A guide to buying the best resistance/exercise bands.

dprichardson
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There are many different resistance bands available out there, and normally that would be a good thing, however unfortunately they vary massively when it comes to quality, durability, and honesty.

This guide will help you find top quality bands every time, by looking for 5 simple but important factors  before you purchase

Factor 1, how are the bands made?

The very first thing you should look at when buying a resistance band or resistance band kit, above all else, is how the bands are made.  This ultimately determines not only how long they will last, but also how the resistance/tension will feel when using them.  I will attempt to explain this below...

There are two main ways of making the tubular resistance bands, which are the bands you will need for workout programs such as P90X etc and for creating a home gym or cable machine type set up.

The most common bands are single layered  bands, which are made basically one piece molded rubber tubes. The technical term for these bands  is "Extruded".  These are the bands you will need to avoid.

Extruded bands, because they are just a single piece of latex, will soon begin to tear if they get a tiny nick or tear in them, which is not good news and is also dangerous as it will snap whilst in use! Extruded bands are normally rated well above their actual ratings in order to fool buyers in to thinking they are going to offer more resistance than they actually do (more about this later).

The best bands, by a mile, are Multi-Layered bands, which are made by dipping a long thin rod in to a vat of latex many times until the desired thickness is achieved, which creates many many layers and an  extremely strong long lasting band. These layers look like lots of rings similar to a target (see image below). The technical term for this process is called "continuous dipping" or "multi-layering".

These bands will not tear easily, as a tiny nick will only affect the outer layers, and they can also be stretched a lot more without losing their original length and tension. They are designed to take some serious everyday punishment, and they can do just that!

Very few manufacturers use the layered  process as it is costly and much more time consuming, however many will pretend that their bands are dipped or layered in order to fool the consumer in to thinking they have a bargain, when in actual fact they have just purchased cheap bands worth a quarter of what they paid. 
Factor 2. Are the given resistance ratings true or realistic?

BEWARE OF FAKE/MISS-LEADING RESISTANCE RATINGS!
The sad truth of the matter is that people who make and sell  extruded bands know that if they used realistic ratings, their bands would never sell, so they take the resistance reading when the band is stretched to almost breaking point, which is very rarely going to be reached during normal exercises, so it is extremely misleading, but still legal. Some sellers will just make resistance levels up, I have seen identical bands, exact in every detail, being given 5 totally different ratings by different sellers.
Resistance band comparison

To the left is an image of  ElastiTone band (left) and a cheap band purchased from another eBay seller (right). You will be shocked to learn that the one on the right was rated as being 50Lb, but the one on the left only 49Lb, even though it is clear from the image that it is far thicker and therefore has a higher resistance. Never trust ratings given by re-sellers.  Of course they are not all dishonest, but how do you know who is?
In Asia, well known as the home of the largest network of counterfeiters and con artists in the world with very slack counterfeit laws that are almost never enforced anyway, you can find almost anything at a cheap price, and most of what is for sale is cheap for a reason!  It is either fake (brand name consumer products are always fake when seen on Alibaba) or low quality! 

In fact, because most of what is sold on eBay was likely originally purchased from Alibaba, you should never ever under any circumstances buy anything new at all that is a brand name at a stupidly cheap price from eBay, UNLESS it is from a known company such as Argos, Tesco, Walmart etc. This is a shame as it spoils it for honest sellers but is also a fact. From Gibson guitars to Bose earphones, even top of the line generators, they have all been faked and sold on eBay, often with bidding to make them seem second hand. Not everything is fake, but how do you know what is and isn't without consulting an expert first? Once you buy it, it's too late. Never fall for cheap prices!

Visit Aliexpress , Alibaba's version of eBay, and type in resistance bands and you will be bombarded with resistance band sets costing as little as 10 dollars per set, and many of these are advertised as being double dipped or layered to make them sound more appealing to the clueless people out there looking to make fast cash on eBay, and the sad fact of the matter is that 99% of people who buy them have never ever seen or used a layered resistance band in their entire life, they have no idea at all what one should look like, and just presume that the seller is honest. They then buy a truck load and sell them on eBay from as little as £11 a set, advertising them also as being dipped or layered, because they don't know any better.

The only way to know for sure is to ask the seller for a clear photo of the inside of a band, which should show the many layers, if they cannot do this, move on until you find a seller who can.

So, rule number one is BUY ONLY LAYERED BANDS, AND ALWAYS ASK FOR PROOF THAT THEY ARE LAYERED BEFORE YOU MAKE A PAYMENT!

Factor 3. Will the hook/clip system last?

The second thing to look at when buying resistance bands, is how strong the hooks or rings are and how they are attached to the bands.  If they do not have hooks or rings and instead just have handles attached to the bands, then don't waste your money, because you will be stuck with just one max resistance level per band, forever!

With a clip system you can add as many bands to the handles as you want, e.g. you could add a 50lb and a 10lb band to the handles at the same time, giving you 60lbs, but if the bands do not have a clip system, then you cannot do this, and will be limited not only by resistance levels but also by what exercises you can perform, as the bands which have handles attached are pretty bad for using with many leg exercises and are mostly only suited to upper body exercises.

Most of the bands you will see on eBay use extremely poor quality hooks or rings, which were designed for use on key rings and are not meant to be constantly pulled on and clipped / un-clipped. They are tiny, about 30mm (3cm), and are a complete pain in the neck to attach and un-attach.

There are some that use bigger 60mm (6cm) hooks, but they are just very light basic aluminium, with weak poorly made catches that eventually fail, and once a catch fails the band then cannot be used. A bands lifetime is only as good as the hooks on the end!

Try to buy bands that have large hooks and/or rings, which will enable easy and fast changes, and will be much more durable.
 

Factor 4. What are the components like?

Another thing to look at is the components, e.g. the handles, anchors etc. If the handles  are small (about 11-12cm wide) then most people will find that they are too hard to use as the nylon sides will constantly rub against the side of the hand during many exercises and you will soon start to find the skin develops calluses or just wears away! Try to find handles that are at least 13cm wide as this is wide enough to avoid that happening.

Also if you can find a set that has a padded door anchor and padded ankle straps, even better.

The door anchor fits to any door, and you attach your bands to it to make them in to a portable cable machine/home gym. If the loop were the bands fit through is not padded, then they nylon will just rub against the bands, causing friction, which in turn produces heat, which will damage the bands.

A high quality door anchor compared to a standard door anchor found in the cheaper sets.





Standard handle compared too and an extra large handle.
The standard handle did at one point have foam on but it became damaged so was removed for the photo. not only is the handle smaller, but so are the side straps, which adds to the rubbing problem against the skin.




Factor 5. How safe are the bands?

Almost all bands can potentially injure the user seriously, even causing blindness, if the user stretches the band to far (easily done), as it will break and fly towards them at extreme speed, at least giving them a nasty sting, and at worst putting their eye out. ALL rubber is capable of snapping if pulled too far, no rubber is snap proof, this is impossible to create, however you can now buy Anti-Snap Extra Safe bands!
ElastiTone bands have a safety sleeve, a very durable and weather proof one, that not only protects the use from any snapping bands, but also helps eliminate the problem of  bands snapping in the first place by using sleeves that have been made to a specific length, thus preventing the user from stretching the bands to a length that would case a break or weaken the bands. Of course there is a chance still, all be it a very small chance, that a band may still break, so ElastiTone offer a lifetime snap warranty and free replacement of any bands that do snap, as long as you keep the protective sleeve on.




The picture shows the ElastiTone Sleeved Anti-Snap bands, extra large handle, and clip system using a 70mm hook on the handle, and large durable rings.






Factor 6. Is there a good returns policy and warranty period?

Finally, always buy from a seller that has a returns policy of at least 30 days, so you can try the bands out and see if they are  right for you. Many people buy resistance bands, use them once or twice, then give up, but with a returns policy, you can just send them back! Beware of sellers that charge a "restocking" fee however for returning the bands, as this is very bad business practice.

A warranty is also a good idea, the longer the better, preferably a lifetime defects warranty!

ElastiTone has all of the above and more, and from only £37.99 (web price only, auction sites may vary depending on the site) per set plus a lifetime defects warranty, lifetime Anti-Snap Warranty, and 100 day no questions asked return policy (see site), you will not find better quality bands in this price range anywhere in Europe! In fact, they are probably the best resistance bands on the market today!

More reasons to buy...
ElastiTone bands  have the highest resistance band in the world known, aptly named the "Black Mamba", currently on sale!

High tension resistance band



For a comparison, below is a side by side of the ElastiTone "Black Mamba" resistance tube, on the left, and a competitors "Black Sniper" tube, on the right. The "Sniper" is advertised as being "Extreme tension".

Extra Heavy resistance bands
 









As you can see from the image, the ElastiTone "Black Mamba" band is the true king of extreme tension, nothing else compares!

This bands offers "Deadly" resistance and is the thickest band ever to have been created, instantly destroying all rumours that bands can't offer enough resistance, and making grown men hang their heads in complete shame for ever believing such silly rumours in the first place! (Most people cannot even do one single overhead press with the Mamba band, it was designed more for bicep curls and rows.)

USED BY PRO SPORTSMEN

Check out some of the comments received via Twitter from Pro Rugby League players below!





Paul Johnson, Former Great Britain, Wigan, Bradford & Warrington Pro Rugby League player.





Jordan James, Pro Rugby League player for the Salford Reds, DJ & former Royal Marine.

The above comments were in reference to the "PRO Ultra" set, before the sleeves were added, and are proof that bands are not JUST for Women or rehabilitation!

All comments were 100% voluntary, these people were not targeted, they came to ElastiTone as customers, and nobody was paid a single penny to write comments.

Below is a fair and legal chart comparing the top 5 brands.

 

 

ElastiTone

Bodylastics

Ripcords

Lifeline USA

B LINES
( P90X)

MULTI LAYERED TUBING

YES

YES

NO

YES

NO

ANTI-SNAP

YES

YES

NO

NO

NO

ANTI-WEAR
(Protects bands from scratches, nicks, abrasion, scuffs etc)

YES

NO

NO

NO

NO

INJURY PREVENTION
(Stops the band from hitting the user at great speed IF it snaps)

YES

NO

NO

NO

NO

STACKABLE BANDS
(User can use more than 1 band at a time to create more resistance and combinations, essential for strong people in our opinion)

YES

(Zinc plated Iron Carabineers on the components, rings on the bands)

YES

(Rings on the components, Aluminium carabineers on the bands)

NO

YES

(3 grooves in the plastic handles to hold the bands)

NO

CHARGE FREE LIFETIME DEFECTS WARRANTY
(Covers the user against manufacturer caused defects/issues)

YES

No need to return defective parts, a photo via email will suffice. All postage costs will be covered. Warranty is forever!

NO

No need to return defective parts but customers must pay more postage costs after 90 days for replacements to be sent to them.

NO

Customer must return defective products at their own expense AND pay a shipping fee for replacements.

NO

Customer must return defective products at their own expense.

UNKNOWN

No info shown on site that we can find.

CHARGE FREE 100% SATISFACTION GUARANTEE

(excluding return shipping price)

YES

100 days!

NO

There is a restocking fee if you are not satisfied.

YES

90 days

YES

90 days

YES

30 days

 

I hope this guide teaches everyone who reads it the truth about resistance bands, and helps them make an informed decision on were to buy and not just rely on reviews written by sellers of lower quality bands.

Dave

 
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