It’s tempting to pick up set of resistance bands because they promise to give you a full body workout while being very compact and easy to use. But are they actually worth the money or should you get something else in your home gym? Let’s find out.
Resistance bands are relatively cheap but at the same time very useful. Resistance bands are incredibly versatile and anyone working out can find a use for them. The low price and versatility make resistance bands one of the best bang for buck pieces of workout equipment.
What can you do with resistance bands and how much does a set cost that makes them worth your hard earned cash?
Are resistance bands worth their cost?
If something is worth the money isn’t something that’s always completely obvious. Resistance bands are no different. You might be wondering if you should spend your money on a set of resistance bands. To answer that question we have to look at three things;
- How much do resistance bands cost?
- What can resistance bands do for you?
- Are there any alternatives that are cheaper and/or better?
If resistance bands are very cheap but don’t do anything useful, they’re still not worth the money. And if their uses are limited but they’re expensive, they’re not worth it either. Also, if you can buy something that’s cheaper and/or better, you’d probably rather buy that.
There is a balance between money and uses that makes something worth what you’re paying for it. Let’s answer both questions and see if we can find an answer to the main question.
How much do resistance bands cost?
The first and most important part of the equation if something is worth the money is how much it actually costs. So how much do resistance bands cost?
How much resistance bands cost is pretty easy to answer. We should make a distinction between loop bands and tube bands though.
Loop bands are generally sold as single bands (although sets are available as well) while tube bands are often sold in a combo set with attachments. Of course you can always find exceptions. Here is what you can expect to pay for either type of band;
- Single loop bands: $5 – $15
- Tube band combo (usually 5 bands with attachments): $40 – $75
Suggested post: Loop bands vs resistance bands with handles
As you can see, the price per resistance band is pretty low. You’ll want more than one however. Resistance bands have different weights. Just like with dumbbells or barbells, you use different weights for different exercises. With bands it works the same. For different exercises you want different weights.
For most people a range of five different bands with different weights is plenty to do all the exercises you want. Both loop bands and tube bands cost somewhere between $40 and $75 for a complete set.
Of course the exact price depends on brand and quality. In general it’s a good idea to pay a bit extra for higher quality bands since they tend to last longer. In the long term that means it’s cheaper since the price difference between low and high quality bands isn’t that big. If one set of bands cost 30% more but they last 100% longer, that’s an easy win.
Resistance bands are cheap, especially considering the price of other types of workout equipment. Higher quality bands cost a bit more but also last longer and are worth the extra money in most cases.
What can resistance bands do for you?
So resistance bands are pretty cheap but are they worth that small amount of money? That depends on how useful they are.
Now let’s take a look at the other side of the equation. What uses do resistance bands have and are they effective?
Resistance bands are super versatile and can be integrated into your training no matter what you do and which level you’re at. They can be used for full body stand-alone workout, be integrated into weightlifting routines or for exercise like yoga.
Some examples of things you can do with resistance bands;
- Full body exercises (compound movements)
- Target specific muscles (isolation movements)
- Increasing flexibility and mobility
- Rehab exercises
- Warm up before heavy lifts
- Integration into free weight training. Add to barbell or dumbbells to change the strength curve and target weak spots
- Adding resistance to bodyweight exercises
- Adding resistance to bodyweight cardio
- Active recovery
- Building muscle
- Lose body fat
As you can see, resistance bands are incredibly versatile. Everyone that does anything even close to working out, can find a use for them. Growing muscle, rehab and much more is all possible.
Just like weights, resistance bands don’t do anything by themselves. You still have to know how to use them to get any results. However, resistance bands are often easier to use than free weights.
Resistance bands are also safer for most people. Free weights can be a bit dangerous if not used in the correct way. Resistance bands are very easy on the joints so you’re unlikely to hurt a knee, elbow, shoulder, etc.
Where free weights can be dangerous when you fail a repetition and you lose control. A dumbbell could hit your head and it’s possible to get pinned under a barbell. Resistance bands don’t weigh much so as soon as you release the tension, they can’t do much damage.
Besides being very versatile, resistance bands are also effective and safe to work out with and use for other targets.
Another benefit of these bands is that you can very easily take them with you wherever you go. They’re small and pliable so will fit in almost anywhere. If you’re traveling a lot or just want to work out in different places, resistance bands are the smallest and lightest option there is.
To use resistance bands to their full potential, you’ll need to anchor them somehow. Find out here how to do it easily and cheap.
Are there any resistance band alternatives that are cheaper?
While uses and price decide if bands are worth it for the biggest part, alternatives also play a role. If you can get something that’s cheaper and or does a better job, you’d rather buy that of course.
The simple fact is that resistance bands have a set of characteristics that is hard to find in any other single piece of workout equipment. There are alternatives that do the same things but aren’t comparable in some other ways. Let’s look at a few of the closest alternatives.
- Adjustable dumbbells: Dumbbells do many of the same things resistance bands do in the way of providing a full body workout, muscle and strength gains. They are much (+-10x) more expensive, larger and not as easy to store and travel with.
- Barbell + Rack: A barbell and power cage are great for full body workouts and gaining strength and muscles. A full set is quite pricey and impossible to travel with. It’s also higher risk and not great for recovery and other types of exercise other than weightlifting.
- Kettlebells: Kettlebells are the closest alternative to resistance bands although they look different. Kettlebells are similar in the way that they’re affordable and pretty easy to store and travel with. Kettlebells are good for full body workouts, cardio, strength and muscle building. But they are still lacking the versatility, ease of use and safety of resistance band.
As you can see, even the closest alternatives don’t even come close in versatility to resistance bands. On top of that the alternatives are more expensive.
Are resistance bands worth your money?
Resistance bands aren’t only very affordable and versatile, they also have no alternative that do all the same things. There are alternatives that have similar uses but they are either more expensive or not as versatile as resistance bands. That’s why resistance bands are absolutely worth the cost.
Looking at the price and what you can do with them, clearly resistance bands are worth the money. A full set of resistance bands costs much less than $100 but does way more than many other pieces of equipment you can buy that cost many times that much.
They are probably the best bang for buck gym equipment you can find.
Of course in the end it also depends on if you’ve got the money and if you’re going to use them. And if you don’t use them, anything more than free isn’t worth it.
However, because the price is so low and there are so many uses, it’s very likely that they’re worth the money to you. The fact that you’re reading this you’re likely interested in working out so if you can afford them, go for it.
Are resistance bands right for your home gym?
As said, resistance bands are absolutely worth the money if you’re going to use them. But are they right for you? It’s a slightly different way of looking at it.
Whatever your workout or health goals are, a set of resistance bands can help you reach them. Of course there is more than one way that leads to Rome. If they’re the right choice for you depends largely on what you like to do. Everyone is different and likes to work out in different ways.
However, in my opinion even if you’ve got a fully kitted out home gym with all the equipment you can think off, a set of bands is still a good addition.
Here are a few reasons why I think everyone should have a set of bands at home;
- They’re cheap: Considering the cost of other workout equipment, you’re barely going to notice the cost of a set of bands.
- They’re small: Even if your home gym is small, a set of bands won’t be in the way.
- They can be integrated into all types of workouts: Add resistance bands to your squat, deadlift or bench press and you have a completely different exercise that targets your muscles in a new way.
- You can take them with you while traveling: Bands are very easy to throw in any bag or suitcase. Now you’re not dependent on the hotel’s gym anymore (that is almost always disappointing in real life).
- They are good to work out with if you get injured: Free weights can cause injuries sometimes. Resistance bands are a good backup so you can still do something.
Don’t have any home gym equipment yet?
Resistance bands are a great way to get started for many of the same reasons mentioned above. You can do so many things with one piece of equipment it’s hard to beat. Even if you want to get more equipment later, bands are a good place to start.
Just start working out and experimenting with what you like. After a while, you’ll notice what kind of exercise you like to do and what works for you. At that point you can buy bigger and more expensive equipment that specializes in doing just that. That means you don’t have to buy big and expensive equipment just to later find out you don’t actually like to use it.