Rock out with the band! Resistance bands are a great addition to any strength training routine or rehabilitation program and come in a variety of sizes, lengths, and strengths.
Ready, set, streeetch!
1. Front Squat
Stand on band with feet slightly wider than shoulder width. Holding a handle in each hand, bring the top of the band over each shoulder. (If it’s too long, secure band in place by crossing your arms at your chest.) Sit straight down, chest up, abs firm, pressing knees out over your toes. Rise back up to start position and repeat for 8 to 12 reps.
2. Leg Extension
Kick it up a notch with this quad-builder. Anchor a loop band in a low position on a support (like an incline bench), looping the other end around your ankle with the band positioned behind you. Step away from the anchor to create tension on the band, and position feet hip-width apart. Shift your weight to the left foot, and lift the right leg from the floor. Extend the knee until it straightens out in front of you. Slowly return to starting position and repeat for 8 to 12 reps before switching legs.
3. Prone (Lying) Leg Curl
Lie belly down and loop a band around your right ankle, anchoring the other end to a door or support. Scoot away from the anchor to create tension. Tighten your core and bend your leg at the knee, bringing your heel toward your glutes as far as you can comfortably go. Slowly return your leg to starting position and repeat for 10 to 15 reps, then switch sides.
4. Glute Bridge
Salute those glutes! Tie a band around your legs right above your knees. Lie on your back with your feet on the floor, bending your knees to 90 degrees. Rise up with your hips until your shoulders, hips and knees align, contracting your glutes through the entire movement. Do 15 to 20 reps.
5. Standing Adductor
Anchor a loop band at ankle height to a support and stand with your left side facing the support, wrapping the free end around your right (outer) ankle. Stand perpendicular to the band and step away from the support to create some tension (the good kind, of course). From a wide stance, get into a quarter squat or an athletic stance, and then sweep your working ankle across your body past your standing leg, squeezing your thighs together. Slowly return to starting position and repeat for 12 to 15 reps before switching sides.
6. Supinated Clamshell
Loop a band around your legs just above your knees. Lie on your back with hips and knees flexed to 90 degrees. Pull the knees apart while contracting your glutes for 2 to 3 seconds. Slowly return to starting position and repeat, aiming for 10 to 12 total reps.
7. Plantar Flexion (Ankle Flexion)
Take a load off for this one. Secure a loop or therapy band around an anchor (like the leg of a coffee table or chair), and sit with one leg straight out, wrapping the other end of the loop around the top of your foot. Lean back, supporting your weight on your hands, and flex your foot forward until you feel a good stretch in your shin. In a controlled movement, bring your toes back up, flexing them toward your knee as far as comfortable. Slowly return to starting position and go for 10 to 12 reps on each side.
8. Lateral Band Walk
Don’t sidestep these side steps! Step into a loop band or tie a therapy band around the lower legs, just above both ankles. Place feet shoulder-width apart to create tension on the band. From a half-squat position, shift your weight to the left side, stepping sideways with the right leg. Move the standing leg slightly in, but keep the band taut. Take 8 to 10 steps before heading back the other way.
9. Standing Abduction
This one’s a bit of a balancing act. Anchor your loop band at ankle height, and stand with your left side toward the anchor. Attach the free end to your outside ankle and step out to create tension on the band. Move your supporting leg back so your foot is elevated from the floor, lift your working leg up, slowly bringing your looped foot out to the side, contracting your outer glutes. If you feel wobbly, grab a support (like the wall or the back of a chair). Lower back down to starting position and repeat for 15 to 20 reps on each side.
10. Seated Abduction
To really show those thighs who’s boss, sit at the edge of a chair or bench and tie a loop band around both legs, just above the knees. Place your feet slightly wider than your shoulders. Slowly press your knees out, turning your feet in as your legs move apart. Hold for two seconds, and then bring your knees back together. Aim for 15 to 20 reps.