Forget squats and lunges – strengthen your legs with this five-move workout instead

It's knee-friendly and you only need a resistance band

Woman doing resistance band leg workout
(Image credit: Getty)

When it comes to lower body exercises there’s no denying squats and lunges are the cream of the crop. But both place a lot of stress on the knees, so if you suffer from pain in this area they’re unlikely to be your favourite (or maybe you just hate them, and that’s totally ok too). This workout, however, doesn’t include any squats or lunges, but will still help you tone and strengthen your legs; all you need is a small resistance band.

People often question whether resistance bands offer an effective workout – the answer is, yes. Resistance bands are great for strength training as your body's muscles have to work harder to overcome the resistance placed on them from the bands, and the harder your muscles must work, the stronger you become. A 2019 study even showed that they provide similar strength gains to traditional gym equipment. Plus, they’re extremely versatile and easy to store.

You have a little choice with this workout, as you need to pick five out of the seven exercises to complete. They’ll work your entire lower body, so your glutes, quads and hamstrings. You’re going to do each exercise for 10 to 15 reps per side and you want to aim to do three to four rounds of the workout in total. Also, a lot of these exercises are supported with a chair to help with balance and make things more beginner-friendly, so make sure you have one to hand. Here’s your list of exercises:

  • Chair supported mountain climbers with a band
  • Chair supported clamshell with a band
  • Chair supported kickbacks with a band
  • Banded side steps
  • Banded diagonal side steps
  • Chair supported hip thrusts
  • Single leg glute bridge

We hope you enjoyed that lower body workout! Just remember, the type of resistance band that you want to for this workout is one of the smaller 'booty bands' — these are predominantly used for lower body workouts, whereas pull up bands (the larger ones) are ideal for upper body and full-body. To make the hip thrusts harder, use a single dumbbell (an adjustable dumbbell would also be useful so you can keep increasing the weight as you progress). Otherwise, if you don't own one then a kettlebell or a big bottle filled with water will do nicely.

Bryony Firth-Bernard
Staff Writer, Active

Bryony’s T3’s official ‘gym-bunny’ and Active Staff Writer, covering all things fitness. In her spare time, you will find her in her natural habitat - the gym - where her style of training is a hybrid of bodybuilding and powerlifting. Bryony loves writing about accessible workouts, nutrition and testing innovative fitness products that help you reach your fitness goals and take your training to the next level.