If lack of time has kept you from your leg-strengthening workouts, excuses be gone. The portable, affordable and space-efficient elastic band supports leg workouts of every type. Color-coded so you can easily identify resistance level, the bands come in many shapes and sizes. Some are long and tubular-shaped, with handles on each end. Others, designed to wrap around your ankles, have a circular shape. Work with them regularly for strong, sexy legs. Who knew resistance could be so easy and look so good?
Single Leg Band Squat
Fold the band in half and step on the center with your right foot.
Bring each handle up to each shoulder.
Extend your left leg and lift your left foot a few inches from the floor.
Bend your knee, lower your hips and sit back, as if you were hovering over a chair. Keep your left leg lifted and extended.
Straighten your leg with control. Perform three sets of 15 repetitions on each side. This exercise works the hamstrings, quad and butt muscles. A University of Indiana Study found that it prevented injury and improved running gait in female runners.
Hip Abduction Walk
Wrap a circular resistance band around your ankles.
Stand upright with your knees slightly bent. Take a step to the right with your right leg.
Bring your left leg in to meet it.
Take eight steps to the right and eight to the left. Perform three sets in each direction. The lateral band walk targets the muscles of the outer thigh. While it's similar to the side-lying variation of this exercise, it adds an important weight-bearing element, which assists in helping you maintain bone density.
Stand upright with your knees slightly bent and the circular band wrapped around your ankles.
Step out to the right with your right leg.
Cross your left leg behind your right.
Step out again with your right leg, then cross your left leg in front of your right. Repeat the sequence, then switch directions. Perform 10 sets in each direction. The Karaoke balances the abductor walk by working your inner thighs, or adductor muscles. When you finish, you may grab a mic and belt out one round of "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" -- just for fun, of course.
Prone Leg Curl
Wrap a circular band around your ankles.
Lie prone on your bed, with your legs extended and your toes on the floor. Place one hand over the other and rest your forehead on top of your hands.
Press your hips into the bed and lift your right leg off the floor. The band's resistance determines the height. Heavy-resistance bands have a shorter range of motion.
Bend your knee by bringing your heel toward your butt.
Straighten your leg and return to the start. Perform three sets of 15 repetitions. This exercise works the hamstrings or backs of the legs. Using your bed adds challenge by increasing the range of motion. Your bed also gives you more comfortable support for those times of the month when lying prone on a hard surface is hardly comfortable.
- Perform these exercises in the sequence in which they are presented.
- Do the workout three times weekly, allowing a rest day in between sessions.
- Wide, flat bands can substitute for tube-shaped and circular bands. Make a circular band by tying the ends together.
- See your doctor before starting a new exercise program.
- Prevent band-snapping by avoiding sharp, jerky movements.
In 1999, Lisa Mercer’s fitness, travel and skiing expertise inspired a writing career. Her books include "Open Your Heart with Winter Fitness" and "101 Women's Fitness Tips." Her articles have appeared in "Aspen Magazine," "HerSports," "32 Degrees," "Pregnancy Magazine" and "Wired." Mercer has a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the City College of New York.