The 6 Types Of Resistance Bands Compared

Resistance bands come in quite a few shapes, colors, and sizes. The colors tell you which ‘weight’ they are but the shapes and sizes require a bit more explanation.

There are six main types of resistance bands:

  • Tube Bands
  • Loop Bands
  • Mini Bands
  • Fabric Bands
  • Figure-8 Bands
  • Therapy Bands (Theraband)

Let’s dive into the specifics of every type of resistance band, what they’re for, and which ones should get for your purpose.

Types Of Resistance Bands

1. Tube Resistance Bands

Image of tube resistance bands
Example of tube bands without attachments.

Tube resistance bands are long, cylindrical bands with handles or other attachments on each end. They often come with varying levels of resistance.

Tube bands are used with attachments. Other bands you can grip anywhere and get the width or length you need. Tube bands are a bit too thin to comfortably get a good grip, unless you wrap them around your hands.

That means you’ll use the attachments pretty often and also an anchor point on the wall or somewhere else. This makes them useful for many pushing exercises and exercises that are better with a certain attachment.

Ideal Exercises: Tube resistance bands are excellent for exercises like bicep curls, shoulder presses, and squats.

Suggested post: Resistance bands with handles or loop bands; what’s better?

Tube Bands Pros

  • Versatile for a wide range of exercises, including both upper and lower body.
  • Handles provide a secure grip and allow for greater control during workouts.
  • Portable and easy to store.

Tube Bands Cons

  • The handles may not be as comfortable for everyone.
  • Some tube bands may wear out or snap over time with heavy use.

Suggested: Can resistance bands break?

2. Latex Loop Resistance Bands

Image of a green latex loop resistance band.

Loop bands are basically big rubber bands. They are about 1″ wide and 0.25″ thick although the exact size depends on the brand and how ‘heavy’ they are.

This type of band is very versatile. With some creativity, you can do almost everything you can imagine. You can attach them to anchors for pressing exercises, step inside the band for squats and shoulder presses, etc.

If you only want to buy one type of band, this is easily the best one to go for. Versatile, cheap, and simple to use without any other equipment except maybe an anchor point.

Ideal Exercises: Loop bands can be used for many different exercises like: Squats, curls, chest presses, tricep extensions, and much more.

Loop Bands Pros

  • Suitable for both upper and lower body exercises.
  • Versatile and can be adapted for different workouts.

Loop Bands Cons

  • No handles to hold onto.
  • Latex bands may lose elasticity over time.

3. Fabric Resistance Bands

Fabric resistance bands, also known as fabric resistance loops or cloth resistance bands, are a type of exercise band that is becoming increasingly popular in the fitness world. These bands are made from fabric or cloth material and are designed to provide resistance for a wide range of exercises.

Fabric resistance bands come in both loop band and mini band sizes so pick what suits your needs.

They are about the same length as loop bands but the sides are stitched together in different places so you don’t have one large loop but rather a series of small loops that can be used to put feet or hands through.

The fabric tends to be much more comfortable than latex bands and they also stay in place better. On top of that, fabric resistance bands have a longer life expectancy than latex ones. And while they’re slightly more expensive, the difference is quite small and well worth it.

Fabric Bands Pros

  • Comfort: Fabric resistance bands are comfortable to use, and the fabric covering is gentle on the skin and sticks less.
  • Durability: The fabric covering adds durability to these bands, making them less prone to wear and tear compared to latex or rubber bands.
  • Non-Slip: Fabric bands have a non-slip surface, which helps them stay in place during exercises. This prevents them from rolling or sliding, ensuring a more effective workout.
  • Resistance Levels: Fabric bands come in different resistance levels, allowing users to choose the level that matches their fitness goals and abilities.

Fabric Bands Cons

  • Limited Resistance: While fabric bands offer resistance, they may not provide the same level of resistance as heavier rubber bands.
  • Stretch Over Time: Over extended use, fabric resistance bands may lose some of their elasticity and resistance. Regularly inspecting and replacing them when needed is important to maintain their effectiveness.
  • Price: Fabric resistance bands can be slightly more expensive than basic latex bands. However, their durability and comfort can justify the higher cost.
  • Cleaning: Fabric bands may require more frequent cleaning due to their fabric covering, especially if used during sweaty workouts. Cleaning them properly is important to prevent odors and maintain hygiene.

4. Mini Bands

Mini bands are short yet wide and flat resistance bands. Mini bands serve a pretty specific purpose. They are useful for exercises where you have a relatively small range of motion. Usually, they’re used wrapped around the knees or thighs.

They’re great for correcting your form on certain exercises. But also to add a different resistance to lunges.

If you’re specifically looking to correct certain things in your form or for specific exercises, mini bands are good to have. However, for general purposes, the normal loop bands are better.

Ideal Exercises: Mini bands are ideal for squats, hip bridges, and lateral leg raises.

Mini Bands Pros

  • Perfect for lower body workouts, targeting the hips, thighs, and glutes.
  • Can be used for dynamic warm-ups and stretching.
  • Lightweight and easily portable.

Mini Bands Cons

  • Not very useful for upper body exercises.
  • May roll up or bunch during intense workouts.

5. Figure-8 Resistance Bands

A much rarer type of resistance band is the figure-8 band. Figure-8 resistance bands resemble the number eight in shape with handles on both ends.

Figure-8 bands are shorter than loop bands which means you can use them for other exercises or in different ways. These bands make it easy to do back pull-aparts, bicep curls, or lateral raises. You can compare these to the old-school springy exercise contraptions your granddad used.

You might think that you could use mini bands in a similar way but those are a bit different. Mini bands don’t stretch as much which makes it difficult to do exercises with longer ranges of motions like bicep curls.

Ideal Exercises: Figure-8 bands are excellent for lateral raises, pull-aparts, and bicep curls.

Figure-8 Band Pros

  • Designed for upper body workouts, including arm and chest exercises.
  • Handles provide stability and control.
  • Compact and easy to store.

Figure-8 Band Cons

  • Limited suitability for lower body exercises.
  • May require some practice and knowledge to master certain movements.

6. Therapy Resistance Bands (Therabands)

Therapy bands are wide and flat pieces of elastic material. Usually they’re about 5′ long and 1′ wide. They are not a loop or tube, they’re just flat. Therapy bands are pretty versatile. They are comparable in usability to loop bands except someone cut them open and they’re much thinner.

These can be a bit more comfortable to use than loop bands because they’re wider so the weight is spread out more. These bands don’t usually offer the high resistances that loop bands can. They also can’t be anchored so they’re not as versatile.

Therabands are often used for physical therapy and rehab as the name suggests. They are made to provide gentle resistance while being comfortable and unlikely to put too much stress on any body part.

Therabands are perfect for physical therapy exercises, shoulder stretches, and gentle strength training routines.

Therabands Pros

  • Ideal for gentle strength and flexibility exercises.
  • Suitable for individuals recovering from injuries.
  • Available in different resistance levels for gradual progression.

Therabands Cons

  • Limited versatility for intense strength training.
  • May wear out more quickly with rigorous use.

Which Type of Resistance Band Should You Get?

Full Body Workout

For a full-body resistance band workout, the first type of band to get is a set of tubes. These are easy to hold and can be used for pretty much all upper-body and most lower-body exercises. Add some mini bands for the lower body and you’ve got a set that can give you a great full body workout.

Upper Body

For a good upper body workout, a set of tube bands is the way to go. Tube bands have handles and sometimes the option to use other attachments as well. That means they’re easy and comfortable to hold which helps a lot when pushing hard with your upper body.

You’ll need an anchor point to use these bands effectively for an upper-body workout. Once you’ve sorted that out, it’s easy to do all kinds of pulls, pushes, curls, flies, raises, and more.

Lower Body

For lower body exercises, choose a loop band. Either a latex or fabric one. You can use those for squats, lunges, leg extensions, and more. While you can also use tube bands for the lower body, loop bands have the benefit that you can rest them on your shoulders which takes some stress off the arms and hands, especially since for the lower body you’ll use stronger bands.

On top of that, it’s a good idea to get some mini bands to get some extra activation out of the glutes and hips.


Many people use bands to warm up before going into heavier exercises. Especially shoulders are a very common body part to warm up this way. You can really use any band except mini bands for this purpose.

For a very comfortable experience, use Theraband but loop bands also work perfectly fine as long as the resistance is not too high.

Combined With Barbells

Combining resistance bands with barbell exercises is a great way to change the resistance curve of the exercise and get more muscle and/or strength gains out of it. The right bands for this are loop bands. Either the full-sized ones or mini bands depending on the exercise.

If the bands are too long, you can wrap them around the bar and peg multiple times. Just be aware you’re doubling the resistance every time you wrap it around so use a lighter band if necessary.


Hey, I'm Matt. Welcome to After working out in many different gyms for almost 20 years and helping people build their own home gyms, i've learned a few things i'd like to share with you.

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