Even if you have minimal equipment, your lower body workout doesn’t have to be low-end. Using resistance bands can help you get a satisfying workout anywhere, and Pro Tips is here with five mini-band exercises for glutes, hamstrings and quads to help you get started. Keep in mind, all moves can be modified with other band types depending on which style fits your needs.
The key is to try and use a band that challenges you without compromising your form. If you’re having trouble maintaining proper form, switch to a lighter band or try the exercises with only your body weight.
Mary Lauff, a Health Fitness Specialist of Corporate Fitness who works at the DICK’S Sporting Goods Customer Support Center Health Club, suggests doing three sets of these moves. For muscle gain, she recommends a heavier weight and four to six reps. However, for muscular endurance she suggests a lighter weight and 12 to 15 reps.
Monster walks are a versatile exercise. You can adjust the level of difficulty by where you place your band. Frequently used in the beginning of a workout, monster walks help activate your hip abductors and your glutes.
- Place a band around your ankles. If you need less resistance, you can place it above your knees. You should feel tension when your feet are shoulder-width apart.
- Keep your back straight, bend slightly at the knees and place your hands on your hips.
- Take a small diagonal step forward and outward. Keep your knees aligned over your ankles. If your knees collapse inward, switch to a band with lighter resistance.
- Repeat with the other foot.
- After several steps forward, reverse to your starting position.
Like a monster walk, the clamshell exercise can help activate your glutes. It is also used to help strengthen your hips and build muscle development.
- Lie on your side with a resistance band wrapped above your knees.
- With your legs and feet touching, bend your knees at a 45-degree angle.
- While still keeping your feet together, lift your upper knee as much as possible. No other part of your body should move during this step.
- Hold the position for about three seconds and then return to your starting position.
- Repeat and switch sides so that your other leg is on top.
You can also modify clamshells by having your back flat against a wall.
A classic lower body move, squats have an array of variations. While they will mainly target your quadriceps, squats can also help strengthen hamstrings and glutes.
- Place a resistance band around the top of your knees.
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
- Place your hands on your hips, out in front of you or behind your head.
- Keep your back straight. Move your hips backward and bend your knees so that your thighs are parallel with the floor.
- Be sure to hold your chest up throughout the movement.
- Push through your feet and rise up to your starting position.
STANDING LEG CURL
A traditional standing leg curl is often used with a cable machine. This mini-band variation allows you to target and strengthen your hamstrings from home.
- Begin by wrapping one end of the resistance band around the base of your left foot. You should be stepping on the band.
- Place the other end of the band around your right ankle.
- Keep a strong core with your hands on your hips.
- Curl your right leg back so that it creates a 90-degree angle. Slowly release.
- Repeat and switch sides.
SINGLE-LEG GLUTE BRIDGE
Glute bridges work out your hamstring, lower back and your glutes. The single-leg variation brings more of a challenge to your session. However, if the difficulty is too high, you can do a classic glute bridge instead.
- Lie on your back with a band placed just above your knees.
- Bend one knee. Lift your toes off the floor so that only your heel is in contact with the ground.
- Place your other leg straight in the air.
- Keep your core braced and raise your hips off the ground, allowing the stretched leg to follow.
- Your head, shoulders and foot should stay firmly on the floor as the other foot remains raised.
- Hold the position before slowly lowering your body back to the ground.
- Repeat and switch legs.
Now that you have the lowdown on lower body resistance band exercises, check out these five upper body exercises.