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Lower Body Workout With Resistance Bands: An impact-free way to stronger legs and glutes

A-back-of-a-woman-working-out-with-a-resistance-bandRecently I posted an article on a killer upper body resistance band workout and so it only seems right that I follow it up with one for the lower body!

I’ve probably said enough by now about what a fan I am of resistance bands and the benefits of resistance band training so I won’t continue to bore you! Let’s just say they can do as much good for your lower half as they can your upper for building muscle, strength and endurance, and really get that heart pumping to boot.

So read on for a joint-friendly, strength-building lower body workout with resistance bands to kick that lower half into some serious shape!

Lower Body Resistance Band Training – The Benefits

It’s a widely known fact that having a strong, defined lower body helps to increase performance – whether that’s in sport, recreation, or just everyday life. Having strong legs and glutes is key to helping improve endurance for all kinds of physical activity whether that’s for jumping, explosive speed, quick foot work, running, cycling, or even carrying the shopping to and from the car – the benefits are numerous.

In addition, free weights are not for everyone, particularly if you suffer from joint pain and swelling as regular weightlifting can put huge strain on ankles, hips and knees. Resistance bands give you the same benefit as free weights but without the weight-bearing impact, and they’re small and portable too which means you can take them with you and work out wherever you go – at home, the gym, the park, on holiday – the options are endless.

Choose The Right Resistance Band

There are a wide range of bands that come in different weights from ultra light to extra heavy. You may want to purchase two or three bands from light to heavy depending on the exercise you’re doing, or to give you something to aim for in terms of gradually increasing the resistance and building strength and muscle. Generally the right band will be one that lets you do between 12 to 15 reps of an exercise in good form before you start to fail. If you’re unable to perform around 12 reps of a given exercise to start with then choose a lighter band, and then when you can complete the given rep range for a particular exercise switch up to a heavier band to ensure you keep progressing. If you only have one band then try doubling or even tripling up on it to increase the resistance.

Before You Begin…

1. Slow and controlled

Remember to go slow and control each movement with these exercises in order to get maximum benefit from your workout. Keep a constant tension on the band and move and stretch slowly to help prevent injury and improve stability and endurance.

2. Make sure to warm up

As with any workout, be sure to warm up before you begin to get the blood flowing to your muscles so they become warm and supple and ready for the workout ahead. Try doing a few minutes of light jogging or marching on the spot and then some jumping jacks to get your blood oxygenated and those lower limbs prepped!

The Workout

Try and incorporate this routine into your weekly workouts at least once, or maybe even twice a week, alternating with upper body work. If you’re already training your lower body with free weights and you’re doing this in addition to that then once a week will be more than sufficient.

Perform each of these six exercises as a circuit which you’ll repeat three times. Work your way through them one by one to equal one circuit then repeat twice more so you end up completing each exercise a total of three times each. Try to progressively increase the resistance over time to continue to make strength gains.

Each exercise should take around a minute to complete and I recommend taking a minute’s rest between each round.

1. Squat jacks

Muscles targeted: Glutes, quads and calves

How to perform it: Place a resistance band around your knees with your legs hip-width apart and feet pointed forward, and lower yourself into a quarter squat. Now jump your feet out to the side and immediately back in again for one rep. Make sure to keep your core tight and your head up and stay in good form ensuring your legs are doing all the work. Continue this for between 12 to 15 reps.

Fancy making it harder? Place the resistance band around your ankles for more challenge!

 

2. Donkey kicks

Muscles targeted: Glutes and core (abdominals and lower back)

How to perform it: Get on all fours on the floor and anchor the resistance band underneath either one or both hands (if it’s a resistance tube you may find it easier with one hand, and with a band you may want to use two – but up to you). Wrap the other end of the band around one foot and then push your leg back and upwards until your upper leg is parallel to the floor. Pause for a second at the top and squeeze the glute before returning to the start position. Repeat for 12 to 15 reps before switching to the other side.

 

3. Side lying leg lifts

Muscles targeted: Hip abductors (glutes) and outer thighs

How to perform it: Lie on your side on the floor and place the band above your knees. Make sure your legs are straight and one is placed on top of the other (stacked). Supporting your upper body with your lower arm, lift your upper leg towards the ceiling as high as you can in good form, pause for a second and then slowly lower to complete one rep. Repeat for 12 to 15 reps, ensuring you keep your upper leg in line with your lower leg throughout. Then repeat on the other leg.

Fancy making it harder? Place the resistance band around your ankles to increase the difficulty

 

4. Band squats

Muscles worked: Quads, hamstrings, glutes and calves

How to perform it: Standing with your legs hip-width apart, place one end of the resistance band under both feet and the other end of the band in both hands. Now raise the band to around shoulder height, or higher if you can manage it, to increase the resistance so you’re engaging your shoulders and arms as well, and keep your back straight and head up and facing forwards. Bend your legs and squat down as if you are about to sit on a chair, pause at the bottom for a second and then come back up to the start. Repeat the move for between 12 to 15 reps.

 

5. Lunges

Muscles worked: Quads, hamstrings, glutes and core

How to perform it: Standing with one foot in front of the other, place one end of the band underneath your front foot and hold onto the other end with both hands whilst raising them up to shoulder height. Keeping your head and chest up and your spine straight, lower your hips until your front thigh is parallel to the floor. Now raise your hips and straighten out the front leg before returning back down again to complete one rep. Perform 12 to 15 reps before switching sides and repeating on the other leg

 

6. Calves resistance band press

Muscles worked: Calves

How to perform it: Place one end of the resistance band underneath both feet and hold the other end in both hands. Now raise your hands up to shoulder height with your palms facing outwards as if you’re about to perform a shoulder press. Slowly raise the back of your heels as if you’re trying to stand on the tips of your toes, hold at the top for a second and then slowly lower back down to complete one rep. Remember to keep your back straight, core tight and head up to maintain your balance. Repeat for 12 to 15 reps.

Ready, Set, Go!

This workout should take you around 30 minutes to complete but see how you go – you may not need that amount of rest, or you may need more, the key is to go at your own pace and concentrate on good form in a slow and controlled manner to get the most out of this routine.

Are you a fan of resistance bands? If so do you combine them with free weight exercise or are you 100% committed to using bands and nothing else? Perhaps you have your own lower body resistance band workout you’d like to share, feel free to comment below!

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