If there's one piece of exercise equipment you need it's resistance bands, specifically the mini looped ones. Yes, dumbbells and other free weights are great workout tools and are recommended for anyone strength training. But they are expensive, and most people only have access to them at their local gym (although you should invest in a pair for home workouts).
The reason I want to talk to you about resistance bands is because they are a great piece of fitness equipment to have that will help maximize your lower body workouts, for better and faster results! They're referred to booty bands for a reason 😉So if you want to build strong and toned glutes then you're definitely going to need a set of these workout bands ASAP!
What are resistance bands?
These bands are also known as mini loop bands, hip bands, exercise bands, workout bands, booty bands, etc. But they all do the same thing - Provide external resistance that your muscles work against. But before we get into how they work, let's talk more about what they are...
Resistance bands come in various shapes and sizes, but as I said earlier, we're focusing on hip bands that are used for lower body workouts. These types of bands come in various resistance levels: extra light, light, medium, heavy, and extra heavy. They are also available in two different materials: rubber/latex and fabric. Latex bands are the ones you commonly see on Amazon or at stores like Target. They usually come in a set with various resistance levels. Fabric bands are mostly sold online, typically only have three resistance levels, and are sold individually or in a bundle of three. They both work the same, but they have a few differences that might sway you to like one more than the other. Latex/rubber bands are slightly cheaper than fabric ones, but the material makes them less durable. They tend to roll up during certain movements and rip easily. Fabric bands are still inexpensive, but they are slightly higher priced than latex bands. But for just a few bucks more, you'll get a durable band with a more comfortable non-slip material. It's really a matter of preference when it comes to the type of resistance band you want to use, at the end of the day, they work the same way.
How do resistance bands work?
They work similarly to free weights, but with one huge difference. Dumbbells add an external resistance that your muscles have to work against, but they rely on gravity. With resistance bands, instead of gravity, you push against the force of the band which sounds easier... But it's not. With a resistance band your muscles have to engage to fight the tension. So you're working against the resistance throughout the entire range of an exercise!
Let's take a squat for example.. If you loop a band around your quads, just above your knees, you have to press out towards the band when lowering into a squat, and again when standing back up. So your legs are pretty much always pressing against the resistance of the band, which means your muscles are constantly working and under tension for an extended period of time. This goes for any exercises performed with resistance bands! That's what makes them so great, they really challenge your muscles to work harder!
Resistance bands make your muscles work harder, but what are some of the other benefits of using them? Well here they are...
- Effective at toning and strengthening muscles
Resistance bands provide tension throughout the entire exercise being performed, this makes the targeted muscle groups work harder which helps build muscle and strength. In fact, a study conducted by The Sports Journal found that resistance bands paired with free weights resulted in better results, opposed to just training with free weights. Here's what they said, “Experienced power lifters and strength and conditioning professionals have claimed elastic band resistance combined with traditional training produces strength gains for several years”.
- Great for warm-up and activation exercises
Warming up is a crucial step to any good workout routine - Specifically dynamic warm-ups. This is a slower, lighter version of whatever exercise you are warming up. And one good way to do that is by doing bodyweight exercises and adding a light or medium resistance band to challenge your muscles a little bit before heaving lifting. Plus, they are great for activating your glutes! The muscles in the glutes are often weak and not activated from sitting all day, so if you go straight into your leg workout without activating your glutes, you'll end up forcing other muscles groups to help with the heavy lifting.
- Versatile and add variety to your workouts
Having a resistance band set can add variety to your workout routine, which is needed in order to make progress! Your muscles adapt quickly to the exercises you consistently perform. Combining exercises with bands and free weights will give your muscles that extra challenge they need to continue making progress!
Workout bands are small, which makes them perfect for when you're on-the-go! You can easily put them in your gym bag or even take them with you traveling. So you're always prepared to have a quick workout even when you don't have time to go to the gym.
- Great for all fitness levels
Many might think that these bands are only good for beginners, but they're not - Anyone can use them! They come in different resistance levels that range from extra light to extra heavy. So you can start with a light band and work your way up to a heavy resistance. The heavy resistance is pretty intense, any experienced lifter would benefit from adding these bands into their routine.
How To Use Resistance Bands To Sculpt Legs
One of the benefits of bands is their versatility - There are many ways to incorporate them into your lower body workouts!
They're the perfect tool for glute activation (or any other muscle groups). So after you foam roll and stretch, pick 2-3 glute activation exercises and perform at least 2 sets, and 10-15 reps for each set. Doing this will wake and fire up your glutes so they're ready to perform any exercise! The key is to perform the exercise slow and in control so you can really focus on your glutes to do most of the work.
Here are a few glute activation exercises you can try with resistance bands:
- Glute bridge
- Fire hydrant
- Donkey kicks
- Standing kickback
- Banded squats
- Lateral walks
Another way to use them is by just incorporating them into the leg exercises you normally perform. This will help take your workout up a notch.
Here are the best resistance band exercises that you can combine with free weights:
- Hip thrusts
- Leg press
You can even use them for your HIIT workouts to really make your muscles feel the burn 🔥
The bottom line is, there are a ton of easy ways to incorporate them in your workouts!
So if you are looking for a strength training tool that doesn’t break the bank and will help activate, tone, and strengthen your muscles more effectively for better results then invest in a resistance band set! If you want high-quality bands then look for fabric resistance bands. If you prefer something on the cheaper side, try latex bands, plus once you get used to them you can always buy a new set of fabric bands to replace them!
Just an FYI, for those that don't know, I'm the founder of UPPPER, a premium fitness gear company. We provide several products like resistance bands, wrist wraps, lifting straps, and more (coming soon)! Our fabric resistance bands are made with a non-slip material so they won't roll up, and they come in cute, unique designs and various colors! They also come in two sizes - Small/Medium and Large/X-large, and three resistance levels - Light, Medium, Heavy. Plus, you can get a bundle of 3 bands for $45! Not only are they cute, but they will help maximize your workouts for better results 💪