Fitness Tips

The Best Type of Resistance Band for Every Workout

Tehrene Firman

Photo: Getty Images/Luis Alvarez
Most resistance band workouts you’ll come across use the oh-so-popular loop bands you put around your thighs, ankles, or wrists. But that’s just one of the many types of resistance bands at your disposal, and depending on the workout you’re doing, you might want to switch things up.

While loop resistance bands are great (they’re popular for a reason!), you can reap even more benefits from matching your resistance band to the area you want to hit, or the activity or workout you’re doing on a particular day. Here are six resistance band types to choose from in order to get your best muscle burn yet.

Resistance band types to use in your workouts

1. Loop resistance band, $15

resistance band types

When to use them: Upper body or lower body workouts
Areas targeted: Glutes, arms, legs, shoulders, core, etc.

Loop resistance bands are incredibly versatile, making them great for full-body workouts. “From stretching to replacing your squat rack and a cable machine, these bands are a must-have. You can use one or two, depending on what you’re doing,” says Erin James, the trainer and nutritionist behind SQUAY. “They usually come in a pack of multiple resistances so you can adjust the resistance appropriately.” You can use them in any workout, too, from HIIT to Pilates.

Shop now: Te-Rich Fabric Resistance Loop Exercise Bands, $15

2. Tube resistance band with handles, $26

resistance band types

When to use them: Arm and back workouts
Areas targeted: Biceps, triceps, back, shoulders, etc.

No dumbbells on hand? James said tube resistance bands are a great alternative. “They come with handles so you can control where the band goes as you work with it,” she says. “They’re ideal for arm workouts, such as bicep curls, tricep extensions, and shoulder presses. And you have the option to use both handles, or just one to focus on one side at a time.”

Shop now: Prosource Fit Premium Heavy-Duty Resistance Bands, $26

3. Figure 8 resistance band, $16

resistance band types

When to use them: Upper body or lower body workouts
Areas targeted: Arms, chest, legs, etc.

These resistance bands come with built-in loops that are close together, which makes them great for both upper and lower body workouts. “They’re ideal for arm and chest resistance workouts, as well as your legs and calves, such as when you’re doing side steps,” she says. “They usually have a grip on each side to make it easier to hold.”

Shop now: iRibit Fitness Figure 8 Resistance Tube Bands, $16

4. Mini loop resistance band, $15

resistance band types

When to use them: Upper body or lower body workouts
Areas targeted: Glutes, legs, arms, back, shoulders, etc.

If you really want to fire up your lower half, reach for the mini bands. “Put them around your glutes to help stabilize you and provide resistance during squats, glute bridges, deadlifts, and more,” she says. “They can even help you improve your form, as they don’t allow your legs to push far out during movements such as squats.” You can also use them to work your arms and upper body.

Shop now: GYMBANDIT Mini Loop Resistance Bands, $15

5. Lateral/ankle resistance band, $23

resistance band types

When to use them: Lower body and core workouts
Areas targeted: Legs, glutes, core, etc.

These bands are designed to go around your ankles. “They help you control your leg movements while adding resistance to moves such as shuffles, side steps, and leg lifts,” James says. “Although they go around your ankles, they help build strength throughout your entire lower body, as well as your abdomen when you’re engaging your core.”

Shop now: Taylor Made Ankle Resistance Band, $23

6. Therapy/flat resistance band, $14

resistance band types

When to use them: Lower body and upper body
Areas targeted: Legs, arms, core, etc.

Don’t let the name of this resistance band fool you. “Often used by physical therapists, or for getting a deeper stretch, therapy bands are typically thinner and don’t have as strong of a resistance,” says James. But if you do choose an option with a little more resistance, you can also use it in multiple different strengthening workouts.

Shop now: TheraBand Therapy Resistance Band Set, $14

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