Strengthen your lower body with resistance bands

Lower body strength is vital to overall fitness and to quality of life. Leg strength, hip strength, coordination of lower body muscle groups, endurance and balance are needed in all aspects of daily living.

In today’s video article my friend Tema Esberg will demonstrate three simple exercises that develop strength, endurance, coordination and stability in the lower body. They are done with a single resistance band.

Resistance bands come in different levels of resistance, based on color. The simplest thing is to purchase a set of them, and to work from the one color that challenges you while still allowing for proper form. When that band color becomes too easy, move on to the next one.

The exercises shown today require you to wear the band around your ankles. To put the band on safely, please sit in a chair and put one foot inside the band at a time, as shown on the video. The three exercises shown are: 1) Side step; 2) Frankenstein walk; and 3) C-step.

Exercise 1 – Side step

Begin by standing with legs a shoulder’s width apart and toes facing straight forward. You want to extend one leg out to the side, and then let the other leg follow in parallel. Be sure to keep the band taut at all time, as there needs to be some resistance for every movement throughout. Try to keep from bending forward, which can be remedied by placing both hands behind your head, as shown.

Exercise 2 – Frankenstein walk

To begin this exercise, begin with feet facing forward and wide enough apart that the band is taut. You want to feel resistance from the start, to make your legs work from the beginning. Extend your arms like Frankenstein for balance and walk forward, heel to toe. When you walk backward, do so toe to heel.

Exercise 3 – C-step

Begin this exercise as you did the others and then walk forward and backward as if you are drawing a letter C on the floor with each foot. Walk forward in this manner (heel to toe) as many times as you can, pause, then walk backward (toe to heel) back to starting position.

General guidelines

The wider your steps, the more resistance is placed against your legs and thus the more work your legs will do. Take smaller steps at first and work your way to wider one as your balance and strength increase.

For best results you can either count repetitions, says three sets of 10 steps in each direction. Or you can just do these exercises for limited amounts of time, say 15 seconds to a minute each. The important thing is to be consistent and use the same tracking method so you can easily chart your progress.

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Dr. Mark Wiley

By Dr. Mark Wiley

Dr. Mark Wiley is an internationally renowned mind-body health practitioner, author, motivational speaker and teacher. He holds doctorates in both Oriental and alternative medicine, has done research in eight countries and has developed a model of health and wellness grounded in a self-directed, self-cure approach. Dr. Wiley has written 14 books and more than 500 articles. He serves on the Health Advisory Boards of several wellness centers and associations while focusing his attention on helping people achieve healthy and balanced lives through his work with Easy Health Options® and his company, Tambuli Media.