Centr trainer Luke Zocchi performs a deadlift with resistance bands.
Centr Team

3 of the best resistance band leg exercises

Centr Team

Life is busy, getting to the gym isn’t always convenient and, honestly, carving out an hour for yourself can feel impossible some days.

Still, there’s no skipping leg day – which is why we’ve got you covered with resistance band leg exercises that’ll keep you on track wherever you are.

These moves use resistance bands with handles to target major muscles like the hamstrings and glutes. You can string them together to crush a tough leg workout whether you’re traveling the world (lucky you), or stuck at home.

Looking to upgrade your resistance band set up? Our Workout Kit comes with bands, handles, ankle straps and more – everything you need to take this show of strength on the road.

The benefits of leg training with resistance bands

Resistance bands may not look like they can compete with a barbell when it comes to strength, but there’s more to these muscle-building bands than meets the eye.

Bands place constant tension on your muscles through the full range of motion, activating smaller stabilizing muscles and resulting in a super-effective workout.

Best of all, resistance bands can deliver similar gains to weight training while being lightweight and portable. You’d struggle to fit a barbell and weight plates in your suitcase, but a set of bands can be packed beside (or even inside) your sneakers and brought out whenever you’ve got a spare 10 minutes.

All you need is a safe, sturdy anchor point to secure your bands.

Remember, resistance bands are similar to weights in that your body will adapt and grow stronger in time. To keep the gains coming, you’ll need to keep increasing resistance as you get stronger, which is why the Workout Kit comes with five tube bands of varying resistance.

1. Banded deadlift

Why this move? The deadlift works the whole posterior chain including your hamstrings, calves and glutes. It also strengthens the back and core, making it your one-stop-shop for an unbreakable bottom half.

How to do it:

  1. Take an end of a resistance band in each hand, then stand with your feet hip-width apart in the middle of the band.

  2. You can grip the band at different points to increase or decrease the resistance. The closer your hands are to your feet, the harder the exercise will be.

  3. Engage your core, then hinge at the hips and lower your fists down toward the floor. Avoid rounding your back as this will put unnecessary pressure on your spine.

  4. Now extend through your knees and hips to return to standing. You should feel the band pulling as you rise to the top of the lift.

Safety note: When looping the band under your feet, make sure it’s secure and your feet aren’t going to slip. Wearing sneakers may help.

2. Banded hamstring curl

Why this move? This is a great way to isolate your hamstrings. It will not only improve strength and flexibility, but also help to prevent injuries.

How to do it:

  1. Lie on your stomach with one end of a resistance band strapped to your right ankle.

  2. Hold the other end of the band in your hands – in front of your head – to provide an anchor. You can shorten or lengthen the band by winding it around your hands to provide the required resistance.

  3. Keeping your hips on the mat, curl your right foot up toward your glutes.

  4. Return your foot to the floor in a controlled motion, resisting the pull of the band.

  5. After a set amount or reps or time, switch to work your left side.

3. Banded kickback + donkey lift

Why this move? This movement will hit everyone’s favorite muscle, the gluteus maximus, in two different ways. The initial kickback focuses on hip extension, while the vertical donkey lift activates different muscle fibers within the glutes and hamstrings.

How to do it:

  1. Strap one end of the resistance band around your right ankle, then position yourself on all fours.

  2. Keeping your hands directly below your shoulders, secure the other end of the resistance band under your left hand, then run the band across the top of your mat so another point is secured under your right hand. You should feel the resistance as soon as you move your right leg.

  3. Extend your right foot back (this is the kickback) until it is straight, then return your knee to the mat.

  4. Now kick your right heel upward, keeping a bend in your knee (this is the donkey lift) before returning your knee to the mat.

  5. Keep your head, neck and back neutral throughout.

  6. After a set amount or reps or time, switch to work your left side.

Want more movement advice from the experts?

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