Resistance band training has become an extremely popular home fitness option in recent years. The combination of simplicity, compactness, and cost effectiveness has made the resistance band one of the most popular pieces of home fitness equipment on the planet. However, resistance bands are also an essential piece of equipment for commercial gyms. They provide the extra training options that your members deserve and demand.
Selecting the ideal resistance bands for your gym requires knowledge and investigation. In this article, we dig deep to give you the information you need to make the smartest resistance band buying decisions. We’ve interviewed ten experienced workers from 7 resistance band manufacturing plants to provide you with type of insider knowledge that you won’t find anywhere else.
Here’s what you’ll learn:
- Which type of resistance band do I need for my gym?
- How long can a resistance band last?
- What are the key features to look out for?
- What buying traps do I need to avoid?
Let’s dive in.
(Note:there are a number of different names used to describe resistance bands. These include exercise bands, workout bands, stretch band, elastic band, resistance tube, gym bands and rubber bands.To maintain consistency, however, we will refer to them in this article as resistance bands.)
Table of Contents
- 1. Quick Comparison Chart
- 2. Resistance Band Types
- 3. Resistance Band Materials
- 4. Resistance Band Physical Properties
- 5. Buying Tips and Traps to Avoid
- 6. Conclusion
1. Quick Comparison Chart
Check this handy comparison chart to quickly identify the key differences between resistance band types as well as how each material affects band performance. This will give you an initial impression of the quality of the various band types and allow you to quickly rule out the types that are not suitable for your gym.
1.1 Resistance Band Type Comparison Chart
1.2 Resistance Band Material Comparison Chart
Note: The above data only indicates the average level in the market, and specifics may very between brands.
2. Resistance Band Types
There are two basic divisions in the resistance band market:
- Flat Bands
- Tube Bands
2.1 Flat Bands
Flat resistance bands consist of a single piece of flat rubber material. Flat bands do not have separate handles. Instead the band is held by the fingers or wrapped around the hands. Flat bands are most often used for physical therapy and to restore some damaged muscles. Flat resistance bands are also ideal for ankle and lower body exercises. The thicker the resistance band, the greater the resistance it will provide.
Therapy Resistance Band
Therapy resistance bands are mainly used for rehabilitation purposes. These bands are usually flat, thin, and open at both ends. They do not form a circular loop or have handles.
Therapy resistance bands are extremely flexible due to their enhanced width. This allows it to distribute tension more evenly over the body. The thinness of the band also enhances tensile strength.
- Easy to carry
- Cheap due to the simple design
- Enhanced flexibility
- Easily overstretched and damaged
- Not suitable for muscle building
- Hard to grip without a handle
Loop Resistance Band
Loop flat resistance bands form a full loop. This makes the band easy to wrap around a fixed object or to hold with parts of the body, such as your feet, when you are doing biceps curls. Loop resistance bands come in regular, mini and power versions. They are the same in structure, but different in size.
- Typical Loop Resistance Band:
The typical loop resistance band is 1 inch wide and 4 feet long. It consists of a continuous band, which is smaller in width and slightly thicker than the therapy band. The circular loop resistance band is very popular in the market. It is suitable for many exercises, especially lower body training.
- Mini Loop Resistance Band:
Mini loop bands have the same structure as regular bands, but are smaller and thinner. These mini bands come in a variety of colors and resistance levels. These mini resistance bands are ideal for working the rotator cuffs, ankles and legs They are so compact that they can easily be stored in your pocket.
- The tension is distributed more evenly due to the greater width, making it more comfortable to use.
- The short length causes a relatively high resistance level than other types.
- It breaks easily when overstretched.
- Power Loop Resistance Band:
Power Loop Resistance bands are much thicker and longer than the typical and mini bands. This gives then greater strength and energy potential for more advanced level resistance training.
- The high resistance level makes it to suitable for advanced training.
- Its high level of durability makes it less likely to snap when under tension due to its thickness.
- An effective assist in doing pull-ups, and muscle building exercises.
- Its larger size than other loop resistance bands means that it takes up more space; it is not convenient to carry with you.
- Quite expensive.
2.2 Tube Bands
Resistance tube bands are made of hollow rubber tubing or solid tubing. Tube bands are more functional and allow for wider resistance ranges than flat bands. That makes them more suitable for some specific types of training.
One negative regarding tube bands is that exercises that involve wrapping the band around a fixed object may result in an uneven distribution of the tension. This will make the exercise uncomfortable as well as less than functionally optimal.
Handle / Fit Tube Resistance Band
Handle tube resistance bands (also called fit tube resistance bands) provide you with a comfortable handle grip that is usually made of hard plastic or foam. This greatly enhances your comfort and gripping ability when working out. They also usually come with an attachment that allows them to be fixed to a door or other upright to allow you to do rowing and pulling type exercises such as the chest press and lat pulldown. Some brands will offer carabiners at the ends of the tube so that you can replace tube resistance levels or even stack more than one tube to a set of handles in order to increase the resistance level.
- Convenient; you don’t have to manually attach it to another attachment every time you exercise.
- Because it has two handles, you can perform bilateral exercises (i.e. working both arms at the same time).
- Not ideal for unilateral exercises (exercises that use one handle at a time).
- It has limited use for lower body exercises, since it is difficult to perform isolated leg and buttock exercises.
Clip Tube Resistance Band
Clip tube resistance bands are somewhat similar to handle bands, but they are available in clip-on form which can be attached to handles or other accessories such as ankle cuffs or door accessories. They are usually made of latex rubber material. These types of resistance bands provide more options than fixed handle bands. If you don’t want to use the handle, you can clip the end of the tube to anything else, such as a door. They can also be stacked together, making the workout even more challenging.
- Provides more diversified training options, allowing you to perform a wide variety of exercises similar to those done on cable-machines.
- The resistance changes more evenly.
- Flexibility: can match with a wide range of resistance accessories.
- You can easily add progressive resistance by using multiple tubes at the same time.
- Not convenient to carry when you have a variety of accessories.
- If a tube band breaks down under tension while being used, it can back fire. This may cause injury.
- You cannot perform bilateral exercises (unless you use 2 clip-tubes at the same resistance level).
Ring Resistance Band
Ring resistance bands consist of a small single ring with a handle attached to each side. They are usually about one foot in length. Unlike handle tube resistance bands, the handles are soft rather than hardened plastic.
Ring resistance bands are best suited for lower body exercises. These bands are easily confused with loop bands. The difference is that loop bands are flat whereas ring resistance bands are tubular.
Figure-8 Resistance Band
The figure-8 resistance band, also known as the bow tie resist band, is made of latex rubber tube. It has a rubber sleeve in the middle, and soft handles at either side. The short length and handle arrangement make the Figure-8 Resistance Band ideal for upper body exercises, especially the arms. Figure-8 resistance bands effectively combine the advantages of the flat resistance band and the tube resistance band.
- Easy to use due to the soft handles on both sides.
- It’s cheaper than other tube bands.
- It has a more limited range of motion and fewer exercise types than other bands.
- Not really suitable for lower body training.
3. Resistance Band Materials
The quality and durability of a resistance band is largely dependent upon the type of material used in its construction. The three most common materials used are:
- Non-latex (TPE)
Latex is a natural rubber that is extracted from rubber trees. The extraction process involves making an incision in the bark of the tree. The white emulsion liquid that oozes out is collected in a container. It is further processed and molded into different forms. In the current market, more than 90% of resistance bands are made of latex.
- Range of resistance levels: the resistance level of natural rubber resistance band ranges from the lowest to the highest resistance level. This makes the bands suitable for people of all ages and all fitness levels.
- Elasticity and tensile strength: Natural rubber has the highest elasticity and tensile strength.
- Greater ROM (Range of Motion) to prevent injuries and increase flexibility.
- Easy to clean: The smooth surface of the latex band will not absorb dirt, making it easy to clean.
- Portable: the light weight and small size makes it easy to carry latex bands around.
- Sensitive to UV and ozone deterioration; over time latex will break down in direct sunlight.
- High-temperature resistance is poor.
- Latex may cause allergies to people.
- Strong smell of rubber.
- It’s a little slippery when it gets wet.
3.2 Non-latex (TPE)
Non-latex is an artificial material that can be used as a substitute for latex. Non-latex bands are made of petroleum-based material called TPE (Thermo Plastic Elastomer).
TPE makes an effective rubber substitute for people who are allergic to latex.
- Anti-allergy: its chemical nature is inert. This means that, when it comes into contact with other substances, it will not react with it.
- Good Ozone and UV resistance makes it much more durable than raw rubber.
- Good high-temperature resistance.
- The elasticity and tensile strength are slightly lower than the natural rubber, but still within the good range.
- Durability: longer life than latex rubber bands.
- TPE is non-biodegradable, which makes it harmful to the environment.
Fabric resistance band material is actually a combination of latex and stretchable fabric material. The infusion of fabrics allows these bands to be finished in a range of unique designs and colors. These bands are also far more user friendly in terms of smoothness, feel and skin sensitivity. The soft, firm grip of the fabric will not allow the bands to slip, regardless of the angle or direction of movement.
- Effective slide resistance.
- Good resistance to ultraviolet radiation and ozone.
- It’s skin-friendly
- Allergy free.
- Biodegradable so it will not cause any pollution to the environment.
- Elasticity: though the fabric is stretchable, this type of resistance band has the lowest elasticity among all materials. As a result, it cannot provide a complete range of motion for your muscles during exercise.
- Resistance level: fabric resistance bands cannot provide a low resistance level. As a result, they are not suitable for children, old people, beginners, or people undergoing rehabilitation training.
- Hard to Clean: fabric resistance bands get dirty quite easily, just like the fabric of your clothing. These bands can, however, be machine washed.
- Portability: fabric resistance bands are heavier, bigger and takes up more space than other resistance bands at the same resistance level. This limits its portability.
- Fabric resistance bands are among the most expensive.
4. Resistance Band Physical Properties
For flat bands: The most durable flat resistance bands are made by way of a continuous layering process. This helps to prevent any type of damage or tearing. This layering technology also gives the resistance band a greater level of durability. However, the process is complicated, costly and time-consuming. As a result, resistance bands produced with this method are very expensive.
For tube bands: The most durable tube resistance band manufacturing process used what are referred to as “resistance cords”. This involves multiple tubules being woven together. For the greatest level of durability, there should be no visible seams on the exterior of the tubing. Continuous resistance bands usually have visible seams and should be avoided.
4.2 Resistance Level
Resistance bands have differing levels of resistance, depending on the thickness of the tubing or the rubber if buying a flat band. Most manufacturers will color code the bands according to resistance level to make it easy to identify the level you need. The color codes vary from brand to brand, but yellow generally refers to the lowest resistance level.
Here is an example of how one manufacturer color codes their resistance bands:
A quality resistance band should be comfortable to work with. To facilitate this, it should be made of soft material that will not hurt your hands when gripping. It should also be wide enough that it does not damage your skin when stretching. It pays to invest in bands that are equipped with handles, cuffs, clip-ons and other features that allow for an effective grip.
5. Buying Tips and Traps to Avoid
- Safety: Do not buy cheap and inferior products. The last thing you want is for a member of your gym to be injured due to a resistance band snapping. Look for bands that are marked ‘snap-resistant.’ You should also regularly check for any seams, cracks or holes in the bands.
- Function: Check the range of motion on the band you intend buying as this varies markedly.
- Material: For people allergic to latex, then TPE or a fabric resistance band is recommended.
- Color: Be familiar with the color-coding system used by the manufacturer. This will allow you to determine the correct resistance level for your needs. Avoid brands that only offer a single color or thickness level.
- Comfort & convenience: Some resistance bands provide interchangeable handles. This allows you to remove them and replace them with different bands. In addition, some handles are larger than standard, or are made of hard plastic that is very uncomfortable to grip. If possible, you should personally test the grip comfort level before buying.
Taking the time to select the best resistance bands for your gym will pay off big-time in terms of usability, functionality and durability. It will also ensure that your members stay safe when using your bands. We hope that the insights and tips provided in this article will help you to make the smartest resistance band buying decisions.
Did you find this article valuable? Do you still have unanswered questions about buying resistance bands? Let us know in the comments section, and we’ll be sure to get back to you.
Related reading: top 10 gym equipment brands in China
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