Ankle Resistance Bands Explained

by Justin Leonard

There are a number of resistance bands for lower body exercises. They all work the muscles in the same manner. However, each style of ankle band has advantages and disadvantages over the others. This guide will focus on the most popular ankle resistance bands, which are generally used for hip, thigh, and butt exercises.

There are three primary styles of ankle resistance bands:

Band Style Cuff Style
Tube Style


Band Style

The most popular choice is the flat band style. This is probably due to both cost and effectiveness. These bands are lightweight and durable, yet considerably lower in cost than tube or cuff style ankle bands. Flat ankle band loops are suitable for any fitness level, including the most advanced of athletes. Since the bands lay flat during use, they can also be worn around the knees or upper thighs to work the leg muscles. One disadvantage of flat ankle bands is that they may not last as long as the others, particularly the lighter resistance levels, because of the thickness of the rubber. Flat bands tend to get nicked easier than other ankle bands. Also, they will eventually peel and come apart over time at the connection point where they are fused together.

Cuff Style

The cuff style band is quite possibly the most comfortable of the three. The adjustable cuffs make it ideal for situations where one might move around a lot (as in fitness or athletic movements). No matter how you move with it, the cuff won’t ride up the legs. One possible disadvantage with the cuff is that it takes the most time to put on and take off. Unlike the other options where all you have to do is step into a loop, the cuff requires a bit more time to put on. This can be problematic in situations where multiple exercises are performed in rapid succession and you have to take time away from the activity to don the cuffs. With that said, the cuff style bands work great in instances where they can be kept on for several minutes during exercise. Cuffs are the most expensive style of ankle bands.

Tube Style

Tube style ankle bands have many of the advantages that flat band loops have plus the benefit of the padded areas. The padded areas add comfort around the ankles during exercise. They also double as grip handles for a few upper body exercises such as the bow and arrow pull. One disadvantage is that tube style ankle bands might have a tendency to ride up the leg during lower body exercises. This could happen if the legs begin to separate too far apart. An advantage is that it can also be secured comfortably around the knees instead of the ankles.



In addition to the three primary styles of ankle resistance bands, there are a number of alternative bands and tubes that can be used. The figure 8 tube works in the same manner as the O-loop exerciser. It has a resting/unstretched length of 15 inches, which means that for exercises involving multidirectional stepping, the feet would have to be positioned farther apart before the resistance is applied. With a typical length of 10 to 12 inches, the other ankle bands might be better for stepping exercises as the resistance is applied sooner because of the shorter band length.

Figure 8 Tube

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