Resistance bands are a great piece of equipment; they are versatile, inexpensive, small, easy to transport... but! They have gained quite a following of late because of the (false) promotion that they will provide you with that Kim K, peach emoji bubble butt...
Alas, whilst this is not the case please don't go throwing those nifty little bands away! Yes, there is a chance you may get glute hypertrophy (aka a bigger butt) from doing targeted work, there are also other great reasons to strengthen your glutes... including but not limited to:
- Reduced knee pain; often our knee joints take the brunt of the lower body work we do because our glutes are not "activated" so doing some isolated work will help strengthen our glutes and take the impact off of the knees.
- Reduced ankle pain...for the same above reason.
- Reduced lower back pain... for the very same reason! **Win win**
OK, great! We're on the same page that isolated glute strengthening is beneficial even if we don't focus on the aesthetic reasons.
So we're putting on our bands and this is a really crucial aspect to get right to ensure we perform effective glute work. Put the band too high and our legs we do most of the work and our glutes won't be doing anything so, with that in mind, the lower you put your band the harder your glutes will work! I would start with 1inch above the knee then when performing the moves with the band here gets too easy take the band to 1inch below, then to the shin, then the ankle and finishing off with around the feet. You can also start to up the strength of your band by this point as well.
What are we actually going to be working? A multitude of muscles! We actually have three that we want to focus on:
- Our glute max: the biggest muscle and is the juicy guy at the back which can be targeted through hip extension (basically moving your leg backwards).
- Our glute mid & glute min: which are two smaller muscles that are situated more towards the side of the butt. Due to their size & location, these guys don't get as much action so we target them by moving our leg out to the side (leg abduction).
Putting our band around 1inch above the knees and starting off with the glute max; as mentioned, we work this muscle by moving our leg backwards (hip extension) and this can be done standing or on all fours. When standing, we want to load up on to the stabilising leg (the one that isn't moving) come down into a mid-squat and move the working leg out behind us keeping a slight bend in both legs. On all fours, we keep our core tight like we are balancing a cup of water (wine?!) on our back and move the working heel up to the sky.
For the glute mid & glute min, as mentioned, we need to move our leg laterally in hip abduction. Again, can be done standing by loading up on the stabilising leg and taking the working leg out to the side or can be done lying on your side to ensure that only those smaller glute muscles are doing the work. We can also target the min & mid doing some side stepping; this can easily be done wrong but to ensure you get the most out of this stay low and ensure you keep constant tension on the band.
Check out my video below on how to perfect the moves and happy glute strengthening!