Resistance bands certainly aren’t as intimidating as heavy weights at the gym, yet they bring on similar results. Honestly, they don’t get enough credit. Resistance band exercises for legs even let you strengthen while you stretch out tight or sore muscles.
“A resistance band, in my opinion, is the best addition for a whole body burn. When you’re pushing against it during an exercise, your muscles have to engage or ‘fire up’ to fight the tension,” says Samantha Jade, creator of BODY by SJ at Project by Equinox and senior instructor at SoulCycle. “While you can use resistance bands for a whole body workout, they’re especially great at shaping the legs and booty.”
Another perk of using resistance band exercises for legs is that they’re affordable and easy to use anywhere. Whether you’re working out in your apartment or packing them in your carry-on for hotel room sweat sessions, you never have to skip a workout again.
Try these 8 resistance band exercises for legs
What you’ll need: Resistance bands like this set of five ($17) from Amazon.
1. Lateral band walk
- Place a looped resistance band above your knees and sit in a partial squat position.
- With your arms forward, chest lifted, and knees bent, lead with your heel and take 8 steps to your left. Make sure your feet stay parallel the entire time.
- Repeat in the opposite direction, making sure to keep your your abs drawn in.
2. Jump squats with bands
- Place a looped band above your knees and stand shoulder-width apart.
- Lower down into a squat, then jump, propelling yourself upward using the muscles in your legs.
- Land softly back in your squat position and repeat.
- Do 2 to 3 sets of 8 reps.
3. Seated banded leg extensions
- Find a sturdy chair or bench and attach your resistance band to the leg or base so it loops around your ankle.
- With your legs at 90 degrees, feel the resistance as you straighten your right leg. Bring your leg back to 90 degrees as you return to your starting position.
- Do a total of 12 reps, then repeat on the left leg.
4. Side leg raises
- Grab a mat and lie down on your side with a looped resistance band above your knees.
- With your bottom leg bent, straighten your top leg. Keeping your hips level and core tight, slowly raise your leg as high as you can, then lower it so it’s hovering above the floor.
- Do 10 reps and 2 to 3 sets on each side.
5. Standing rear leg lift
- Place a looped resistance band around your lower calves. With your hands on something sturdy to stay balanced—like a wall or a chair—raise one leg straight behind you.
- Once you reach the top, squeeze your glutes, then lower back to your starting position.
- Repeat 10 to 12 times on each side.
6. Banded step-out
- Stand with your feet hip-width apart and hinge back into a partial squat position.
- With a resistance band around your ankles and your hands on your hips, step out and back in on your right side.
- Do 10 to 12 reps on each side.
7. Lying leg curl
- Lie on your stomach with your toes pointed down and a resistance band around your ankles.
- Bend your right leg at the knee, bringing your foot to a 90-degree angle. Pause, then lower back down to the floor.
- Do 10 to 12 reps on each side.
8. Leg extension with resistance band
- Lie on your back. Bending your right leg to your chest, hold a resistance band tightly in both hands and place your foot in the center of the loop.
- With your left leg bent or extended on the floor, slowly press your right leg out at a 45-degree angle, then slowly bring it back in to a 90-degree angle.
- Do 12 reps on each side.
If you really want to target your glutes, you need this workout:
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