You can tone and strengthen your legs from the comfort of your home more easily than you think with the help of just a few resistance bands.
Below are four resistance band exercises for an all-over leg workout. You’ll hit the quads, hamstrings, inner and outer thighs, and calves. Warm up the body by starting with your larger muscle groups first, and end with smaller muscle groups, such as the calves, to complete the routine.
Remember: Always breathe out when the tension in your bands is greatest; breathe in when tension is lightest. Stretch the bands for more resistance, but only to a safe position—then add a second band or change to a heavier band to increase tension.
Let’s get started!
For your quads
Hold one handle in each hand at your shoulders and stand on the band with both feet shoulder-width apart. Lower your body into a squat position; be careful to never let your knees move in front of your toes, in order to keep the pressure off your knees. Lean back into the squat—imagine you are going to sit down—and hold the lowest position for a count of three, then come back up. Do one set of 12 to 15 squats. You will feel the tension in your quads as well as in the surrounding muscle groups as you lower and rise.
To make it harder: Hold the handles above your shoulders, switch to a heavier band, or double your band.
For your hamstrings
To target the hamstrings, place the flexibility band under your forward foot in a lunge position. Hold the band handles at the sides of your shoulders. Lunge up and down 12 times; switch feet and repeat. Continue alternating for a series of three sets.
To make it harder: Switch bands for greater tension, or raise the handles to your shoulders or higher.
For your inner and outer thighs
Stand on your flexibility band with both feet while holding the handles at your waist. Take a step to the right, maintaining your posture, then bring your left foot to meet the right, then reverse. Complete six reps in each direction, and repeat for three sets.
To make it harder: Change to a band with more tension and raise your hands over your shoulders.
For your calves
Place the center of your resistance band beneath your feet in a seated position with your legs straight in front of you. Holding the handles by your thighs, flex your feet forward and back as far as possible. Do three sets of 12 reps.
To make it harder: Pull the handles behind you to increase tension or remove the handles altogether and grip the bands for greater control.
Nicole Borgenicht is a fitness writer and a nationally and internationally certified personal trainer with National Council for Certified Personal Trainers and Interactive Fitness Trainers of America.
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