If you’re tired of the squat machine but still want to develop your quads, you have a number of options -- one of which is the resistance band. By using this handy, often-underused exercise tool, you can get an effective workout for your upper legs that will also help strengthen other muscle groups in the process. And since no machines or weights are involved, you can take on these moves at home, on the road or anywhere you have space.
Leg Abductors and Adductors
Leg abductors and adductors -- which are essentially standing side leg lifts -- are excellent exercises for developing the quads, hips and glutes. By working your legs against the resistance of the band, you can get a burn that lets you know you’ve done your work. Simply stand beside a chair with your feet hip-width apart. Place a resistance band around your ankles and, while holding the chair for support with one hand, flex your foot and lift your outer leg as far as comfortably possible. Slowly return to the starting position and repeat the movement for three sets of 10 to 12 reps on both sides.
For a move that works your outer thighs while also engaging your abs and glutes, try the X wrap from “Fitness Magazine.” You’ll get a great leg workout while also developing your core stability. Start on the floor in a seated V position and wrap a resistance band over your quads and under your thighs forming an X. Lift your legs a foot off the floor and push them outward as you hold the band tight. Keep your legs lifted and repeat the exercise 15 times.
If you’ve got about 10 feet of space to work with, try the resistance band side shuffle. It is an excellent move that engages the major muscles of the legs while also targeting the smaller, stabilizing muscles that are responsible for helping you stay injury-free during workouts. Simply loop a resistance band around your ankles and lower into a squat position with your feet wide enough apart to keep the band in place. Extend one leg out to the side against the resistance of the band and continue to shuffle to that side focusing on the muscles in the lead leg. After 10 steps, do the same number in the opposite direction to work the other leg. Shoot for three sets.
Seated Leg Extensions
It’s easy to mimic the leg extension machine at the gym by using a resistance band and a chair. Fix the resistance band to one of the back chair legs and take a seat. Loop the other end of the band around one of your ankles and lift your leg against the resistance of the band until it is parallel with the floor. Slowly return it to the starting position and repeat for 10 to 12 reps before switching legs. Aim for three sets.
After graduating from the University of Kansas with a bachelor's degree in sports information, Jill Lee served for 10 years as a magazine editor for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA). Also a published author, Lee now works as a professional writer and editor focusing on fitness, sports and careers.