Gym workouts are not the only exercises that build leg muscle strength or tone the glutes. Other activities are often overlooked, yet they help train your glutes and leg muscles. For example, some of these exercises incorporate the resistance band.
You might have seen some people in the gym or at home working out with resistance band exercises and probably wonder if they are effective. However, they have been deemed effective in helping you attain your fitness goals. It could be toning your butt, building muscle strength, or transforming your body shape.
So, these exercises can help you achieve your goals if you are targeting your legs and glutes. But, again, you can perform them anywhere and do not have to go to the gym. So, please look at our compilation of the best resistance band exercises for legs and glutes.
What Are The Best Exercises For Legs And Glutes?
If you do a quick Google search on leg and glute exercises, you will find hundreds, perhaps thousands, of leg and glutes exercises. Identifying the best leg and glute exercise amidst all these can be challenging.
If you need a challenge without hitting the gym, we propose you try resistance tube exercises for legs and glutes. Contrary to what most think, resistance tubes or bands increase the intensity of your workouts and give your muscles a challenge (1).
The best and breathable resistance band exercises for legs and glutes are those that match your fitness goals. For example, you could be looking to build leg strength, increase flexibility or endurance, or tone your glutes and legs. Therefore, you must choose resistance band exercises that can help you achieve these specific goals.
There are several variations of these exercises. You will find resistance band exercises while sitting for legs and glutes, or some that you perform while standing. It is better to combine the two for variety.
Take a look at our compilation of the best resistance band exercises for legs and glutes:
Squat To Side Step
Squats are a staple in any leg and glutes toning workout. With squats, experts acknowledge that the lower you go, the higher and tighter your butt will be (2). They recently discovered that adding a resistance band around your ankles makes this exercise more challenging and more effective.
Here is how you do it:
- Start in a standing position with the resistance band around your ankles.
- Keep your feet hip-width apart and thighs parallel to the floor. Your back should be straight and knees over your ankles.
- Drop into a squatting position, and once in this position, take a huge step to the right. Because of the band, the movement will be more challenging. Remember to engage your abdominal muscles and keep your weight in your heels.
- Pause for a few seconds, return the leg to the initial stance, and rise to the standing position.
- Lower into a squat and take a step to your left this time. Pause before returning to the squatting position and finally the standing stance.
- Repeat 15 times on each side.
As the name implies, this exercise will leave your gluteus maximus on fire. However, we want this fire because this sensation proves you are getting the most out of your exercise. The burning sensation will perhaps be double or triple when you add the resistance band.
Here is a step by step guide on how to perform fire hydrants with these bands:
- Place the resistance band just above your knees.
- Get into your fours and the tabletop position. Be sure your back is straight, your neck is neutral, your hips are directly over your knees, and your wrists are directly aligned with your shoulders.
- Tighten your core, engage your glutes, and slowly lift your left knee towards the ceiling.
- Lift as high as you can without straining or shifting your hips.
- Hold at the top of the movement before returning the knee to the starting position.
- Repeat to complete ten reps before switching sides.
Donkey kicks are another effective exercise to perform to tone your glutes. The activity targets your gluteus maximus and helps build bulk in your bum (3). Additionally, these kicks also work your shoulders and core, helping in improving overall body stability.
Take a look at how you perform them:
- Start by placing the resistance band around the arches of your feet.
- Drop into a tabletop position. Be sure that your hips are not over your shoulders or shoulders over your wrists. Again, make sure your back is not arched, or your elbows bent.
- Slowly kick your right leg towards the ceiling behind you. As you do this, be sure to squeeze your glutes and engage your core. Again, be sure to lift your leg until the heel is slightly over your head. Alternatively, you can raise to your point of comfort without tripping over or disrupting your form.
- Hold at the top of the kick before releasing and returning to the starting stance.
- Repeat and perform ten reps before switching legs.
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Resistance Band Leg Lifts
Leg lifts may seem like an easy move to nail until you start to feel the burn. You do not have to perform many before this burning sensation kicks in (2). The burn intensifies when you are working with a resistance band.
The burning is felt because you target the small muscles where your tush meets the thighs and helps tighten and heighten the butt (2). So, when you give them a workout, they help tone your butt.
Here is the procedure of performing these lifts with a band (2):
- Start by placing the band around your ankles and then lie on your stomach. Stretch your legs on the floor and let them be at least hip-width apart.
- Bend your right knee at a 90-degree angle and flex your ankle such that the sole is pointing towards the ceiling.
- Lift your right knee as high as you can. Remember to engage your core and glutes and press your hips on the floor as you do this.
- Pulse your right leg towards the ceiling and hold for a few seconds or counts.
- Complete 20 reps and then repeat on your left leg.
Lateral Resistance Band Walk
For many, this exercise looks as easy as ABC. However – take it from experts – while it may look easy to nail, its benefits are limitless. This excellent exercise is an effective warm-up exercise for heavy lifters (3).
It can also be performed as an exercise by itself, where it builds strength in the glutes and hips and tones your glutes and leg muscles (3).
To achieve this walk, you must:
- Start by placing the resistance band around your ankles.
- Stand upright, back straight, and feet in a hip-width distance.
- Slightly bend your knees to get in a squat position, although not a deep or low squat.
- You can clasp your hands in front of your chest or place them on your hips.
- Engage your core and slightly hinge at your hips as you take a step using your left foot. It will extend the distance between your feet to more than your shoulder-width distance.
- Take a step using your right foot to return to a hip-width distance.
- Throughout, you will be required to alternate these steps to complete this exercise.
- You can perform at least ten reps on each side.
Glute Bridge Pulses
Glute bridge pulses are perfect exercises for your lower body. They target the hamstrings and glutes, plus your core and lower back. They have been deemed effective in helping reduce lower back pain and tone your butt. However, you can only reap their benefits if you perform them correctly.
Here is the correct guide on how to perform these pulses:
- Place the band on your thighs and lie on the floor with your stomach facing the ceiling. Be sure to use a yoga mat if you are working on a rough or hard surface.
- Bend your knees and press your feet flat on the floor. Keep your arms by your sides throughout the movement.
- Tighten your core and start lifting your hips off the floor towards the ceiling.
- Once they are as high as you can lift them, start to pulse your hips up and down. At no point should your butt touch the ground.
- Perform these pulses for some seconds or complete 15 to 20 reps before switching sides.
- If you are looking for a far more challenging variation, you can lift a leg off the ground and perform the pulses. However, be sure to consult your trainer before making this change.
Resistance Band Standing Rear Leg Lifts
These exercises target your glutes and hamstrings. They are straightforward to perform but easy to miss if you skip a step.
Here is the correct procedure for performing these lifts (3):
- Start in a standing position and then place the resistance band around your ankles or lower calves.
- To help with your balance, you can press your hands on a sturdy object such as a wall.
- Raise your right leg behind you until there is tension in your band.
- Once you reach the top of the lift, clench your glutes before lowering your leg to the starting position.
- Perform ten to 15 reps and then repeat with the other leg.
Resistance Band Clamshells
The clamshell exercise mainly targets your gluteus medius, found at the outer edge of your butt; it helps stabilize your pelvis. Working out your gluteus medius helps balance muscular effort in your outer and inner thighs and the ground (4). When using a resistance band, you work twice harder because the exercise becomes more challenging.
Here is how you perform this exercise:
- Lie on a yoga mat, face upwards, and place the resistance band around your thighs.
- Tilt and lie on your right side and bend your knees. Be sure to keep your back straight and let your headrest on your right arm. Your left arm should be resting on your left hip.
- Slowly start lifting your left thigh, making you work against the resistance band. Spread the thigh out as wide as possible without experiencing any pain or discomfort.
- Pause when you widen the thigh, but as far as you can before slowly returning the left thigh to the initial stance.
- Perform ten reps before switching sides.
Resistance Band Step Ups
Step-up exercises with resistance bands effectively build glute, quad, and hamstring strength. They are also effective in increasing core strength and improving range of motion and movement coordination.
Take a look at how you perform them (4):
- Place the resistance band slightly above your knees and stand upright in front of an elevated platform like a stairway.
- Keeping your back straight, stretch your right heel on the stairway or bench.
- Bring your other foot on the platform so that both of your heels are resting on the bench, stairway, or elevated platform.
- Return the right foot to the starting position, followed by the left. Remember to keep your back straight throughout and also to breathe normally.
Squat Jacks With Resistance Bands
Squat jacks are also among the best resistance band exercises for hips, legs, and glutes.
Here is how you perform them:
- Place the resistance band above your knees. This is much easier than when you place it around your ankles.
- Assume a squatting position, where your knees are bent, your back is straight, and your feet are pointed outward. This position should resemble what you assume when doing a regular squat.
- Jump your feet out to their respective sides and back to the starting standing position.
- That counts as one rep. Perform ten to 12 reps and be sure to maintain a constant pace.
Side-Lying Leg Lifts With Resistance Bands
Side-lying leg lifts are also effective in working your lower body. They mainly target your hip flexors and work your glutes, core, hamstrings, and lower back muscles.
Here is a guide on how you perform these side leg raises:
- Place the band above your knees and lie on your left side. Be sure to keep your legs straight and stacked together.
- Lift your upper body off the floor and support yourself using your left forearm.
- Start to slowly lift your right leg off the floor towards the ceiling as high as you can.
- Hold at the top of the movement and slowly return your leg to the starting position.
- Repeat and perform 12 to 15 reps before switching sides.
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Single-Leg Resistance Band Box Squat
This exercise is effective in building butts strength and mass. Incorporating the resistance band makes the exercise more effective in building strength and stability. The movement mainly targets your quads and glutes.
Here is how you perform it (4):
- Start by placing the resistance band above your knees.
- Get a chair or bench and stand in front of it with your back facing the chair.
- Lower into a squatting position by bending your knees at a 90-degree angle. Be sure to keep your back straight, chest, and torso in front of your hips.
- As you lower, you will be required to lift one of your legs off the floor.
- Stretch the leg fully before lowering and sinking onto the bench as you stand.
- Repeat and complete ten reps and then switch legs.
The Bottom Line
Resistance band exercises for legs and glutes can help with toning and building strength in these two areas. Our compilation includes activities, such as the resistance band lateral walk, side-lying leg lifts, glute bridges with pulses, fire hydrants, donkey kicks, squat jumps, and squat to sidestep.
Before you add any of these exercises to your workout plan, be sure to consult with your doctor and trainer. Again, make sure you have a fitness goal in mind, as these exercises help with different goals. We wish you the very best!
This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on for decision-making. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
- 5 surprising ways to use a resistance band to boost your health (2020, nbcnews.com)
- 3 Exercises to Tone Your Butt (2014, webmd.com)
- Band together for stronger legs (2021, health.harvard.edu)
- Walking Workout with Resistance Bands – Video (2015, health.harvard.edu)