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I started using booty bands to exercise—and my workouts will never be the same

These resistance bands from a TikTok-famous trainer mean business.

two booty bands, woman doing an exercise with booty band Credit: Reviewed / Esther Bell

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Last March, when gyms started to close and the realization hit that I'd be working out at home for a long time, I turned to YouTube to get my sweat on in my living room. For a while, I relied on my eight-pound dumbbells and trusty resistance bands to get my blood pumping. But my at-home leg day soon stopped giving me the same burn it once did, and I started to wonder if it was time to level up by investing in something I saw all over Instagram—so-called booty bands, or cloth resistance bands, promoted by TikTok-famous trainer Ryan Read.

What are booty bands?

booty bands
Credit: Te-Rich / Renoj

Booty bands look like resistance bands, but they're made of cloth instead of latex.

Booty bands are thick resistance bands made of woven elastics (not unlike a child's belt) specifically made for leg and glute workouts. They’re typically wider than traditional resistance bands, and the material ensures they don’t slide or twist on your legs (a frequent issue I had while using my rubber resistance bands). Because they are thicker and made of cloth, they also offer more resistance than regular bands. They are popular among celebrities, fitness influencers, and personal trainers, and there are plenty of bands out there to choose from, from brands you know like Gymshark and from no-name companies that sell only through Amazon. (A quick search there will get you about a thousand results.)

While researching booty bands, I came across Ryan Read's Thrive booty bands. Read is a trainer who gained popularity on TikTok for his quick fitness tutorials and videos where he busts fitness myths that run rampant on TikTok and Instagram, such as the idea that eating food before you go to bed will always make you gain weight (it doesn't) or doing an exercise called a "vacuum" will make your waist smaller and hips bigger (it won't). I liked Read's videos, so I thought I'd give his booty bands a try.

What makes Thrive booty bands unique?

thrive bands
Credit: Thrive Specialized Training

Thrive bands come with an instructional guide that teaches you how to use them.

The Thrive booty bands come in a set of two and cost $40. The bands come in a bubblegum pink color and a white leopard print, and have strips of rubber lining on the inside for extra grip. The purchase also includes a digital band guide that shows you how to do 25 different exercises with your new bands that work the inner thighs, hamstrings, abs, and, of course, glutes in ways that deliver visual results and help avoid injury. Both provide 25 to 40 pounds of resistance, which is an intermediate amount of weight compared to other bands on the market (Gymshark’s “light” and “heavy” glute bands offer 15 to 25 pounds and 40 to 50 pounds of resistance, respectively). Thrive claims its booty bands will last “longer than most competitors,” thanks to the “premium” stitching and material.

The $40 price tag makes them more expensive than some (but comparable to Gymshark)—you can get a set of three similar-looking booty bands on Amazon for about half the cost. However, once I got my hands on them, the Thrive bands’ quality, instruction guide, and design seemed to set them apart from others. And, in addition to the quality of the bands themselves, the band guide ensures that you will work your muscles correctly and see better results in the end.

How do the Thrive booty bands feel during a workout?

woman using booty band
Credit: Reviewed / Esther Bell

The booty bands made once-simple exercises much more challenging for me.

The Thrive booty bands immediately delivered on my first need: To make my workouts more challenging. Basic bodyweight squats went from a warm-up exercise to a challenging part of my workout, and I felt my booty burn more than I had in a long time. Exercises like clam shells, fire hydrants, and donkey kicks, which took minimal effort with resistance bands, became much more difficult while using the booty bands. I found myself only being able to do six or eight reps, compared to 12 or 15, before my legs started shaking.

I started off by adding just a few exercises listed in the band guide to my routine, like banded glute bridges and banded clam shells. After consulting the band guide and making a few simple corrections, I was working my glutes, legs, and core more than I had in months. Making sure to keep my pelvic tilt during glute bridges and my feet behind my knees during clam shells, I activated muscles I previously would not have felt during these exercises.

I eventually worked my way up to incorporating the booty bands into more of my home workouts, instead of just exercises targeting the glutes. As someone who enjoys strength training but hasn’t regularly seen the inside of a gym since March, these booty bands really advanced my workout routine.

What I like about Thrive booty bands

thrive booty bands
Credit: Reviewed / Esther Bell

Booty bands don't have to look cute to work well—but it definitely made me more excited to use them

For me, these booty bands added the extra challenge I desired. There was such a difference in the intensity of my workouts, it felt like my first time exercising. And these bands definitely put emphasis on the booty. I felt my butt intensely during leg exercises like squats and lateral walks, and exercises that target the glutes, like bridge thrusts, felt much more challenging than usual.

I’ve only used them for about two weeks, but the bands seem durable and don’t show any sign of wear and tear. They never slip or twist during my workouts, no matter how much I move, sweat, or struggle to complete one more rep. And in addition to being rugged, they’re actually cute. Like a comfortable sports bra or leggings that fit just right, these booty bands make me want to work out just so I can pick them up and use them.

But my favorite part of these booty bands might be the included exercise guide. When you make your purchase, Thrive sends you a code to download a digital PDF, which shows screenshots of 25 different exercises. The screenshots also link to short instructional private YouTube videos from Read on how to properly perform exercises to get the best results and avoid injury. Because of the videos, I realized that I was doing many exercises I learned from YouTube incorrectly, and the band guide helped me fix my form so I could get a more effective, challenging, and safe workout.

I’ve only used these bands for a few weeks so I can’t say I’ve noticed any extreme physical changes yet. But I can say I feel stronger after using them and am making progress during my workouts. I can complete 10 reps of most exercises instead of six (however, the clam shells are still my weakness). I can also do more sets, and include more exercises in my routine before tiring out.

What’s not so great about Thrive booty bands

One downside of these bands is they only come in one size, with a length of roughly 13 inches (or a circumference of 26 inches) unstretched. If you have larger thighs, you may want a larger booty band from another company that fits more comfortably while still offering resistance.

Additionally, if you’re a true beginner to strength training, you may need to start with a lower resistance band and work your way up. I am not new to strength training, and was looking for booty bands that would challenge me and make my workout more difficult—which the Thrive bands absolutely did. However, novices might find these bands to be too challenging to start with. A good option for beginners could be Gymshark's light resistance band, which offers 15 to 25 pounds of resistance and costs $20.

Also, Thrive's bands only come in the two colors I got: Leopard print and pink. I think the colors are cute and they were a big plus for me. But they’re definitely girly, and some may prefer a more neutral, less feminine look.

Are Thrive booty bands worth it?

If you enjoy strength training and like the idea of making booty gains at home, I recommend these bands. They’re cute and comfy to use, feel durable and long-lasting, and they helped me take my leg day up a notch (or five). Because booty bands can be used at home and in the gym, they’re a great buy for any fitness lover to add resistance to your workout of choice.

You don’t have to buy the Thrive set to get the benefit of booty bands, but the pair gives me something that sets it apart from the rest: A distinct look, and advice from a trainer I trust. For me, that makes this set of booty bands is worth the purchase.

Get the Ryan Read booty bands set for $39.99 from Thrive Specialized Training

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