If doing a pull-up still requires a little support, a pull-up assist band can be a great workout accessory to have around. But, a lot goes into finding the correct one for you, and using it safely is paramount. Ultimately, the best pull-up bands match the resistance you need to help support your weight to enable you to ease into pull-ups if you’re a beginner. To find a quality one, look for durable materials that come in a range of resistances so you can adjust as you get stronger.
But to get to the bottom of it, I asked a trainer: How can you find the right pull-up assist band for you and use it safely? According to Ashley Rademacher, a certified personal trainer, CrossFit Level One coach, and founder of the lifestyle blog Swift Wellness, “I love using pull up bands to help assist clients who are looking to build strength in their pull-up form. They are a great way to encourage full range of motion through the entire movement of the pull up.”
How can you find the right one for you? According to Rademacher, “Firstly, I would recommend always using the lightest band that you can that allows you to go through the full range of movement comfortably. If you are working on pull-up form, you would want the band to support your body weight when you are hanging from the bar without giving you the "rubber band" effect of snapping back to the top. The pulling movement should be difficult, but manageable for sets of three to five repetitions.”
Since any fitness advice should be personalized to you, it can be tough to offer blanket advice on which resistances you’ll need. To cover your bases, there are a wide variety of sets below, so you can find the perfect weight for you and gradually adjust it as you train.
Rademacher offers some advice on how to use them safely, “When using them in a workout, I only prefer to use them when the focus is on strength building and quality repetitions. In these situations, the focus is on lower reps and on form. When using pull-up bands in a faster paced workout, such as a Crossfit AMRAP, using assist bands often encourages the athlete to bounce, arch, and throw themselves onto the bar. In this case, the band is just acting as a cushion, but not necessarily as an effective tool for gaining strength. This could also very quickly lead to injury.”
With all of this in mind, here are some of the best pull-up bands on Amazon to choose from.
1. The Best Set For Most
- Resistance levels: 10 - 35, 25 - 65, 35 - 85, and 50 - 125 pounds
With a wide range of resistance levels and an affordable price tag, this popular latex band set is likely the right set for many people. This set of four offers a wide range of support, so you can adjust your resistance level based on your training needs and even decrease the resistance as you train more and build strength. All four bands are made from durable natural latex, affording them tons of stretch. Plus, this set comes with a mesh storage bag, an exercise manual, and a color-coded chart to help you decide which bands to use for which exercises.
According to one reviewer: "So far so good with these bands. One of my fitness goals is to be able to do pull-ups. So far I am only on the largest band but they are definitely worth getting. These bands will help me reach my goals. They are very strong. I am 205 [pounds] and it takes my weight no problem."
2. An Adjustable System With A Lot Of Resistance
- Resistance levels: 150 pounds (each band offers 50 pounds of resistance and can be adjusted to your height; since each band can be removed you can use this at 50, 100, and 150 pounds of resistance)
This pull-up assist system comes with a super-strong strap that connects to your choice of latex bands. Each band provides an extra 50 pounds of resistance, and this set comes with three, so you can choose to connect one or all three to help give you a lift. Plus, it's really simple to remove or add bands as you get stronger. This system also comes with a harness for your foot, and you can adjust the height of the nylon strap and the harness so you can find your perfect level of resistance.
According to one reviewer: "This is great for someone like me who is very much into fitness but has never been able to do a pull up. As a female it is harder to build upper arm strength but the very first day I used it I was doing 5 pull ups at a time in 3 sets. It really is amazing!!!"
3. The Best Single Band
- Resistance levels: 25 - 80 pounds (also available separately in 2 - 15, 5 - 35, 10 - 50, 50 - 120, and 60-150 pounds)
If you want to keep things simple, you can grab one of these single pull-up bands to add to your gear. The one shown above in black applies an extra 25 to 80 pounds of tension, but since the decision on what resistance level is right for you is entirely personal, you can opt for one of the other five colors with varying tension levels. All of the bands are made from thick and durable natural latex that will hold up to wear and tear over time.
According to one reviewer: "I couldn't do a single unassisted chin-up (much less pull-up) to start with. I've been using these resistance bands and doing 5 sets of 8 reps of assisted chin-ups or pull-ups nearly every morning. I started out with band #5, later moved down to #4, and am now using #3. Today, before I started my usual sets, I was able to do a complete chin-up unassisted from a dead hang."
4. The Largest Resistance Range
- Resistance levels: 5 - 15, 15 - 35, 30 - 60, 60 - 100, 70 - 120, and 80 - 150 pounds
With the widest range of resistances of any on this list, this comprehensive pull-up band set has everything you need. It comes with six natural latex bands at varying resistance levels so you can progress in small increments. Like the first pick on this list, this set also comes with its own portable bag, as well as an exercise manual to help guide you in both proper form for pull-ups and other exercises you can do with the bands. But, you'll have to shell out a few extra dollars for the extra resistance levels, which might be worth the upgrade depending on your needs.
According to one reviewer: "I really liked these bands, they provide awesome support with full sturdy. Have been using them daily for last few weeks now and even my kids are enjoying them to do some pull-ups.Used for squats, unilateral lunges, along with triceps, biceps, back.Highly recommend it for your home gym considering quarantine will going to be the new normal."
- Ashley Rademacher, certified personal trainer, CrossFit Level One coach, and founder of the lifestyle blog Swift Wellness