When you think about strength training, do you automatically think about reaching for free weights or heading to the gym to use the machines? Strength training is one of the most important parts of a workout regimen, and resistance band exercises can be an effective and inexpensive tool for people of all ages and fitness levels. Not only can resistance bands be used by themselves, but they can also be used to add intensity to an existing workout.
Exercises performed with resistance bands incorporate more stabilizer muscles because your body must work against the resistance to maintain proper alignment throughout each movement. By adding resistance bands to your workouts, you’ll also see the added benefits of better coordination and balance.
Add Variety to Your Lower Body Workout
Resistance bands are extremely portable exercise tools that should be in everyone’s home gym. Add a new level of strength and sculpting to your exercises by trying this resistance band workout today!
The following resistance band exercise workout focuses on lower body areas that work the quadriceps, hamstrings, gluteal muscles, and the inner and outer thighs. It will help tighten and lift through the legs and butt.
1. Inner Thighs
This workout actually consists of two resistance band exercises — lifts and presses — done together in sequence. It will firm and tighten the inner thighs.
- Sitting on the floor, tie the band around your ankles, keeping your feet slightly wider than hip-distance apart.
- Lean on your right hip and rest on your right elbow for support. Bend your left knee and place your left foot on the floor, stepping your left foot out of the loop you’ve made with the band and placing it on top of the band. This will leave the band resting around your right ankle only.
- Extend the right leg entirely; your inner thigh should be facing up. Slowly lift as high as you can and then lower the right leg 10 times.
- After your tenth lift, keep your right leg straight and go straight into presses: Press your right leg forward as far as you can and then bring it back, keeping it roughly 1-2 inches off the floor.
- Complete 10 presses, and then repeat the entire exercise from “Step 1.”
- After completing the lifts and presses twice with the right leg, repeat the moves with your left leg.
2. Side Steps
This exercise targets the outer thighs, but has an added benefit of keeping tension on the inner thighs during the side-to-side movements.
- Stand with your feet hip-distance apart and tie your resistance band in a knot around your ankles.
- Keeping your toes pointing forward, take a step out to the side with your right leg. Then follow suit with your left leg, being careful not to bring your feet closer than hip-distance apart. Maintaining that distance will ensure a constant tension in the band throughout the exercise.
- Complete eight side steps with your right foot as your lead foot. Then switch directions and lead with your left foot for another eight side steps. This will complete one set.
- Repeat four sets.
3. Squats with the Band
By standing on the band and holding an end in each hand, you’ll increase the difficulty of a traditional body weight squat.
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, centered on the resistance band. Grab an end of the band with each hand.
- Bend your elbows and bring your hands to your shoulders.
- Slowly bend your knees and lower yourself, reaching your tailbone back as if you were going to sit on a chair. Keep your weight on your heels and continue to squat down until your thighs are parallel with the floor.
- Push down through the heels as you lift back to your standing position.
- Repeat 10-12 repetitions to complete one set, and then rest for one minute. Complete a total of three sets.
4. Lunges with the Resistance Band
Using the band during a lunge provides more resistance for the legs, adding intensity to this traditional move.
- Stand with your right foot in the center of the resistance band and place your left foot behind you. Hold the ends of the band in each hand and bring your hands up to your shoulders. This is your starting position.
- Keeping your right foot on the floor, bend both knees as if you were getting ready to kneel down on your left knee (you’ll be on the ball of your left foot). It’s important to keep your right knee directly over your ankle and to tuck your hips slightly under. You want to “sink” into position. Continue to bend your right knee until your right leg forms a 90-degree angle. Slowly lift yourself back to your starting position, squeezing your glutes as you come up.
- Repeat this move 10-12 times, and then repeat with your left leg. You can work up to doing two sets of the 10-12 repetitions with each leg.
Image by Lululemon Athletica
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