Lifting weights on leg day may not be enough to achieve strong, powerful legs. With the utilization of proper workout tools, you can create a more dynamic workout and target muscle groups that you may otherwise not have. Using resistance bands before, during, or after your leg workouts can contribute to achieving the desired result. Here are 10 resistance band exercises to obtain those toned, powerful, and resilient leg muscles.
1. Lateral-Band Steps
Begin with placing a resistance band above the knee or lower legs. Above the knee is an easier movement, whereas around the ankles or lower legs are more advanced. Bend the knees and hips slightly, shoulder-width apart with chest and head up right. Take a lateral step with knees bent and drop lower with each step, assuming a sort of squat. You can go as low as what feels comfortable, but this exercise is a great way to spice up squats using resistance bands.
2. One and One-Quarter Squats
As a more advanced exercise, the one and one-quarter squat is a great way to build strong legs. You can complete this exercise with weights, but you can also do this exercise with resistance bands. Begin with placing a resistance band above the knees. Drop down to a very low squat, come up a quarter of the way and hold for 5 seconds. Drop back down to your original low squat position and then come all the way up. This counts as 1 compound movement and you can repeat this 8-10 times per set.
3. Single-Leg Stands
This exercise is great to not only build strong legs, but also can improve mobility as well as flexibility. Place a resistance band around your ankles and stand straight up. If you need to hold onto a wall, you can do so but ensure that you’re not placing all your weight on the wall. Move one leg out to the side at a time, ensuring to engage that muscle group for optimal results. Depending on the resistance of your band, you can complete 10-15 of these per set, repeating 2-3 times or whatever you see fit.
4. Standing Glute Kicks
Much like the Single-Leg Stands, you can target your groups with a similar exercise. Begin with the resistance band around your ankles and stand straight up with your hands on your hips, or leaning on a wall, for balance if you need it. Kick your legs back, while engaging those muscles and feeling the “burn”. This accurately targets the glute muscles in order to tone and build up those muscles.
Clamshells are a fantastic way to engage your hip muscles and tone up the inner part of your thighs. Begin with laying on your side with your back straight up and knees curled up towards your body. Place the band in the middle of your thighs, or above the knees and separate your legs in a clamshell-like fashion. You will truly feel your glutes getting activated with this exercise so ensure to engage those muscles with mind-to-muscle connection.
6. Runner’s Extensions
With this exercise, you can strengthen your core as well as your legs. Begin by laying on the floor, flat on your back with hands to your sides. Lift your legs in the air as if in a sitting motion with calfs raised parallel to the floor. Place the resistance band around your feet, near the mid of your feet. Straighten out your leg and extend it, while keeping your other leg in the initial position. Complete 10-15 on each side before switching to the next leg.
7. Side-Lying Leg Lifts
This exercise can strengthen hip-abductor muscles similarly to the standing glute kicks. With this exercise, lay down on your side with your legs extended as if you were standing up. Place the band around either the ankle and lift the leg you’re not laying on up into the air about shoulder-length apart. Repeat 10-15 times per set and switch off legs.
8. Squat Jacks
This exercise does a great job of targeting your glutes, your quads, and your calves all at the same time. With squat jacks, the goal is to harness as much power in your legs as possible during lift-off in order to really target and build up those muscles. Place band above your knee, with legs shoulder width apart. Squat down and shoot up into a jumping jack using all the power in your legs, and drop back down into a squat and begin another rep.
9. Monster Walk
Monster Walks are a great way to target your glutes and engage your core. Start with your resistance band at your ankles, standing with your shoulder width apart. Engage your core and stand with your knees bent slightly. Shift your hips back and your upper body slightly forward. Keep your feet separated to a point where you feel the band’s tension and walk within that stance backwards. Your hips should stay isolated where they are and you should feel tension in your glutes and abs.
10. Hip Bridges
To target hamstrings and the glutes, hip bridges are a great exercise to do. Start on the floor with your hand down by your sides. Pull your legs up with your feet on the ground and your knees up to the sky. Engage your core and only use your hips to push up towards the sky and squeeze your glutes at the top of the bridge. Keep your upper body on the floor as best as you can and truly engage your glutes during this exercise. Repeat 12-15 times per set.