Now that we have established ‘what are resistance bands?’, it is time to go more into detail and explain various types of resistance bands. This will give you a better understanding about which resistance band would work best for your workout routine.
Types of Resistance Bands
In principle, there are eight main types of resistance bands. Each differ in terms of their specific use, level of resistance, and the part of the muscles group that they are designed to target. Below, we analysed each one of them, so that you know which is the right one for your workout and fitness goal.
1. Loop bands
Loop bands or also called flat bands are the most common type of resistance bands. They are very simple in their shape, and as the name says it all, they are flat and looped. They have the typical rubber band appearance without any handles, but they do come in varying levels of resistance which is determined by their colour. We have covered the resistance bands colours and their resistance level in our dedicated post Resistance Bands Color Coding.
Loop bands are ideal to strengthen the lower body, in particular legs, hips and buttocks. However, loop bands can be used for a variety of purposes. Some of the other ones include bodyweight assistance, full body workouts, physical therapy and stretching.
2. Therapy bands
Therapy bands, as the name indicates are normally used for rehabilitation. Similar to flat bands, they have a flat surface and do not have any handles. They are much longer, thinner and tend to be more gentle on the body.
Therapy bands are for those trying to regain the strength post injury or elderly people doing their low impact workout. There can be a great addition to Pilates and fat burner workouts, where all you need is a little added resistance to get a good burn. Therapy bands are also used for warm ups and static stretching.
3. Fit Tube Bands
Fit tube bands are four feet long, stretchy tubes that have a handle attached on each end. Similar to loop bands, they are normally colour coded in the similar manner. Fit tube bands were made to mimic weight lifting machines. The handles on those resistance bands gives them the advantage of being able to be anchored pretty much anywhere, which brings a wide range of workout opportunities. For example, you can anchor them beneath your feet and do pull ups. This makes them extremely practical and user-friendly.
There are many possibilities of using them, as they can target different parts of the body. In particular, they are great for chest presses, curls, back rows, shoulder presses and other exercises that involve pressing and pulling. They are a good option for beginners and those wanting to advance from loop resistance bands. People who do not have access to the gym or who enjoy outdoor exercise will definitely benefit from fit tube bands.
4. Mini Loop Bands
Mini loop bands resemble loop bands in their design, but they tend to be shorter and wider. The newer versions of mini loop bands come with a fabric covering for added comfort and to stop the band from rolling up.
They can be used around legs and arms, as they help to build strength and stability. For example, you can activate your hip and glutes by placing the band just above your knees or at your ankles while performing exercises like squats, hip thrusts and leg extensions. Likewise, they can target shoulder complexes effectively, and they are a prominent tool for shoulder and elbow stabilisation.
5. Figure 8 bands
Figure 8 band is relatively short tube, shaped with two soft handles on opposite sites that are connected by a tube in the middle, thus resembling a figure 8 shape. Their short length allows for better control, so those starting out usually see results much faster with this resistance band. Similar to mini bands, it can be used for lateral movements, or just like the fit tube band, it can mimic free weights exercises. This is why they are best for workout that involves pushing and pulling exercises in the lateral plane of motion.
6. Ring resistance bands
Ring resistance band is a small, around 1-foot long, single ring with two hand grips on each side of it. The handles are soft rather than plastic, making the band easy to work with. Ring resistance bands are best for working the upper and the lower body. However, they require altered movements than the fit loop bands.
7. Lateral resistance bands
Lateral resistance bands are around 1-foot long. Instead of the typical handles, a lateral resistance band has velcro cuffs on each end. The cuffs are designed to fit the ankles in order to help train the lower body, mainly focusing on the hips and the thighs. These lower body workouts are great for improving balance. This is of course, not strictly to be used on ankles only. The cuffs can be anchored to door handles and used for pull ups. Similar to its counterparts, lateral resistance bands come in different levels of resistance which is great for gradual fitness progression plans.
8. Pull up bands
Pull up bands are flat shaped long bands that are designed to assist users in pull ups or add extra resistance to them. For many, pull ups are quite challenging to start with. The body needs to have enough strength to complete one pull up, otherwise it’s tough to develop those muscle groups and progress to doing reps.
With this type of resistance band, you can practice the motion of a pull up without straining your arms as much. Pull up bands help to strengthen your trapezius, biceps, rhomboids, and lats. You will quickly notice the results in more muscle definition. The aim of this resistance band is for you to eventually be able to do pull ups without the assistance of the pull up band.
You should now have a better idea about various types of resistance bands and how each one differs in their use. It is important to match resistance band to your workout routine. For the beginners and those new to resistance bands we recommend purchasing a set of loop bands, as they have such a wide range of use and possibilities and will slowly ease you into the resistance training.