What Is the Difference in Colored Resistance Bands?

What if you could work out anywhere and at any time, with equipment you can fit in a gym bag, pocket or purse — would you give it a go? Resistance bands — also known as exercise bands — are an excellent tool for strengthening your entire body. Plus, they are cost-effective and fold up into a small pouch that you can throw in a gym bag, suitcase or purse when on-the-go.

Resistance band colors correspond to different strengths. Credit: kbycphotography/iStock/GettyImages

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The color of a resistance band is directly related to the resistance or elongation of the band.

Why Different Colors?

If you're familiar with resistance bands, then you know that they come in different colors or degrees of difficulty. Some bands even come in different sizes, but the most common exercise bands come in different colors based on strength.

Because you can choose the color, or level of difficulty, with exercise bands, most exercises are adaptable to different fitness levels. Plus, the fact that you can do simple or complex movements and increase or decrease the level of resistance makes it a tool for anyone from daily gym-goers to the brand new exerciser.

Typically, the color of resistance band you choose correlates with the complexity of the move. For example, performing a rowing exercise will require a stronger exercise band than you would use for a biceps curl.

Depending on the brand of resistance band, the most common colors include yellow, green, red, blue, black, silver and gold, with yellow being the lightest and gold the strongest. That said, you can also find tan, silver and gold. The colors listed correlate with the TheraBand brand of exercise bands.

Read more: 10 Resistance Band Exercises to Tone and Tighten

Colors of Resistance Bands

When you test out a resistance band, the first thing you notice is the stretchiness and thickness of the band. If the band is very stretchy and thin, it often correlates with an easier resistance level; this is the category the yellow and red bands fall into.

Light to Medium Resistance Bands

If you're a beginner or using the exercise bands for smaller muscle groups such as your hip and shoulder stabilizer muscles, the yellow and red bands are a great place to start. These beginner bands are also commonly seen in rehab and physical therapy settings.

Medium to Heavy Resistance Bands

The green, blue, black, silver and gold resistance bands provide you with medium to heavy resistance. You will see these exercise bands most often in the gym, and they're for performing exercises for the back, legs and chest. The intermediate or medium level includes green and blue, while the heavy or advanced level consists of the black, silver and gold.

To get a better idea of the difference between the green band and the silver band, you can compare the weight when the exercise band is elongated. At 100 percent elongation, the green resistance band represents 4.6 pounds, whereas the gold resistance band at 100 percent elongation represents 14.2 pounds.

Read more: The Ultimate Full-Body Resistance Band Workout

Resistance Band Exercises

It's possible to perform a full-body workout using resistance bands, especially if you have access to a variety of colors. In fact, most exercises that you can do with weights you can adapt for use with a resistance band. Some of the more common exercises to challenge, strengthen and tone your entire body with an exercise band include:

  • Squats
  • Lateral band walk
  • Shoulder press
  • Squat to shoulder press
  • Biceps curls
  • Seated triceps extension
  • Seated row
  • Resistance pushup
  • Lying down leg abduction
  • Seated or standing rows
  • Lat pull-down in chair pose
  • For cardio, hops over the band
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