Resistance bands eliminate excuses for not exercising. They are lightweight, affordable, versatile and particularly effective for butt and thigh workouts. Some band manufacturers color-code their products according to their resistance levels. Keep your butt and thigh workouts progressive by purchasing bands in different shapes and lengths. The continuous-loop bands are for leg curls, quadruped, side-lying, prone and supine leg and butt exercises. The longer bands add resistance to squats and lunges.
Squats and Lunges
Squats and lunges work the hamstrings, quadriceps and gluteal muscles. When doing these exercises without external resistance, most people feel the movement when the knees bend. The band provides resistance on the extension phase of the exercise. Place the band under one foot for lunges and under both feet for squats. Hold the band's ends at each hip. Slowly bend your knees, then straighten your legs with control. Maintain tension on the bands as you work the leg and butt muscles. Keep your spine in an upright position for lunges, but sit back, as if you were hovering over a chair, for squats.
Most outer-thigh exercises are not weight-bearing. This does not imply inefficiency, but the National Osteoporosis Foundation recommends weight-bearing activities for building bone density. The band walk is one of the few weight-bearing, outer-thigh exercises. Use the continuous-loop band for this exercise. Place it around your ankles. Take a big, sideways step with your right foot. Bring your left foot in to meet it. Do four sets, each with eight steps to the right and eight steps to the left.
The inner-thigh crossover is a variation of the band walk. Low-impact aerobic enthusiasts will recognize this as the "grapevine" step, and athletes know it as the "karaoke," but dancing and singing abilities are not required. Inner-thigh band exercise poses a tricky dilemma -- the inner thighs bring the legs toward the center of the body, but band exercise is effective only when the leg moves away from the stable end of the band. The crossover, which facilitates movement away from the band's stable end, takes full advantage of the exercise band. Step to the side with your right leg, then cross your left leg in front of your right. Take another step to the right, and cross your left leg behind your right. Do four sets, each with eight steps to the right and eight steps to the left. Increase resistance by crossing the working leg farther in front and farther behind the stable leg.
The clam works the outer thighs and gluteal muscles. It also enhances external hip rotation, which improves dance and athletic performance. Lie on your side, with your knees bent at a 45-degree angle. Secure the loop band around your thighs, just above your knees. Keep your heels together, stabilize your pelvis, and lift your top knee against the band's resistance so it faces the ceiling. Do 12 repetitions, then switch sides and repeat.