trust me i should know

These Are the Only Resistance Bands I Recommend to My Pilates Students

Photo: Retailer

Once, as I was taking an advanced Pilates class at the gym (remember gyms?), the resistance band on the person next to me abruptly snapped and hit me in the eye. While I was lucky that only led to minor swelling, a friend of mine was nearly blinded when a band snapped during a class she was teaching. And I’ve seen other folks leave classes with welts on their bodies after their resistance bands snapped during particularly vigorous movements. A Pilates teacher myself — before the pandemic forced me to move my classes online, you could find me five days a week at a popular Brooklyn studio — I’ve experienced and heard about enough incidents like these to know that all resistance bands are clearly not created equal. (Although, with many primary-colored kindercore sets out there, they are clearly created to look equal.)

TheraBand loops are the only resistance bands I use and recommend to my clients, whether they’re elite athletes or medical professionals or new moms recovering from childbirth. The company has been around for almost 40 years and it pioneered resistance-band technology. For the unfamiliar, resistance bands can help reveal your physical habits while exercising: Do you rely on your left hip more than your right? Do you feel the effects of movement you’re doing? Is your form correct? While most brands’ bands are only designed for one style of workout, TheraBand’s loops can be used for just about everything from Pilates to mobility work to cardio to barre to lifting to stretching.

Because they are designed to be versatile, TheraBand’s loops do not snap easily (thank goodness). But their higher quality is noticeable in other ways: They don’t collect dust, get sticky, or roll at the edges. While these qualities might seem unimpressive to the average person, I promise they are quite rare among resistance bands. The level of resistance offered by the loops, like other color-coded bands, is represented by their various hues: You might start with the light band (yellow) for clamshells, then, over a few weeks, move onto the medium (red), heavier (green), or heaviest (blue). But unlike many other brands, TheraBand is allergy friendly, offering both latex and latex-free versions of its loops. You can get them in 8-inch, 12-inch, and 18-inch sizes; the 12-inch ones are perfect for all the lunges, squats, and more involved movement exercises I teach. That said, I do find the 12-inch loops can sometimes be a bit big on my five-four frame, so I use the 8-inch loops too. While superior, I should note these aren’t indestructible: I do have to keep them away from my dog, otherwise he can snag the material when he sinks his teeth into one thinking it’s a toy.

This multipack of eight-inch TheraBand loops comes with the four color-coded levels of resistance I mentioned above.

If you don’t need all four, Amazon also sells the yellow, red, green, and blue eight-inch loops individually for around $12 each. You can also buy the loops individually from Performance Health, which sells all three lengths (8-inch, 12-inch, and 18-inch) in all four colors, starting at around $6 for the 8-inch yellow loop.

The Strategist is designed to surface the most useful, expert recommendations for things to buy across the vast e-commerce landscape. Some of our latest conquests include the best acne treatments, rolling luggage, pillows for side sleepers, natural anxiety remedies, and bath towels. We update links when possible, but note that deals can expire and all prices are subject to change.

The Only Resistance Bands I Recommend to My Pilates Students