Resistance bands are a great way to be able to do a full body workout with very limited equipment. But what about them breaking? Can it happen? Why does it happen? And what can you do about it? Let’s find out.
Resistance bands can break for a few reasons. The biggest reason is that over time the material gets old, dry and brittle. This process can be slowed down by keeping the bands out of sunlight (UV) and store them in an airtight box in a dry, cool place. On average resistance bands last 1-2 years.
For more details and how to preserve resistance bands for longer, keep reading.
Can Resistance Bands Break?
I can tell you from personal experience that resistance bands can certainly break. There are a few different ways resistance bands tend to fail;
- The material of the band just snaps
- The attachment of a handle to the band lets go
With older bands it’s common for the material to get old and dry. That makes the rubber brittle and will snap when some load is applied. This is pretty common and you can expect this from bands a few years old. This can be dangerous because resistance bands are just like big rubber bands. If it snaps while applying force, the ends can fly anywhere at a pretty high speed. If one of the ends hits your body it will probably just hurt a little but it can be dangerous for your eyes.
Most tube bands have a snap guard inside so you don’t have that problem. They can still break which means you can’t use them anymore but, there is a kind of wire that prevents the ends from flying away.
Tube bands do have another point of failure however. Tube bands are used with handles or ankle straps. To be able to attach those handles, you need a little eyelet. That eyelet is often bonded to the tube. While this point rarely fails, I’ve had it happen once. This is not an age thing but a production/quality control error because that happened on a pretty new band.
How Long Do Resistance Bands Last?
So the biggest reason resistance bands break is because the rubber gets old and brittle. It’s possible that resistance bands break for other reasons but you’ll have to be either unlucky or push really hard.
How long does it take for resistance bands to get to the point where they easily break? That depends on four factors;
- Type of band
- How the bands are stored
- How often the bands are used
There are a few different types of resistance bands. The types of bands are;
- Loop bands: Last an average amount of time. Not many failure points and the thick rubber means they don’t deteriorate too quickly but will get brittle over time.
- Tube bands: Tube bands tend to last longer than loop bands. The used materials are slightly different. On the flipside there are more points of failure.
- Mini bands: Mini bands are relative thick and don’t stretch too far. For that reason they actually last quite long.
- Therapy bands: Don’t last too long. The wide, thin material is exposed to a lot of deteriorating factors.
Of course how often you use a band has a big impact on the lifespan. They just wear out over time. While resistance bands are made to be used like that, the materials have their limitations. There are only so many stretch cycles a band can handle. Of course how many that is depends on the type and quality of the bands and how you store them (more on that below).
In general, resistance bands will last about two years as long as you don’t leave them out in the sun. Low quality loop bands might only last about one year.
How to make resistance bands last longer
Just think of resistance bands as big rubber bands. Just like rubber bands, they get old and brittle with age. This is the result of molecular bonds changing in the rubber by ozonation and oxidation. Basically there are three big enemies of resistance bands;
I’m not the right person to explain how it works exactly but if you’re interested in the details, click here.
You can almost compare rubber degrading with steel rusting. The oxidation changes the molecular bonds and therefore the characteristics of the material. The ozone deterioration is a different process but with similar effects. Heat and UV activate and accelerate the processes.
So the best ways to preserve your resistance bands are quite easy;
- Keep the bands away from sunlight
- Store resistance bands in a relaxed state
- Store resistance bands in an airtight container. A kitchen storage box is commonly available and easy to use.
- Store the box in a cool place. It doesn’t have to be the fridge, just keep it away from heat.
In the end, how far you want to go with preserving your resistance bands is up to you. Keeping them in a box away from the sun is pretty easy though. Keep in mind that usage also wears out the molecular bonds of a resistance band. So you want to replace them after a while anyways.
Resistance bands tend to have more anti-oxidants in the rubber than simple rubber bands. But all that does is slow the process down. On the flipside, resistance bands go through way more stretching cycles than the average rubber band so the material gets exposed to way more ozone and oxygen which counteracts the lifespan benefits of the anti-oxidants.