So I am sure you have heard some different opinions on resistance bands and how effective they are. In my personal opinion, they are a fantastic investment and can be used absolutely anywhere, so they are great if you are going away on holiday, staying at a friend's or just using one at home. There are so many different exercises and body parts you can train by using one, but I am going to go into my favourite leg workouts using a resistance band.
Leg kick backs
These are particularly good for the hamstrings and glutes, activating both areas during the exercise. You can attach the resistance band securely around a fixed piece of furniture or under a door. Lean slightly over and raise your legs behind you one at a time. On each rep squeeze the glute at the top and then release down. You will feel an intense burn and this means it is working! I recommend 3 x 15 reps on each leg, and you can increase the amount of sets over time.
Place the resistance band horizontally along the floor. Place both feet on top of the resistance band and hold each end in each hand. Carefully lower into the squat position and, as you rise, the tension will increase from the resistance band. Keep your hands by your shoulders throughout the whole motion. You can increase resistance by wrapping the resistance band around your hand once or twice, this is usually only necessary with the weaker resistance bands. For this exercise do 3-4 x 15 reps. Again, you can increase the sets over time.
Again for this exercise stand with both feet on top of the resistance band and hold each end of the band in each hand. You then need to raise your heels off the ground, then lower and repeat. I recommend 3-4 sets x 20 reps. Over time you can increase the resistance. Be warned this will burn – but that is how we know the muscle is being activated, muscle fibres are being broken down and, with the correct diet, will then grow and define. To ensure you are working the whole of the calf muscle you can adjust your feet position on different days – point toes slightly outwards to work the outer part of your calf muscle and slightly inwards to work the inner part of your calf muscle.
For this exercise it is best to securely attach the resistance band under a door frame or you can tie it to a secure item low to the ground. You then need to attach the resistance band to your foot, by the handle if your band has one or you can use an ankle strap. You need to stand sideways onto the door and swing your leg to the side away from the door and then cross it in front of you, in front of your other leg. Repeat this on each leg 3 x 15 sets. Increase sets over time and you can also raise your leg higher for a tighter squeeze. This exercise is excellent for targeting your outer thigh and glute.
Stand with one foot on the resistance band at a time with your hands holding each end by your shoulders. You then with your free leg step backwards into a 90-degree position, with your knee almost touching the floor. Adjust the tension accordingly – for this exercise do 3-4 sets x 15 reps on each leg.
A big advantage to resistance bands is that you can choose how strong you want the resistance to be. I recommend you start with a band with less resistance and then you can work your way up to a stronger resistance band.