Many of those now getting swoll in living rooms and basements won’t be returning to their gyms after the COVID-19 crisis subsides. They’re experiencing first-hand just how convenient and cost-effective it can be to exercise at home. You don’t need a ton of gear: exercise bands, also known as resistance bands, are a clutch addition to any home workout arsenal. They allow you to target specific muscles, work them in different ways, and continuously challenge yourself by changing things up.
According to 19-time world champion power lifter Robert Herbst, resistance bands are a great place to start your fitness quest. “From small, high-volume shoulder movements to heavy exercises like push-ups and squats, there are just so many ways to use them,” he says. “With good technique and the proper amount of tension, you can really get a really solid workout.”
Resistance bands can be sheet, looped, or tube. Sheet bands are literal sheets of latex; they’re your entry point because they’re the easiest type to use. You wrap them around your hands or feet, and use them for warmups or stretches. Looped bands, like a rubber band, are circular and are used for both upper and lower body workouts, and for moves like banded walks or glute bridges. Tube bands are thick tubes with handles that you grip; you use them for bicep curls, upright rows, leg curls, or chest presses.
Whichever type you choose, they’re worth your time. Aside from being ultra-portable, resistance bands tend to be far more economical than other types of home gym hardware, and take up hardly any space.
Lopped resistance bands (picture gigantic rubber bands) are great for stabilization exercises — the foundation for strength. This collection of five bands, which range from extra light (4 pounds) to extra heavy (30 pounds), is perfect for beginners or anyone with a nagging injury, and they can be mixed, matched, and combined for advanced fitness goals. That bum knee, shoulder, or ankle (maybe all three?) will thank you later.
These bands are ideal for lateral movements, shoulder stabilization exercises, and leg extensions. You strap them around your arms or legs to boost strength and stability in your upper and lower body, and you can choose between three different levels: light, medium, or heavy.
Medieval Nerf weapon? Eating utensil for giants? Nope, it’s the Gorilla Bow: a heavy-duty weightlifting bar with interchangeable cables that facilitate all kinds of push and pull exercises. The regular version offers 110 pounds of resistance total, while the heavy version goes all the way up to 330 pounds. All Gorilla Bows are made from aircraft-grade aluminum, so it won’t break when your kid hijacks it to play knights and dragons.
This slick kit comes with 5 tubes at 10, 20, 30, 40 and 50 pounds of resistance. Each one is capped with a durable carabiner, so it’s easy (and fast) to swap out the included handles. What’s more, you can stack multiple tubes on the same handle, giving you a wide range of resistance options (and up to 150 pounds total if you can manage it).
This band is designed specifically for push-ups. You can add up to 90 pounds, making it essentially like a bench press in your house — without the bench/bar/weights taking up an entire room.
Every product on Fatherly is independently selected by our editors, writers, and experts. If you click a link on our site and buy something, we may earn an affiliate commission.