With the majority of Americans staying home to help slow the spread of the novel coronavirus, working out has become a challenge for those who use public gyms or fitness studios to stay fit. Not having the equipment and space that you’re used to can be frustrating and unmotivating. But while you may not be able to stick to your regular exercise routine, there are still ways to work up a sweat in your own home and stay safe while doing so. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to invest in a bunch of expensive home gym equipment to get a good workout in. All you really need is a set of resistance bands.
Resistance bands are ideal for home workouts because they’re compact and lightweight — so you don’t need a lot of space to use or store them — and super affordable (you can find sets for as low as $10). They’re also versatile, so you can use them for a bunch of different movements and they’ll still be effective. Using bands can help adapt a workout to your specific needs, making it either more difficult or more manageable, depending on how you use them.
Most resistance bands work well for enhancing bodyweight exercises. For instance, you can put them around your thighs or ankles to up the intensity of squats and clamshells, or use them in place of dumbbells for arm exercises like bicep curls. There are a few different types of resistance bands to choose from, including looped options that are meant to go around your legs, long bands that you can hold from either end for stretching or pushing and pulling exercises, and tubed bands with handles that are used to increase resistance.
To help you find the best resistance bands for your needs, we rounded up 7 options that are optimized for different types of exercises. Whichever set you go with, there’s no doubt it’ll be just what you need to intensify your bodyweight movements so you can get the best workout possible in the comfort of your own home.
Best for Beginners: Fitness Gear Flexibility Bands
This 3-piece flat band set from Fitness Gear is great for fitness newbies who are just starting to make resistance bands a part of their workout regimen. Along with an instruction page of recommended workouts, the set comes with three different resistance levels — one light, one medium, and one heavy band — which allow you to build strength and work your way up to more intense movements as you progress. These are particularly useful for leg exercises since the 5.9-inch width of each band ensures they won’t budge. Reviewers praised the strength and quality of the bands, noting that they’re great for building strength at home.
Buy It! Fitness Gear Flexibility Bands, $24.99; dickssportinggoods.com
Best Tubes: Restore 3-in-1 Resistance Band Kit
The set comes with three tube resistance bands that range from light to high intensity, plus ergonomic foam grip handles that are ideal for push and pull exercises. Since the bands are interchangeable, you can make your workout even more challenging by attaching all three to the handles at once, or just using one at a time for lower-intensity workouts. The easy-grab handles make this option super effective for arm workouts, including traditional movements like bicep curls. What’s more, it comes with a downloadable exercise guide.
Buy It! Restore 3-in-1 Resistance Band Kit, $19.98; gaiam.com
Best for Full-Body Workouts: SPRI Ultimate Booty Sculpt Kit
This sculpt kit from SPRI has everything you need for a complete full-body workout, including three looped bands that range from low to high resistance, a booty band, and two core sliders. The booty band specifically isolates the glutes and thighs for extra intensity, while the sliders activate core and arm muscles and help to improve stability during squats and planks. The travel-friendly set also comes with a bag to store everything and an exercise guide. With all of these elements in one kit, you can really get creative with your workouts.
Buy It! Spri Ultimate Booty Sculpt Kit, $19.98 , gaiam.com
Best for Butt and Thigh Workouts: Restore Loop Band Kit
This trio of looped resistance bands is another great option for leg days. It comes with three different sizes, ranging from light to heavy, which allow you to increase resistance as you get stronger. And because the bands are flat and non-slip, they lend themselves to even more versatility while you power through full-body workouts such as yoga or pilates to give your legs an extra challenge (wear them around your thighs or ankles). When you are able to get back to the gym, just throw these in your bag to amp up your lifting routine with added resistance.
Buy It! Restore Loop Band Kit, $14.98; gaiam.com
Best for Arms: Rage Resistance Band
If you’re someone who’s used to lifting heavy weights in the gym, working out at home can prove to be a bit of a challenge. But this resistance band allows you to get some serious strength training in at home to keep up with your regimen. With a resistance of 30 pounds, this band works your upper body as you do assisted pull-ups, biceps, and other arm movements. It’s also highly durable and comes with a free app filled with workouts ideas for at-home use — no other equipment needed.
Buy It! Rage Resistance Band, $19.99; dickssportinggoods.com
Best Value: Bluebird Resistance Bands
These natural latex bands from Bluebird are non-toxic, impressively durable, and super affordable. The versatile set comes with five different bands that range from extra light to extra heavy, making this option ideal for everything from low-intensity physical therapy routines to serious strength training sessions. Not to mention that it costs only $10 — a price range that makes getting strong and fit available to pretty much anyone.
Buy It! Bluebird Resistance Bands, $9.99, walmart.com
Best Non-Latex: TheraBand Professional Non-Latex Resistance Bands
If you have a latex allergy, it can be difficult to find workout gear without it — but this latex-free set ensures you can still work out at home with resistance bands. With three color-coded resistance bands that range in intensity from 3 pounds to 6.7 pounds, this option is great for beginners or low-intensity movements. Each band is four inches wide to ensure you can stretch, tone, and strengthen various muscles without worrying about the band slipping. If you’re looking for a higher-intensity latex-free option, this set also comes in an advanced option with three bands ranging from 5.8 to 15.3 pounds.
Buy It! TheraBand Professional Non-Latex Resistance Bands, $13.56, walmart.com
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