The Best Resistance Bands

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One of the biggest concerns people have about training with resistance bands is the fear that the rubber could snap and potentially injure them. With an internal cord, the Bodylastics Stackable Tube Resistance Bands have a unique safety guard against overstretching, the most common reason for breakage. Indeed, if you stretch a band to its full length, you’ll feel the cord catch, but it won’t otherwise affect the workout. No other handled tube bands we tested have this feature.

The bands themselves appear to be well-made, with heavy-duty components and reinforced stitching, attributes that were also highly praised in the overwhelmingly positive Amazon customer reviews (4.8 out of five stars across 2,300 reviews) They’re labeled on both ends with the estimated weight resistance, in pounds, that they’re intended to provide. Although those numbers don’t really mean much, the labels can help you quickly tell which band you’re handling. Like all the sets we tested, the Bodylastics kit provides ample resistance as well as plenty of tension combinations, from very light to quite heavy. The handles feel comfortable and secure in the hands and were our favorites of all to hold. Bodylastics handles added the least extra length to the tubes, a good thing because too-long handle straps can affect some exercises by adding unnecessary slack that shortens the range of motion. The door anchor strap is padded with the same cushy neoprene of the ankle straps, which additionally appears to protect the bands from damage.

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    Bodylastics’s grippy handles were our favorites of the test group. Load labels on both ends help you identify which band you’re grabbing. However, those large metal rings could get in the way on some exercises.
    Photo: Michael Hession

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    Bodylastics packs a ton of useful instruction into its pocket-sized manual. Photo: Michael Hession

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    The Bodylastics door anchor is lined with neoprene padding to protect the tubes, but the large foam around the anchor end may deteriorate more quickly than the material on other anchors. Photo: Michael Hession

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    One complaint: The already visible oxidation on the carabiners. Photo: Michael Hession

The Bodylastics set comes with an in-depth manual, with printed URLs to free online videos on how to do everything from door installation to any of 34 exercises. These are grouped by muscles targeted and are also smartly photographed and described, including band placement and handle use. Altogether, this was the best manual accompanying any of the sets we tested, and its free workout instructions, available via the app and on YouTube, are a nice bonus, especially as no other tube set we tested explained how to put exercises together into a workout. For a fee, you can purchase additional Bodylastics workouts from LiveExercise.com.

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    Even with Bodylastics’s shorter-than-most handles, some exercises, like bent-over rows, have to be done with only the tubes, for appropriate tension. Photo: Michael Hession

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    The ankle straps work just fine for leg extensions but are quite long—not a snug fit like others. Photo: Michael Hession

Unlike most companies that sell resistance bands, Bodylastics also sells individual bands—to replace or supplement those included in this kit—separately.

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