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Best resistance bands 2018: Stretch yourself and get stronger with the best resistance bands from £3

A set of resistance bands should be the first bit of kit you pick up for your home workouts. It’s tempting to opt for a heaving rack of free weights, a treadmill or exercise bike, but in terms of getting the most bang for your buck, you can’t do better than a set of resistance bands. The low price isn’t the only reason resistance bands are a useful purchase, either.

They are portable and provide an effective way to get fitter in a variety of ways. You can use them for strength workouts that build larger muscles, or fast-paced high-intensity interval training (HIIT) sessions that improve your cardiovascular fitness, or even for mobility exercises to help with injury rehabilitation and to stretch out your body. They are, in short, a must for any fitness fan, so make sure you scan our top resistance band picks below carefully to find your perfect set.

Before that, however, here’s everything you need to know when buying resistance bands.

How to buy the best resistance bands for you

What types of resistance bands are there?

There are three common types of resistance bands: flat or straight bands, loop bands, and tube bands. Straight bands are the most basic kind and, while they can be used for all kinds of exercise, they’re perhaps best reserved for basic stretching and mobility work. Since they don’t have handles, they’re harder to use for strength work.

Loop resistance bands are good for strength training, especially the lower body. They come in different sizes and it’s generally worth getting a small and a large band because the former is handy for looping around your legs and the latter can be looped around both your shoulders and feet for exercises like squats. Loop bands are also the easiest type of band to use to assist pull-ups.

Tube resistance bands will come with detachable handles and are the most effective type for strength training, especially when it comes to the upper body. With most sets you can attach more than one band to the handles at a time to increase the resistance. You can also find figure-of-eight tube resistance bands with fixed handles, which are shorter than other resistance bands and so are useful for upper body exercises where you don’t need a huge range of motion.

What extras should I get with resistance bands?

Resistance bands are simple bits of kit but there are a couple of added extras worth having, chief among which is a door attachment, because anchoring the bands to a fixed point is required for many types of exercise.

A carry bag is also useful if you’re planning on taking your resistance bands on the road, and you can also get ankle straps to attach the bands to, which again increases the range of exercises you can do. Some band sets will also come with a basic workout manual, which is handy for beginners in particular.

How much resistance do I need?

As a minimum, it’s worth getting a set of three bands of differing resistances to ensure you have what you need for a variety of exercises. You can also then double or triple up bands to increase the amount of resistance, which will be important as you get stronger and require more of a challenge.

Resistance bands are typically colour-coded to indicate the different levels of resistance but – and this is crucial- there’s no universal system for these colours, so check carefully with the set you buy. As a very general rule blacks and blues tend to indicate more resistance, greens and reds are in the middle and yellows are lighter resistance, but don’t hold us to that. Light resistance bands are usually around 4-5kg at maximum stretch, and the heaviest bands commonly found in sets will be 18kg.

You can find individual bands that offer over 30kg of resistance, however, which are often gold-coloured.

How much do resistance bands cost?

You can pick up a simple set of basic loop resistance bands for GBP10 or less, and even comprehensive tube sets with more bands and plenty of attachments will only set you back GBP15-GBP20 or so. Individual bands will usually cost somewhere in the range of GBP3-GBP7, with basic strap bands at the cheaper end of the scale.

How long will resistance bands last?

Strap and loop resistance bands won’t last as long as tube bands, but you can still expect them to get you through one or two years of workouts without breaking or losing their snap. Store them out of the sunlight to extend their life.

Tube bands are hardier and should last a couple more years, though again it’s important to store them out of the sun. READ NEXT: Best exercise bikes: Cycle your way to fitness from GBP73

The best resistance bands to buy

1. Theraband Resistance Bands: Best straight resistance band

Price: GBP3 | Buy now from Amazon

The simplest type of resistance band of all, but it’s still possible to go wrong by buying a flimsy straight band that will only last you a couple of light stretches before losing their snap.

These Theraband strips are perfect for mobility and rehab sessions and if you opt for the heavier resistance bands in particular you can expect them to last you a year or two. It’s worth buying a few bands and progressing through the levels of resistance, right up to the terrifyingly strong gold band, which will work for strength workouts as well as rehab and stretching. You can pick how a long a length you’d like – between one and five metres – and if you opt for a longer strip it’s easy to knot and use like a loop band.

Key specs – Resistance range: Eight levels: Tan (extra light) to Gold (Max); Length: 1-5m roll; Accessories: None

2. COREZONE Resistance Loop Bands: Best loop resistance bands set

Price: GBP11 | Buy now from Amazon

Best resistance bands 2018: Stretch yourself and get stronger with the best resistance bands from £3

Durability is no concern at all with this set of loop bands, because in the unlikely event you do require a replacement band, it will be provided for free thanks to the lifetime guarantee on the set. The six bands provide a range of resistance that will suit all levels of gym-goer, and you can also double or triple up the loops for certain exercises if you do require more.

The length of the bands is pitched in the sweet spot so that they are short enough to provide tension when looped around both legs but also long enough to go around your shoulders and feet for exercises like squats. Key specs – Resistance range: Six levels: Yellow (4.5-7kg) to Orange (16-18kg); Length: 30cm; Accessories: Carry bag;

3. Inmaker Resistance Bands: Best resistance bands for beginners

Price: GBP9 | Buy now from Amazon

Best resistance bands 2018: Stretch yourself and get stronger with the best resistance bands from £3

The five excellent bands in this set are just part of what’s on offer, with a workout manual and access to an ebook that details just about everything you could wish to know about resistance bands also included.

Those extras make it the ideal set for band beginners, though even experienced gym-goers will be able to pick up plenty of useful tips. The five band set comes in two different ranges – the Funda has slightly lower resistance and is better for beginners, while the Pro.V has heavier bands for those looking to progress their training. Key specs – Resistance range: Five levels (Funda): Yellow (4.5kg) to Black (18kg); Length: 30cm; Accessories: Carry bag, workout manual, ebook and online video access

4.

Opti Resistance Bands: Best resistance band set under GBP15

Price: GBP12 | Buy now from Argos

Best resistance bands 2018: Stretch yourself and get stronger with the best resistance bands from £3

This set of tubular bands only comes with three different levels of resistance, but it’s easy to attach two or even all three bands to the handles to increase the difficulty of the exercises you’re doing. You also get a door attachment with the set, which is a vital anchor point that broadens the range of exercises you can do with the bands. Tubular bands don’t tend to pack up quite as neatly as flat or loop bands, because you can’t just roll them up, so the carry bag is a generous size, making it easier to shove the bands away in it after use.

Key specs – Resistance range: Three levels: Green (light) to Orange (heavy); Length: 150cm; Accessories: Carry bag, door attachment, ankle straps;

5. Protone Resistance Bands Set: Best resistance band set

Price: GBP20 | Buy now from Amazon

Best resistance bands 2018: Stretch yourself and get stronger with the best resistance bands from £3

Everything you’re likely to ever need for your resistance band workouts comes in this set, including five different bands with detachable handles so you’ll never progress out of the resistance available. If you don’t believe us on that try attaching all five bands to the handles at once and knocking out a set of bicep curls.

Along with door and ankle attachments you get a band guard with the set. This sleeve goes around the band at the point it is wrapped around a bar or similar anchor to stop the band rubbing directly on the surface during your exercises, which can damage it. Key specs – Resistance range: Five levels: Yellow (1.4-11.8kg) to Black (9-18kg); Length: Not given; Accessories: Carry bag, door attachment, ankle straps;

6.

Fitness Mad Figure 8 Resistance Band: Best figure-of-eight resistance band

Price: GBP4-12 | Buy now from Amazon

Best resistance bands 2018: Stretch yourself and get stronger with the best resistance bands from £3

A figure-of-eight band is not quite as versatile as the other kinds of resistance bands covered here, but the short length and large, comfortable handles you get with this type of band do make it ideally suited for exercises such as flyes and rows, where you don’t want a huge length of band to work with.

There are three different strengths available with the Fitness Mad figure-of-eight bands – blue is the lightest, green is in the middle and black is the strongest.

Key specs – Resistance range: Three levels: Blue (light) to Black (strong); Length: Not given; Accessories: None;

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