On a whim, I bought the USS Enterprise of electric toothbrushes. My teeth are important, I reasoned, therefore I need a state-of-the-art tool.
How wrong I was. Once the post-purchase haze settled I went back to the modest but effective manual brush. Using it felt more comfortable.
It reminded me of a lesson I sometimes forget.
At times the simplest, least expensive equipment fits your individual needs the best.
The same is especially true with fitness.
Part of the appeal of P90X is that it eliminates the need for pricey workout machines or a gym membership. All you need to get started is a chin-up bar, resistance bands or dumbbells, and an exercise mat.
People opt for resistance bands for three main reasons. First, because they’re flexible, accommodating a huge variety of exercises. Second, because they’re lightweight and highly portable. Thirdly, they’re wieldier than free weights to many, making the workout experience more natural.
Choosing the Right Resistance Bands
Tube resistance bands tend to be a better fit for high-intensity workouts than flat bands. Although flat bands can be more comfortable to use for certain exercises the high durability of tube bands make them ideal for P90X.
While the varieties of resistance bands look mostly the same, quality, features, and extras vary greatly. Excited to start with the program, people often pick up low-quality bands on impulse, giving them a bad impression of resistance bands as a workout solution.
To make the search easier I’ve ranked the five sets I like the best, also putting into account feedback from my workout companions.
Most brands offer a starter set, a comprehensive set, and options for people with more specific goals. I’ll be focusing on the best-selling configurations.
Selections are based on overall build quality, value, usefulness of features, and of course how convenient they are to use with P90X.
1. Black Mountain Products Set
Making the top of the list is the popular set from Black Mountain Products. It includes 5 bands with surgical-grade tubing, attachable handles, a door anchor, an ankle strap, and a bag.
The clip system allows you to attach multiple bands at once, making it great for rigorous workouts requiring heavy resistance.
The padded handles are top-notch. However, you only get one pair. It’s impractical to switch between tubes while keeping up with Tony Horton and his crew. Getting an extra set of handles is a necessity.
2. Bodylastics 5 Bands Set
This Bodylastics system is stackable, utilizing a quick clip system to get anywhere from 3 to 96 lbs. of tension. Altogether you get 5 color-coded bands, foam-covered handles, 2 ankle straps, a heavy-duty door anchor, and a bag.
They claim their continuous dipped latex tubes are 99% snap resistant and failsafe. This isn’t just marketing hype because there is a woven cord in the interior of the bands. While it is tough to confirm improved performance anecdotally, Bodylastics bands are well-rated by users with few complaints about snapping – a persistent problem with cheap tubes.
Again, you’ll need an extra pair of handles for quickly swapping bands without meddling with the clip system. Every second counts. You don’t want to become a slave to pressing the pause button, as this will kill your momentum.
3. SPRI Total Body Resistance Kit
This set includes 5 SPRI resistance bands, ranging in tension from very light to ultra-heavy. It also includes two resistance cord handles, an ankle strap, a door attachment, and a travel bag.
SPRI sets used to stand out because their handles were pre-attached. More recently they’ve followed the lead of brands like Bodylastics and separated the bands from the handles. This is both a blessing and a curse. On one hand, you can combine multiple tubes for more tension. On the other, it makes changing resistance levels slower as you have to clip the handles to the desired bands.
The quality is comparable to other top options. SPRI bands aren’t reinforced with internal cords like Bodylastics. However, SPRI tends to be priced competitively to make up for this.
4. Bodylastics 6 Bands Warrior Set
Bodylastics’ Warrior Set is a solid upgrade alternative to their 5 band set. On paper, it only includes one more band. However, it’s a 30lb band that greatly expands its utility in terms of building strength.
In theory, you can combine all the bands to create 156lbs of tension. Thus, this is a set you likely won’t outgrow.
The camouflage bag and the military theme are appealing and unique. It’s well appreciated when you’re searching for your resistance bands in a bin full of various gym equipment.
The great thing about Bodylastics is they’re less likely to snap than generic bands. The internal cord that reinforces them does indeed make a real-world difference.
5. VEICK Resistance Band Set
Ranking fifth, the VEICK set is good but essentially a generic copy of offerings by Bodylastics and Black Mountain Products.
Although the tube quality is solid, users have noted the resistance levels printed on the bands are inaccurate and exaggerated. Considering the price point, it’s not surprising. This set should be considered an entry-level option for P90X.
VEICK doesn’t offer extra handles but other brands do and they’ll work just as well as the originals. Extra handles are essential for those following P90X because you need to have quick access to different levels of resistance.