There are a few different styles of resistance bands out there along with different levels of resistance. Here are a few things you should know before purchasing your bands as well as how to make a good decision based on your fitness goals and training style.
1. RESISTANCE BAND TYPES
At the highest level, you have 2 different styles: Loop-Style Bands and Tube-Style Bands.
Loop-style bands usually have a flat profile and are 1 continuous band hence the term loop.
Tube-Style bands typically have a round profile and will most likely have handles or attachments at each end. They are not continuous and are more like a jump rope.
When comparing these 2 styles, they may offer similar levels of resistance but where they differ is in resistance variability and exercise versatility.
With Tube-Style bands, the 1 benefit is you get a handle to hold on to which makes it more comfortable on your hands but that's the only advantage.
They are bulkier, you're limited with the number of exercises you can do and you can't vary the resistance.
With loop-style bands, you can easily increase or decrease the resistance by adjusting your hand and feet position. You can also stack multiple bands to create an additional level of resistance.
Within the loop-style family of bands, there are a few additional models.
You have the larger "super bands" or "pull-up bands" that are typically 42" in diameter and have higher levels of resistance. These also work great for mobility and stretching exercises.
Finally, you have the mini loop bands that are much thinner and are designed to loop around your ankles, knees or wrists.
2. RESISTANCE BAND LEVELS
There are 2 common misconceptions when getting started with resistance bands.
The first is that people just get 1 band to try and save a bit of money thinking they'll be able to perform all the exercises they need.
This approach limits you to only having the one resistance level and you won't be able to achieve the proper level of resistance for certain muscle groups.
If you went with the thinnest band for example, it would be great for smaller muscle groups like shoulders and biceps/triceps. However, using this band for something like squats won't be very effective.
The best example would be grabbing a set of 10 pound dumbbells. Depending on your strength, they would be fine for shoulder raises, shoulder presses or bicep curls but if you were to perform a squat, you'd want to reach for something much heavier.
So buying 1 resistance band would be equivalent to having access to just 1 resistance band.
The second misconception involves individuals who are fairly experienced and strong in the gym who have never used resistance bands. They're often tempted to go with the biggest bands and to not waste time with the thin, smaller ones.
You'd be making a huge mistake here.
The bigger bands have a much more limited range of usage. These big bands are great for the larger muscle groups like legs, chest and back but they're a bad choice for almost everything else.
Check your ego at the door and trust me when I say you'll get the most usage out of the smaller to medium sized bands even if you're a strong individual.
3. RESISTANCE BAND MATERIAL
The reality is that resistance bands will have a shorter lifespan than dumbbells.
Dumbbells are heavy and made from highly durable materials. Resistance bands can break down and tear if exposed to a sharp edge, overstretched or not cared for (resistance band care is covered next so you can extend the life of them!).
With that in mind, it comes down to materials and its impact on the environment.
If this is an important consideration, you'll want to look at bands that are made from natural latex like the Muscle X Fitness Resistance Bands are.
Natural latex is biodegradable making it a more eco-friendly choice.
4. RESISTANCE BAND CARE
If you want to get the most out of your resistance bands, it's a good idea to follow these simple tips.
The biggest culprits to tears or breakage would be anchoring on sharp objects, not wiping them down and improper storage.
If you anchor your bands on a sharp angle or rough surface, it's more likely that the band can become compromised. Whether it's developing a small tear, getting snagged on an edge or rubbing repeatedly on a rough surface, all of these contribute to weakening the material and can eventually lead to failure.
If anchoring your bands, consider using our included door anchor which features a soft material.
Every now and then, it's also a good idea to wipe them down and remove any dust, dirt or debris that may have accumulated on them during use. It's also a hygienic idea to remove your sweat too!
Nothing complicated here. Just run the bands with a wet rag to remove the more visible stuff and you can safely spray them down with a disinfectant spray.
The last point concerns storage. Avoid keeping them in direct sunlight. We include a storage bag for our bands so it's always a good habit to put them back in the bag and put them away and out of the sun.
Following all 3 of those care tips will ensure your bands last a long time.
5. RESISTANCE BAND ACCESSORIES
The most common and popular accessory is certainly a door anchor.
Point #4 spoke about the benefits of using a door anchor from the perspective of band longevity.
In addition, a door anchor dramatically increases the versatility of your bands giving you an increased number of exercises and stretches that you can perform.
You can anchor it up high, down low or in the middle of any secure door jamb.