17 Resistance Band Exercises For Legs

Resistance Band Exercises For Legs

Most leg workouts require the use of barbells, machines, and big pieces of equipment. But you really don’t need all that stuff to build and strengthen your legs.

In fact, you can get a complete lower body workout at home with a simple set of resistance bands. In this article, I show you 17 resistance band exercises for legs.

Resistance Band Exercises For Legs

Before we get into the exercises, it’s necessary to know a little bit about the different muscles of the lower body. For example, your legs include multiple muscle groups called the quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, hip flexors, and calves.

The large group of muscles on the front of your upper leg are called the quadriceps. The quads’ main job is extending your knee. And the muscles on the back of your upper leg are called the hamstrings. Their job is to flex your knee.

Around the backside is your gluteus maximus or glutes. These large muscles help you extend your leg backward and pull your upper body upright. Then there are the hip flexors that help you lift your legs up and to the sides.

Finally, you have the calves. These are the muscles on the back of your lower legs that flex your foot when you walk, run, or jump.

When training your lower body, you should use exercises that target each of the major muscles of your legs. This way, you develop symmetry, proportion, and balanced strength in your leg muscles.

Resistance Band Exercises For Legs Muscle Anatomy

To make it easier to plan your workout, I’ve divided the resistance band exercises for legs into groups based on the primary muscles they work. First, I’ll start with exercises that target your quads

Resistance Band Exercises For Legs: Quads

1. Resistance Band Squats

To do a resistance band squat with tube bands, start by standing with both feet on the center of the band about shoulder-width apart. Then, with one handle in each hand, pull the handles up behind your shoulders like you’re holding a barbell.

From this position, squat down until your thighs are parallel with the floor and then stand back up. You can also do this with a power band looped over the front of your shoulders for even more resistance.

Related: Are Squats Cardio?

2. Resistance Band One And A Half Squats

To make the squat exercise more challenging, you can do one and one-half squats. This variation is where you squat down, go halfway up, squat back down, and go all the way up. That counts as one repetition.

Doing one and a half squats keeps your quads under tension longer and engages your glutes. This technique is excellent if you find the regular resistance band squats are too easy.

3. Resistance Band Bulgarian Split Squat

The Bulgarian split squat is performed with one foot in front of the other. And the rear foot is elevated on a bench or box to make it more challenging.

To do a resistance band Bulgarian split squat, start by standing with one foot on the center of the band. Then hold the handles up by your shoulders (or wrap the band over your shoulders) and put your back foot on an elevated surface.

From this position, squat down so your back knee just about touches the floor and come back up. Perform the desired number of reps, then switch legs.

4. Resistance Band Reverse Lunge

Traditional lunges are an excellent exercise for developing quads. But the forward-stepping movement doesn’t quite work with resistance bands. So a variation called the reverse lunge is a good substitute.

To do a resistance band reverse lunge, start by standing with one foot on the center of the band. Then pull the handles up to your shoulders (or wrap the band around your shoulders) and stand with your feet slightly staggered.

From this starting position, step back with your rear foot and lower your hips until your knee almost touches the ground. Then push up through your leading foot while bringing your rear foot back to the starting position.

5. Resistance Band Leg Extension

The leg extension is an excellent exercise for isolating the quads through knee extension. Usually, it’s performed on a specialized machine at the gym. But there are two different ways to do it with resistance bands.

Standing Leg Extension

The easiest way to do banded leg extensions is by anchoring one end of the band near the floor. Then wrap the other end of the band around one ankle and step forward, so the band is stretched tight behind you.

Now lift the banded leg off the floor, so your thigh is nearly parallel with the floor. From here, extend your lower leg while keeping your knee as still as possible.

Seated Leg Extension

Another way to do banded leg extensions is seated on a bench or chair. Again, you’ll anchor one end of the band and wrap the other on your ankle. This time, sit in a chair with enough support that your foot is off the floor. And now extend your lower leg straight.

Check out these 11 Leg Extension Alternatives You Can Do At Home.

Resistance Band Exercises For Legs: Hamstrings

6. Resistance Band Romanian Deadlift (RDL)

The Romanian deadlift, or RDL, is a popular exercise for working the hamstrings. Most of the time you see this exercise done as a barbell RDL or dumbbell RDL, but you can do it at home with resistance bands.

To do a banded RDL, start by standing with both feet on the center of the band about shoulder-width apart. Next, grab the band on either side of your feet about 1 foot from the floor.

Begin with your knees slightly bent, and your back bent forward but flat. From this position, push your hips forward until you’re in a fully upright standing position. Next, squeeze your hamstrings and glutes at the top, then repeat.

Related: Romanian Deadlift vs Stiff Leg Deadlift

7. Resistance Band Standing Leg Curl

To do a banded standing leg curl, start by anchoring one end of the band near the floor. Then wrap the other and of the band around one foot or ankle. Step back so the band stretches under tension in front of you.

Next, lift the banded foot slightly off the floor. From this starting position, flex your hamstring to pull your foot up and back towards your butt while keeping your knee relatively still. Perform the desired number of reps and repeat with the other leg.

8. Resistance Band Seated Leg Curl

Start by anchoring one end of the band near the floor to do a banded seated leg curl. Then wrap the other and of the band around the back of both ankles. Step back so the band stretches under tension and sit on a bench or chair.

Next, lift both feet slightly off the floor and let them extend in front of you. Now flex your hamstrings to pull your feet back towards you while keeping your knees relatively still.

9. Resistance Band Nordic Curls

The Nordic hamstring curl is a less common exercise for hamstrings but is superb for strengthening legs. There are multiple ways to set up the Nordic curl, but I’ll show you how to do it using a resistance band.

First, you’ll kneel on the floor and anchor your ankles or feet under something sturdy. You’ll also anchor one end of the resistance band to something behind you. Next, grab onto the other end of the resistance band or wrap it around your shoulders.

From the kneeling position, let your body lean forward and fall towards the floor in a controlled fashion. When you get near the floor, push up and use your hamstrings to pull your body back to the upright kneeling position.

Resistance Band Exercises For Legs: Glutes

10. Resistance Band Donkey Kicks

A donkey kick is a funny-sounding name for an exercise where you extend one leg behind you while on all fours. You can do this exercise with bodyweight alone, but adding a resistance band makes it more challenging.

To do banded donkey kicks, start by wrapping one end of the band around your knee. Then kneel on all fours placing your opposite foot through the free end of the band.

From this starting position, kick straight back to stretch the band while flexing your glute. Perform the desired number of repetitions, then repeat with the other leg.

11. Resistance Band Glute Bridge

To do a banded glute bridge or hip thrust, start by wrapping the ends of the band under each foot. Then pull the middle of the band to your pelvis as you lay with your back on the floor, and your knees bent 90 degrees.

From this starting point, push your hips toward the ceiling while keeping your shoulders and feet firmly on the floor.

12. Resistance Band Standing Glute Kickbacks

To do a banded standing glute kickback, start by anchoring one end of the band near the floor. Then wrap the other end of the band under one foot. Next, stand facing the anchor and raise your banded foot slightly off the floor.

From here, lean forward so your back is straight at about a 45-degree angle. Now kick your banded foot straight back by squeezing your glute. Perform the desired number of reps and switch to the other leg.

Related: Leg Press for Glutes

Resistance Band Exercises For Legs: Hips

13. Resistance Band Leg Abduction

Leg abduction means lifting your leg away from your body to the side. And you’ve probably seen leg abduction machines at the gym. But this exercise is easy to do at home with bands.

To do a banded leg abduction, start by anchoring one end of the band near the floor. Then, wrap the other end of the band around one ankle. Now stand with the banded ankle away from the anchor, stretching the band.

Next, hold yourself steady and lift the banded foot slightly off the floor. Now lift your leg to your side while keeping your knee relatively straight. Lower it back down and repeat for the desired number of repetitions. Then repeat with the other leg.

14. Resistance Band Lateral Steps

To do banded lateral steps, start by wrapping the band around your feet, ankles, lower legs, or upper legs. How you wrap the band will depend on the type of band you have and home much resistance you want.

Next, stand with your feet about shoulder-width apart and knees slightly bent. From this position, you’re just going to take a small step to one side while keeping your toes pointed forward. Alternate this movement from one side to the other.

15. Resistance Band Clamshell

To do banded clamshell, start by wrapping the band around your knees or upper thighs. Now lay on one side with your knees bent at about a 90-degree angle.

From this position, lift your top knee as high as possible while keeping your feet together. Then lower it again and repeat for the desired reps before switching sides.

Resistance Band Exercises For Legs: Calves

16. Resistance Band Standing Calf Raises

To do banded standing calf raises, start by either standing with both feet on the center of the band or anchoring the band near the floor behind you. Next, raise the other end of the band to shoulder level.

With your feet shoulder-width or narrower, extend up onto the balls of your feet and your toes. Then let your heels come back down to the floor.

Related: Smith Machine Calf Raises

17. Resistance Band Seated Calf Raises

To do banded seated calf raises, start sitting on a bench or flat on the floor with your feet straight out in front of you. Next, wrap a band around the bottom of both feet and pull the other ends tight towards your stomach.

Extend your toes straight out as far as you can from this position by squeezing your calves. Then let them return to the starting position and repeat for the desired reps.

Related: Seated Calf Raises with Machine

Resistance Band Leg Workout Example

Now that you know these 17 resistance band exercises for legs, you can create an infinite number of at-home lower body workouts. But all those options could give you analysis paralysis, so here’s a sample resistance band leg workout to get you started.

Resistance Band Exercises For Legs Workout

This workout hits your quads, hamstrings, and glutes with multiple exercises. And you even work your hip flexors and even your calves. So you get a well-rounded and complete lower body routine.

Also, if you’re using light tube bands and can do more than the reps shown, you can double up on bands to increase the resistance. Or invest in a set of power bands that can give you even more resistance.

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Best Resistance Bands For Leg Exercises

If you don’t have any bands, you can pick up a good quality set for $20-30 on Amazon. In the demonstration videos, you probably noticed two kinds of bands; power bands and tube bands.

Power Bands

Power bands, also called loop bands, resemble giant rubber bands. They are simply a big loop of stretchy latex, making them super versatile. You can use them for many different exercises, stretches, and more.

In addition, power bands are a good choice for more experienced lifters who need more resistance to make the exercises challenging. Click below to buy the top-selling brand on Amazon.

Tube Bands

Tube bands are more similar to a cable apparatus at a gym. They come with handles that attach to both ends and attachments for connecting multiple bands or anchoring to a doorway.

These bands work best for beginners or lighter-weight movements like hip abductions. And they are more convenient for anchored exercises. Click below to buy the best-selling brand on Amazon.

More Resistance Band Exercises

The exercises above will develop and define your leg muscles. But, of course, you also need to train the rest of your body. So here are more resistance band exercises for every body part.

Resistance Band Exercises for Arms

Resistance Band Shoulder Exercises

Resistance Band Back Exercises

Resistance Band Chest Exercises

Leg Press vs Squat

Also, if you have access to a gym, you may wonder if you should use the leg press or squats to train your legs. Click here to learn all about leg press vs squat mechanics, muscle activation, calories burned, and more!

Leg Press vs Squat 2
Leg Press vs Squat

Conclusion

These resistance band exercises for legs will make your at-home workouts more complete. But make sure you continue to challenge your muscles with progressive overload so you don’t hit a plateau.

And, of course, you should follow a healthy diet along with your training program. For more helpful information on workouts and nutrition, check out my related articles below!

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