Resistance band bars are a type of resistance bands that blend the benefits of elastic training with the firm grip of a barbell. They provide support and stability in the range of motion that sometimes engages more muscles than free weights. You can use them for exercises that are hard to do with barbells, such as chest presses or pull-ups.

Types of resistance band bar

There are a variety of different resistance band bars on the market. These include:

  • Standard resistance band bar: The standard resistance band bar is a basic and affordable way to incorporate resistance bands in your workouts. This type of bar is ideal for general workouts rather than extensive strength training.
  • Lightweight: Lightweight resistance band bars are portable and are easy to store away. They’re made from a light yet durable material, so you can take the bar with you if you travel and don’t have access to weights or machines.
  • Adjustable: Adjustable resistance band bars are a bit more expensive than other models, but they offer the most versatility with tension levels. You can easily adjust the amount of tension on each band to suit specific needs and fitness levels.
  • Heavy duty bars: Heavy duty bars are perfect for those looking to add extra resistance to their workout. They can support more weight and tension than other types of bars and are ideal for building muscle and strength.
  • Pivoting bars: pivoting bars are perfect for those looking for an intense workout with a full range of motion. The bar can pivot, allowing you to target different muscles and increase the intensity of your workout.

1. Bionic Body Workout Bar

The Bionic Body Company offers high-quality products for weightlifters and fitness enthusiasts. Their products are designed for performance, comfort, and durability at an affordable price.

The Bionic Body Cable Bar is a versatile exercise bar that easily accommodates both resistance bands or cables of various sizes and lengths. It’s made of heavy-duty steel and features a unique pivot system; allowing for comfort and range of motion in your workout. 

The majority of buyers are satisfied with their purchase of The Bionic Body Cable Bar and have experienced positive results in their workouts. But some reported issues such as anchor joint problems and difficult carabiner connectors. Issues like these were rarely mentioned so such problems don’t seem to happen often. Overall, the Bionic Body Cable Bar is praised as a wonderful addition to any fitness routine.

2. INNSTAR Home Gym Workout Bar

INNSTAR is a revolutionary home gym brand that changed the way people workout with resistance bands by putting the power of fitness in your hands. Their Home Gym Workout Bar is designed to make getting and staying fit easier than ever before. 

This bar features a foam grip for comfort and protection from blisters as well as durable construction with a clip system that allows you to attach any resistance bands to the bar. 

On the downside, some customers had issues with the clip system and found it difficult to attach and/or detach the bands while others noticed that the swivel bearings for the hooks do squeak slightly. Otherwise, the majority of customers have been very pleased with their purchase and have left positive reviews praising the quality and effectiveness of this bar.

3. Original Gorilla Bow

Gorilla Bow is a company that specializes in providing innovative, portable exercise equipment that can help you reach your fitness goals. Their flagship product, the Original Gorilla Bow, has revolutionized at-home workout routines with its lightweight frame and interchangeable resistance bands. The bow’s design allows for range of motion and features adjustable foot straps—perfect for compound exercises like squats, rows, and chest press variations.

Customer reviews for the Original Gorilla Bow are overwhelmingly positive, with users loving its lightweight design, versatility, and affordability. Some reviewers, however, have reported that the bands wear out quickly with heavy use, but this is to be expected as it is a home fitness product.

4. Ultimate Premium Full-Workout Heavy Resistance Bands Set

Kobra Tech is a company that specializes in fitness and exercise equipment. Their resistance band bars are designed with strong nylon straps and carabiners for reliable support during workouts and a bar for targeting specific muscle groups. With this set, you can target their entire lower body in an apartment without making too much noise.

Customer reviews are generally positive, with most people praising the quality of the materials and construction. But some have noted that there’s no chart or instructions included, while others have pointed out that the door anchor may not be suitable for hollow core doors. Despite these drawbacks, many customers are satisfied with their purchase and report that the customer service is excellent.

5. Gaiam Restore Pilates Bar Reformer Kit

Gaiam is a lifestyle brand dedicated to helping people live their best life. From yoga, Pilates, massage to fitness apparel, and home accessories, Gaiam seeks to provide quality products that make physical and mental wellness accessible to all.

The Gaiam Restore Pilates Bar Reformer Kit is an easy-to-use, compact home fitness equipment ideal for Pilates and toning. This kit includes everything needed for a full-body workout, including a Pilates bar, two 30-inch resistance band cords with attached foot strap loops, and an exercise guide to help break down the key moves. 

The kit also claims to help you tone your muscles and improve flexibility while staying in the comfort of your own home. Reviews for this product are generally positive, with customers praising its ease of use and durability. However, there have been some complaints about the bar being too short for taller people, as well as issues with the end caps that come off too easily. Overall, this product has been praised for providing an effective and convenient solution to home fitness.

Benefits of using resistance bands

Besides strength and power, resistance bands can help you increase stability and mobility in your joints since the resistance builds as you stretch the band. This type of training has been shown to help athletes develop better balance and coordination while targeting specific muscles or muscle groups.

Keep in mind that resistance bands aren’t for everyone or every circumstance. There are some potential drawbacks (pun fully intended) that need to be considered before beginning any workout routine. Resistance band workouts can be intense since the band’s resistance is less at the beginning of an exercise but increases throughout the movement. The stretch of the rubber or fabric actively pulling you back to return to its original shape can be a little hard to control for new users.

Since resistance bands have been a staple in most physical therapy settings for decades, it’s exciting to see them marketed in a way to empower general health and fitness without requiring an injury.

 Which resistance level of the band should I use?

Resistance bands come in a variety of resistance levels, ranging from light to extra heavy. 

Light to medium resistance bands are usually the best choice for beginners or if you’re looking for general toning and strength training. Heavier resistance bands may be a better option for those looking for more advanced exercises and more targeted muscle gain.

Finally, heavy and extra heavy resistance bands are the most challenging option by providing maximum tension. They are a great choice for those looking to increase muscle mass or achieve more advanced strengthening goals.

Can you really build strength with resistance bands?

Yes, you can build strength with resistance bands. Studies have shown that training with resistance bands can improve muscle mass and strength as well as conventional weight training with free weights.

For example, a 2018 study of 12 women and 15 men found that resistance band training elicits “generally induced lower levels of muscle activation” in the chest muscles when doing a chest fly compared to using dumbbells. However, the researchers found that the anterior deltoids had higher activation in resistance band chest fly than the dumbbell chest fly.

They also found similar differences in muscle activation when they compared a reverse fly with a resistance band versus a dumbbell. One reason for this difference is that chest muscle activation in the early phase of the movement in resistance band training is lower than dumbbell training. 

When you first pull the band, the amount of resistance is small, but as you move toward the end range of the exercise, the resistance increases—unlike using a dumbbell or barbell where the resistance is constant throughout the movement.

But why the increased deltoid activation? The researchers hypothesized that the instability of resistance band training requires these muscles to work overtime. “Increased stability requirement could possibly elicit higher neural drive to stabilize the shoulder joint,” they wrote. “However, it is also possible that the different postures contributed to these effects, as participants were lying on a bench when the exercises with dumbbells were performed, but standing during execution with elastic bands, which is another way of inducing higher instability and to increase muscle activation of the deltoideus anterior.”

Even though this study seems to undermine the effectiveness of strength development of resistance band training, data from many studies generally find it to be quite effective for various populations.

For example, a 2022 systematic review of 15 studies found that resistance band training “reduced frailty” and depression among older adults in long-term care after 24 weeks. 

A 2019 systematic review of seven studies found that resistance band training “provides similar strength gains when compared to resistance training performed from conventional devices.” The researchers included studies that used various subjects—including adults with coronary heart disease and college football players—and different types of bands.

Thus, the results are hard to translate and apply to more specific populations and activities—especially where there’s no standard protocols and methods of studying resistance band training.

Another study which focused on wrestlers showed a significant increase in grappling power in those who incorporated resistance band training into their training. The athletes used therapy bands to simulate forward pressure from an opponent in a ground grappling maneuver and to increase power in the lower body in tackling techniques.

See photos for examples.

Caveat: It’s important to note the limitations of these studies—they only looked at the effects of resistance band training for a limited period of time. Further research is needed to understand the long-term effects and benefits of resistance bands compared to other forms of exercise.

While these studies apply to other types of resistance bands, the resistance band bar follows the same principles in the elastic training properties as the other bands.

What to look for before you buy a resistance band bar

To help narrow down your choices, consider: 

  • the quality of material used in the band
  • durability, price
  • portability
  • versatility 

Make sure that you are using a strong bar to handle the amount of tension you plan on applying. A weak bar can easily snap under pressure, which can be dangerous and lead to serious injury. 

Furthermore, using a bar that is too strong for your resistance level can cause you to overwork certain muscles, leading to muscle strain and other issues. Always make sure that you use the right bar for the resistance level you are working with to ensure optimal safety and performance.

Lindsay Jones massage therapist
Lindsay Jones, LMT
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Lindsay is a licensed massage therapist and a mother of three, who specializes in rehabilitation with emphasis on prenatal and postnatal care.

After graduating from the National Holistic Institute in San Jose, Calif., she went on to study how pain affects the body and how it can be alleviated during the constant changes of pregnancy and early motherhood.

In her free time, Lindsay has a deep love of all forms of art from storytelling and music to sewing and painting.