Whether you’re really into lifting weights or you’re a self-proclaimed cardio junkie, resistance bands can help any athlete or exercise fiend elevate their workout. They are great for targeted strength training, but they can also add some intensity to cardio exercises like squat jumps and opposition jacks. These bands are light, flexible, and compact, so they can truly travel anywhere with you. Not only are they effective, but they’re also affordable, unlike so many other pieces of workout equipment, boutique classes, and stationary machines.
Here are our favorite resistance bands, as well as some tips and tricks to help you select your own.
Exercise bands work by increasing the literal amount of resistance your muscles need to push against in order to complete a specific exercise. You can loop them around the thighs during squats, the ankles during a high plank leg lift, or under the feet for overhead tricep extensions. If you’re just starting out, it’s a good idea to go for a pack that has multiple levels of resistance so you can start to scale up as you get stronger. Thicker bands are better for leg and glute exercises, while stretchier rubber bands are an excellent way to target the arms, chest, and back.
While resistance bands are great for adding heat to your at-home workout, the right ones can also make a huge difference when it comes to stretching and post-workout recovery. You can wrap the bands around your feet, wrists, and hands to dig a little deeper and get more from your hamstring, hip flexor, and shoulder stretches.
Loop bands can be a little hard to use if you want to target your triceps and biceps specifically. If you’re looking to build muscle in your upper body, we recommend purchasing a flexible set that includes handles and buckles for the best grip and additional stability. You’ll be able to concentrate on isolated movements easily, whether you’re working out at home, in the park, or at the gym.