Investing in a set of resistance bands is one of the smartest things you can do in order to maintain a regular fitness lifestyle. But, unless, you do your homework, you may end up with a set of bands that are not ideally suited to your needs. In this article, we will get to grips with the different types of resistance bands and present you with an essential buying guide to ensure that you make the wisest investment possible.
Types of Resistance Bands
There are 6 different types of resistance bands, each suited to a different purpose. It pays to get the right one, so here is a breakdown of each of them.
Flat Resistance Bands
Flat resistance bands are only about an inch wide and usually come in lengths of around four feet. They are often referred to as pull up bars because they can be used to assist you when doing the pull-up exercise. These bands are ideal for working your ankles and lower body. The thicker the band, the greater the resistance it will provide. These bands are color coded to identify the resistance level.
Mini Resistance Loop Bands
Mini Resistance loop bands are short length continuous loop bands that come in a variety of colors and resistance levels. These mini bands are great for working your rotator cuffs, ankles and legs. They are extremely compact and can even be put in your pocket when you’re not using them.
Resistance Loop Bands
Resistance loop bands are the full-size version of the mini-loop band. They are several feet in length and, again, consist of a continuous loop. Loop bands require some sort of anchor point for one end of the loop. This may be provided by your feet (as in when you do squats or shoulder presses), your torso (as in when you do push-ups) or a fixed anchor point (as in when you do the chest press).
Resistance loop bands come in different thicknesses and are color coded, with most companies following the same format. Fit Simplify resistance loop bands have the following color coding:
|Yellow||Extra Light||2-4 lbs|
|Red||Extra Heavy||25-30 lbs|
Handle Tube Resistance Bands
Handle tube resistance bands provide the band in the form of tubing at different thicknesses. The bands are normally constructed from thick latex rubber. On each end of the tubing is a grip handle which is made from a hard plastic material. Some brands, such as Fit Simplify, will provide carabiners on the ends of the tubing to allow you to interchangeably clip different tubes on the handles. This is great because it allows you to stack different bands together in order to increase the resistance level. The handles usually have foam grips to provide extra handling comfort. These bands allow you to get a gym quality workout wherever you happen to be.
Clip Tube Resistance Bands
Clip tube resistance bands are similar to handle tube bands, but they come exclusively as clip-on bands. They come as a complete set with attachments to allow you to work your ankles. They are made from the same latex rubber material as the handle bands. If you don’t want to use the handles, you can clip the ends of the band to anything else, such as a door. Bands can also be stacked together to provide a greater challenge to the workout.
Figure-8 Resistance Bands
Figure-8 resistance bands are shorter than a full-length band. They are also made from tubular band material of latex rubber. The bands have a rubber enclosure in the middle and handle at each end. The band can be held by another person while you are exercising. It can also be attached to a weight or a parachute.
The first thing to be aware of when buying resistance bands is to understand the equivalent free weight resistance level that you are wanting to get from the bands. You do not want to end up with bands that are either too light or too heavy for you. While equating the resistance level to what you receive from a barbell or dumbbell is quite an inexact science, the following will give you a guide . . .
Yellow and Blue bands are designed for beginner exercises, providing an equivalent resistance of 2-6 pounds when equated to dumbbell weights.
Green bands are designed for those with about a year’s worth of experience and equate to a resistance of around 10-12 pounds.
Black and red bands are the heaviest and are designed for use by experienced exercisers. The equivalent weight resistance is between fifteen and thirty pounds.
If you are wanting to buy a set of bands because you are coming back from injury you should begin with the lightest possible and go for mini bands to start with. Once you have got a month or so of experience, then you can advance to loop or tubular bands.
Handles or Loops
If you are a person who is transitioning from gym training with barbells and dumbbells to using resistance bands, you may want to begin with handle tubular bands. They will more closely replicate the feel of what you have been previously doing. Apart from that, however, you should probably opt for loop bands, as they are more versatile, allowing you to do exercises from an anchor point as well as with your body as the base of resistance.
What’s in the Set?
Different suppliers of resistance bands provide you with different pieces of equipment. Look for the most comprehensive set that you can get, as it will usually provide you with the best value for money. With the Fit Simplify’s clip tube resistance band set, as an example, you get 11 pieces of equipment, including a comprehensive downloadable training guide.
When you are buying a product such as a resistance band you need to have confidence that it will not break. The advertising can give you all the assurance in the world, but it is the warranty that speaks. Look for a full lifetime warranty, such as that provided by Fit Simplify on all their products.