Leg day workouts don't have to involve gym machines like the squat rack or quad extension, thanks to a much more convenient piece of equipment: the resistance band.
"Adding a resistance band to a leg workout can allow you to mimic certain gym machine movements that would normally be impossible with a dumbbell or barbell," says Tatiana Scott, CPT, personal trainer, founder of Fit With Curves.
With Scott's workout, you certainly won't miss your gym's machines. Run through this whole sequence for two rounds, resting 20 to 40 seconds between exercises. You won't feel fully rested (like you were before your workout), but you should feel ready to tackle the next set.
1. Resistance Band Squat
- Place a mini resistance band right above your knees and stand with your feet at hip-width distance.
- Brace your core and keep your back straight and upright. Push your hips back and down to lower into a squat until your thighs are parallel to the floor, or as low as you can comfortably go with good form.
- From the bottom of your squat, push through your feet to extend your legs and stand back up and repeat.
To make this move a little easier, you can remove the band and stick with air squats. As a progression, try adding a small pulse to each rep. From the bottom of your squat, rise halfway and squat back down.
2. Resistance Band Split Squat
- With your right foot, step on top of one end of a mini resistance band and hold the other end with your left hand.
- Stand with your right foot in front and your left foot a few feet behind.
- Lower into a split squat until both knees are bent to 90 degrees. Your left knee should hover just above the ground.
- Pause, then drive through your front foot to return to standing, keeping your feet stationary the entire time.
- Do all your reps on one side before switching legs.
3. Resistance Band Crunch
- Sit on the ground and place a mini resistance band around the top of your knees.
- Using your glutes, press your knees slightly out to add resistance to the band.
- Lie back onto the ground, keeping the tension on the resistance band throughout the exercise. This is the starting position.
- With your hands on opposite shoulders, exhale and crunch up, reaching your elbows toward your knees.
- Slowly reverse the motion and return to the starting position.
4. Resistance Band Deadlift
- Stand on the middle of the band with your feet hip-width apart. Grab the free end of the band with both hands.
- Brace your core as you push your hips back and lower your torso, allowing a very small bend in your knees.
- Keeping your hands close to your body, lower until they're at about shin height.
- Pause, then push through your heels and squeeze your glutes to stand up tall.
As you do your deadlifts, keep your shoulders down and back away from your ears.