By Kirsty Welsh
Looking for a simple but effective set of exercises to tone up your butt and thighs? Just add one a resistance bands for added muscle-burn factor with this lower body resistance band workout.
They might look harmless, but trust us: the best resistance bands will certainly step your workouts. These versatile items of fit kit are a muscle-sculpting essential for many reasons, namely the myriad ways they can be used to strengthen your thighs, butt and even arms.
What's more, they’re affordable, easy on the joints, and easy to pack away when not in use - the perfect accessory for your home workouts.
And if you're particularly looking to tone your butt and thighs, you're in luck.
We've teamed up with celebrity trainer Louisa Drake, founder of the Louisa Drake Method and whose clients have included Gwyneth Paltrow and Victoria Beckham, to bring you a five-move lower body resistance band workout.
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She extols the benefits of how effective bands can be for adding resistance to simple exercises. ‘They’re able to target and isolate certain muscle groups and increase their performance, working more places and more muscle for that satisfying burn,' she says.
'I particularly use my LDM loop bands for my lower body. They they force you to move with better form and produce power from the correct muscles.’
Louisa recommends doing this work out 3 to 5 times per week for maximum results.
To get started, mobilise your spine and around your joints, warming up the shoulders, hips and ankles with dynamic stretches. Then, dive right in to her five killer moves! And if you enjoy this workout, also try our chest workouts with resistance bands.
Move #1: Resistance band crab walks
One of the most effective abductor muscle exercises - they’ll fire up your hips, thighs and glutes, as well as activate your core. Stay low throughout the exercise and maintain the tension as you step to the side. While it might look simple, your inner and outer thighs will feel the burn with this resistance band exercise.
How to do a lateral band or crab walk
- Place a resistance band around your ankles and stand with your feet hip-distance apart with a slight bend in the knees.
- Engaging your outer thighs and slightly hinging at the hips, step your left foot to the side so your feet are now shoulder-distance apart.
- Then step your right foot to the left, bringing your feet hip-distance apart and keeping the band tight.
- Alternate stepping your feet out and in for around 10 reps on each side.
Tip: Step your feet out and in wide enough so that the band stays taut throughout the entire time.
Move #2: resistance band squat
Squats are one of the best exercises to target the lower body. By adding the resistance band it makes it that extra bit more challenging but ensures your technique stays on point.
How to do banded squats
- Place a loop band around your thighs, just above your knees.
- Stand with your feet hip-distance apart and extend your arms out in front of you.
- Tightening your glutes and engaging your core, sit into a squat, pushing your bottom back and down.
- Work against the resistance of the band to drive your knees out.
- Keeping your weight in your heels, firmly press them down on the ground to stand back up. This is one rep - repeat for 10.
Tip: Focus on driving your knees out to avoid them caving in. Remember to engage your core to keep your chest lifted as well.
Move #3: resistance band lateral leg lifts
With the lateral leg lift you get that extra glute and the outer thigh focus in one exercise. This is a great way to strengthen the muscles supporting the knee, work the legs as well as the core while building balance and stability. Hip abduction is a great way to target the smaller muscles in your glutes. With these resistance band leg lifts, you're also actively squeezing your thighs out to the sides.
How to do lateral leg lifts
- Place the loop band just above your ankles, feet hip-width apart, hands at chest.
- Bend your knees and drop hips to heels as you lower into a squat.
- Keep your spine long and core engaged and focus on tightening your glutes. Work against the band and remember to drive your knees out.
- Keeping your weight in your heels, firmly push down to lift up as you lift one leg out to the side and extend at the knee on the lifted leg.
- Place hand on hips to help maintain level pelvis and moving with control. Try not to lean to one side.
- Lower the leg and return to squat. Repeat this for 10 reps on one side before switching to the other leg.
Tip: Want to make sure you're using the right muscles? Put your hands on your hips to feel the muscles working and pause to really feel them activate. You also have the option to use a chair for extra support.
Move #4: Fire hydrant with resistance band
This is an effective exercise not only for strengthening and activating your butt, but also in creating mobility throughout your hips, stretches the inner thighs, and stabilises the core. The primary muscle targeted by the fire hydrant exercise is the gluteus medius, by strengthening the gluteus medius you will reduce back and knee pain.
How to do a fire hydrant
- Place the band just above your knees. Start on all fours with your hands under your shoulders and knees under your hips.
- Without shifting your hips, lift your right knee out to the side so the band is tight to a 90-degree angle. Hold at the top for 2 seconds.
- Slowly return to starting position for 1 rep. Aim for 10 reps one side and repeat on the other leg.
- Try and keep constant resistance in the band, so if that means you don't come all the way back down to the ground, that’s fine.
Tip: Remember to keep your core engaged, so you're stabilised and not shifting or sinking into your hips.
Move #5: Resistance band glute bridge abduction
Glute bridges strengthen the pelvic floor and open up the hips and target your inner and outer thighs. When you place a resistance band just above your knees, you're also engaging your outer thigh muscles to drive your knees out.
How to do a banded glute bridge
- Place the loop band around your thighs, just above your knees.
- Lie on your back with your hands at your sides, knees bent, feet flat on floor inline with your hips.
- Drive through your heels and lift the hips to the ceiling, squeeze your glutes. Your body should form a straight line from shoulders to knees.
- Keep your pelvis tucked under, no arch in your back, and pull your belly button to your spine to maintain correct form.
- Hold the bridge and press or wrap knees outward, then return to center, keeping tension on the loop band the whole time. Lower back down, then repeat. Aim for 20 reps.
Tip: Be careful not to lift your hips too high to prevent overarching the lower back.
Video credits: Oly Barnsley
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