muscle tissue. The idea that you train a muscle at the weakest range of motion is not only false but leads to lots of injuries.

One study showed that in the weakest ranges of motion, under high loads, you cannot recruit nearly as much muscle tissue as you can elsewhere in the range of motion. This is likely a protective feature of your nervous system, designed to keep you from injuring your joints by applying too much force while in compromised positions. [4(https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20373201/)

This is the beauty of the X3 Bar variable resistance training system. Understanding the science, we specifically designed and engineered the X3 Bar to offer peak resistance only in positions where joints can handle a heavy load. The result is a much safer and more effective workout.

X3 All-In-One home gym banner So Which Resistance Band is Best for You?

So Which Resistance Band is Best for You? #

If you’re looking for the best resistance bands for men or the best resistance bands for women you now know what’s out there. Like we said in the beginning—it’s all about your personal goals.

Theraband resistance bands, for example, are a great choice at the beginning stages of physical therapy.

If you’re looking for the best resistance bands for replicating heavy-duty weight lifting without the need for expensive weights and storage space—The X3 Bar is the clear choice. X3 checks a lot of other “best” boxes too, including:

  • Best resistance band to replace fitness equipment

  • Best resistance band for lower body exercises

  • Best resistance band to target all muscle groups

  • Best band with the strongest resistance level

  • Best overall resistance band

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Have you defined your workout goals?

Do you just want a band for some light stretching after surgery?

Are you looking for something to help burn calories, and provide some light muscle toning?

If you’re ready to ditch your gym membership and get a portable home gym that’s affordable and doesn’t take up any space, we have a winner for you

The X3 Bar is the most effective and safest option if your goal is to lose weight, gain muscle, and get a total body workout in the comfort of your home.

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Sources #


  1. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25968227/  ↩︎

  2. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18550975/  ↩︎

  3. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20473217/  ↩︎

  4. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20373201/  ↩︎