Where Do I Put the Band?

Kelsey Lensman ATC

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Banded glute exercises: banded glute abduction, banded glute kickbacks, banded clams, banded squats, banded lateral walks, banded walks, etc. As you can tell I could go on forever about the different banded exercises. But one question remains: where do I put the band? Well, the answer I have for you is “it depends.” There are ways you can make the exercise easier or harder by just switching up where you put the band on your body.

To make it easier put the band closer to what you are targeting with the exercise.  An example for this is putting the band above the knee. If you are completing glute kickbacks, placing the band above your knee, which is closer to the glute, will be easier to do than placing the band down at the ankle. 

To make it harder put the band farther away from what you are targeting with the exercise. An example for this is placing the band down at your ankles. If you are completing glute kickbacks, placing the band down at your ankles, which is farther away from the glute, will be harder to do than placing the band above your knee.

Why? The reason for this has to do with the distance from where the resistance is coming from. We could get all fancy with biomechanics terms, but I will keep it simple. By having the resistance coming from farther away, you have a longer lever arm to control. Now not only do you have to control the glute with that banded kickback, you have to control the knee and lower leg that the resistance band is acting on also. By having a resistance coming from closer, you have a shorter lever arm to control. You ONLY have to control the glute and the resistance coming from directly the band since it is not below the knee.

A few tips on band placement regarding lower body is:

  1. Do you feel your knee collapsing in? If so, put the band closer to the glute. If you can’t control the knee in that movement with the band farther away it means you need to build up strength in order to eventually move the band farther down.
  2. If it’s a glute movement, do you feel it in your hamstring or glute primarily? If you are feeling it in your hamstring primarily that possibly means that your glute is not the one firing. This could be due to band placement. If you have it below your knee your body might be trying to do knee flexion and hip extension to complete the movement (which is why your hamstrings are on fire). Place the band right above the knee to see if you can tell a difference.
  3. You want to get full range of motion if you are trying to strengthen full range of motion. If the band is limiting your range of motion, move the band closer to the joint you are trying to target or get a lighter band. 

This also works for upper body too! If you are having trouble and rehabbing rotator cuff, external rotation, etc. you may want to think about where you are placing the band. If you are having trouble controlling it, place the band above the elbow so you can solely focus on shoulder stability. One band can be manipulated in many, many ways with regards to the body. As always train hard, but also train smart!  

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My New Favorite Glute Exercise