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10 Resistance Band Leg Exercises For At-Home Lower-Body Workouts

trainer kehinde anjorin performing quadruped resistance band leg exercise

Kathryn Wirsing

Don’t get me wrong; I love using weights to build stronger, more defined legs—but it IS absolutely possible to see results without them. Whether you’re working out at home from a teeny-tiny bedroom or just need a break from the dumbbells, kettlebells, and barbells (oh my!), do yourself a favor and give resistance band leg workouts a chance.

But how can you possible reap major benefits with just resistance bands—especially if you’re used to hitting the weights? Two simple tactics make a world of difference.

The first: unilateral (a.k.a. single-leg) exercises, which require your working leg to fire double-time. And the second: tempo work, in which you slow down your pace to increase the amount of time your muscles spend under tension (or actively engaged), ultimately increasing the stress you put on them and boosting the results you see.

Trust me, DIY a workout with the resistance band leg exercises here and you’ll never underestimate this super-simple piece of equipment ever again. Your entire lower body, from your glutes to your quads to your hamstrings, will be torched for days.

Time: 15 minutes

Equipment: long resistance band, box (or another sturdy, elevated surface, like a stair)

Good for: legs, lower-body

Instructions: Choose four exercises below. Perform 15 reps of each, then continue onto the next, resting only as needed. After you’ve finished all of your movements, rest for at least one minute. Then, repeat three times more for a total of four rounds.

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1

Banded Curtsy Lunge

Muscles worked: quads, glutes, hamstrings

How to: Start standing with feet hip-width apart, a long resistance band beneath arch of right foot, and one end of the band in either hand at chest-height, elbows bent and close to body. Take a big step back with left leg, crossing it behind right side. Bend knees and lower hips until right thigh is nearly parallel to the floor. Keep torso upright and hips and shoulders as square as possible. Return to start. That’s one rep. Perform 15 on each side, then continue on to your next move, resting as needed. After you’ve finished all of your exercises (remember, you’re doing four total), rest for one minute, then repeat the entire workout three times more for a total of four rounds.

Pro tip: Press right knee outward throughout movement to engage side-butt (a.k.a. glute medius) muscle.

2

Banded Front Squat

Muscles worked: quads, glutes, hamstrings

How to: Stand on the middle of the resistance band with feet hip-width apart, holding one end of the band in either hand. Bend arms to bring hands up next to ears, and lift elbows up until triceps are parallel to the floor and narrow. This is your starting position. Keeping arms still, engage core and bend at knees to sink hips back and down until thighs are parallel to floor. Press through feet to extend legs and return to standing. That’s one rep. Perform 15, then continue on to your next

‘After My Leg Was Amputated, Fitness Helped Me Focus On My Gains Instead Of Losses

Photo credit: Christine Yi
Photo credit: Christine Yi

From Women’s Health

In an effort to balance working hard with playing hard, I once took a red-eye flight back from Whistler to New York City after a big ski trip and went straight to my office where I spent a long day managing a hedge fund. By the time I hopped on the subway to head home, I was so exhausted that I lost my balance while I was exiting the train. I fell between cars, landed on the tracks, and my lower right leg was crushed beneath a wheel. I had to have a below-the-knee amputation as a result.

That was 17 years ago, and since then, I’ve undergone over 20 surgeries and seven blood transfusions—my most recent hospitalization was this past summer. At first, it was a struggle for me to walk just one city block—I didn’t have the muscular endurance or cardiovascular strength to support the prosthetic leg.

I was so tired and just felt defeated. But finally, one day, I remember thinking: Today’s the day. I’m going to try to walk farther and do it without a struggle. That’s when it finally clicked. I started walking on the treadmill, trying to imitate other people’s gait.

The first time, I was drenched with sweat and had tears streaming down my face from the pain after only 10 minutes. But I kept walking and added hills to strengthen my glutes, and eventually I could walk at 15 percent incline for an hour and a half. I was walking better and could feel myself getting stronger—and I loved it.

Photo credit: Christine Yi
Photo credit: Christine Yi

That brought on a new passion for fitness for me. Though I hadn’t worked out much before losing my leg, I used to be very athletic; in high school, I was a First Team All-League field hockey player. I’m a very competitive human being, and I hadn’t been able to flex that muscle since losing my leg. Doing so again made me so happy.

Over time, though, exercising became excruciating because the grafted skin around my limb broke down. So I finally decided to have the surgery to fix it in August. Afterward, I stayed in the hospital for 17 days and had to keep my leg suspended in the air all the time.

But throughout my recovery, I exercised every day with arm and abs workouts. The quarantine this year made me realize how important fitness is to my life; my workouts are my sanity. I was taking live Zoom classes—with instructors like Kara Liotta and Kate Hickl of KKsweat and Alison Cohen—in my hospital gown. It was the best way for me to pass the time because I was so excited to move and to move forward.

I fully think being able to stay fit and having a positive outlook go hand in hand. I’ve always been a positive person. But being stronger and being able to do these workouts, it boosts my optimism. I