If you’re interested in working out from home then you may be wondering whether resistance bands or resistance tubes are the better investment for your home gym.
Resistance bands and tubes are both designed to increase resistance as they are stretched. However, their differences in construction affect their versatility, durability, and range of resistance. Resistance bands offer better longevity and a wider range of resistance than tubes.
To help you figure out which piece of equipment is best for you, I’ll discuss their differences, the benefits and drawbacks of each, and share my top pick.
Differences Between Resistance Bands & Tubes
One of the primary differences between resistance bands and tubes lies in their design and construction. Resistance bands are flat, wide strips of latex or rubber, whereas resistance tubes are hollow, cylindrical tubes typically constructed with a rubber or plastic material.
Resistance tubes also have carabiner clips at each end that can be clipped together to form a loop, whereas resistance bands almost always come looped. You can get small loop bands often called “hip bands” or larger loop bands.
These differences in design lead to variations in the types of exercises each can be used for, the level of resistance provided, and the durability of the band.
Resistance bands are large elastic bands that provide varying levels of resistance based on their thickness and tension. They come in different colors, each denoting a different resistance level.
These bands are lightweight, portable, and easy to store, making them an excellent choice for home workouts or when traveling.
To increase the versatility of the band, you can purchase handles and a door mount that attaches to the band and allow you to perform a wider variety of exercises, especially if you’re working out at home with limited equipment.
Benefits Of Resistance Bands
The benefits of resistance bands include:
- Versatility: Resistance bands can be used to target almost every major muscle group in the body. They allow for a wide range of exercises including compound exercises (i.e. deadlifts), isolation exercises (i.e. lateral raises), and stretches (i.e. lat stretch).
The versatility improves more when paired with handles and a door mount. Using these three tools together you can perform basically any exercise you can with machines or dumbbells.
- Joint-Friendly: The elastic nature of resistance bands reduces the stress on your joints, making them an excellent option for individuals with joint issues or those recovering from injuries.
- Adjustable Resistance: By simply adjusting the length of the band or using a different band with higher tension, you can easily modify the resistance level to suit your fitness level and specific exercise requirements.
- Durability: Resistance bands have much greater durability than resistance tubes because they are made from a thicker and sturdier rubber that is less likely to rip. Resistance bands can last for 10+ years (when used responsibly).
- Safety: Better durability also means better safety when using resistance bands because you don’t have to worry about the band snapping when you’re using it. This is especially important if you’re using bands for movements like assisted pull-ups.
- Portability: Resistance bands are lightweight, compact, and easy to transport. They can be easily folded or rolled up, making them suitable for home workouts, travel, or even outdoor exercises.
Drawbacks Of Resistance Bands
The drawbacks of resistance bands include:
- Limited Resistance Range: While resistance bands offer adjustable resistance, their maximum resistance level may not be sufficient for advanced strength training. Individuals with significant strength may find that bands are not challenging enough on their own to enhance strength or muscle gain.
- Grip Limitations: Some exercises require a secure grip on the bands, which can be challenging if you have sweaty hands or limited grip strength.
However, this issue can be mitigated by using handles or loop attachments specifically designed for resistance bands.
Who Should Use Resistance Bands
Resistance bands are suitable for individuals of all fitness levels, from beginners to advanced athletes. They are particularly beneficial for those looking to build strength, improve flexibility, or implement rehabilitation exercises.
Due to their versatility and joint-friendly nature, resistance bands are ideal for home workouts or when access to a gym is limited.
They are a great tool for warm-ups or isolation exercises for advanced athletes or can be used for an entire workout for beginner or intermediate lifters who are focused on general strength and health.
Resistance tubes, also known as resistance cords or exercise tubes, consist of a rubber or plastic tube with handles on either end.
The handles provide a comfortable grip and allow for a variety of exercises that target different muscle groups. The level of resistance is determined by the thickness and quality of the tube.
Benefits Of Resistance Tubes
The benefits of resistance tubes are:
- Cheap: Resistance tubes typically retail for $30-$50 with handles and a door mount included, whereas a similar set of resistance bands will cost around $100-$150 without handles and a door mount.
That said, it is worth noting that because the durability of resistance bands is better than tubes even though the short-term investment is less the long-term investment is likely to be more.
- Strength and Hypertrophy: Resistance tubes provide a challenging workout that helps build muscle and strength. The continuous tension throughout the exercises engages the muscles throughout the entire range of motion while loading the muscles more at the end range.
Loading the end range of movements is a common method used for strength training as it gets you used to heavier loads where the movement is easiest and it is lighted where the movement is easiest.
- Portability: Similar to resistance bands, resistance tubes are lightweight, compact, and easy to transport. They can be easily folded or rolled up, making them suitable for home workouts, travel, or even outdoor exercises.
- Multiple Attachments: Many resistance tube sets come with interchangeable handles, ankle cuffs, or door anchors, allowing for a variety of exercises targeting different muscle groups and offering a wider range of workout options.
Resistance tubes that have carabiner clips on each side can also be attached together to function similarly to looped resistance bands.
Drawbacks Of Resistance Tubes
The drawbacks of resistance tubes include:
- Limited Range of Motion: Compared to free weights or machines, resistance tubes may have a more limited range of motion. This is because the tube's resistance is dependent on its length and the tension it provides.
Therefore, exercises that require a larger range of motion, such as chest presses or overhead exercises, may not be as effective with resistance tubes.
- Durability Concerns: Depending on the quality of the resistance tubes, there may be concerns about durability. Over time, the tubes can wear out or lose their elasticity, affecting the level of resistance and potentially compromising safety during exercises.
The attachments where the tube attaches to the cloth are also more susceptible to breaking. It is essential to inspect and replace worn-out tubes to maintain optimal performance and safety.
Who Should Use Resistance Tubes
Resistance tubes are best suited for beginners looking to workout at home instead of at a gym. They can help these individuals to build foundational levels of strength, and muscular endurance, and improve movement mechanics.
Resistance Band Recommendation
When it comes to selecting high-quality resistance bands, Gymreapers stands out as a reliable and reputable brand. They offer a wide range of resistance bands that are durable, versatile, and designed to withstand intense workouts. These bands are made of premium latex material, ensuring excellent elasticity and longevity.
I recommend the Gymreapers Resistance Band Set in particular because it includes a variety of bands with different resistance levels to allow you to progress over time and use them for a variety of exercises.
Gymreapers' resistance bands are color-coded, making it easy to identify the level of resistance for each band.
Other Product Recommendations
Other products that are useful in combination with a set of high-quality resistance bands are handles, a door mount, and ankle straps.
Adding handles and a door mount to your band set increases the versatility of your bands allowing you to hit any movement needed to get a great workout.
With the door mount and ankle straps you can use bands for glute kickbacks, adductions, abductions, leg extensions, and leg curls, allowing you to do full-body workouts at home.