Best Exercise Bands of 2021
Supalak 15-Piece Resistance Bands
Latex exercise bands snapping at full extension is a universal fear. We've all seen the fail videos, and it's safe to say that you don't want to be on the receiving end of this particular malfunction. The Supalak helps ease your worries by softening the blow with a protective sleeve wrapped around each band. The Supalak set contains five bands with resistances ranging from 20 to 40 pounds. These stackable straps add up to a maximum of 150 pounds of resistance, offering high range and scalability. This set comes with two highly adjustable ankle straps, two sets of comfortably padded handles, and two door anchors. These bonus pieces allow couples or friends to work out together and help elongate the lifetime of your set as a whole. The hardware is durable, and the set is intuitive, user-friendly, and versatile. It can be used indoors, outdoors, at home, or in a gym, and for every muscle group from small muscles in your wrist to larger ones like glutes and hamstrings.
While the protective sleeve is the Supalak's claim to fame, it does pose some potential problems. The sleeves cover the straps completely, so there is no way to tell if your set has seen too much wear and tear to continue using. Generally speaking, this set is very durable, but it is always important to check that your gear is safe to use before using it. The Supalak set also has a lot of moving parts. They are very user-friendly, but some people prefer to keep things simple. If you are looking for a durable, scalable, and versatile set of exercise bands, but fear the dreaded back snap, then the Supalak is a great full-body option.
Targeting Specific Muscle Groups on a Budget
Whatafit Resistance Band Set
Most exercise resistance bands target specific muscle groups, but the Whatafit Set does it all. The handles, ankle straps, door anchor, and countless ways you can combine the bands to vary the resistance make this one of the more versatile sets. It comes with five different bands from 10 to 50 pounds, adding up to a whopping 150 pounds. The steel clips and natural latex make for a durable product. The handles are very comfortable for the hands, and the ankle straps fit a wide range of ankle sizes.
The Whatafit is also bulkier than the other options in this review, so it may not be the right pick if you are looking for something small to take with you while traveling. That being said, we love this set. It is lightweight, versatile, durable, and works great for both upper and lower body workouts. If you are looking for a full-body set that won't break the bank, the Whatafit is the pick for you.
Scalable Pull-up Training
JDDZ SPORTS Pull Up Resistance and Assist Bands
Pull-ups can be a difficult exercise to train, especially at the beginning of your journey. With six bands, ranging from five pounds of assistance to 150, the Jddz Pull Up set allows for optimal scalability and safety while training. While these bands are made specifically to assist in pull-up training, they also work well for full-body workouts. Add resistance to your lower body exercises like squats or even upper body strength training, like overhead pressing. The durable latex shows no signs of wear throughout our testing, but it is important not to load the bands with more weight resistance than they are designed to hold, or you might be at risk of snapping one. For example, do not try to use the 25-pound band in place of a suspension trainer, as you likely weigh more than 25 pounds.
If you are looking to use these bands to improve your pull-up game, you will need access to a pull-up bar. If you don't have one at home, don't worry because the zip-up travel bag makes them easy to take with you to the gym. However, unlike some of the smaller resistance loops, these bands are an investment. The cost is, without a doubt, worth it when you consider the versatility, durability, and resistance range you get. These bands are great for anyone looking to work on their pull-ups at home or in the gym and are often used in pilates, powerlifting, and physical therapy.
Best for Glutes and Legs
Walito Resistance Bands
If you're looking to work your glutes to the max, there is no better option than the Walito. This three-band set is designed to add resistance to lower body exercises like squats and lunges. Each band varies significantly in its resistance, offering some scalability to your workout. Not only do these bands add to the overall load, but they also help encourage proper squat form. The fabric-elastic combination makes this set comfortable over clothing or on bare skin, and the grip strips found on the inside help mitigate slippage. Because these bands are so thick, they do not have the tendency to roll up the thigh or down to the knee like some of the 100% latex bands do, making them a great option for heavy workouts.
This set has one job, and it does that job well. While you can use the Walito across many different lower body exercises, the limited resistance and small circumference do not bode well for full or upper body routines. It is also worth noting that those with particularly thick legs may struggle with the smaller circumference. Overall this set is great for those looking to up their squat game without sacrificing form.
Best for Stretching
Pro-Tec Athletics Exercise Stretch Band
The unique Pro-Tec Exercise Band is essentially a stretchy daisy chain. The multiple loops offer a small amount of scalability and versatility to this singular band. The rubber strip is comfortable and provides grip on bare skin and clothing. Unlike a static yoga strap, this dynamic band allows you to ease into your stretches and offers a small amount of resistance for exercises like squats. You can use it to stretch out your upper and lower body or for a light resistance rehab regimen. The singular band is small enough to travel with, simple to use, and is a great all-in-one option for a light warm-up and stretch before working out.
While the loops offer some scalability, this band is not meant for heavyweight strength training. Its scalability comes from the adjustment in length rather than resistance, like some of the other bands in our test suite. It does not offer enough resistance to hang from and won't replace your weight rack or your pull-up bands, but it will get you warmed up and stretched out before the heavy lifting begins.
Best Light Full Body Exercise
Potok Resistance Band Set
The Potok Resistance Band Set is a great compact set of bands to take with you on the go. Whether you're a flight attendant looking to get a light burn on in your hotel room or you're a backcountry traveler with a torn rotator cuff, this three-band set is sure to do the trick without taking up much space. Overall, the resistance range is low, but the light, medium, and heavy bands are noticeably different and can be used together for a total of 50 pounds of resistance. The bands are 6 foot long straps and about as simplistic as they come. They are not loops, like many exercise resistance bands, and they do not offer handles, ankle straps, or door anchors like some of the pricier sets. This is a very simple style, and the price reflects that.
This band set alone will not get you jacked, but it will help you get light exercise on the go. All three bands made it through our rigorous workouts with no sign of wear or tear, but the bands' thinness leads us to believe that, under very heavy tension for an extended period of time, the durability may fail. That being said, the Potok bands are meant for a lighter, lower resistance, so if used correctly, they should hold up just fine. They are a great low-priced option for conditioning or rehabbing muscles as well as lower resistance full-body training.
Why You Should Trust Us
Hayley Thomas is a climber who is no stranger to the resistance band. She travels the world in her van, spending most of her time in small towns near well-known climbing destinations. Sounds like the ideal life, right? You're not wrong, but living on the road means leaving behind certain luxuries, like access to a familiar gym, so stretchy bands have become a big part of Hayley's maintenance and strength training regime. Whether she is warming up at the crag to rehabbing a labral tear, she always has one close by.
We would love to test every single resistance band known to humankind, but that would be quite the tall order. Instead, we strategically narrow down our options to ensure a well-rounded and rigorous testing experience. We take ample time to research the highest-rated options on the market, reading through user comments and analyzing reviews until we land on the best of the best for our interactive phase. Once we purchase each set, the hands-on testing begins. Our focus group is comprised of folks with varying body types, fitness levels, and needs ensuring a versatile testing experience. Each person rigorously tests every band while we assess our chosen metrics; ergonomics, durability, ease of use, versatility, and scalability.
Analysis and Test Results
We chose five metrics to pay special attention to while testing each exercise resistance band, offering you the most accurate comparisons. Read on to learn about our findings for each metric.
Contrary to popular belief, value and price are not synonymous. Just because an item is expensive does not mean it holds value, and on the flip side, something that is inexpensive can be highly valuable. To calculate the value of each exercise band set, we compare the price to performance. There is a third element to value only you can assign, so it is important to have a good idea of how you plan to use these bands before researching. Generally speaking, a band set that can do it all may hold a higher intrinsic value, but if you are strictly interested in taking your squats to the next level, the full-body bands may hold less value for you specifically.
If you are looking for the everything-band, then look no further than the Supalak. This five-band set is stackable, offering a maximum load of 150 pounds. It comes with highly durable hardware, two ankle straps, and extra handles, and door anchors, ensuring a long and healthy lifespan. Each band is covered in a protective sleeve, which is handy if the door anchor comes loose or a band snaps. This set is not what we would consider budget-friendly, but it is worth every penny.
The Whatafit set offers similar scalability and versatility as the Supalak for considerably less money. It does not come with the extra accessories and the peace of mind that the anti-snap protective sleeve offers. If you're looking for a full-body set and don't mind forgoing these safety measures and extra accessories, then the Whatafit is a great option.
The Jddz Pull-up Band, like the Supalak, is another high-value, high price set. This six-band set is more versatile than its name lets on, offering a high load range ensuring scalability and versatility. The Wsakoue Pull Up Band is a compact four-band version of the Jddz, and as a result, is more budget-friendly for those who do not need as high a load range.
Our last high-value mention is for those who are looking to enhance their lower body exercises. The Walito set offers three tiers of resistance at a low price. This budget-friendly set blows us away with its overall performance but is very limited as far as the range of exercises it can be used for.
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Ergonomics refers to how efficiently and safely each product performs. We are essentially testing oversized rubber bands here, and, as you can imagine, rubber on the skin — especially under tension — has the potential to be quite uncomfortable. We test each product with different body types, and perform different exercises to ensure that booty bands do, in fact, work the booty, and pull-up sets really do help with the pull-up game.
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From the stackable resistances to the protective band sleeves, the Supalak is an ergonomic masterpiece. The design is thoughtful, and everything works how it should. The bands easily stack to offer higher resistance, and the protective sleeve actually offers a significant barrier between your skin and the harsh latex band. We know this because we spent more time than we care to admit snapping these large bands on each other's legs.
The Whatafit is another favorite here. While it does not have a protective sleeve like the Supalak, the high-quality latex, comfortable ankle straps, and durable handles make for a very ergonomic and workout-friendly setup. The Walito is another set worth mentioning. With thick, comfortable, stretchy fabric, it is a no-brainer for glute and lower body exercises. The no-slip grips on the inside also help to keep your bands in place regardless of the exercise you're performing.
Pro-Tec Stretch is another unique and ergonomic design. It offers multiple loops, similar to a stretchy daisy chain and is great for stretching and low resistance rehabilitation exercises.
Ease of Use
Not everything in life needs to be easy, but working out is hard enough, so you don't want to give yourself any extra reasons to skip the sweat and watch TV instead. Exercise resistance bands are a simple tool, but it can be difficult to figure out how to use them effectively. Thankfully, most of the band sets in this review come with a small instruction book, and, truthfully, they are all very easy to use.
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The Supalak and Whatafit are once again high performers. They both come with stackable bands, handles, door anchors, and ankle straps. Even though this equates to many moving parts, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to put them together. The carabiners on each band are easy to attach and detach from the handles, and installing the anchor is as simple as opening and closing a door.
Having the right tool for the job is great, but having one tool for many jobs can be more efficient.
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We make sure to use every band for its intended use during our versatility testing, but we also like to push their limits. We use the pull-up bands for stretching, the glute bands for shoulder rehab, and rehab sets for squats to ensure we approach our testing from all angles. This process may sound a little chaotic, but we are pleasantly surprised by the versatility that some of the sets in our test suite offer.
Both the Whatafit and Supalak sets take the cake for versatility. The handles, ankle straps, door anchors, and general design of these bands allow for a true full-body workout. You can even use them to get a pre or post-workout stretch in.
The Jddz set, while not as versatile as the Whatafit and Supalak can be used for a surprising variety of exercises. While its intended use is pull-up training, the lightest band is an effective stretching tool, and the heavier bands can be used to add resistance to your squat regime. A more compact version of the Jddz is the Wsakoue.
Generally speaking, we are seeking progress when we exercise, which can only be achieved by scaling up our workout routines. Lifting the same five-pound weight every day for the rest of your life may help you maintain strength, but it won't help you build your strength.
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The resistance range and the number of bands in each set are two key factors that go into scalability. We test out the bands in each set from easiest to hardest, paying special attention to the difference in resistance between each tier.
The Supalak and Whatafit sets offer five bands with a maximum load of 150 pounds when stacked. Both sets are highly adjustable and, as a result, very scalable. You could start your bicep curl at 10 or 20 pounds resistance and technically work your way up to 150 pounds, although you'd need your own spot in the Guinness Book of World Records if you could bicep curl that much weight. With six bands and a resistance range of five to 150 pounds, the Jddz Pull Up is another highly scalable set.
If you've ever come across a resistance band fail video on the internet, you know that you don't want to be on the receiving end of a snapping band. Be sure to always look your bands over for rips or tears before starting your workout, and always ensure that you're using your bands correctly. For this metric, we repetitively pull on each band the way it was intended and then check for signs of wear. In this case, the thicker the band and the fewer moving parts, the better.
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The Supalak, Jddz, Whatafit, and Walito sets stand out in our durability category. While these bands are vastly different, they showed zero signs of stress after loading them heavily. You'll want to make sure to help preserve the longevity of your exercise resistance bands by keeping them away from excessive heat and sun.
Whether you're intimidated by the gym, on the go all the time, don't enjoy fussing with weights and complex machines, or you're in the middle of an intense rehab regime, you can probably benefit from exercise resistance band work. It can be difficult to choose the right set without trying them all on for size, and searching the internet can only take you so far. This is why we do the research for you, focusing on key metrics to ensure that each product is properly tested. We hope that our hands-on testing has helped you in your search for the perfect exercise resistance band set. Now, go get swole!
— Hayley Thomas
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