Some equipment in your home gym can last a lifetime. Cast iron weights and hex dumbbells come to mind.
Resistance bands are durable but they’re subject to wear and tear. Just like your trusty running shoes, the materials necessary to serve its purpose can only last so long.
There are three main factors that determine how long resistance bands last:
- The type of resistance bands: flat bands, tube bands, etc.
- How often they’re used, and the level of workout intensity
- How well the resistance bands are maintained
Types of Resistance Bands and Their Durability
When it comes to resistance bands there are more choices than ever for specific applications.
There are three types of flat bands: therapy flat bands, flat loop bands, and power resistance bands. The other main category is tube resistance bands.
Therapy Flat Bands
These are the original type of flat resistance bands. They’re made of rubber latex.
Therapy flat bands are thin and they need to be to deliver the right level of resistance. Thus, on average, flat bands will last two years when used regularly.
Flat Loop Bands
These are just like therapy bands in terms of thickness and width. Traditionally they’re made of rubber latex but fabric bands that are a blend of spandex and cotton are also available.
As you’d expect, flat loop bands last the same amount of time as their sibling: roughly two years.
Power Resistance Bands
As the name implies power resistance bands are thicker and stronger than typical flat bands. They’re designed to provide assistance with exercises such as pull-ups and push-ups.
Power bands tend to last five years and up when used regularly in a home gym.
Tube resistance bands are workhorses. They’re typically made from heavy-duty latex tubing and feature foam grips. Some of the best ones have a reinforced inner safety cord that prevents over-stretching and snapping.
They typically last five years and up.
Level of Use Versus the Age of Resistance Bands
Resistance bands that haven’t been used in months or years can seem to be as good as when you left them. However, when you work out with them again, you’re likely to find they’re prone to snapping.
Nearly all resistance bands are made from a form of latex. Since latex is a naturally biodegradable material it slowly breaks down over time. Thus, whether you use your resistance bands heavily or not at all, they have a shelf life.
Resistance bands can be overstretched or even snap at any point. When it comes to snapping it can be luck of the draw. At times a resistance band can last over six years without breaking and sometimes it can snap within a year.
Indications Resistance Bands Are Wearing Out
First, inspect your resistance bands for cuts, abrasions, and bumps. Try stretching your bands a bit while you look at the surface. Signs of wear are typically subtle and this can help to expose them.
The next biggest indicator of wear is color. Were your resistance bands more vivid in color when you first got them? The vast majority of resistance bands are made from latex. And this material loses its color with time. It happens so gradually that you may not notice any changes. However, this is an indication that the product is near the end of its life.
New resistance bands stretch with ease. Over time, the latex they’re made from loses its elasticity. Does normally stretching your resistance bands put more stress on them than it used to? This loss in elasticity makes the bands more prone to breakage and overstretching.
How to Make Resistance Bands Last Longer
One of the best things you can do to make resistance bands last is to avoid overstretching them. As a rule of thumb, a resistance band shouldn’t be stretched more than double its resting length.
If you find yourself habitually overstretching one, move up to a resistance band with a higher level of resistance.
Store Them Properly
What you do with your resistance bands when they’re not in use is significant too! Store your resistance bands indoors in a dry place with a stable, moderate temperate. Keep them out of environments with high levels of humidity.
If you use your resistance bands outdoors, avoid leaving them out in the sun, or getting them wet.
Clean Your Resistance Bands
When it comes to cleaning resistance bands it’s best to keep things simple. The go-to method is to run a damp cloth along the length of the band. If your bands have collected some dirt, dab a little dish soap on a damp cloth to clean them.
Avoid using any cleaners more powerful than dish soap as it will do more to break down the latex than to clean the material.
If your resistance bands are over three or four years old and still going strong count yourself as fortunate. With consistent use, it’s rare that resistance bands last more than six years.
Resistance bands that have been around the block may look fine and then suddenly snap. It comes down to usage, a bit of luck, and the age of the materials. Keep in mind that it’s normal to replace your resistance bands every two to five years if they play a prominent role in your workout routine.