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A Fitness Junkie's Guide to the Different Types of Resistance Bands

Working with resistance bands can add a layer of difficulty to your workouts. Click here to learn about the types of resistance bands available to you.

Red, Yellow, Green. We're not talking about stoplights, we're talking about resistance bands.

Usually, in the three colors above, their color lends to their difficulty level, the amount of stretchiness.

But what is the difference between the flat ones you get at physical therapy and the tubular ones? Do you need handles?

What about those types of resistance bands that have a fabric covering? What is the use of that?

What do you even do with the bands when you're not being directed by a physical therapist?

Don't stretch, we mean stress out. We've got the answers in the guide below.

Why Use Resistance Bands?

Before you use your precious free time to read about the types of resistance bands, you may be wondering why you care.

Without doing an entire article about the benefits of resistance bands, here are a few hints.

Benefit 1: Travel-Friendly

If you're the kind of person who doesn't like to go to the gym or pay for a membership, good news! Resistance bands are affordable and easy to keep/use at home.

They aren't a whole TRX set up or a cable machine, but they expand the types of movements at home exercises can do.

Benefit 2: They Replace Equipment

Maybe you bought an old pair of dumbbells at a yard sale or a kettlebell - though who knows what that's for?

They sit in the corner of your living room where you occasionally hit your toe and stumble over them. You'd put them away, but you don't want anything crashing through shelves.

That's where resistance bands come in. You can use them to completely replace dumbells and other -at home weights.

Benefit 3: Easy Storage

Since they're so small and thin, you can keep your resistance bands anywhere. They're small enough to fold up and put in a drawer! No more unsightly mismatched "home gym"

Types of Resistance Bands

Now that you have a quick guide on why they're great, let's talk about the variations. There are practically as many versions as there are exercises, so we'll cover the most popular below.

Classic Flat Bands

Your simplest and most affordable resistance bands are thin and wide pieces of stretchy plastic. If you've never seen one, imagine a piece of caution tape made out of rubber.

They come in a few colors, the warmer the colors (red, orange) the more resistance the band creates. Greens and blues are used to show a relaxed resistance rating.

These band types are great for wrapping around a body part. For small movements and hard to reach like the toes and the foot where a tubular band would slide out of place.

You're most likely to see them in a physical therapists office or at someone's home. Most gyms have the tubular kind since they have handles and them last longer.

Don't get us wrong, there's nothing wrong with flat resistance bands, but people have different preferences.

Handled Bands

When you go somewhere like a gym or a clinic, you may find tube-style bands with handles. They look like long rubber straws attached to a triangular handle.

They're almost always two-sided, with the same type of handle on each side. The idea with these bands is that you step on them and use them as you would hand weights.

For example, if you were doing bicep curls, you'd hold the handles with the band hanging towards the ground.

Then you'd step onto the band, creating extra resistance. With both feet on the band, you pull your hands up towards your shoulders in a bicep curl.

If there's not enough resistance, widen your feet and with that, how much of the band you're stepping on.

These bands are also good for times you want to hook the band to something else. You can easily create a loop over a bar or a railing and pull the band through its own handle.

Then you still have another handle for pulling on and working with, while the other side keeps it in place.

It doesn't just have to be one side. If you're doing a rowing motion, you can loop the band around something vertical. Now that gives you a center point to pull both handles from.

Velcro Bands

Finally, the last kind of bands is velcro bands. No, they're not made of velcro.

 They're like the tubular type of bands with handles except they don't have handles. They have fabric cuffs with velcro that you wrap around your wrists or ankles.

The band stretches but the velcro doesn't. This is great for using one foot and doing the side of back kicks, with the velcro attached to something stable.

Or you can squat down with wide legs and shuffle from side to side. The extra resistance builds your inner thigh muscles and strengthens your leg tendons.

A popular movement you often see at the gym involves having the velcro on each ankle and stepping wide to one side. Then you bring the other foot in, slowly and without letting the band pull it. It's a great thigh and butt workout move!

You can also get this type of band without the velcro, they're called loop bands.

The Right Bands for You

Right off the bat, you may not know which resistance bands are right for your home gym or daily routine. That's okay. Think about the kind of movement you want to do with them.

Is it more for stretching and small muscle strengthening? Then you may like flat bands.

If you're not yet ready for weights or don't want to buy a set, then handled bands are your best bet.

If you want some leg workouts, get some velcro bands.

We hope that learning about the types of resistance bands has made you motivated to start using them. Get started with your at home workout with our guides here.