5 Lower Body Resistance Band Exercises for Runners

By Timothy Lyman

Ready to become a more durable, resilient athlete? A simple looped resistance band is the Swiss Army knife of your gym bag if you know how to use it properly.

A few minutes of basic resistance band exercises 2 to 3 times per week can make a huge difference in your running. Band work can effectively improve your running economy and help you develop better strength and coordination.

Resistance band exercises are simple for beginners to understand. They’re safe to perform, and exponentially more effective than many other strength-training modalities.

These five movements will target each of the major muscle groups from the waist down, engage your core and improve your balance.

For a pre-run muscle activation routine, complete 1 set of 8 to 12 reps for each exercise.

As a full strength training workout, perform 2 to 3 sets of 18 to 30 repetitions 2 to 3 times per week.

This article is part of our strength training guide for runners.

Watch the video for a full demonstration of each exercise.

Lateral Side Steps

Ashley Arnold demonstrates  Lateral Side Steps with a resistance band


Lateral side steps help muscular strength and endurance for the hip flexors and glutes. They also aid in hip mobility and stability.

How to do it:

Loop the band around each ankle, and spread your feet to shoulder-width distance.

In a slow, controlled movement, pick up one of your feet and step out to the side, then follow with the other foot to finish in the same position you started.

You can either go back and forth, or do all your repetitions on one side before reversing.


Ashley Arnold demonstrates Clamshell with resistance band


Like the lateral side steps, clamshells will strengthen your hip abductors and glutes.

How to do it:

Lay on one side, and wrap the resistance band around both legs just above the knee joint. While staying on your side, flex the knees at a 45-degree angle.

Tighten your core, and lift your top knee away from your bottom knee against the resistance in a slow, controlled fashion.

Slowly return to your initial starting position, then repeat.

Double-leg Glute Bridges

Ashley Arnold demonstrates a double leg glute bridge with resistance band


This exercise is a powerful movement for not just the glutes, but the hamstrings as well. It also helps tremendously with core stability and strength.

How to do it:

With the resistance band wrapped around your legs just above the knee, lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor.

Squeeze your stomach, engage your glutes and push your heels into the ground to raise your hips.

Relax the contractions to lower your hips, then repeat.


You can increase the level of difficulty by extending one knee so foot remains on the floor, while the other is in the air for a single-leg glute bridge.

Single-leg Glute Bridges (modification)

Ashley Arnold demonstrates the Single leg glute bridge with resistance band

Standing Hip Extension

Ashley Arnold demonstrates the Standing Hip Extension with resistance band


This is a great movement to perform for glute stretch, core stabilization and overall balance.

Do not be discouraged if you cannot move your leg too far back against the resistance, since a small range of motion (ROM) can still have tremendous results with this exercise.

How to do it:

Stand in a tall position, with your feet hip width apart and the resistance band looped around your ankles.

Slowly pull one leg back behind you by squeezing your glutes.

At the same time, squeeze your core and maintain good posture.

Foot/Ankle Mobility

Ashley demonstrates  Foot and ankle mobility with resistance band


It’s important to have appropriate foot strength to handle your training-related goals, while having the ankle mobility to avoid injury when stepping on uneven surfaces. Foot and ankle mobility can be an overlooked component of a strength-training routine.

Banded ankle flexion (both plantarflexion and dorsiflexion) is a big help in both of those areas, as well as the major muscles in the posterior tibial compartment (ie. calf muscles).

How to do it:

In a seated position, with your legs stretched out in front of you, wrap the resistance band around the ball of one foot and hold the other end.

Slowly point your toes against the resistance, then slowly relax to return to your original position.