You might think that the only way to build strong legs is to hit heavyweights in the gym but it is not entirely true. Your legs consist of several big and small muscle groups. When we do powerful exercises like squats and leg presses, big muscles are targeted and we can feel the pump and increase in the size of the muscles in the legs. But for perfect definition and shape, the smaller muscle groups are required to be targeted effectively. You don’t need to go to the gym to hit the smaller muscles such as hip abductors and adductors, flexors and obliques.
Instead of going for heavyweights and complex exercise, you can target those muscles using a simple resistance band. The workout is not just about hitting heavyweights but the correct form, right contraction and correct posture. Correct movement becomes more critical when it comes to smaller muscle groups. Resistance band exercises not only help in getting a proper shape but also help in building strength. I’m going to tell you about 8 resistance band exercises that will help you in getting strong legs.
- One and One-Quarter Squats: One common problem that occurs while doing squats with heavyweight is that the legs do not remain in line and the form gets affected. One and One-Quarter Squats will help you master the form while building strength. Place a resistance band above your knees and stand in a squat-ready position with legs shoulder-width apart. Now go down from the same position for a squat and hold at a 90-degree angle. Go further down if you have the mobility. From the bottom position, come up to a quarter of the position that you went down. Go down again from that position. It must look like a mini-squat. Push outwards from your knees to apply force opposite to the band’s existing force. Perform 12 to 15 reps of this exercise. This exercise will strengthen your glutes, hamstrings and quads.
- Single-Leg Stands: To do this exercise, place the resistance band above your knees just like you did for the first exercise. Now sit on the edge of a chair, stool or box in such a way that your knees are bent at 90 degrees. Make sure that your chest is a little forward in comparison to the position of hips. Lift one foot a foot above the ground. Stand up with the other leg with full extension. Return to the sitting position and stand again. Repeat this movement 12 to 15 times. This exercise is very beneficial for quads.
- Standing Glute Kickbacks: It’s time to take the exercise to the next level. Place the resistance band around your ankles and stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. This exercise involves shifting of weight. Shift the body weight on one leg and kickback 6 to 8 inches from the other leg to apply force opposite to the resistance band’s direction. Bring the leg back to its original position slowly. Tap the ground with your leg before resting it on the ground. Repeat the movement 12 to 15 times with both the legs. This exercise strengthens your glutes and hamstrings.
- Clamshells: Unlike all other exercises above, this exercise is done while resting on one side. Place the band above your knees. Lie on one side and bend your knees 90 degrees. Lift the upper half of the body and rest in on the bicep. For more support, reach to the ground with the palm of the other hand. Tighten the core, keep the feet together and slowly push the upper knee towards the ceiling. Bring it down again slowly. This is one set. After performing 12-15 sets, turn on the other side and perform the movement with another leg. This exercise strengthens your obliques and glutei medii.
Also, Read 5 No-Bench Exercises For A Bigger Chest
- Side-Lying Leg Lifts: There are two ways of doing this exercise. If you’re a beginner, place the band above your knees and place it around the ankles if you are up for an intense workout. Lie down on your side and keep your legs straight. Lift up the upper body and rest it on your bicep. Lift the upper leg towards the ceiling as much as you can without lifting the hips. Switch your side and perform the same exercise with the other leg. This exercise is meant to strengthen the hip abductor muscles.
- Squat Jacks: This exercise helps in strengthening the glutei medii, quads and calves. You can place the ankles above the knees or around the ankles. Stand in a half squat position with your feet pointed outward in such a way that they are hip-width apart. Jump from that position to nearly four to six inches and go back to the half-squat position. This is one set. Try to maintain the form and do 12-15 repetitions of the exercise. It will strengthen your quads and calves.
- Lateral-Band Steps: Lateral-Band steps to strengthen the hip abductor muscles. Place a resistance band above your knees and stand in a quarter-squat position with your feet pointed outwards. Step right 10 to 12 inches with the right foot and come back to the initial position slowly. Perform the same movement with the other leg. Continue this alternate movement 12-15 times with each leg. This exercise will strengthen your quads and hip-abductor muscles.
- Hip Bridges: This is a killer exercise that strengthens your glutes and hamstrings. Place the band above your knees and lie on your back with your feet flat on the floor. Make sure that your feet are placed hip-width apart. Squeeze your glutes and lift your pelvis off the floor by pressing down through your heels. Lift your pelvis until your knees are at a 90 degrees bend. Return to the initial position slowly. Perform 12-15 repetitions of this exercise.