Safe, inexpensive, portable. Those are just a few reasons why colored resistance bands are popular for exercise, fitness goals, and rehabilitation.  You may have tried resistance bands yourself or have had them recommended to you by a physical therapist or personal trainer.

What are these bands and how do they work?

The bands are made from various thicknesses and strengths of high-quality latex and non-latex material.  The resistance comes as you try to stretch and lengthen the band itself.

These bands can offer a safer way to stretch out the muscles and help reestablish a normal range of motion (ROM)1. The bands use positive resistance to shorten the muscle during a curl and negative resistance to lengthen the same muscle when fighting the resistance back to start.2 Resistance training also offers a less costly option to weight training as the bands are relatively inexpensive. The small, compact size makes them perfect for traveling too. Other health and fitness benefits of a band-based progressive resistance program include increasing bone strength, building muscles boosting stamina, and improving sleep efficiency3.

At, our top selling brands include Thera-Band® Cando® and REP Band which all come in a variety of lengths and colors. Most are available in 6 yards and 50 yards strips which can be cut to the necessary length. Some brands even make a loop band. These loops are great for lower body adductor and abductor exercises.

But how do you choose from so many colors and thicknesses and determine which is the best for your needs?

One of the most popular brands, Thera-Band, offers the following colors and resistance levels:

Color Resistance Muscle Group
Yellow Thin/Easy/X-Light Shoulders and shins
Red Light Biceps and triceps
Green Medium Legs, Chest & Back
Blue Heavy Legs, Chest & Back*
Black X-Heavy Legs, Chest & Back*

*Great for working out with someone else

The Cando Band varies slightly as they carry a wider range:

Color Resistance
Tan XX-Light
Yellow X-Light
Red Light
Green Medium
Blue Heavy
Black X-Heavy
Silver XX-Heavy
Gold XXX-Heavy

Finally, if you come across a band that doesn’t follow one of these models, one of the easiest ways to figure out the resistance is the price. The thicker the band is; generally the higher the price will be.

Getting Started with Simple Resistance Band Exercises

To begin, select a color according to the charts above.  You know you have the correct color when you perform two to three sets of 10 -15 repetitions using slow controlled motions while gaining mild fatigue on the last set.  Once you can do all sets with no fatigue3, you are ready to move up to the next resistance – or color – level.  Below are a few simple exercises to help you get started.

Resistance Band Squats4

  • Start by stepping on the resistance band with both feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Hold the resistance band at shoulder level with both hands. Start into a full squat while holding the band at shoulder height.
  • Return to the starting position and repeat.

Biceps Curls with Resistance Band5

  • Stand with feet shoulder width apart, knees slightly bent, and at a staggered stance.
  • Step onto middle of tubing with back foot or both feet.
  • Start position: Grasp ends with underhand grip (palms facing forward) with arms hanging down at sides. Elbows should be close to sides.
  • Flex at the elbows and curl band up to approximately shoulder level. Keep elbows close to sides throughout movement
  • Return to start position.
  • Remember to keep back and head straight in a neutral position throughout movement. Shoulders should be stabilized by squeezing shoulder blades together slightly - only the elbow joint should be moving.

Triceps Extension with Resistance Band6

  • Start by holding the tubing in one hand and placing that hand behind your back.
  • Now grab the other end of the band with the arm that is over your head.
  • Extend the top elbow until your arm is fully extended.
  • Return to the starting position and repeat for the prescribed repetitions.

Using resistance bands is an affordable way to achieve your fitness or rehabilitation goals., a leader in online medical supplies, proudly offers a comprehensive selection of quality exercise equipment and rehabilitative products at competitive prices. Shop confidently with our Price Match Guarantee and Autoship Subscription program.

1"Rogue Fitness Equipment." Rogue Fitness. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 Mar. 2013.

2 "Thera-Band® Exercise Bands." Thera-Band. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Mar. 2013.

3 "Resistance Training - Beginners." Better Health Channel. N.p., n.d. Web. 07 Mar. 2013.

4-6 "Resistance Band Exercises." Resistance Band Exercises. N.p., n.d. Web. 07 Mar. 2013