Are you looking for a new way of working out? Let’s face it, most of us don’t have the gym equipment to follow our usual workouts. So we need to adapt. Resistance bands might not seem hugely exciting to look at, but they can be one of the best and compact tools in your home workout.
Resistance bands are a relatively cheap and super-effective way to add difficulty to your workout — whether it’s those fast-paced HIIT sessions or your favourite booty-building exercises. Sometimes we forget how simple it can be to get a little fitter. We don’t need expensive pieces of equipment and technology, just the determination to push our bodies and increasing the intensity.
Resistance Band Workout
We asked @Sarahgracce to show us her favourite resistance band exercises for legs and she certainly delivered. With eight resistance band exercises for you to try, grab those bands, put your headphones on and be prepared to give them a go.
1. Bulgarian Split Squats
Targeted Muscles: Quads, glutes.
The split squat is a great way to build single-leg strength, muscle, and improve hip mobility. Oh, it will test your balance and coordination too.
- Place one foot on a solid surface behind you and take a big stride out. A bench or chair is perfect for this.
- Keeping your body upright, slowly lower yourself until your front knee is bent at a 90-degree angle.
- Pause at the bottom of the move, then push back up to the starting position
“Your positioning is really important. If you’re too close to the bench and you might experience knee pain, but, if you’re too far away you’ll put extra pressure on your groin. Ensure your front knee doesn’t travel beyond your toes, and remember to keep your core engaged and torso upright”.
2. Stiff-Leg Deadlifts
Targeted Muscles: Hamstrings, lower back, glutes.
Stiff legged deadlifts are an isolating exercise and great when used as an accessory to those bigger squats and deadlifts. They’ll target your hamstrings and glutes, as well as your lower back and core.
- Standing on your resistance band, grab both ends and assume the starting position.
- Using your hips as a hinge, lean forward keeping a slight bend in the knee throughout.
- Slide the band down your legs keeping your back flat and spine neutral.
- Drive your hips back and lower the band as far as possible, until you feel the stretch in your hamstrings.
- Push back up and return to the starting position.
“The wider your stance on the band, the tighter and more resistance they’ll provide. It’s really easy to increase and decreased the difficulty to suit your needs. They’re also great for stretching out your tight hamstrings after a tough leg session”
3. Standing Kickbacks
Targeted Muscles: Glutes and hamstrings
Standing kickback work all three muscles in your glutes, while also engaging the hamstrings as a secondary muscle.
- Loop the band just above both ankles.
- Keep the body stable and reduce twisting by engaging the core.
- Kick backwards slowly, tensing the glute for 1 second each time.
- Keep a slight bend in the knee during the movement.
- Once you’ve done all your reps on one side, switch legs.
- Do all your reps on one side, then switch to the other side.
“A benefit of using bands is that it provides a resistance to your muscles throughout the full range of motion. There is no resting point, so your glutes are activated for a longer time. Remember to keep the tension on the band and try not to rest your foot throughout the movement.”
4. Single-Leg Hip Thrust
Targeted Muscles: Glutes and core
The Single-leg hip thrust is an advanced variation on the standard hip thrust, so it’s best to try it without using any resistance first. That’s because using only one leg creates an instability that can cause you to topple over.
- Attach each end of the resistance band under each foot with the band wrapped over the upper leg.
- Place your back against a bench, step or chair, with one knee bent and your foot flat on the floor.
- Raise your other leg and bend your knee so that your hip and knee form 90-degree angles.
- Using the one leg, push away, squeeze your glutes and raise your hips until they’re in line with your torso.
- Lower yourself back down to the starting position. That’s one rep.
“This variation is the perfect way to fix any strength imbalances in your lower body, as well as challenging your core by having one leg lifted at each time.”
5. Kneeling Kickbacks
Targeted Muscles: Glutes, hamstrings
Glute kickbacks are good lower body exercise that helps to develop and strengthen the glute muscles. Your glutes are the some of the largest and strongest muscles in the body, responsible for ensuring the stability of the pelvis and hip movement.
- Start on all fours and align your wrists under your shoulders and your knees under your hips.
- Anchor the middle of your resistance band around one foot and place the other underneath your palms, to hold it in place.
- Without changing the angle of your knee, extend your leg back and upwards until your thigh is parallel to the ground.
- Squeeze your glutes at the top of the movement and hold.
- Return to your starting position without touching your knee to the ground and repeat.
- Swap legs and repeat the steps.
“When you extend the banded leg out behind you, you might need to change the angle of the knee to 45 degrees to keep the band from slipping.”
6. Walking Squats
Targeted Muscles: Glutes, Quads, hips.
You should be able to feel this on the outside of your hips and thighs. For an extra quad workout, perform the exercise from a deeper squat position.
- Take a light to medium band and place it around both legs, just above your ankles.
- Lower yourself into a squat, getting as low as you feel comfortable.
- Take two steps to the side and lower yourself into another squat.
- Make sure you have resistance on the band at all times
“Try to keep your weight in the centre, core engaged, and a constant tension in the band throughout the movement. You can also try wrapping the band around your thighs, just above your knees.”
7. Fire Hydrants
Targeted Muscles: Hip Abductor muscles which include the gluteus medius, gluteus minimus, and tensor fasciae latae.
Fire hydrants, or hip abductions, are a type of bodyweight exercise. They mainly work the gluteus maximus, but some variations can also work the core. They can help sculpt those glutes.
- Loop your resistance band just above your knees.
- Get yourself onto all-fours with your hands under your shoulders and knees under your hips.
- Push one leg away from the body by lifting your left knee out to the side. It’s important to keep your core engaged so your body doesn’t rotate during the movement.
- Return your leg to your starting position. That’s one rep.
- Once you’ve done all your reps on the side, switch legs.
- Do all your reps on one side, then switch to the other side.
“Mini bands are great for this! But, if you don’t have one, don’t worry. Just double your resistance band over.”
8. Glute Bridges
Targeted Muscles: Glutes, core, hips, quads.
Glute Bridges are one of the most effective exercises to tone the glutes and the hamstrings. This lower body exercise isolates and strengthens the glutes, hamstrings, the core, the hip muscles, and lower back muscles.
- Wrap both ends of the band around your feet.
- Lie on your back placing the band over the knees, resting on your upper legs, with your feet shoulder-width apart.
- Pressing upwards, squeeze the glutes at the top for 1-2 seconds.
- 15-20 reps would provide a great burn to finish.
“The glute bridge is an amazing way to get a strong core and lower back as well as glutes and hamstrings. Plus, it makes a great finisher for your workout”.
Take Home Message
Whether you can make it to the gym or not, there’s no excuse for skipping leg day. With @Sarahgracce's eight favourite resistance band exercises for legs, you 'll see that resistance band workouts can be just as effective.
The next time you're looking for the ultimate resistance band exercises for legs, we've got you covered. Utilising several compound movements, you can put those resistance bands to work with minimal equipment and space needed.
So, whatever the obstacle standing in your way, don’t let it stop you achieving your goals and having the ultimate resistance band home workout.