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Update: We updated this article in May 2020 to include a newly recommended product.
Resistance bands have been used around the world for years. They are incredibly useful, easy to use, and an inexpensive form of resistance training. You do not need a fancy gym, an ever fancier personal trainer, or super-fancy exercise clothing (though you can have all of that if you want to). All you need is your resistance band, a space, and you.
Compared to other exercise equipment (such as weights), resistance bands are just not as durable and long-lasting. A strain is continually being put on them, and the material has to be stretchy and resistant, or it just would not work. The combination means that they are going to break down at some point.
The big question is, how can I get a band which lasts forever?
Sadly, nothing lasts forever. However, with intelligent investment and some care, you can have a product that can outlast the rest. Let’s take a look.
Durability Of Resistance Bands
From personal experience, the average lifespan of a resistance band is anywhere between 6 months and 2 years, depending on the frequency and intensity of use.
That does not sound like much!
So, is that common for all resistance bands, or just for mine?
With a little research, I found out that this is pretty common. But think about it. If you were using some other piece of equipment, such as a dumbbell, you would not be using the same dumbbell after a year or two. As your strength grows, you need to upgrade to the next level of resistance.
So, it does not matter too much that your band wears out, as you are going to replace it anyway. What does matter is that it lasts towards the upper end of the range (2 years) and does not burn out early (6 months). Plus, investing in health is always worth it.
So, how do you know when your band is worn out?
Thin Band Head
The piece of material which attaches to the hook or clip when you are exercising is known as the band head. As you are training, the band head is continuously being pulled and stretched. Over time, the material will become thin and more brittle.
When the band head thins, it is easier for it to slip off the hook (higher-quality resistance bands will stay on longer). If you have a set, then you can start using one of the other bands but, if that was your last band, then it is time to invest in another.
Breaks & Snaps
As bands are stretched over and over, they become more brittle and lose some of their elasticity. If a band does suddenly snap or break, then the answer is pretty obvious: you need a new band. However, there is a bigger problem at play. This should not be the way your resistance band goes. If it does, then you are not investing in high-quality and durable resistance bands.
Purchase quality bands from reputable manufacturers or stores, and this should never be a problem.
Color & Texture Change
This will happen over a long time, but, eventually, the material in your resistance band will start to change color. It will usually occur between years one and two. The change in color should not affect the function of the band, but it is an early sign that the band is wearing out.
Thankfully, as you get into your second year of resistance training, you should be ready to upgrade your resistance band. You just have to get there first.
So, how can you make your band last long enough that it never breaks before you are ready for the next step?
How To Make Your Resistance Band Last Longer
We now know that resistance bands last (on average) anywhere from 6 months to 2 years. However, if you are investing in quality and store the bands properly, we can change those numbers to 1-3 years. The question is, how do you make your band last closer to 3 years than 1 year?
Let’s check out some resistance band maintenance tips.
Use Multiple Bands
What could be better than a resistance band?
How about two resistance bands?
The best way to lengthen the life of your resistance band is to use multiple bands.
Most resistance bands come in a set (and we would always recommend buying multiple bands at one time), so you should always have the option to use various bands.
The great thing about using multiple bands is that the sum of the parts is greater than the whole. If a single band lasts you 6 months, then two bands, used together, will last you more than a year.
By using multiple bands, you are putting less strain on each individual band and increasing their durability. Sure, it can be a hassle to use two or more bands at one time, and it can be a little fiddly getting them on the same hook but a few seconds of work saves you some money and time.
Don’t Get Them Wet
If the bands are exposed to water, then that water can get into the material and begin to degrade that material.
Most bands are made from rubber and have a natural resistance to water, so this is not something which you should overly worry about. If you want to exercise in some light drizzle (you know, for the Instagram pic), then go ahead but keep out of the ocean.
The worst that you can expect with some water is a change in the color of the band, and this will not affect the performance. Keeping your resistance band dry is not much of an issue, and you will not need to go out of your way to do so.
Go For Thickness
Thickness is not always a sign that the band is better but, generally, the thicker the band, the longer it will last.
High-quality bands are usually thicker, and a quick squeeze will help you to gauge the thickness of the band. They have a fuller feel when you squeeze them.
Thicker bands will last longer and often give you a better workout. Follow our resistance band maintenance tips, and your bands will last the full two years.
Safety Tips For Resistance Band Training
Resistance training is all about control, but it is often tempting to push yourself, and your body, to its limit. As humans, we have a tendency to push for something better, something more, and that push can lead to injury.
It does not matter what type of equipment you are using, there is always a threat of injury. Thankfully, it is easy to avoid injury when using resistance bands of you follow our simple tips.
Check Your Bands
The most common way to get an injury with a resistance band is if it snaps or breaks while you are using it. This can be avoided entirely with a quick check of the band before you start.
Check for any cuts, tears, holes, nicks, cracks, and anything else.
If the resistance band is damaged, then there is a good chance that it is going to snap at the point of most resistance. Check the straps and anchors too. If there is any sign of wear and tear, then it is time to get a new band and not take the risk.
Check Your Attachments
When you set up your bands, check all of the attachments. If the band itself is in good shape, then the places where the band attaches are your weak points.
Look at the hook which connects the bands to the handles, and that everything is locked in place. If you are using multiple bands, then make sure that all are attached securely. You may even want to tie the bands together to secure them further.
Anchor The Band
If you are using a door anchor, then make sure that the door is strong enough to hold the anchor and resistance band (especially as you increase in strength).
The door should be closed completely, and it is recommended that you lock the door if you can, just in case. It has never happened to me, but I have heard stories about people working out and someone opening the door unannounced. You can guess the rest.
Choose The Right Resistance
As we already mentioned, people like to push themselves. You may think that more resistance is better but, if your body is not ready for it, you are not going to increase your strength, and you are probably going to end up injuring yourself.
You may want to go for the most resistance possible but start small and work your way up.
Storage And Care For Resistance Bands
If you use the right band and take care of it when you are using it, it will last for a long time. If you are aiming for the upper 3-year limit, then there is a third piece of the puzzle to add: storage.
If you store your resistance band correctly, it will last as long as you need it to. Let’s take a look at our simple tips:
- When you are storing your bands, they should be stored clean. A damp cloth is all that you need to wipe down the resistance band and free it of dirt. Make sure that the band is dry before putting it in storage.
- Cleaning products and other chemicals can damage the material in the resistance band. Some clean water is all that you need.
- Never store the band in direct sunlight. Not only will it bleach the color of the band, but it will also contribute to it becoming more brittle.
- The same is true for heat. If a band is too warm, it becomes brittle, as if it were stored in direct sunlight.
- Bands should be stored in a cool, dry environment. Avoid excessive heat or cold, and keep it away from moisture.
- Do not put any strain on the band when it is in storage, and do not store anything on top of your bands.
- A quick check as you are putting them in storage, and when you take them out will go a long way to keeping them in tip-top condition.
My Resistance Bands: 2 Years Later
I have three sets of resistance bands, one set each from TheraBand, Energetics, and X-Fact (not to be confused with X-Factor, which is a different brand).
TheraBand is the most famous brand among the three and definitely the most expensive. In my experience, the difference in price doesn’t constitute a significant difference in the quality of the bands, and the resistance bands from all three manufacturers are holding up equally well. All three brands use high-quality materials that are durable, have great stretching and flexibility.
Despite the different price points, all three brands offer a one-year warranty.
TheraBands come in premium packaging, while the resistance bands from Energetics and X-Fact are sold in simple see-through plastic bags.
TheraBands has a bulky manual included while the Energetics bag contains a single sheet of paper that offers some basic info about the product and a QR code for their mobile app. TheraBand also provides a mobile app for training, which is more comprehensive and more detailed than the app from Energetics. But nothing is stopping you from downloading both apps and using them with whichever brand of resistance bands you may have.
X-Fact came with safety instructions only.
After using resistance bands from three different brands (premium, standard, and budget) for two years, I can safely say that it doesn’t really matter which brand you choose, as long as you buy your resistance bands from a reputable store.
Instead, the difference lies mostly in what you get with the product that you buy. As long as you’re storing and using your bands correctly, they’ll hold up equally well – at least mine do.
Our Top 3 Resistance Band Picks
So, which are the best bands out there? We have found three for your consideration.
Victorem Pull-Up Resistance Bands
These resistance bands from Victorem are marketed as ‘pull-up resistance bands’ or ‘pull-up assist bands.’ However, the best thing about these bands is that you can use them as both – as normal resistance bands & as pull-up bands.
Normal resistance bands can be tied to a loop for a wider range of workout options, but tying and untying take up some of your time, and it can take you out of your workout headspace and rhythm. These bands can be looped and unlooped with ease.
You get 4 bands in this set (nicely packaged in a carry bag), each with a different resistance level. You also get a welcome card with a QR code printed on it, which takes you to Victorem’s chatbot on Facebook, where you can select the type of workout you want to start.
The bands are made from tough fabric and blended latex, which makes these bands extra durable. Unlike normal latex resistance bands, you can take these outside too because they are weatherproof. The fabric is also very soft on your skin and they won’t easily slip.
Read our full hands-on review here: Victorem Pull-Up Assist Band Set Review
At the time of this writing, you can get an extra 24% off your purchase, if you buy these bands directly on Victorem Gear online shop.
TheraBand Resistance Bands Set
These are great resistance bands for training at home, on the go, at the office, and pretty much anywhere else that you can find the space. Along with being great for strength training, they are also ideal for rehabilitation from injuries (just maybe not injuries gained from using them wrong).
The bands are latex-free, so if you have any allergies or are worried about using latex, then these are the bands for you. They are also great for latex-free environments such as hospitals and other facilities.
The bands are color-coded and give you some information about the resistance of the band, with each color representing a different resistance (with tan being the least resistant, all the way up to gold). Each set comes with three different colors (resistances), so you can progress through them and combine them as needed. There are two sets to choose from; a beginner and an advanced set.
TheraBand has been a big name in the resistance band world for years, so you know that you are getting a high-quality product which is going to last for years. Take care of the bands, store them correctly, and move onto the next resistance once your strength has been built up.
Whatafit Resistance Bands Set
This is an 11 piece set which is rugged and durable and built to last. There are five resistance bands, and all of them are color-coded by resistance. The yellow band starts at 10 pounds, blue is 20 pounds, green is 30 pounds, black is 40 pounds, and the red is 50 pounds. All of the resistance bands are 48” in length and can be used individually or combined for added resistance. If you use them all together, you can achieve 150 pounds of resistance.
The bands truly are multifunctional and can be used to target a wide variety of muscle groups. They are great for arms, legs, chest, shoulders, and much, much more. They are flexible (literally and metaphorically) and can be used almost anywhere. Why not have a quick workout at the office on your lunch break?
The materials are high-quality, and the bands are crafted from natural latex, which has been chosen to be environmentally friendly. The materials are good for the planet, and they are extra-strong. They will not wear down quickly, have a lot of strength, use non-slip handles, and are comfortable.
Included is the set of resistance bands, a door anchor, two cushioned handles, a carry case, user manual, and a lifetime guarantee. Each band is crafted to be sturdy and durable, so, if you do find a problem, Whatafit will fix it for you.