Best Pull Up Bands – A 2018 Review
updated October 5, 2018
When it comes to working out, the humble pull up is the best thing you can do to build and strengthen the muscles of your upper body. Of course, the exercise is only as good as the manner in which it is performed. Many people struggle to do even one correct pull up. As a result they twist and contort themselves, using momentum more than muscle to bring their body up to the bar. What they need is a way to perform pull ups with perfect technique, even when they can’t do a full rep under their own strength. Well, that’s precisely what a pull up bar band is designed to do.
Pull up bar bands provide an instant spotter to support you when you can’t complete a pull up by yourself. They allow you to progressively increase your strength to the point where you can complete a full pull up completely under your own power.
What is a Pull Up Band?
Pull Up bar bands consist of a large rubber band that loops over your pull up bar and then hangs down to allow you to place a foot or a knee in the other end of the band. This allows the band to take some of the load of your bodyweight. This makes it easier for you perform the pull up movement, allowing you to concentrate on maintaining the correct form and really working the target muscles of the upper back rather than simply trying to get up toward the bar at any cost.
A pull up band will provide the most help at the beginning of the pull up movement. This the part that many people have trouble with. Once they have managed to initiate the pull, they are often able to complete a rep.
The greater the stretch on a band, the more force it will expend on the opposite direction. As you get more slack with the weight of your body coming up, the band gives less assistance. This makes the pull up band a great spotter at the bottom of the pull up exercise. This the part of the exercise where you are demanding that your biceps work in isolation.
Why Use A Pull Up Band?
Having an assistance device to help you at the very start of the pull up movement is the key to improving your pull up strength. Without the aid of a pull up bar, your options for training to be able to a proper complete pull up unassisted are to:
- Perform negative reps
- Perform jump pull upsp
- Performing half pull ups through the mid-range of the movement
Although useful, none of these techniques target the biggest sticking point, which is the initial biceps pull to initiate the movement.
How To Use A Pull Up Band?
Pull Up Bands are differentiated by their length and their thickness. The thicker the band, the more resistance it will provide. The shorter the length of the band, and the greater its thickness, the more resistance it will provide. Keep in mind that the greater the resistance level of the band, the more assistance it will provide when you are performing your pull up action.
Pull Up Band manufacturers will color code the resistance levels of their bands. Often the resistance level of a band will be matched to a weight range. The buyer simply selects the weight range that they are in.
Steps to using your pull up band:
- Choke the band around the center of the pull up bar.
- Pull the end of the band down and place one knee into the loop, ensuring that it won’t slip out.Take a medium to wide grip on the bar.
- Pull yourself upward by contracting the lats. Pull to the front, attempting to get your chin over the bar. Avoid swinging or jerking movements.
- After a brief pause, return to the starting position.
Using More Than One Band
Once you get stronger, you’ll be ready to perform drop sets, where you set up two or even three bands side by side on the bar. By placing bands with different resistance levels alongside each other, you’ll be able to simulate the traditional dumbbell drop set method. Please the bands so that they move away from the center of the bar in increasing resistance levels. Begin the exercise by placing all the bands around your foot or your knee. Perform as many strict reps as you possibly can. Then immediately release one the lightest band from your foot (or knee). Now pump out more strict reps until you can’t do another one. Release the next band and continue until you have reached the point of failure.
This is a great way to totally exhaust the muscles of your upper back, while massively boosting your strength level.
Advanced Pull Up Band Moves
Pull Up Bands are great for beginners to enable them to get strong enough to perform unassisted pull ups with good form. But they’re also a great tool for more advanced athletes who want to take their pull ups to the next level. Here is a progression to show you how to use pull up bands to assist in performing front lever pull ups:
Two Foot Front Lever Pull Up
Choke the band over the center of the bar. Place both feet into the band and then grab the bar with a medium pull up grip. Keeping your scapular pulled back, pivot at the hips to allow your feet to come up to a parallel position with the floor. Push up with your lower back as you maintain a level body position. Your arms should be straight. Now perform front lever pull ups by pulling up so that your core (not your chest) touches the bar.
Front Lever Hold
Assume the same position as before but, instead of performing pull up reps, hold the top of the pull up movement (with your core at the bar) for as long as you can.
Single Foot Front Lever Hold
Perform the exact action as with the two foot hold, but, this time, just have one foot (or knee) in the band.
Reduced Resistance Band Front Lever Pull Ups
Each week endeavor to use a band that gives you less resistance as you perform the movement. After you change bands, you should begin again with both feet in the band and work through the three progressions.
Pull Up Bar Bands Review
We’ve scoured the marketplace to find the very best pull up bar bands for review. The five bands that follow are the best pull up bar bands available online. Read on to discover which one is right for you.
The Monster Band range by Rogue is designed for many resistance exercise uses. As well as providing excellent assistance on pull ups, they can also be used for speed and agility training, plyometrics, stretching, rehabilitation training, flexibility exercise and resistance training. They can also be used to add resistance to the squat and bench press.
The bands are graded according to the following guidelines:
- Micro (Orange - 15 lb resistance), Mini #1 (Red - 30 lb resistance) and Monster Mini #2 (Blue - 50 lb resistance) are ideal for beginners or those who are wanting to use the bands for aerobic conditioning or speed training.
- Light #3(Green - 65 lb resistance) and Average #4 (Black - 100 lb resistance) bands are a good option for people who can do a few reps already out are aiming to get up to between 12-15 unassisted pull up reps. These bands can also be used for bench press and squatting.
- Strong #4 (Purple - 140 lb resistance), Heavy Duty (Red - 170 lb resistance) and Super #7 (Silver - 200 lb resistance) are best for experienced lifters who really want to max out or are working on advanced pull up movements.
User reviews on the Rogue bands is almost universally positive. The only issues are that bands tends to stretch beyond their normal length over time and the stated resistance level is about 20% more than the actual level when tested.
The Rogue Fitness Pull Up Bands range in price from $16 to $105.00
The durable bands in the Mummy Strength range are constructed of premium latex rubber and are available in resistances from 5 to 175 pounds. With each purchase, you’ll receive a free digital download guide. The five band options are color coded in green, red, purple, black and blue. These bands are thicker and heavier than many on the market, and there have been no online reports of the bands losing their elasticity and stretching out of shape. It is worth pointing out that the bands may have an unpleasant odor when you first get them. This does fade over time.
Serious Steel offer six different color coded resistance band levels. Bands have a thickness of 4.5mm. The bands are pure latex 100% and 99.99% free of latex allergens. The resistance range is between 5 and 150 pounds. These bands can comfortably handle a 300 pound person. A free pull up and band starter guide is provided with every purchase.
The Functional Fitness bands come in color coded resistance options from 20 to 150 pounds. The band resistance levels are as follows:
- 1/2" Red #2 - 20-35 lbs
- 3/4" Black #3 - 30-50 lbs
- 1 1/8" Purple #4 - 40-80 lbs
- 1 3/4" Green #5 - 50-120 lbs
- 2 1/2" Blue #6 - 60-150 lbs
The band is one continuous loop with no seam. Some users have experienced breakages with these bands when they are being used by people heavier than 250 pounds.
WODFitter bands are made from extremely high quality rubber. These bands are very popular with CrossFitters due to their strength, reliability and ability to retain their shape year after year. They come in five different resistance and power levels based on their thickness. Each band is color coded to match these resistance levels:
- Red - 10 to 35 Pounds (1/2 " *4.5mm)
- Black - 30 to 60 Pounds (3/4 " *4.5mm)
- Purple - 40 to 80 Pounds (1.25 " *4.5mm)
- Green - 50 to 125 Pounds (1.75 " *4.5mm)
- Blue - 65 to 175 Pounds (2.5" *4.5mm)
Each band is 41 inches long.
Resistance bands are an essential training aid for everyone who values pull ups. For beginners, they will provide the push that will get you to performing stand alone pull ups in record time. Advanced trainers can use them to work up to moves like muscle ups and front lever pull ups.
The best pull up bar band that we could find, in terms of range of resistance, strength, thickness, and price was the Mummy Strength Pull Up Assist and Mobility Band.