Band-supported leg lowering is a great exercise to strengthen the musculature of the anterior core. When performed correctly, this exercise with bands is brutally challenging and effective.
If you are at the advanced level or are performing the beginner level variations, this exercise requires no equipment. Otherwise, a resistance band is required to perform this exercise. The thicker the resistance, the easier the exercise will be.
The unassisted or band-supported leg lowering might be too advanced for women at a beginner level. Beginners can start out by bending one leg and placing the foot of the bent leg flat on the floor. Perform the same leg lowering movement that is described in the three more advanced variations below. If this is too easy, perform another beginner level variation that is slightly more advanced by bending one knee and hugging it to the chest, and perform the same leg lowering movement. Beginners should start out by doing 1 set of 5-8 repetitions per side and gradually work up to 10 reps per side. Then, they can either add in 1 or 2 more sets, or progress to a more advanced variation like the ones described below.
The band-supported leg lowering exercise is a great option for women who have mastered the two easiest variations above. Women at an intermediate level of fitness can place this exercise at the beginning of the workout and use it as a stability based warm-up exercise. It can go at the end of the workout, after the more advanced compound exercises have been performed on its own or as part of a core training circuit. Intermediate lifters might start out with 1-3 sets of 5-8 repetitions per side of the band-supported leg lowering variation, and work up to 10 reps per side. Then, they can either add in 1 or 2 more sets, or progress to the most advanced variation, described below.
Women who are comfortable with the band-supported leg lowering variation and all of the easier variations described previously, can perform the most advanced variation of this exercise in which both legs are in a vertical position, and no band support is used while the leg is lowered towards the floor.
How a woman chooses to use this resistance band core exercise is highly dependent on her overall technical ability and experience, how much support is used, the set/rep scheme used, where it falls in the workout, what it’s paired with, and what the rest periods are. In general, band-supported leg lowering can be used to do any or all of the following:
The first variation described below is the standard band-supported leg lowering variation. Instructions for the most advanced variation and the two easier variations follow this one:
This is a core exercise called band leg lowering. I’m going to show you a band leg lower, and I’m going to show you all of the regressions. Normally I start with the easiest exercises and show the progressions but I think it will make a bit more sense if I show the most difficult one first.
You’re going to lay on your back (and you actually won’t use the band despite the name). You’re going to lay on your back - both of your legs up in the air, and you’re going to lock your knees, flex your toes back towards you, and (the most important part) you’re going to pin your back into the ground as hard as you can. So you're pulling your rib cage towards your pelvis, pinning your lower back into the ground, arms about 30 degrees out from the body.
While your keep your toes flexed back towards you and lock your knees, you’re going to very slowly lower one leg towards the ground. You want to stop when you feel that your lower back is no longer being pressed into the ground. So lower, and I can only get to about here. Ideally you’d be able to get all the way to the ground while keeping your back pinned. If you want to make this a bit easier that’s where the band comes in.
The band goes underneath your foot, again you assume the same position, and the foot that’s being held by the band is the one that stays up. A lot of people try to lower and raise this one, and that’s just incorrect. You lower and raise the foot that’s not being held by the band.
If you want make it even easier, you can pull one knee to your chest. This is really important. This is a tough exercise (as you can see, I’m struggling with it): If you feel anything in your lower back you always want to regress to the lower version of the exercise. So instead of using a band you can also pull your knee to your chest. Lower and raise and, if that is still too difficult, put one foot on the ground, put the other leg out in front of you, and actually use your lower abs to lower and raise your other leg.
So the most difficult variation is with no assistance, both legs up. To make it a little easier you can put a band around one foot, and to make it even easier pull one knee to your chest. The easiest variation is to put one foot on the ground, and lower and raise the other leg..
And that’s band leg lowering and all of its variations.
Find the most up-to-date and helpful resources for tackling body image struggles, pre- & postnatal training issues, and everything in between.
Whether you’re a health and fitness professional looking to level up your knowledge or a woman wanting to feel stronger, fitter, and more confident, get the advice you can trust from the experts at Girls Gone Strong.