Summer is officially in full swing, which means many of my clients and I have been on the road traveling. The first thing I suggest packing is a collection of resistance bands because wherever we go, we can get a great workout in just using the bands.

Last month I discussed 5 upper body resistance band exercises that I’d introduced to busy clients to keep them from falling off the active wagon this summer. This month I would like to share 5 lower body resistance band exercises that they’ve been adding to their on-the-go routines.

Lower body resistance band exercises

Clockwise from top left: Front squat, Back squat, Deadlift, Good morning

*These 5 exercises are planned with looped resistance bands but can be done with traditional bands with handles.

1. Back squats

-Stand with feet hip width distance on one end of the resistance band and place the other end of the loop around the shoulders. 

-Squat with good depth. That’s it! 

*If you get sweaty, the band may slip towards the neck, which can be uncomfortable. In this case, add a towel around the upper back. 

2. Front Squats

-Stand on one end of the resistance band with feet hip width distance and hold the other end on the front rack position.

-Hands in front of the shoulders, elbows high, with upper arms parallel to the ground.

-Squat with good depth.

*Remind clients they may feel more quad activation in the front squat compared to the back squat.

3. Deadlifts

-Stand with feet on the resistance band hip width or wider, knees soft, criss-cross the band in your hands. 

-Keep tension on the band. 

-Hinge the hips forward with partial flexion in the knees, allowing upper body to come parallel to the ground.

-Return to standing by driving through the heels and squeezing the glutes. 

*Lower hand placement will create more tension on the band, and thus, more muscle recruitment in the core, upper, and lower body.

4. Good Mornings

-Stand with feet on the resistance band hip width distance and place the other end of the band around shoulders. 

-Bend the knees slightly during the descent and hinge from the hips until the torso is parallel to the standing surface. Return to standing position.

*For more hamstring recruitment, keep the knees straight.

5. Lateral walks

-Stand with feet on the resistance band hip width distance, knees soft, and hands securing the band about waist height. 

-Take 5-10 steps to the right. Then, 5-10 steps to the left. 

*To add variety step diagonally forward and back, too.

(I added this one because I think it is important to move in more than one plane of motion). 

Programming these movements into some kind of metcon, circuit, or interval training can really create a great workout. My favorite new protocol lately has been a reverse ladder set of 10 decreasing rep rounds: 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1.

What twists can you think of to incorporate resistance bands into a lower body workout?

Theresa Perales

Theresa Perales has an MA in Spanish, and is an ESL teacher at San Diego State University (SDSU). After years of struggling with her weight, she decided to give exercise a try. A passion for health and fitness grew instantly and inspired her to become certified as a personal trainer with NFPT, and as a group fitness instructor with AFAA Group Fitness and Madd Dog Athletics® Spinning. Theresa believes that nutrition and fitness are not about aesthetics but ultimately about feeling healthy and empowered.