Bodybuilder Fouad Abiad squatting with resistance bands

5 KILLER LEG EXERCISES WITH RESISTANCE BANDS

You don’t always need to use heavy weights to get in a good leg workout. Resistance bands can challenge your quadriceps and hamstrings just as good—and without the wear and tear on your joints. Use this workout when you can’t get to a gym or are on the road traveling.

Rules for Resistance Band Leg Workouts:

 

  1. Be sure to take your time and get the resistance out of the band by holding the peak contraction for a one-second count.
  2. The further the band stretches, the more resistance you can create. You don’t always need a thicker band; sometimes, you can create more resistance with a broader range of motion.
  3. Be sure never to lock out the knees, push the range as far as it will go without the knee locking all the way out.
  4. When performing any leg exercise, you want to focus on the range of motion. Be sure to squat deep for full leg development. Always opt for the greatest range of motion you can handle with good form.
  5. Control your negatives. The great thing about the bands is they offer resistance throughout the range of motion with no dead spots. Use that to your advantage by controlling your negatives and not just letting the band snap back.
  6. Leg training is always thought of in terms of strength. Years of training have taught me that the higher volumes are what really create the roundness to the leg muscles. Don’t be scared to do higher rep ranges for squats like 20, 35, 30 reps. Challenge yourself.

 

Front Squat
Sets: 4
Reps: 25
We’re opting for a front squat here instead of a traditional squat simply for the ease of getting the band(s) around our shoulders. Be sure to squat as deep as possible here, and take your time. Do not just bounce up and down as fast as possible. Control the negative, get deep, then be explosive in the positive or concentric portion of the movement. A short squeeze at the top, and then do it all over again! Don’t forget to do two warm-up sets, two feeder sets, and do this 20-30 times. That’s one working set. You should do a minimum of three working sets, maybe four.

Bulgarian Split Squat
Sets: 4
Reps: 20
This exercise will be torturous after all of the squats, but make sure to keep your form solid and don't cheat yourself. Go all the way down, stretching the back leg, and then press all the way up, stopping just of lockout. Be sure to keep your back upright to ensure the majority of the tension is on the quads. Do four sets here for 20 reps each leg.

Pistol Squat
Sets: 4
Reps: 15
Don’t make this easy on yourself. If you’re new to this movement like me, you’ll have to use a chair, bench, or stool to brace yourself at the bottom of the movement. However, be sure to challenge yourself. Find a lower chair, couch, or stool then you would typically use and try to get deep. In the video, the chair is a little too high for my liking, but you should try to find something lower. A milk crate turned over is probably the perfect height. Do four sets here for 15 reps each leg.

Good Mornings
Sets: 4
Reps: 10-15
With this movement, we are going to get into working the hams and glutes. As stated in the video, be sure to bend from the hip and not the lower back. It is very easy to use your lower back on this movement, so do your best to keep your back in a straight position while swiveling from the hip. Make sure you get a good stretch on the way down and come back up almost to the starting position, contracting the glutes and hams hard. Take your time on this throughout the entire range of motion. Do four sets here for 10-15 hard reps.

Lying Leg Curl
Sets: 4
Reps: 15
This hamstring movement is my favorite, and I've found that the band creates more tension than the machine at the gym. The band tension is going to make it harder to touch your heels to your butt, but that's ok. I want you to stretch out the band, make sure at the very bottom the band is still tight, then curl up hard with your heels without sticking your butt out. You should only be able to get to 90-degree bend in the leg or a little more. When you get there, hold that squeeze for two seconds. Then repeat the rep. Do four sets for 15 reps.