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PING! There goes the snap as the latex breaks and the end of the band flies off and hits you in the face.
But how long do resistance bands last until this happens? The answer to this varies heavily on whether you look after them properly or not. It could be years or months.
And you can most definitely prolong their lives by following the tips below!
Let’s get into it.
Can resistance bands break?
Yes, resistance bands can break. This is mainly due to general wear and tear, but misuse can also make them snap if you stretch them too much. Keep in mind that you can also injure yourself if the bands break, so ensure you’re exercising safely at all times.
Why do resistance bands break?
So why and how can resistance bands snap? Let’s look at the most common reasons for a resistance band break.
1. Wear and tear
I challenge you to find a resistance band that will NEVER break.
Even some of the best exercise bands are going to run out of juice at some point. But, you’re fortunate enough that they don’t cost an arm and a leg.
If you look after them as you should (check how to do this below!), then you’ll get some serious payback from the bands.
DON’T LET YOUR KIDS PLAY WITH THEM!
Ok, do… but teach them how to use them properly rather than letting them tie them around table and chair legs to trip you over, like the stealth assassins they are.
Also be mindful of the maximum resistance each band can take and adhere to that level.
While resistance bands are incredibly durable, they can stretch, snap and break through general misuse.
A classic example I see is people looping them through a kettlebell. While lighter kettlebells aren’t going to cause too much stretch, it’s not what the bands were intended for.
And sure, they’ll still last a while, and you can perform some really good exercises by doing this, but you’ll shorten their lifespan.
3. Poor storage
What do you do when you’re done with your bands?
Leave them on the floor?
Chuck them on the chair?
Let the dog play with them?
Not storing them properly can cause more damage over time than if they were safely stored. See below for some tips on proper storage.
4. Damage from heat
There’s nothing quite like working out with resistance bands out in the sun, especially down at the beach with sand in your toes.
It’s fine to do this, of course, but leaving your bands out in the sun will reduce their shelf lives. This is mainly due to heat corroding latex rubber.
5. Damage from chemicals
Don’t be spray-happy and use cleaning products on your resistance bands.
General anti-bacterial products might be ok, but it’s best to stay away from any kind of chemical products to ensure your bands last as long as you.
I’m not talking about breaking out your DeWalt saw of doom, so don’t go getting ideas!
“Sawing”, where resistance bands are concerned, is when two ends rub together during a workout. Naturally, this causes friction and will wear the material down faster than usual.
Some people “fold” the band in half to create more resistance, but this will wear your band out.
Instead, just shorten the band by moving your hand placements closer to the middle.
7. Poor anchoring
If you’re anchoring the band—on a door, for example—ensure that it’s fixed well.
The band will move and stretch at the anchor point, but a loose connection will cause more wear and tear than expected.
If you can, grab some resistance bands with built-in anchor points. That way, you can enjoy the benefits of resistance bands for much longer.
For you animal-lovers out there, try and keep your resistance bands away from your furry friends.
Sure, kids are the worst culprits, but dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, goats, donkeys, walruses and polar bears (too much!?) love playing with them, too!
Lock-up (legally!) your pets before you work out, and ensure you store them well away from those rabid teeth.
How long do resistance bands last if cared for?
Resistance bands last from as little as 6 months to 2 or 3 years if you care for them properly. My latest set of tube bands have lasted 3 years, whereas my previous set of recovery bands lasted 2 years, both with moderate use.
Tube bands will last the longest since they’re much thicker, but the more thinner recovery bands should still give you a couple of years.
I don’t use my set anywhere near as much as I should, but I’m happy with how long they’ve lasted.
My wife will tell you that they’re currently gathering dust, but I have an excellent excuse…
… my cat ate my homework!
5 ways to help stop a resistance band breaking
Will resistance bands snap eventually?
Maybe! It depends on you.
But there are some key things you can do to stop your resistance bands from breaking:
1. How to store resistance bands to improve their life
These easy hacks might seem obvious, but you’ll be surprised how many people don’t store them correctly.
Use a rack and hang them
In an ideal world, your resistance bands should be hung in their natural state on a resistance band storage rack.
This prevents them from being overstretched and allows the material to rest in its natural state.
While I always recommend going for the best resistance band storage rack, you can also hang them in your closet, just like you would a shirt or blouse.
Avoid excessive cold, heat (and sunlight)
No matter where you store your bands—rack, closet, or elsewhere—be mindful of any heat sources nearby.
We’ve already established that excessive heat can warp the material, so while being aware of any heaters, keep in mind exposure to direct sunlight.
If you have a dedicated workout area or gym at home, this is easier to do, but just ensure you don’t leave your bands lying around in the sun or near that heat source after you complete your resistance band workout routine.
Similarly, I know many of you with home gyms use unheated garages, so make sure you look after those bands, and consider storing them at usual room temperature.
Keep away from moisture
The key is to avoid consistently getting your resistance bands wet.
Dropping a splash of water on them isn’t going to turn them into Gizmo from the Gremlins (cute, but vicious!).
But, if they’re consistently exposed to moisture or stored in a damp environment, they’ll degrade much faster than they should.
Don’t put anything on them
Clearly, using a storage rack is the best option, but it’s fine to store them in a box or container ON other items or workout gear.
Just avoid storing UNDER other items. Flat resistance bands will fare better than tube bands in this situation; so do the right thing and lay them on top of something.
2. How to lubricate resistance bands to improve their life
FUN FACT: You shouldn’t actually need to lubricate your resistance bands if you’re looking after them carefully (see below for cleaning tips!)
If you really want to lubricate your resistance bands, ensure you use one that contains silicone.
You simply can’t go wrong with WD-40.
3. How to clean resistance bands properly
The exact method of how to clean resistance bands depends on whether they’re fabric or latex.
Check out the different methods below:
How to clean fabric resistance bands
What you need:
- Bucket/container (big enough to contain the bands)
- Clean warm water (tap water works)
- Mild detergent (clothing detergent like this one is fine)
- Fill your container with warm water. DON’T USE HOT WATER: it could shrink the fabric over time.
- Add a teaspoon size or less of the mild detergent
- Ensure the detergent is mixed with the water
- Submerge the resistance bands in the water
- Gently rub the bands with hands to clean them
- Rinse the bands under running water to rinse out the detergent
- Hang them to dry away from direct sunlight and not near a direct heat source
How to clean latex resistance bands
What you need:
- 2x Microfiber cloths like these or clean towels (microfiber is better since it doesn’t shed fibers)
Clean, warm water (again, don’t use hot water since it could shrink the latex)
- Dampen a microfiber cloth or towel with the clean, warm water
- Gently wipe down the resistance bands
- Dry the bands with the other microfiber cloth or towel
- Hang them to dry away from direct sunlight and not near a direct heat source
NOTE: You can use mild detergent with latex bands as per the fabric band method, but it’s best not to.
You can use a mild detergent with latex bands as per the fabric band method, but it’s best not to.
4. Choose resistance bands that don’t break as easily
I always recommend you buy high-quality workout gear from the beginning rather than going for the cheapest.
This extends (no pun intended!) into resistance bands, both in terms of your bands lasting longer and getting a better quality workout (higher resistance).
You’ll know resistance bands that don’t break easily mainly by feel. When you stretch them, does the material fade and go thin?
If so, they’re poor quality, but also check out our resistance band color code guide to ensure you’re getting the right resistance since some look like they’re stretching more than others.
In addition, fabric (cotton) bands are less likely to break than latex resistance bands. Sure, they’re more of a pain to maintain, but they’re a better choice in pure terms of lasting longer.
Having said that, some natural rubber resistance bands claim to be anti-snap, such as the Bodylastics Resistance Bands set.
5. Anchor the resistance bands correctly
Some resistance bands come with an anchor so you can avoid using a door handle or another surface that will cause avoidable friction.
While these tend to be more expensive, you’ll likely save in the long run.
And, if you really have to anchor them on a door or something similar, inspect the surface for jagged edges or anything that can rip the band.
Already got a broken resistance band on your hands?
“My resistance band snapped. What should I do?”
I hear it all the time. The short answer is, buy another one.
Really… they’re so affordable; repairing them isn’t like repairing a car. It’s just a Band-Aid method for preventing the inevitable.
Plus, it depends on the band type:
- Tube: While these are harder to fix, they’re also less likely to break and are worth repairing. It’s usually the ball joint on the handle that breaks (see below)
- Loop: If a loop band snaps, you can tie it back together, but this is still a weak point
- Recovery/therapy: Again, you can tie them back together, but they’re usually flat and very thin so will be much weaker after the snap/break
- Latex: The above types are usually made from latex and are easier to fix than fabric
- Fabric: Harder to fix due to the inherent thickness of fabric/cotton compared to latex
Resistance bands snapping isn’t the end of the world.
If you’re really determined that your resistance bands will last for eternity, there are some handy things you can do…
How to fix resistance bands
How to fix resistance bands largely depends on the band type, but the most common ways are:
Tie them back together
If your flat latex resistance band snaps, you can simply tie a knot with the two ends.
Note that the snap has already weakened the band, so all you’re doing is creating another weak point.
Apply some tape
Getting some extra-strong tape and reconnecting the snapped ends can also work, but it’s still prolonging the inevitable.
Note that this can work with both latex and fabric resistance bands, but you do need a super-strong tape for this to work.
I recommend going for some Gorilla tape for this.
Fixing the ball handle joint on a tube band
Since tube bands are much stronger than flat bands, it’s likely the joint that breaks on this.
What you need:
- Nose pliers
- Alcohol (optional)
- Cut away the damaged resistance band rubber
- Remove the ball and store it safely (those things roll away for fun!)
- Apply some alcohol inside the tube
- Apply some alcohol to the end of the nose pliers
- Stretch the tube open
- Push the ball into the tube
- Remove the nose pliers
- Reconnect the rest of the joint and handle
- Gently test the entire band before working out to avoid injury
Key takeaways on resistance band rubber care
Do resistance bands wear out? Of course they do.
But, they can last for years if you look after them correctly.
Resistance band care is pretty simple but often overlooked. The best way to care for resistance bands is to wipe them down after use and store them in a rack out of direct sunlight and away from a heat source.
Doing this will save you money and get more enjoyment from your resistance bands workouts.
Finally, if you’re wondering where the image toward the top of the page came from, credits go to this guy who probably isn’t too interested in the safety factor of how long resistance bands last.
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