Best Resistance Bands for Building Muscle
Last updated:January 24, 2022
Whatafit Resistance Bands Set
Suitable for daily use
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Luyata 19 Piece Resistance Band Set
Jump rope including
100% Natural latex
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Mengpipi 11 Piece Resistance Band Set
Ankle strap included
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Building muscle is a slow process, but it’s even slower when you’re not using the right gear for the job.
Resistance bands are an open secret—they’re inexpensive, useful, and help you c custom tailor your workout to your specific and current strength abilities.
In short, it’s all about you, and not about hitting some artificial number on a rack to determine how strong you are, and how strong you can become.
We’ve singled out the best resistance bands on the market so that you can take a look, feel them out, and find the best budget-friendly option to build muscle at home.
Beyond that, we’re going to talk about how to build muscle, how effective resistance bands really are, and cover everything you want and need to know about resistance bands.
Best Overall: Whatafit Resistance Bands Set
As the best resistance bands on Amazon, they feature a strong, sharp color with markings on the handles to designate which bands relate to what resistance level.
However, the included metal D-rings in the package are a bit sub-par, so you could do with a new set of them before heavily using these bands.
Whatafit made the best resistance bands bodybuilding enthusiasts and trainers can enjoy despite their product mimicking a lot of other resistance bands (as you’ll see in this list). They created the only inexpensive natural latex bands, which simply have greater resistance and elasticity than synthetic latex.
These are designed to be used every single day without showing signs of wear and tear for years to come, so whatever exercise you’re currently doing, it’s time to add some resistance to it and begin to tone those muscles.
Whatafit came in first on this list, but not by a huge margin, so let’s take a look at the runner-up.
Runner-Up: Luyata 19 Piece Resistance Band Set
Luyata’s resistance band set includes some of the best handles you’re going to find, with excellent D-rings that keep everything sturdy and properly in place. Luyata definitely beats Whatafit for those D-rings, because the last thing you want to think about when you’re pulling on a resistance band is if it’s going to hold you or not.
As the second best resistance band set on our list, it also comes with the same level of resistance that you’ll see in most bands. From 10 lbs up to 50 lbs in 10 lb increments.
One nice add-on in this set is the door anchor that comes with your kit, so you can fasten your resistance bands to the door and use it as a counter-weight to improve your exercise.
When you open the package, you’re going to notice an odor. We talked about natural latex earlier and how good it is, but with Luuyata, you get synthetic latex and there is a bit of a chemical smell.
It’s something that’s totally safe and dissipates within a total of three days, but it’s still an unpleasant inconvenience right out of the box.
Some kits have been reported to be missing pieces, so be sure to check everything you get when it shows up. Thankfully, customer service is aware of this occasional issue and works to fix it as soon as possible.
Inconveniences are a bother, but once you get through the bit of traction you’ll be able to enjoy your resistance bands without concern.
Alternative: Mengpipi 11 Piece Resistance Band Set
What makes a set of bands the best resistance bands for glutes? Having some of the best handles so you can confidently lean into those squats, that’s what! Mengpipi hits the same price point as a lot of other resistance bands, but they don’t focus on the quantity of items you receive, rather the quality.
You just get 11 pieces in this set, but it’s all top-quality pieces (minus the carrying bag).
The best resistance bands for women are typically ones that work well for glutes, but the good thing is these bands are strong enough to fit both male and female workout goals.
You get bands from 10 lbs up to 50 lbs in 10 lb increments, just like you’ve seen with competitor resistance bands, and some seriously nice D-rings that help you feel confident every time you use them.
One other thing that you get with Mengpipi that you don’t get with other brands is ankle straps, so if you’re standing on your bands to build extra resistance in your legs, those ankle straps will come in handy.
We still don’t recommend stacking all your bands together, but thanks to the durable latex they used, it’s possible.
Speaking of latex, you’ll experience a bit of that chemical smell, but it won’t last nearly as long as other bands. 12 hours tops. Mengpipi did a great job with just about every aspect of this kit, so what are you waiting for?
Best Loop Resistance Bands: Fit Simplify
For loop, this is the best resistance band kit, but you have to use them differently.
They’re marked from light to XX-heavy in terms of resistance, but there’s no real pound value, so it’s hard to know how you’re progressing. These aren’t their own workout, though, and should be used with other exercises to get the best effects.
Loops are the best resistance bands for push-ups because they just hook right onto your arm and you can continue your usual workout.
Simplify makes great bands, but it should be noted that you’ll see the text and sizing gauges stretch with use, so these aren’t going to look the same after a few uses. They’ll still work just fine, though.
The included carrying bag is nice to just stow these in your gym bag or backpack whenever you’re done with them, though the lettering will come off fairly quickly since we’re pretty positive it’s a third-party carrying bag.
For loop bands, Simplify makes the best ones to add some extra resistance to your workout.
Runner-Up: Gritin Resistance Bands
Gritin makes the best resistance bands for the home gym, because let’s be honest, we’re all on a budget for our home gym setup.
These are the least pricey resistance bands on our list, and part of that is because you just get the bands in simple packaging and a carrying bag, as well as a manual.
The manual is pretty useless, all things considered, but they keep costs down by not making this a crazy 20+ piece set like a lot of brands do.
If you’re just getting started with personal fitness, these bands are a great way to get started with resistance training before you head to the actual gym. It helps to give you confidence and better form.
These bands are super lightweight and can be packed easily, so you can always have them nearby without adding too much weight to your gym bag.
Gritin may not be the best resistance band brand out there, but when it comes to loop bands, they take second place in our book. Available in six different color arrays to match your home gym equipment.
Resistance Band FAQ
Can You Gain Muscle Mass With Resistance Bands?
Yes, you absolutely can gain muscle mass with resistance bands. When we talk about muscle mass, we’re referring to muscle growth and size, not just toning the muscles that are already there.
When your muscles grow, they’re actually enduring thousands of micro tears across the surface of the muscle. When your body repairs those muscles, new muscle fibers grow in where the small tears are, and it gradually grows, increasing the number of fibers and their total surface area.
Resistance bands are excellent for gaining muscle because they put resistance against your muscles during their entire use. If you put tension on a resistance band, it’s assisting you in some way.
Are Bands Better Than Weights?
Resistance is resistance—it doesn’t matter how you exercise it, if you’re doing some form of resistance training, then you’re doing yourself a service. Resistance bands act differently, but to say that it’s better than weights would be subjective.
If you notice, you’re going to hit a threshold where your muscles are too sore to continue when using either free weights or resistance bands. However, because free weights aren’t giving resistance to your muscles the entire time (after you hit your peak when raising a dumbbell, the resistance shifts), resistance bands are actually training your muscles during their entire use.
So, are resistance bands technically better than free weights? Again, it’s subjective. If you don’t enjoy using resistance bands or they discourage you, then you’re not going to use them, and you’re not going to build muscle. If free weights make you feel like you’re doing more for your body, by all means, use them.
But resistance bands shouldn’t be ignored if you’re serious about results over process. You can add resistance in multiple muscle groups and zones of your body with resistance bands that you otherwise wouldn’t endure. They’re effective, inexpensive, and useful.
Do Resistance Bands Build Muscle or Tone?
Resistance helps to build your muscles, not just tone them. However, because of the two separate muscle fiber groups (which we’ll talk about in just a bit), you end up toning your type one fibers and bulking your type two fibers.
Toning helps define muscle shape and increase strength, while building muscle increases the size of your muscles, which can aid in overall strength, maximum lift weights, and more. These focus on your type two muscle fibers.
How Long Does it Take to Build Muscle?
Muscle building isn’t an overnight process. I think we all know this, but it’s important to reiterate: nobody is getting muscle faster than is humanly possible.
Time passes differently when you look at your own goals and progress versus someone else. The grass always appears greener on the other side, you know?
It takes an average of three to four weeks to start seeing improvements in your muscles when you look in the mirror. Your arms might start feeling a little more toned, maybe you notice a bit of tightness around your obliques that wasn’t there before, things like that.
Now would be a good time to mention that when you work out your muscle, you work out two separate groups of muscle fibers.
- Type One: These muscle fibers don’t tire easily, because they’re responsible for repeated, small movements throughout your body. Think standing up, walking, things of that nature. These have a lower blood volume as well, so since less blood is travelling to and through them, it’s harder to tone them than type two muscles. These are “deep fibers” as some refer to them, and once you change these, you begin to see real results in the mirror.
- Type Two: These muscle fibers are easy to tire out, and require more blood volume to operate. These will receive muscle increases first, and are responsible for lifting and movement. In short, these are what make you look bulky rather than toned.
If you’re serious about building muscle, be honest about where you’re starting off at. From there, it can take three to four weeks just to start seeing changes, and ten to twelve weeks to start seeing gains.
Beyond that, it depends on how serious you take your exercise, what weight you begin at, and if you’re including pre workout formula in your exercise routine (it can help speed up effects if you’re putting the work in).
What Exercises Can You Do With Resistance Bands?
There are plenty of exercises that can be modified with resistance bands, and others that rely on resistance bands to really work effectively. Here’s a list of a few.
- Lateral Band Walk
- Squat to Lateral Leg LIft
- Hip Bridge Pulse
- Fire Hydrant
- Hip Bridges
- Ankle Jumping Jacks
- Donkey Kicks
Some workouts are specifically designed to make you fight the resistance as hard as possible instead of just upping the difficulty. Here are a few:
- Banded Walk
- Supine Leg Extensions
- Rainbow Kicks
- Kneeling Leg Extensions
The best way to start using resistance bands is to apply them to squats, push-ups, and other types of exercises that you’re likely already doing in the gym. This will up the difficulty factor and add some much-needed burn to your workout.
Is It Okay to Use Resistance Bands Every Day?
You shouldn’t be doing resistance training every single day, with or without resistance bands. There are plenty of problems that arise:
- Inhibited Recovery: When you do strength training, you cause tears on your muscles that need to be repaired. Your body does this naturally, but it’s not as fast of a process as we would all like. It takes time, sometimes up to 72 hours if you don’t pace yourself properly, and without that recovery there is no muscle growth.
- DOMS: Delayed onset muscle soreness is something that we all face during exercise. It’s going to happen, but it’s up to you to make sure it happens as infrequently as possible. Overdoing it at the gym by either going too many days in a row, or pushing too hard can both result in DOMS, and this will affect your clarity and ability to lift or exercise in the future. Resistance bands can expedite DOMS, which is why it’s doubly important to take it slow.
- Pain and Tearing: Go too hard, and you’ll hurt yourself. It’s as simple as that. Muscle tears that result in growth are normal, but a full muscle tear can take weeks to recover from. It’s easy to overdo it with resistance bands and strength training, so be wary of pain and listen to your body. Muscle tears are something you don’t really feel until they happen; the aches and pains are a precursor and shouldn’t be ignored.
Resistance bands can be used with every workout, but you shouldn’t work out every single day. If you do, pace yourself and understand your body’s limitations. You don’t want to do a full-body workout each day, otherwise fatigue is going to be the only thing you’re feeling.
Prioritize your recovery process, and switch up what zones of your body you focus on each time you exercise. Resistance bands are useful and can help you with better muscle growth, just don’t overdo it and hurt yourself.
Building Muscle the Better Way
Resistance is strength, and the more resistance you can manage, the better.
There are tons of hardcore at-home workouts for resistance training, but resistance bands make up for the gaps in between multiple exercise types, and give you a way to custom tailor your workout if you’re somewhere in between two separate strength training goals.
We’ve shown you the best resistance bands specifically for building muscle, and on top of that, we’ve also shown you the real timeframe of what it’s going to take to build some serious muscle.
Resistance is the key to stronger, bigger muscles, and a more toned body—now you have the means to hit your goals and show the world what you’re made of. Just don’t overdo it, and make sure you listen to your body.