Benefits Of Resistance Bands

Written By: Chloe Wilson, BSc(Hons) Physiotherapy
Reviewed by: KPE Medical Review Board

The benefits of resistance bands - from knee-pain-explained.com

The benefits of resistance bands are making them an increasingly popular option for workouts, both at home and at the gym. 

Useful for rehab programs, strength work and fitness training, resistance bands are extremely versatile, cheap and easy to use. 

First developed towards the end of the 19th Century, the benefits of resistance bands became popular with physical therapists back in the 1960’s. By the 1980’s they were becoming increasingly popular for fitness and workout programs and their use has since skyrocketed.

Available in a range of strengths and styles, resistance bands can be used in a huge variety of ways to work on strength, flexibility, mobility and balance by working both power muscles and core muscles.

Here we will look at:

  • What resistance bands are
  • The different types of resistance bands
  • The benefits of resistance bands
  • How resistance bands work
  • Compare resistance bands vs weights

We’ve even snuck in a few celebrities and athletes who rave about the benefits of resistance bands so don't just take our word for it!

What Are Resistance Bands?

Resistance bands are specially designed elasticated bands used to provide resistance to muscles as they work.

As you pull on the band, the tension in the resistance band increases and your muscles have to work harder to pull against the band and continue the movement, similar to using weights.

The further a resistance band is stretched, the greater the resistance it provides and the harder the muscles have to work to pull against the increasing tension.

Types of Resistance Bands 

There are a few different styles of resistance bands to choose from depending on how you plan to use them:

Different types of resistance bands and how to use them
  1. Flat Resistance Bands: aka Therapy Bands. Long, flat pieces of elasticated material. Extremely versatile as they can be tied, looped, anchored and set to the right length for each individual exercise. You can get handles and door blocks to attach on too

  2. Loop Resistance Bands: aka Power Resistance Bands. Continuous short, flat loop like a big, wide elastic band. Perfect for hooking round your legs or arms/hands

  3. Figure of 8 Resistance Bands: Two handles connected by a figure of 8 shaped tube, typically fairly short. Best suited to upper body work

  4. Tube Resistance Bands: Tubular bands with handles or loops at each end. Easy to grasp and pretty versatile

Resistance bands also come in a range of tensions from light to very heavy. They are color coded with each color representing a different strength, thickness and weight.

Theraband is one of the original and most popular brands of resistance bands, but there are loads more out there to choose from.

Different brands color scales vary so you should always check the manufacturer’s resistance band color code chart. Typically lighter colors such as yellow provide lighter resistance while darker colors such as black provide stronger resistance.

Benefits of Resistance Bands

The benefits of resistance bands are huge so it’s no surprise use that their use is becoming more and more prevalent in both gyms, fitness centers and in people’s home. 

The main benefits of resistance bands are:

  1. Economical: cheap to buy and long-lasting. Prices start around $15/£8
  2. Easy To Store: incredibly small and lightweight
  3. Suitable For Any Fitness Level: beginners to advanced – simply choose the right color for you
  4. Versatile: can be used in a huge variety of ways e.g. by changing the position of the anchor point, and can be used differently to assist or resist movement
  5. Simple To Use: no specialist training or fancy equipment required, and there are loads of exercise programs online
  6. Safe: resistance bands are very unlikely to cause an injury
  7. Low Impact: they target muscles not joints, making them perfect for beginners or after an injury
  8. Whole Body Workout: you can work almost every muscle group with just one or two resistance bands
  9. Strength & Stability: work both your power muscles and core muscles at the same time for strength and support
  10. Adds Variety: to existing exercise routines which boosts motivation
  11. Great For Travel: Extremely portable and you don’t need much space to use them
  12. No Partner Required: great if you work out alone

With all those benefits of resistance bands, they sure sound tempting, but how effective actually are they?

Do Resistance Bands Work? 

So we’ve looked at why people like them but the big question is, do resistance bands work? Are they really worth using and are they any better than other fitness equipment e.g. weights?

Well, the answer is a resounding yes, resistance bands do work!

Benefits of Resistance Bands - Find out why these are becoming the go-to tool with exercises

It is widely acknowledged that the benefits of resistance bands include improved:

  • Functional capacity
  • Muscle strength
  • Muscle endurance
  • Muscle mass
  • Flexibility
  • Bone density
  • Body composition
  • Quality of life

This explains why so many people are using them in their workouts including celebrities like Hugh Jackman, Kourtney Kardashian & Gerard Butler!

And they are really popular with Athletes too - Jessica Ennis-Hill, Olympic, World and European Heptathlon champion is a firm believer in the benefits of resistance bands.

How Do You Use Resistance Bands?

One of the big benefits of resistance bands is their versatility – you can use resistance bands to work out so many muscle groups in so many ways.

To get started, you need to think about anchor points. Whether you are using a long flat band, a loop or tube resistance band, there will always be 2 anchor points which may be:

  1. Static: anchor doesn’t move during movement. Band may be tied to or looped around something to fix it in place
  2. Dynamic: anchor moves during movement 

You may have one static and one dynamic anchor point or two dynamic anchor points. Let me give you examples of each.

1. Static & Dynamic Anchor

This is the most common type of anchoring with resistance bands as it tends to be more stable.

  • Action: Working your biceps by bending and straightening your elbow. 
  • Static Anchor Point: band anchored underneath your foot, or tied to a chair leg. 
  • Dynamic Anchor Point: the other end of band is held in your hand which moves as you bend the elbow. 

2. Two Dynamic Anchors

  • Action: Working the outer thighs by jumping both legs out and in. 
  • Dynamic Anchor Points: Loop band placed around both thighs and jump both legs out and back in - the thighs are the anchor points.

Using two dynamic anchor points with resistance bands has the advantage of working 2 groups of muscles simultaneously but requires balanced force and strength on each side.

You can anchor bands to anything solid and stable. Table legs, door handles and chair legs (provided you or someone else is sat in the chair!) are common options as well as your hands, feet and ankles.

Raring to go, check out our awesome Resistance Band Exercises For Legs.

Resistance Bands vs Weights

Most exercises that are done with free weights can be done with resistance bands. When it comes to choosing between resistance bands and weights there are pros and cons of each. Studies have shown similar strength gains from resistance training with bands or with weights. 

We’ve written a whole article looking at resistance bands vs weights and how to pick the right one for you, but here’s a quick summary to get you going:

The benefits of resistance bands vs weights

Benefits of Resistance Bands

  • Safer & cheaper
  • Portable and usable in small spaces
  • Extremely versatile
  • Less likely to overload muscles
  • Provide graded, progressive resistance in whatever direction you want
  • Great at building up muscle endurance

Benefits of Weights

  • More durable
  • Constant resistance force through the muscle, always in-line with gravity 
  • You know exactly how much you're lifting
  • Maximum weight limited by your strength not the bands breaking point
  • If it’s muscle bulk you are after, weights will get you there quicker

A lot comes down to personal preference and it doesn’t have to be an either or decision, you can use both! 

Are Resistance Bands Good?

If you are still wondering are resistance bands good for you, then I would highly recommend giving them a try. They are a cheap, simple to use, effective and fun way to exercise, can almost certainly be used as part of your usual workout routine and the range of styles and strengths means you should be able to find one that is right for you.

Resistance bands are a great way to add variety to exercises which can really help with motivation and perseverance. We all know how easy it is to get bored of the same old exercises day after day, but by adding in the extra challenges of resistance bands old exercises suddenly take on new form which can really up motivation.

Celebrity Resistance Band Fans

Don’t just take our word for it. There are loads of celebrities who see the benefits of resistance bands and are using them in their workout routines!

Many celebrities recognise the benefits of resistance bands including Olympic champion Jess Ennis-Hill

Resistance band fans include:

What Exercises Should I Do?

There is almost no limit to what exercises you can do with resistance bands. They can be used for pretty much any exercise for any muscle group in loads of different ways.

Check out our article Theraband Exercises for Legs or if you looking to build up the strength around your shoulder, pop over to our sister site for our Resistance Band Shoulder Rehab program.

So get going today and find out for yourself all about the benefits of resistance bands.


Related Articles

Theraband exercises for legs

Resistance Band Exs
September 30, 2020

Knee Pain Diagnosis Chart: Find out what is causing your knee pain and how best to treat it

Diagnosis Chart
January 27, 2020

How to improve knee flexibility

Improve Flexibility
September 10, 2020


Page Last Updated: 14/10/20
Next Review Due: 14/10/22

  1. Knee Pain Guide
  2.  ›
  3. Knee Treatment
  4.  ›
  5. Resistance Bands

Your Comments

Share your knee pain experiences with others, whether it be ideas, top tips, things that worked well for you, problems you've had etc.......

This comments section is moderated occasionally and posteriorly by our editorial team. Internet users posting comments here should not be considered as health professionals. 
Comments posted here should be designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between a patient/site visitor and his/her existing physician. See our full terms of use in the commenting policy section.