Introduction to Resistance bands

Resistance bands are a really useful, versatile and inexpensive piece of kit you can use to help keep your exercise sessions interesting and challenging. This helps you improve your strength and progress safely.

At our Move Better sessions, we often get asked, ‘So what type of resistance band do I get?’

There are different types out there, depending on what you are using them for. This introduction to resistance bands will help you understand the differences and choose the right one for you.

Some basics to start:

  1. Resistance bands come in different colours and these indicate different levels of resistance. A thicker, heavy duty resistance band will exert more force and be tougher, requiring greater strength to use it. 
  2. The colour coding is not consistent between the different types of bands so it is best to check how much resistance the band provides once you have chosen the type of band for you.
  3. You want to be able to use the band successfully so starting with a lighter weight band is a good idea. There are always ways to increase the resistance exerted by a band, for example doubling it up or standing further away from the anchor point of the band. The greater the stretch on the band the greater the force it exerts and therefore the greater the strength required to hold it.

The different types:


Are stretchy and ribbon-like and they come in different lengths. There is inconsistency between the colours and strength of the band so check the resistance of the theraband depending on where you are buying them from.

Typically these are good for rehab work following an injury or if first starting to add some light extra resistance to your strength exercise.

Resistance Tubes

A single tube with handles at the end making it easy to hold. These are tougher than therabands. Again, there is inconsistency with the colours so check the resistance provided.

Looped Resistance Bands

These closed loop bands offer the greatest resistance and are good for working the bigger muscles, for example in the legs. The lightest band is also accessible for most people to use.

Here there is more consistency in the colour coding. The bands providing greater resistance are thicker and the typical progression is:

  • Red is the lightest band.
  • Black
  • Purple
  • Green is a tough band and we rarely use this one!