The band shuffle is a great resistant band training exercise to strengthen the glutes, particularly the ever-important glute medius muscle. Due to the partial squat stance, this exercise also strengthens the quads and the hamstrings, but the emphasis is on the glutes. If you are performing this exercise properly, your glutes (especially your upper lateral glutes) should feel like they are on fire.
You can use one or two resistance bands for this exercise. Start out with a low-resistance band, and once you are able to engage the desired muscles and maintain good form for the duration of the exercise, increase the thickness of the band. You can also place an additional band above your knees. Some people prefer to place the band above the knees instead of around the ankles, and this is also ok.
Beginners should start out with a low-resistance band, and should place the band just above the knees instead of around the ankles, as this band placement makes the exercise slightly easier to perform. This exercise can also be used as part of a resistant band workout for women who are new to working out, or who are deconditioned due to an injury or a long time away from training, and aren't quite ready to work with dumbbells or a barbell.
Intermediate lifters should start out with a medium-resistance band and should place the band around the ankles. If this feels too easy, a second band of medium resistance can be placed just above the knees. When using two bands, if the bands are not of equal tension, the thicker band should be placed above the knees and the lower resistance band around the ankles. You can use this exercise as part of your warm-up, as an activation/stability exercise to prepare your lower body for the more advanced lower body exercise variations, or before conditioning/cardio that utilizes the lower body. You can also use it as part of your warm-up before sports specific activities. Plus, it's a great workout finisher/glute burner. Intermediate lifters might perform 2-4 sets to burn-out. Make sure that you stop when your form fails, or if you notice other muscle groups taking over.
Women who are comfortable with the band shuffle may choose to use two high-resistance bands and can place one around the ankles, and one just above the knees. You can also challenge your anterior core by holding onto a dumbbell and extending your arms straight out in front of your chest while performing the same movement. If you do this, be sure you're not allowing your rib cage to flare, keep your shoulder blades drawn together and down (retracted and depressed), and maintain proper alignment the entire time. You can get a little creative when you do a workout with resistance bands.
When it comes to the band shuffle (and many activation/stability exercises), less resistance is often more, and it is vital that you pay attention to the mind/muscle connection, and really ''feel'' each rep. In general, the band shuffle can be used to do any or all of the following:
Now I’m going to demonstrate a band shuffle. You can grab a band like this—there are all kinds of different colors. This is a medium tension, and I tend to recommend people err on the side of a little too light tension, to make sure they can do it properly at first and then work their way up.
You can go ahead and put the band around your ankles, or you can put it around your knees or one in each place. I tend to prefer around the ankles. When you get in position for the shuffle you want your feet about shoulder width apart, maybe a little bit wider. You’re going to push back into your hips. This part’s really important. You don’t want to come forward into this position, you want to push back into your hips.
Once you get into that position, really anything goes. Anything that it takes to help feel like your glutes are going to catch on fire, that’s how we explain it to our clients, you can do. So you can do a side to side shuffle. We generally recommend people stay wide, but if you step in and you can still feel your glutes, I’m totally okay with that. You can also shuffle forward, you can shuffle backwards, you can do like a speed skater, really whatever it takes, just as long as you’re initiating the movement with your glutes, you’re keeping your ribs down and keeping your core braced, really anything goes. And that’s the band shuffle.
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