The 9 best resistance bands for strengthening, toning and stretching

Our team of health editors has been busy testing the 9 best resistance bands to help you take your workout to the next level

A selection of the best resistance bands
(Image credit: Future)

Using the best resistance bands is a great to strengthen your whole body. That’s why we’ve evaluated the weight, length, material, and price tag of a wide selection of these bands so that you can challenge yourself during your workouts at home or in the gym.

Resistance bands can be used in low-impact workouts, with slow isometric movements to target a particular muscle, or in high-intensity workouts to help burn multiple muscle groups, as well as part of your warm-ups. Along with the best dumbbells, they make a core part of any strengthening workout. 

While you might not see a huge spike on your pick of the best fitness trackers during resistance workouts in terms of cardio, you'll reap a lot of long-term benefits, and be able to feel yourself progressing. Strength training for women is so important, especially as we age; these types of workouts can help combat the natural loss of bone density, reduce the risk of injury and build muscle. We've tried and tested top resistance brands on the market, all of which you’ll find below, to make your workouts that bit more challenging. 

The best resistance bands chosen by the w&h team

How we chose these resistance bands

To test the bands included in our top picks, we performed multiple strength-based workouts for women  (see our round-up of the best resistance band workouts for inspiration). The workouts included various glute, arm, leg, and core exercises to help us determine how well they performed. 

When testing resistance bands we also considered: 

  • Weight—bands come in a range of different resistance levels. If you're new to strength training, start with a light or medium band at around five to 10lbs. 
  • Material—the best resistance bands should be made from stretchy material, such as latex or cotton mixed with elastane to help create the resistance element of the band. It's worth noting some latex bands can be uncomfortable on the skin, and rub your hands or legs while using them, especially when you start to sweat.
  • Length—depending on the type of exercise you're doing, you'll have to decide what type of band you want. Long loop resistance bands are best for full-body workouts, while short loop resistance bands are ideal for targeting glutes, quads, and triceps. 
  • Price—you can purchase resistance bands relatively cheaply, but you will get what you pay for. Investing a little more will ensure you're getting durable bands made of high-quality material that will last many workouts to come.  


Do resistance bands build muscle?

“Resistance bands, like free weights, are very effective at strengthening muscle,” says personal trainer Caroline Idiens (@carolinescircuits). “In fact, they might do so to an even greater extent, since with a band there is constant tension on the muscle through the entire movement of the exercise.” She adds that since bands are versatile and easy to transport, they can be a great way to tone your body from pretty much anywhere.

How do they work? “Training your body using resistance will result in increased strength because your muscles must fight against the extra force,” explains David Wiener, training specialist at fitness platform Freeletics. There's an extra strength training perk, notes personal trainer Aimee Victoria Long ( "This is because they recruit the stabilizing muscles of the targeted area to provide extra intensity to whatever move you might be performing," she explains. 

However, if you’re thinking of parting ways with your kettlebells and dumbbells anytime soon, you should be aware that you’ll need to ensure you're really challenging yourself with your resistance band. “You need to push your muscles to hypertrophy, which is when muscles get damaged or injured and the muscle fibers are broken down in order to rebuild stronger and bigger,” adds Wiener. “This can be harder to achieve using bands, but is still entirely possible.”

Resistance bands vs dumbbells: which is better?

Our Health Editor Grace Walsh says: 

"Bands, kettlebells, and dumbells offer the same thing: resistance. It's this resistance that's essential for improving strength, which helps to maintain muscle and bone mass, and flexibility as you have to work against the force to move it, pushing your body beyond its most natural capability. However, when working out at home, I prefer to use resistance bands. 

They are so much more versatile as you can hold them in whichever way feels most comfortable for you, attach accessories to them to replicate gym equipment, attach them to doors for back workouts and so on. Resistance bands obviously also take up much less space than dumbbells - you can fold them up and store them in a small bag in a drawer at home, and you also need fewer of them to begin with as you can use a couple together to learn how to do resistance band exercises and create a heavier weight rather than swapping them out."

Our experts

You can also read up on the experts that informed this round-up below.

Health editor Grace Walsh
Grace Walsh

Grace Walsh is the health editor at woman&home online, covering all areas of wellbeing, including nutrition, fitness, sleep, sex, and relationships. 

Caroline Idiens

Caroline Idiens is a personal trainer and fitness coach, with over 20 years experience in the industry. 

David Wiener

David Wiener is a training specialist at fitness platform Freeletics.

Aimee Victoria Long

Aimee Victoria Long is a personal trainer based in London.

Sarah Finley

Sarah is a freelance journalist - writing about the royals and celebrities for Woman & Home, fitness and beauty for the Evening Standard and how the world of work has changed due to the pandemic for the BBC. 


She also covers a variety of other subjects and loves interviewing leaders and innovators in the beauty, travel and wellness worlds for numerous UK and overseas publications. 


As a journalist, she has written thousands of profile pieces - interviewing CEOs, real-life case studies and celebrities - interviewing everyone from Emma Bunton to the founder of Headspace.