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The Top 12 Resistance Band Leg Workouts For Developing Muscle

 Written by 

Julien Raby

 Last updated on 

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Enough is enough—you’re ready to break out your old set of resistance bands and build your lower body once and for all!

But where do you start?

A woman performing resitance band leg workouts
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Don’t panic. We’ve compiled the top 12 resistance band leg workouts, the benefits, and everything you need to know to develop a strong lower body. 

What Are the Benefits of Resistance Band Leg Workouts?

There are several advantages to resistance band leg exercises compared to traditional weight training. Exercises with bands offer convenience and versatility while placing less stress on the joints. 

Improved Functional Strength

Resistance band exercises can improve functional strength through enhancing stability, mobility, and leg strength. Many movements, like the squat, deadlift, and lunges, translate to daily activities. 

Better functional strength can help you perform in sports, or in everyday movements like running, squating, bending over, or climbing stairs. 

Joint-Friendly Exercise

Resistance band exercises provide low-impact workouts that minimize stress on the joints compared to heavy weightlifting or high-impact movements. Training with resistance bands is particularly useful for individuals with achey joints, knee pain, or those recovering from injuries.

Muscle Activation

Resistance band training provides constant tension throughout the entire range of motion. This activates the muscles more, enhancing muscle fiber recruitment. Consistent resistance band workouts can help strengthen leg muscles and tone the quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, and calves.

squat bande elastique
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Credit: Aliaksandr Makatserchyk

More Core Activation

Several resistance band workouts not only engage major muscle groups in the legs, but also target core muscles. Movements like the squat and deadlift require the core for stability. This promotes better posture and can reduce the risk of back pain. 

Extremely Affordable

Unfortunately, not everyone can afford a gym membership or has access to weights. That’s where resistance bands come in handy. They are an extremely affordable tool with many options costing under $50. 

Most sets include different band resistance levels so you can adjust the difficulty depending on your fitness level. They also include different handles so you can perform different exercises and target different body muscles. 


Besides building muscle mass in the legs, you can use a band workout for countless exercises. Whether you’re targeting the upper body, lower body, or performing a full-body workout, there are a wide range of movements available. 

The adjustable tension levels allow you to easily tailor the difficulty to suit your strength training plan.

A man performing resistance band leg workouts at the gym
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What Type of Resistance Band Should You Use?

Effective resistance band leg training requires the right type of equipment. There are several types of resistance bands, each with advantages, disadvantages, and best-use cases. Some movements require handles, while others require a simple, flat elastic. Here are a few to look out for. 

Mini Bands or Looped Resistance Bands

Mini bands, or looped resistance bands, have a flat design with a continuous loop. They range in size, with options around 4–24 inches. These bands are best suited for building strength in the lower body, including the legs, hips, and glute muscles. 

Resistance Tube Bands

Tube resistance bands are usually longer than four feet and have handles on both ends. Bands with handles are typically used for the upper body, but can also be used in lower body exercises, like the deadlift or leg press

Lateral Tube Bands

Lateral bands have velcro cuffs instead of conventional handles. These bands are around one foot in length and are excellent for engaging the lower body. Attaching the cuff to your ankle allows you to perform movements like glute kickbacks and leg raises.

A man using different colors of resistance bands
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What Do the Different Colors Mean? 

Resistance bands typically come in different colors indicating the various resistance levels. Each brand will be slightly different, but here are the most common color categories:

  • Yellow: Light resistance, thin and stretchy.
  • Red: Medium resistance
  • Green: Medium to heavy resistance
  • Blue: Heavy resistance
  • Black: Very heavy resistance, thick, and hard to stretch.

You will need to consult your resistance brands to determine the different difficulty levels. It’s best to pick one that suits your fitness goals and performance levels. 

What’s the Best Rep Range?

Before you dive into resistance band leg exercises, it’s critical to select a rep range that matches your fitness goals . Exercise bands provide constant time under tension and are best suited for higher rep ranges. 

We recommend selecting a resistance band you can perform 10-15 reps with controlled movement. The difficulty should be challenging and you should feel a burn.

A woman performing one the bests resistance band leg workouts
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The Best Resistance Band Leg Exercises

An effective leg workout routine will target all the major muscles in the legs, including the quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, hips, and calf muscles. Here are 12 of the best exercises to add into your routine. 

1. Banded Front Squat

Banded squats are a staple in any effective band leg workout routine. Deep squats will strengthen the lower body, improving stability, range of motion, and mobility. 

  1. Position the band underneath mid foot. Keep the feet flat hip distance apart. Grab each end of the band in both hands, wrapping it around the back. 
  2. Carefully press the hips back into a squat position. Maintain a slight bend in the knees, lowering your body toward the ground until the knees reach a 90-degree angle and your thighs are parallel to the floor.
  3. Pause for 2–3 seconds.
  4. Now, carefully lift your body back to the starting position to finish one repetition. Repeat the movement for your desired rep range.

2. Deadlift

Another staple is the resistance band deadlift. It’s a compound movement that provides strength development in the posterior chain

  1. Start with the feet hip distance apart. The tension band should be underneath the middle of your feet.
  2. Press the hips backward and grip the elastic with both hands. The arms should be straight.
  3. Maintain a tight core without letting the back round. 
  4. Now, press through the heels to stand up straight. Squeeze your glutes at the top of the deadlift.
  5. Return to the starting position to finish one rep. Repeat the exercise for your desired rep range or 10-12 reps.

3. Glute Bridge

The banded glute bridge will activate and strengthen the glutes. This movement is excellent for enhancing stability and range of motion, without additional pressure on the joints from heavy loads. 

  1. Place a resistance band around your legs right above the knees.
  2. Lie on your back with the arms and feet flat on the ground. The knees should have a slight 90-degree angle bend.
  3. Next, raise your hips toward the sky. Squeeze the glutes and core at the top of the movement.
  4. Pause for a brief moment at the top of the movement before returning to the starting stance to complete one repetition.

4. Lateral Band Walk

If you want to engage the hip abductors, try the lateral band walk. Strengthening the hip abductors can enhance stability, mobility, and range of motion. 

  1. Wrap a resistance band around your thighs. Carefully lower your body into a half-squat stance.
  2. Next, take one step to the right by lifting the right foot. Follow the movement with the left foot.
  3. Reverse the movement to return to the starting position and to complete one rep. Do the same for the left side for your desired rep range.

5. Standing Abduction

Another way to strengthen the hip abductors is through movements like the standing resistance band abduction. This exercise will also enhance stability, balance, and range of motion. 

  1. Stand upright with a closed-loop band wrapped around the legs underneath the knees.
  2. Next, raise one leg out to the side with a 45-degree angle to the floor. Maintain a straight leg.
  3. Carefully lower the leg back to the floor to finish one rep. Repeat this motion with the opposite leg.

6. Fire Hydrant

The banded fire hydrant will target the glutes and hip abductors. It’s a fantastic movement for engaging smaller muscles without placing additional stress on the joints. 

  1. Wrap a band just above the knees. 
  2. Get into a tabletop stance, with your hands and knees flat on the ground. The hips should be directly over the knees and shoulders over the wrists.
  3. Now, squeeze the glutes and outer thighs to lift the left knee out to the side. Do not shift your hips.
  4. Tighten your core so you can maintain balance.
  5. Carefully lower the left knee to the original position to complete on rep. Continue the exercise for your desired rep range before switching to the opposite leg.

7. Tabletop Glute Kickbacks

The tabletop glute kickback will engage the glutes and core simultaneously. You will need to keep your core tight to keep the upper body stable. This movement also engages the arms, as you need to use pressure to keep the shoulders square. 

  1. Position a resistance band around the arches of your feet. 
  2. Get into a tabletop position with the hips directly over the knees and shoulders over the wrists. 
  3. Now, tighten the glutes and core to press the left foot directly behind you. 
  4. Pull the leg into the starting stance to complete one rep. Repeat the movement for your 10-12 reps before swapping legs.

8. Clamshell

The banded clamshell engages the inner and outer thigh muscles, making it fantastic for improving mobility. It’s best to perform this movement slowly so you can focus on control and technique. 

  1. Wrap a tension band around the thighs, right above the knees. 
  2. Lie on your right side on the ground and bend the knees. Position your head on the right hand or forearm, keeping the left palm on your left hip.
  3. Now, work against the tension to tighten your glutes and thigh to push the left thigh out as wide as possible.
  4. Take a pause at the top of the movement. Now, gently bright the thigh to the starting stance to complete one rep.
  5. Repeat on the opposite leg for your desired rep range.

9. Resistance Band Lunges

Resistance band lunges are excellent for targeting the lower body, including the quads, glutes, and hamstrings. As a compound exercise, you get more bang for your buck compared to isolation movements. 

  1. Take a staggered stance, with the right foot forward and left foot behind you. Position the resistance band underneath the right foot.
  2. Grip both of the handles and hold them at shoulder height. Maintain a tight core and spine. 
  3. Now, lower the left knee toward the floor. Allow the right knee to bend, but don’t overextend it too much.
  4. Press up through the front leg to bring your body to the starting position. Repeat for your desired rep range before alternating sides.

10. Bulgarian Split Squat

The Bulgarian split squat can be an advanced movement, but it will challenge your body like no other. As a unilateral leg exercise, the split squat will engage the quadriceps and challenge your stability. You will need a box, bench, or chair to perform this exercise. 

  1. Position a resistance band underneath the right foot. Grab the handles at shoulder height or wrap the band around your shoulders.
  2. Now, place your left foot behind you on an elevated surface with the knee hanging over.
  3. Next, carefully lower the body so your back knee bends toward the floor.
  4. Press up through the front leg to return to the starting stance to complete one rep. Repeat for your desired rep range before swapping sides.

11. Banded Marches With Calf Raise

Don’t forget your calves! Banded marches are a fantastic way to engage the calves, quads, and hip flexors. It will help enhance overall lower body strength, mobility, and range of motion. 

  1. Assume an athletic stance with the feet hip distance apart.
  2. Wrap a tension band around the balls of your feet. 
  3. Now, lift the right knee toward the sky and simultaneously lift onto the balls of your left foot.
  4. Carefully lower your leg to return to the starting position. Alternate back and forth for your desired rep range.

12. Prone Hamstring Curl

The banded resistance hamstring curl will thoroughly engage the hamstrings. It’s a fantastic isolation movement for improving strength, stability, and mobility. 

  1. Lie face down with a tension band wrapped around the right foot and left ankle.
  2. Now, slowly bend the right knee toward your glutes. 
  3. Hold the position for 3–5 seconds before slowly lowering the leg to the starting position. This is one rep. 
  4. Repeat the movement for your desired rep range before switching legs.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Can You Build Legs With Resistance Bands?

Yes, it’s possible to strengthen your legs with resistance bands. It’s possible to perform movements that target the quads, hamstrings, glutes, and calves. Compound movements, like squats and deadlifts will target multiple muscle groups. Isolation exercises, like leg raises and hamstring curls will engage specific muscles. 

Will Resistance Bands Tone Thighs?

Yes, it’s possible to tone your thighs with resistance bands. These exercises can help you lose weight, develop strength, and enhance range of motion. You can adjust the tension difficulty to suit your fitness level, helping you progress through your fitness journey. 

Can You Gain Muscle With Resistance Bands?

Yes, it’s possible to gain muscle with resistance bands. As long as you’re doing enough sets with enough difficulty, your muscles should get stronger. Resistance bands provide constant time under tension, which challenges the muscles and recruits more muscle fibers, leading to more development.


Julien Raby is the owner of BoxLife. He owns a bachelor in literature and a certificate in marketing from Concordia. He's Crossfit Level 1 certified and has been involved in Crossfit since 2010. In 2023 he finally made it to Crossfit Open Quarterfinals for the first time. LinkedIn Instagram Facebook

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