13 Resistance Bands Moves for Workouts You Can Do Anywhere

A resistance band is one of the most inexpensive, convenient pieces of workout equipment you can own. They’re lightweight, versatile, and a lot less painful than a dumbbell if you happen to drop one on your foot.

While there are a bunch of ways to use this handy tool, a resistance-band butt workout is an especially great idea. Lena Marti, a NASM-certified personal trainer in New York City, tells SELF that resistance bands are great for activating your glutes—which basically means getting them ready to work—and for “burnout” style workouts, during which you’ll do high reps at a lower resistance.

In exercises like squats and lunges, it can be common for your quads to take over, when you really want your butt to be doing the majority of the work. If you’ve ever heard a trainer say someone is “quad-dominant,” this is what they’re talking about. People who are quad-dominant tend to overuse their quad muscles during certain movements. There are several things that can cause quad dominance, but one of the big culprits is tight hips. When your hips are tight, you’re more likely to initiate movements like squats from your knees instead of your hips, putting the pressure on your legs instead of your butt.

The solution? A resistance-band butt workout. Marti recommends doing her 10-move workout two or three times per week. She also suggests picking just two moves to do before every lower-body workout to warm up and activate your glutes. “I do this before leg day,” Marti says. “I’m working with the bands first, every single time.”

Resistance bands are relatively inexpensive, and there are tons of options online. We like this cuffed mini band option from SPRI, which is great for moves like banded walks, ankle jumping jacks, and more. You can also opt for non-looped resistance bands, like these from Gaiam, which are even more versatile since you can tie them into a loop or use them flat as needed depending on the exercise.

There are two workout options depending on how much time you have available. Marti has created a 10-Move Resistance Band Workout to hit all the muscles in your glutes. If you’re short on time, you can try our 6-Move Resistance Band Workout farther below.

10-Move Resistance Band Workout

Exercises

  • Ankle Jumping Jack
  • Lateral Band Walk
  • Standing Glute Kick
  • Banded Walk
  • Squat to Lateral Leg Lift
  • Clamshell
  • Hip Bridge Pulse
  • Fire Hydrant
  • Hip Bridges With Alternating Leg Extension
  • Donkey Kick

Instructions

  • Do each move for 20 reps, resting as little as needed between moves.
  • At the end of the circuit, rest for 60 seconds.
  • Do the entire circuit 2 times.

6-Move Resistance Band Workout

Exercises

  • Kneeling Leg Extension
  • Rainbow Kick
  • Supine Leg Extension
  • Donkey Kick
  • Clamshell
  • Banded Walk

Instructions

  • Do each move in order for 45 seconds, resting 15 seconds between moves. (For exercises you’ll need to repeat on each side, do all 45 seconds on one side, then rest and repeat on the other side.)
  • At the end of the circuit, rest for 60 seconds. Do the entire circuit 1–2 times.

1. Ankle Jumping Jack

  • Place a mini band loop around your ankles.
  • Stand in a quarter-squat position (a shallow squat), with your feet about hip-width apart and your hands at your chest.
  • Jump your feet out and in for 1 rep, keeping a bent knee position throughout and landing softly each time.
  • Complete all your reps.
  • Try not to let your body pop up too high, and land with your weight mostly in your heels, not your toes, Marti says.

2. Lateral Band Walk

  • Place the band around your ankles.
  • Stand in a quarter-squat position (a shallow squat), with your feet about hip-width apart, and your hands at your chest or on your hips.
  • Take a step to the right with your right foot, so that your feet are wider than hip width. Follow with your left foot so that your feet are hip-width apart again.
  • Take three steps to the right, and then three back to the left. That’s 1 rep.
  • Complete all your reps.
  • “Try to keep your weight in the center, keep your core engaged, and keep constant tension in the band,” Marti says.

3. Standing Glute Kickback

  • Loop a mini band around your ankles and stand with your feet hip-width apart and your core engaged.
  • With your hands at your chest or on your hips, shift all your weight into your left leg and place your right toes on the floor about an inch diagonally behind your left heel, so there is tension in the band.
  • Squeeze your core and tuck your pelvis under as you kick your right leg back about 6 inches. Keep your knee straight.
  • Return your right foot to tap the floor, keeping tension in the band, for 1 rep.
  • Complete all your reps, then repeat on the other side.

4. Banded Walk

  • Loop a mini band around your ankles.
  • Stand with your feet hip-width apart and hold your hands at your chest or place them on your hips. Bend your knees a few inches and hinge forward at the hips, keeping your abs engaged and glutes tight.
  • Take one step forward. That’s 1 rep.
  • Take 10 steps forward and immediately take 10 steps back. That’s 20 reps. (If you are doing the shorter workout option, complete for 45 seconds.)
  • Be sure to keep your back flat and shoulders back so you’re not hunching over, Marti says.

5. Squat to Lateral Leg Lift

  • Loop a mini band just above your knees around your thighs.
  • Stand with your feet hip-width apart, with your hands at your chest or on your hips.
  • Bend your knees and send your hips back to lower into a squat.
  • Stand up and lift your right leg out to the right side, keeping your knee straight.
  • Return your right leg to the floor.
  • Squat again. This time when you stand up, lift your left leg to the left side, keeping your knee straight. Return your left leg to floor and immediately squat again. That’s 1 rep.
  • Continue to squat and alternate sides to complete your reps.
  • “Keep your core engaged,” Marti says, and make sure your chest is lifted and that you’re not rounding or arching your back.

6. Clamshell

  • Loop a mini band above your knees around both thighs.
  • Lie on your right side and prop up your head with your right hand. Bend both knees and bend at the hip so your thighs are perpendicular to your hip. Keeping your feet together, elevate your feet to hip height, while your knees stay touching the floor.
  • Keep your feet together as you lift your top knee (your left knee) toward the ceiling.
  • Slowly lower your left knee down to return to your starting position. That’s 1 rep.
  • Complete all your reps, then repeat on the other side.
  • If it’s too difficult to open up your knees with your feet in the air, leave them on the ground and do the same movement. “This is a good activation exercise to do before any lunges or squats,” Marti says.

7. Hip Bridge Pulse

  • Loop a mini band just above your knees around both thighs.
  • Lie faceup with your hands at your sides, knees bent, and your feet flat on floor hip-width apart.
  • Squeeze your glutes and core as you lift your hips a few inches off the floor. From this lifted position, walk your feet together.
  • Hold the bridge and push your knees away from each other, while your feet remain touching.
  • Slowly return your knees together to complete 1 rep. Continue to pulse your knees together and apart without lowering your hips.
  • Complete all your reps.
  • Keep your pelvis tucked under, with no arch in your back, and pull your belly button to your spine to maintain correct form, Marti says.

8. Hip Bridge With Alternating Leg Extension

  • Loop a mini band just above your knees around both your thighs.
  • Lie on your back with your hands at your sides, knees bent, and feet flat on floor hip-width apart.
  • Squeeze your glutes and core and lift your hips a few inches off the floor.
  • Extend your right leg until it’s straight, keeping your knees in line with one another.
  • Return your right leg to your starting position. Gently lower your hips to the floor.
  • Lift your hips again. This time, extend your left leg until it’s straight.
  • Return your left leg to starting position and gently lower your hips back down to the floor.
  • That’s 1 rep. Continue, alternating sides, to complete all your reps.
  • Focus on touching your heels on the floor each time, not your toes, Marti says.

9. Fire Hydrant

  • Loop a mini band just above your knees.
  • Start in an all-fours position with your hands under your shoulders and knees under your hips.
  • Without shifting your hips, lift your left knee out to the side. Keep your core engaged so your body does not rotate open with your knee lift.
  • Slowly return to your starting position for 1 rep.
  • Do all your reps on one side, then switch to the other side.
  • “Keep your core engaged, so you’re stabilized and not shifting [your hips],” Marti notes. You also want to try to keep constant resistance in the band, so if that means you don’t come all the way back down to the ground, that’s okay.

10. Donkey Kick

  • Loop a mini band around the bottom of your left foot and right ankle. Start in an all-fours position with your knees under your hips, wrists under your shoulders, and your core engaged.
  • Keeping your knee bent and left foot flexed, kick your left leg up toward the ceiling. Hold for 2 seconds at the top.
  • Return your left knee to floor for 1 rep.
  • Do all your reps on one side, the switch to the other.
  • “The more time you spend holding at the top, the longer the muscle is under tension—which forces your glutes to work harder,” Marti says.

11. Kneeling Leg Extension

  • Loop a resistance band around your thighs. Start in an all-fours position with your wrists under your shoulders and knees under your hips. Engage your core and roll to put all of your weight in your right hand and right knee, as you straighten your left leg, keeping your left foot on the floor (this is often called a modified side plank position). You may find it helpful to place your right knee on top of the resistance band to hold it in place. This is your starting position.
  • From this position, engage your core and lift your straight left leg up toward the ceiling. You can lift as high as your flexibility allows, but stop when your leg is about even with the line of your hip.
  • Slowly lower your leg and tap your left foot to the floor before immediately lifting it again. Do all of the reps on one side, then switch to the other side.

12. Rainbow Kick

  • Start in an all-fours position with your knees directly under your hips, wrists directly under your shoulders, and core engaged. Loop a resistance band around your right foot and hold one end of the resistance band in each of your hands. Extend your right foot straight behind you so just your toes rest on the floor. This is your starting position.
  • Lift your right foot up and over toward the left, making an arch, and bring it down to tap the floor on the outside of your left foot. Immediately lift it again, reversing the arch and tap the floor where you started.
  • Each tap counts as 1 rep.
  • Do all the reps on one side, then repeat on the other.
  • Keep in mind: This is really a glutes move, so it’s not about how high you can get your foot, especially if that means you’re putting a deep arch in your low back to bring your foot higher. Focus on squeezing your glutes and engaging your hamstrings to lift your foot each time.

13. Supine Leg Extension

  • Lie faceup on the floor, loop a resistance band around your left foot and then hold each end of the resistance band in each of your hands. Prop yourself up on your elbows, so that you feel your core engage. This is your starting position.
  • With the band still looped around your left foot, bring your left knee up and toward your chest so that your shin is parallel to the floor. Pause at the top, then push your foot away from you to straighten your leg and return to your starting position. Keep your core engaged throughout.
  • Do all of the reps on one side, then switch to the other side.

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