The Difference Between Resistance Tubing Vs. Resistance Bands

Resistance tubing and resistance bands are becoming a popular rehabilitation and training tool due to their effectiveness, low cost and easy portability. They are used to improve muscular strength. Resistance tubes and bands are similar training tools. One can often be substituted for the other, but there are some key differences between the two.

A close-up of resistance bands. (Image: Gema Ibarra/iStock/Getty Images)

Shape

Shape is the biggest and most obvious differences between the two training tools and is what gives them their different names. Resistance bands are flat pieces of elastic that tend to be at least several inches wide. Resistance tubes are round pieces of elastic with a hole in the middle which creates the tube shape. Most tubes measure less than 1 inch in diameter.

Handles

The inclusion of handles is another big difference between the two. Although handles can be fitted on both bands and tubes, they are more often found with resistance tubes. Many different styles of handles can be found on various resistance tubing. Some come permanently attached to the tubing while others can be removed and switched from one tube to another. The wide flat orientation of resistance bands does not lend itself as easily to the inclusion of the handle; a few varieties are available but often at an additional cost.

Cost

Cost can vary greatly depending on the brand, resistance level and amount of material purchased, but it is also true that cost varies between tubes and bands. Most often, you will find that bands are more cost effective than tubes. Bands and tubes can both be bought in large amounts which can then be cut down to the size needed. This can help save on costs.

Exercises

Most exercises can be completed successfully with either type of resistance material, but a few exercises are completed with greater ease when using one version over the other. Exercises that call for the resistance cord to be anchored to floor, such as when used to add resistance to the bench press, are best completed with a resistance band. Exercises that require the resistance be held or attached to pulleys are best completed with resistance tubes.

Varieties

Several varieties are available in both resistance bands and resistance tubing. One variety that is generally associated with resistance bands are loops that are used for lateral movements. One variety that is generally associated with resistance tubes are those that are attached to chairs, steps or other objects. Overall resistance tubing is associated with many more variations than that of bands.

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