Dumbbells and kettlebells are great and all, but nothing beats the simplicity of a resistance band for your home workouts.
Lower body strength is essential for healthy aging. For those in their 60s and beyond, it becomes even more critical.
Your mobility, flexibility, and range of motion are all dependent on your lower body strength.
Having fit and well-functioning legs, glutes, and hips affects your ability to walk, sit, and even drive.
They are also critical parts of supporting your upper body, its movements, and even your spinal health.
Your lower body is one body part you don’t want to neglect in your routines as you age.
This is particularly true if you hope to maintain your independence after retirement.
To train your legs and glutes, one convenient exercise tool you want to incorporate is a mini band. It’s a lightweight rubber loop band that can easily be worn around your feet, knee, and thighs.
Loop bands come with resistance, and working against them helps you add challenge to your workout without heavy equipment.
It’s a great way to safely add resistance to any exercise at home.
For the lower body, there are 3 particularly effective exercises that add strength and muscle.
These three moves are functional compound exercises. They target multiple muscles at once and help strengthen your entire lower body and more.
Here are 3 loop band exercises that’ll strengthen your lower body.
1. Glute Bridge
The glute bridge exercise is a floor exercise that strengthens your glutes and hamstrings.
It also stretches the stiff and tight hip flexors that often cause nagging lower back pain.
The primary muscles these exercise targets are essential in supporting your posture and lower back.
Keeping them healthy allows for more upper body control and a healthy spine, which helps reduce your pain.
If you are a beginner, adding a mini band is a great way to force the proper form while performing the move.
It prevents your knees from caving in and adds resistance to the bodyweight workout.
Pushing the knees out to keep the tension in the band, this move greatly engages your thighs and quads.
Here is how to perform a glute bridge with a mini band.
- Loop a mini band around your legs, just above your knees. Lay on your back on the floor with your arms at your sides, palms facing up.
- Bend your knees at a 90-degree angle and keep your feet flat on the ground. Be sure to keep the tension in the band by slightly pushing your knees against the band.
- Squeeze your glutes to raise your hips off the floor until your knees, hips, and shoulders are all in one line. Pause 1-2 seconds, then return back down and repeat for 12 to 15 repetitions for 2-3 sets.
2. Mini-Band Clamshell
Mini-band clamshell is another excellent band exercise for your legs.
This leg exercise targets everything from your inner and outer thighs to your glutes and hips.
By adding a mini-band, clamshell becomes even more challenging with resistance.
As a side benefit, this move forces your abs and core to work, helping you train beyond your lower body.
For those who sit for hours a day, this simple exercise opens up your hip flexors and helps loosen those tight muscles.
Here is how to perform a mini-band clamshell.
- Place a loop band slightly above your knees. Lie on your side with your hips and knees bent at a 45-degree angle.
- Keep your legs and feet stacked on top of one another.
- Brace your abs as you raise your upper knee as high as you can without moving your pelvis. Don’t allow your lower leg to move off the floor. Pause, then return to the starting position. Repeat 2-3 sets of 10-12 repetitions.
The squat is the king of lower body exercises, and it’s our favorite bodyweight exercise.
The squat exercise is such a functional exercise that translates to your everyday movements.
While you can always perform this move without a band, working with a band adds more challenge.
It prevents your knees from turning in and forces the use of your essential leg muscles.
It’s also a great way to assist in learning the proper way of doing squats.
Here is how to perform a mini-band squat
- Stand with a mini band looped around your legs, just above the knees. Keep your arms at your sides and feet shoulder-width apart.
- Hinge your hips back to start squatting down until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Stand up by pushing through your hips. That’s one rep.
- Complete 12-15 repetitions and do 2-3 sets.
Keeping your legs and glutes healthy as you age is extremely important for your balance, mobility, and daily performance.
They are a critical part of movements like walking, sitting, driving, and running. These 3 loop band exercises target all the key muscles in your lower body including the hamstrings, quads, adductors, hip flexors, and glutes.
Additionally, they engage your abs, core, and back throughout to help you also build a healthier upper body.
If you are over 60, add these band exercises to your lower body workout to strengthen your legs, glutes, and hips.
As you get stronger, you can use a heavier band for more resistance and challenge.