The 7 Best Leg Exercises With Resistance Bands

Our legs contain the most muscle mass in our body and can produce the most force. Think about it, they must carry your bodyweight throughout the day your whole life long. For great legs you must provide enough resistance for them to grow. Simply doing exercises with your bodyweight won’t be enough. But weights are not the only tool that can be used to produce this resistance.

Resistance bands is the way to go. Especially if you work out at home or want the freedom to work out anywhere and everywhere. Small, portable and very effective. In this article I will show you the best exercises for training your legs and make progress.

In the first part, you will find some information about the anatomy of your leg muscles, and then you will find all the leg exercises with details.

How To Build Your Legs

The main muscles in your legs are the Quads (Quadriceps) and the Hamstrings. They are basically the front and the back muscles on your leg. The calves are the biggest muscle on your lower legs and should also not be neglected. The glutes are working a lot in every compound exercise for the legs and should be trained for a balanced lower body.

In the exercises shown in this article you will see that every exercise has a focus muscle. That means that this muscle will be working the hardest in this certain exercise. It doesn’t mean that the other legs muscles won’t do anything, they still have to work but more in a supporter role and to stabilize the movement.

Legs Multi Muscles
Medical photo created by kjpargeter – www.freepik.com

Quadriceps – The Quad contains 4 muscles and is forming the front of your upper leg. The main purpose is to straighten the leg

Hamstring- The hamstring is the counter player to the quad. It forms the back of your upper leg and its main task is to bend your leg.

Calves – The calves are the main muscles in your lower back and act as a “helper” in any walking, running or squatting movement.

Glutes – The glutes are responsible to straighten your upper body in relation to your lower body. Since almost all leg exercises contain a bending in the hip the glutes will be also working in most of the exercises.


Important Tips For Leg Exercises With Resistance Bands

Here are some general tips that you should always keep in mind, no matter what leg exercise you will do:

Compound Exercises Focus – Focus on doing the compound exercises first. This is the base for a great lower body and muscle development. Isolation exercises are great to focus on a single muscle AFTER finishing the compound work. Don’t neglect Squats and Deadlift!

Straight Lower Back And Neutral Neck – these are the most-common mistakes with leg exercises and even might hurt your lower back if you do it with high resistance. Make sure to keep your lower back straight. Just keep thinking about it while performing leg exercises and it will already better your form. The second tip is keeping your neck in a neutral position by looking at a point on the ground around 6 feet in front of you. This will also help keeping your lower back straight. Rounding your lower back creates uneven force on your spine and this is the reason injury can occur.

Time Under Tension! Don’t just do your reps as fast as you can, you need to put your muscles under tension long enough to gain. Squeeze at the top of the movement and hold for a second there and then slowly return instead of “letting go” quickly. This will add more gains to every workout.

Enough for the theory part, let’s get to work and jump into the actual exercises!

The Best Leg Exercises To Do With Resistance Bands

I have collected here all the exercises from compound to isolation exercises, the order is not a ranking from “best to worst”.

Compound Exercise #1 – Squats (All Leg Muscles)

Front Squat

The squats are the mother of all lower body exercises and progress. If you could only do one exercise for the rest of your life, this is it. Easy to start, but it takes some time to master the form. The basic steps are:

  1. Step with both feet on the band – Stance width around shoulder wide
  2. Grab the band with both hands and bring your hands to your shoulders
  3. Take a big breath and hold it
  4. Initiate the movement by bending your knees and driving your hip backwards
  5. Go down until your thighs are parallel to the ground (if you can go further down, even better)
  6. Hold the position for 1 second and explode back up into a full stand

Find more tips to do this exercise in perfect form here.

Variations

Depending on your level and experience with squats you might want to try some different variations. Here are 3 for some inspiration:

You can find more details on the different variations for the squat here.

Compound Exercise #2 – Deadlift (Hamstring/Glute Focus)

Deadlift refular

The deadlift is as important as the squat when it comes to lower body work. It targets more the hamstring and glutes and shouldn’t be missed in a lower body workout.
In 6 steps you also will be able to perform this great exercise:

  1. Double up the band and grab each end of the loop with one hand
  2. Step with both feet on the band
  3. Take a big breath and hold it
  4. Lift your chest up, straighten your lower back and fix a point on the ground 6 feet in front of you
  5. Brace your core and drive your hip forward while extending your legs at the same time
  6. Return to the starting position

Find more tips to do this exercise in perfect form here.

Variations

Variations of the regular deadlift are sumo deadlifts, single leg deadlifts and stiff legged deadlift:

You can find more details on the different variations for the deadlift here.

Compound Exercise #3 – Lunges (All Leg Muscles)

Lunges standard

Lunges are the best exercise for a uni-lateral movement. Great to focus on one leg at a time or as a second compound exercise in your workout.

  1. Double up the band and step on it with one foot
  2. Step backwards with the other foot
  3. Grab the band with both hands
  4. Take a big breath and hold it
  5. Initiate the movement by bending your front knee
  6. Go down until you touch the ground with your back knee
  7. Explode back up to the starting position

Find more tips to do this exercise in perfect form here.

Variations

Lunges are the perfect exercise to play around. Ideas for some variations you can find right here:

You can find more details on the different variations for Lunges here.

Isolation Exercise #1 – Leg Curl (Hamstring Focus)

The hamstring curl or leg curl is perfect as an isolation exercise for the back muscles of your upper leg, basically the hamstrings. Great as a finisher for those hams!
The basic steps are:

  1. Attach the band close to floor level
  2. Wrap the resistance bands around both of your legs
  3. Lie down flat on your stomach on the ground
  4. Now you curl your leg up without raising your hips or lower back
  5. Hold for 1 second and return to the starting position

Find more tips to do this exercise in perfect form here.

Variations

You can find more details on these variations right here: Hamstring Curls with resistance bands.

Isolation Exercise #2 – Leg Extension (Quad Focus)

Leg Extension featured

One of the best isolation exercises for your quads out there. Especially if you have difficulty feeling your quadriceps muscles working during squats.

  1. Wrap the band around one of your feet to keep the band from sliding
  2. Step on the band with the other foot, so there is minimal slack in the bottom position
  3. Put the loose end of the band around your other knee
  4. Now grab the leg which is performing the movement with both hand right above your knee
  5. Keep your knee in a fixed position and bring your foot up until you have a straight leg
  6. Hold for a second in the fully contracted position and then lower the foot again

Find more tips to do this exercise in perfect form here.

Isolation Exercise #3 – Calf Raises (Calves Focus)

Calf raises standard

For strong calves you need to work them directly. They are involved in all the compound exercises shown in this article, but nothing beats direct isolation work when it comes to calves.

  1. Step on the band with both feet. Make sure that the band is under the ball of each of your feet.
  2. Bring the band up and place it on your neck. Grab the band with your hands and hold it in front of you. This will make sure that the band isn’t flapping around during the exercise.
  3. Now go on your tippy-toes. Hold for a 1-2 seconds and lower yourself back down. Slowly!

Find more tips to do this exercise in perfect form here.

Variations

In case you get bored with the standard bread and butter version of calf raises, I have some variations for you. You should definitely try them!

You can find more details on the different variations for calf raises here.

Warm Up Exercise #1 – Monster Walks / Lateral Walk

Monster Walk

Don’t neglect warming up before starting serious lower body work. My personal favorite way to do a warm up is to combine monster walks with side steps.

My personal most favorite routine goes like this:

  1. Take 4 steps forward and then 4 steps backwards (monster walk) – repeat that for 5 times
  2. Straight after take 4 lateral steps to the right and the 4 to the left – repeat that for 5 times
  3. Do those 2 cycles twice and your lower body will be ready for anything

Find more tips to do monster walks in perfect form here. And don’t forget to check out lateral walks right here.

Glute Focus Exercises

If you want to check out exercises that target the glutes directly, we have the perfect collection for you. Check out this article right here:

The 5 Best Glute Exercises With Resistance Bands

But don’t worry…we have a small sneak peek for you 😉

The BIQ App

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  • 172 Exercises
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