Resistance Band Leg Workout

Posted on by Ben Bruno

Today I want to share a quick leg “workout” using resistance bands.

I put workout in quotations because it’s not exactly meant to be brutal, but it’s something I’ve been using during the rehab process for my knee when it feels balky to allow me to get some work in without pissing it off.

The first exercise is Band Stomp TKEs (terminal knee extensions). Band stomps are usually considered an exercise for the hips and posterior chain, but the way I do them, it’s actually a very effective drill that works both hip extension and knee extension.

In my workouts, I use it as a replacement for TKEs because it allows you to go through a greater range of motion and gets more posterior chain involvement while still driving terminal knee extension to strengthen the vastus medialis (VMO).

The set-up is key for this one. With a traditional band stomp you place the band closer to your heel and focus on pushing with your heel. With this version, you put the band closer to your toes and lead consciously think about pushing through your toes. Then as your foot nears the ground, you want to squeeze both the VMO and the glutes.

To promote greater hip extension, the toes should land slightly behind the heel of the other foot.

Do these slowly and control both the concentric and eccentric. You can adjust the difficulty by choosing a thicker band or increasing the height of the bar. I like to do it where the bar is set to about mouth level, as that puts me in a starting position where my femur is parallel to the floor.

Remind you of anything? Like maybe Wilson from Home Improvement? Man, I miss that show…

After a few sets of 15-30 reps your quads and glutes should have a nice little pump. I’d rather do more traditional leg work for sure, but when that can’t happen, this is certainly better than nothing. It could also be used as part of a warm-up prior to lower body training.

The second exercise is band good mornings.

This is a great one to strengthen the posterior chain and teach the hip hinge with minimal equipment and lighter loads.

In my current situation with my knee, this is a great choice. I’ll do sets of 15-20 reps focusing on controlling the eccentric and getting a good contraction in my glutes at the top.

If you feel these in your lower back, you’re doing them wrong.

Worried about your neck? It actually isn’t as uncomfortable as you might think looking from at it, but if you’re worried you can just pull your shirt collar up, wear a hood sweatshirt, and put a towel between your neck and the band.

Neither of these exercises are going to be great choices for building strength, but they could both be great when trying to work around certain injuries to groove good movement patterns and maintain muscle mass, or as part of a supplemental “feeder” workout if you’re looking to bring up your posterior chain. In that case, you could do them on off days from your lower body workouts to work the intended muscles without tapping into recovery too much.

The band good mornings are also something you could do when you’re traveling and don’t have access to a gym.

Personally, I’m using both of them on days when my knee isn’t allowing me to do full weight bearing single leg work. I just do it between sets of upper body stuff, so a workout might look like this.

A1. Chinups
A2. Band Stomp TKE

B1. Dumbbell Bench Press
B2. Band Good Mornings

That’s just hypothetical, but you get the idea. Keep the reps higher on both exercises.

Give these a try and let me know what you think.

Finish the week strong!

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  • Daniel Aipa

    good stuff ben. do you feel that TKEs should be part of everyone’s warm-up especially before a leg day?

    • Ben Bruno

      Not necessarily everyone, but I do think it’s a good warmup exercise. I don’t like absolutes though.

  • Ty Wall

    Ben, good looks on the band good mornings. I’ve been having some QL issues lately but these felt great. They have been officially added to the arsenal.

    • Ben Bruno

      Nice, I’ve really been liking them myself. Much harder than they look/sound. The next day my hammies and glutes are really feeling it.

  • Elsbeth Vaino

    I bookmarked this a while ago to read and glad I finally got back to it. I have three clients in particular with whom I would like to use your band stomp TKE. Going to play with it tomorrow to get the hang of it first. Great concept.