Resistance Bands vs. Resistance Tubing

The two main types of elastic tension used for resistance training are resistance bands and resistance tubing. Examples of resistance bands are Rubberbanditz, and Body-Bands. Examples of resistance tubing are Bodylastics, and Ripcords.

The visual differences between these two types of products are fairly obvious. Resistance bands are flat, solid latex rubber, and a continuously looped design. Resistance tubing is tubular, hollow latex rubber, and have handles or clips attached to both ends. Although the visual differences are pretty easy to spot, what these differences actually mean in terms of how these products can be used, and what their strengths and weaknesses are, is not so clear.

The main benefit to resistance bands is that they work extremely well when performing specific exercises that are difficult or impossible to perform using resistance tubing. Examples of exercises best performed with resistance bands are deadlifts, resisted push-ups, assisted pull-ups, and any other exercises where you wrap the band around your body to resist or assist the movement. The main drawback to resistance bands is that they are more awkward and time consuming to set up and use for traditional handle-based pushing and pulling exercises such as chest presses, rows, flys, etc.

The main benefits and drawbacks to resistance tubing are the exact opposite of resistance bands. Tubing works extremely well when performing specific exercises that are more awkward to perform using resistance bands, such as the aforementioned chest presses, rows, flys, etc. The main drawback to resistance tubing is that it’s difficult or impossible to use them for exercises such as deadlifts, and exercises where you need to wrap the tubing around your body for resistance or assistance.

So if you’re trying to decide whether to buy a set of resistance bands, or resistance tubing, you need to think about the benefits and drawbacks I just outlined, and decide which are more important to you.

If your priority is a system that’s better for performing deadlifts, and exercises where you wrap the band around your body in some way to resist or assist the movement — and you’re not bothered by the awkwardness involved when using the bands for more traditional handle-based pushing and pulling exercises — buy a set of resistance bands.

Alternatively, if your priority is a system that’s better suited for traditional handle-based pushing and pulling exercises such as chest presses, rows, flys, etc — and you’re not bothered by it being difficult or impossible to use tubing for deadlifts, and exercises where you wrap need to attach the tension around some part of your body — buy a set of resistance tubing.