And for good reason. Research shows that elastic resistance training can build strength just as effectively as training with traditional free weights. Even better: Wrapped around your limbs, resistance bands allow you to work with constant tension throughout an entire movement – you can’t cheat by harnessing momentum to get you halfway through (not that we were pointing).
In particular, these humble bands can be a killer glute workout. “Who doesn’t want a good behind?” Carruthers asks with a laugh. She includes bandaged glute exercises in almost all of her sessions with her clients. “They really activate the smaller gluteal muscles — the gluteus medius and minimus — and they’re really good at engaging the stabilizing hip muscles,” she says.
Having stronger and more stable glutes has major injury prevention benefits, as these powerful muscles power many of our daily movements, any weakness can lead to imbalances and overuse of our backs to our feet. And Carruthers says that using a resistance band when working on your back gives you more bang for your buck: “Adding them to exercises creates more strength in less time.”
Her glute workouts with resistance bands
Carruthers generally like to add the resistance band to the tried and true classics of the tuchus. “We now see people doing all kinds of amazing things on Instagram, but I like going back to basics,” she says.
Place the band on your thighs just above your knees, then lie on your side with your knees bent at a 90 degree angle. Raise and lower your top knee, keeping your heels together. You will start to feel that glute side burning even faster than usual due to the added resistance.
2. Donkey Kicks
With the band placed just above your knees again, come into a quadruped position on your hands and knees, then slowly lift one knee toward the ceiling, leaving the leg bent. The band will increase the challenge as your working leg goes up.
3. Strip bridge
Still with the band wrapped around your thighs just above the knees, lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor, then push through your heels to raise your hips toward the ceiling. Increase the burn by pressing your knees outward against the resistance of the band. “You work the glutes, as well as the hamstrings,” says Carruthers.
What to pay attention to
While resistance bands are generally a safe and effective way to amp up your daily glute workouts, there are also some common mistakes Carruthers sees people make. First and foremost, make sure the band is in the right position: “Don’t put it on your lap!” she warns.
Often she sees people using the wrong amount of resistance. Yes, just like free weights, bands come in several levels. “I always tell people to start light and build up,” Carruthers says. If your band is slipping or you need to keep adjusting it for a particular movement, or if you feel too much or too little tension, try a heavier or lighter band.
She suggests taking care of your group by only using it appropriately: “I see too many people tying them to things that could be dangerous, like weight machines,” she says. Also, air out your bands after using them, especially if they’re made of woven fabric. “Over time, they can fray or tear, or lose strength.” While you may feel like the Hulk, breaking a workout halfway is usually accompanied by a painful smack; always switch to a new group as soon as you see one starting to fall apart.
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