As many of us around the globe head toward Lockdown 2.0, we’re starting to see another increase in the need for well-made home workouts. Resistance bands are one of the most popular tools for home workouts and that’s for good reason. Bands can be used for a variety of exercises and they’re generally beginner, intermediate, and advanced lifter friendly.
Outside of the traditional squat and lunge, what other leg exercises can you do with resistance bands? To provide you with more resistance band exercises for legs, we wanted to build a list of our favorite options that you can try out to build your quads, hamstrings, and glutes while working out at home.
When maintaining strength and improving fitness with home workouts, a significant goal for your workouts should be increasing effort and work. By increasing effort, we can increase gains. These 9 exercises are fantastic for increasing effort while trying to build your legs with resistance bands.
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Best Resistance Band Exercises for Legs
The exercises below were chosen because they only require a single resistance band to be performed, but they’re also slightly different than the traditional resistance band leg exercises shared. Hopefully, you can take a few of these and apply them to your training.
1. Resistance Band Single-Leg Squat
The resistance band single-leg squat is an awesome unilateral squat variation for anyone trying to blast their quads.
- Place the resistance band around your leading dominant foot and stagger your stance so the opposing foot is about 1-2 feet behind the lead foot.
- From here, descend placing 80% of your emphasis on the lead leg and 20% on the opposing leg. Use the offset leg for balance and stability and not a prime mover.
- Let the knee track and once you hit depth, stand back up and squeeze the quad at lockout.
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2. Heels Elevated Resistance Band Squat
Want to level up your traditional squat and shift more emphasis onto the quads? Elevate the heels!
- Place the band around your feet and upper back as normal, then step back to a surface that’s roughly 1-3″ tall.
- Let the knees track and descend to full depth before standing back up and squeezing the quads at the top and repeating the process.
3. Resistance Band Bulgarian Split Squat
The rear-foot elevated split squat (Bulgarian split squat) is a brutal unilateral squat variation and with a band, this is a complete burner.
- From a kneeling position, place the band around the lead foot and across the body. The back foot should be elevated on a couch or surface that’s around 1-2.5 feet tall.
- Stand up and establish your normal position. Adjust if you need to!
- Slowly lower yourself down and keep the emphasis on the lead leg. The back leg is for support and stability not to serve as a prime mover.
- Once you hit depth, stand back up and lockout the leg at the top, then repeat this process.
4. Resistance Band Single-Leg Box Squat
If you’re on the quest of building and perfecting your pistol squat, then this variation is a must-do to build your unilateral strength and pistol mechanics.
- Place the band around your lead leg from a seated position and make sure that the lead leg is about a foot’s length in front of the couch/box/point of reference.
- Assume a B-stance position and place the opposing leg’s heel in front of the lead leg for support. Think about using a 90:10 work ratio for lead:offset leg work.
- Descend slowly until you reach the point of reference, and break at the hips and knees simultaneously at the top of the movement.
- Once you’re seated, stand back up using the primary leg to initiate the movement and repeat this controlled process.
5. 1.5 Rep Split Squat With Resistance Band
Instead of tackling a traditional split squat — which you likely have on lock — add a half rep to increase the movement’s difficulty and increase time under tension.
- Place the band around your main, leading leg, then assume your traditional split squat stance.
- Descend slowly and once you hit depth, stand back up halfway.
- Once you hit the halfway point, descend again, and rise fully this time for a full rep. This abbreviated motion counts as half the rep, hence why we call it a 1.5 rep variation!
6. Resistance Band Staggered Stance Single-Leg RDL
The single-leg RDL is an awesome exercise for building unilateral hamstring strength and with a band you can get a lot of awesome time under tension with this exercise.
- Assume a staggered stance and place the band around your dominant leg and across the body.
- From here, focus on keeping 80% of your weight in the dominant leg and hinge backward creating a nice stretch in the hamstrings.
- Once you reach a point in which your hamstrings cannot stretch anymore, stand back up and squeeze the glutes to extend the hips at lockout.
7. Single-Leg Resistance Band Deadlift
This single-leg deadlift variation is adapted from Dr. Pat Davidson, so shout out to him for popularizing this deadlift variation.
- Stand roughly a foot or two’s lengths off the wall, then choose a primary leg and an offset leg. Take the offset leg and place it flat against the wall behind you.
- From here, pretend as though you’re holding dumbbells and take the offset’s side’s hand and rotate during the lowering process until the knuckles are covering the toes.
- Think about placing the emphasis in the glute on the dominant leg and bring the knee on the offset leg’s side inward toward the dominant knee.
- Once you hit depth, stand back up and squeeze the glutes, then repeat this process.
8. Single-Leg Resistance Band Deadlift Staggered Stance
This is a great deadlift variation for beginners that need an option to mimic their traditional barbell deadlift.
- Assume a staggered stance with the lead leg taking about 80% of the work. Place the band under your and bend down and grab each side of it.
- Once you’ve created tension in the band and the legs, stand up and think about driving the quad down into the ground on the dominant leg and extend the hips at the top by squeezing the glutes.
- After the lockout, hinge and repeat this process to create seamless reps.
9. Single-Leg RDL (with support)
The single-leg RDL is a high skill exercise and that’s why adding support is usually a good bet for most lifters attempting this movement especially with a band.
- Place the resistance band around the planted leg and around the upper body. On the planted leg side, grab a wall, couch, or another base of support.
- Once you’ve done so, lead with the chest coming forward and the offset leg moving backward and up. Pretend like you’re a wood board moving with the chest and leg moving in unison.
- Keep the hips closed and parallel to the floor and move until you feel a nice stretch in the hamstring or when the chest is parallel to the floor. Stand back up and repeat this process for your consecutive reps.