With the rise of home workouts, mini bands (aka booty bands) are becoming increasingly popular. Their low-cost, light-weight, go-anywhere versatility makes them an ideal option for glute workouts when you don’t have heavier weights on hand.
As you scan the Internet for glute-band exercises, you can find over 4 million results in less than a second. What none of them tell you, however, are the top mistakes that can contribute to lots of work with minimal results or even injuries.
Whether your goal is to tone up, build backside strength, or increase running endurance, effective glute work is essential. So take a moment to tweak your booty-band workouts based on these top five mistakes.
1. Using Too-Heavy Bands
More is not always better. When you use bands that are too heavy (meaning too tight), your body will compensate and call upon other muscles to do jobs that they were not intended for.
For many glute exercises, the body will start recruiting the TFL (tensor fasciae latae). This muscle, located on the outer front portion of your hip region, is connected to your IT Band. If you start to experience gradually increasing discomfort and tightness running down your outer thigh or pinching in the front of your hips, this is a sign that your glutes really aren’t getting the workout you intended. The simple solution is dropping the band weight.
2. Just Going Through the Motions
If you work out alone, it is easy to zone out or attend to distractions. If you work out in groups, it is easy to forget about the exercise technique as you jam to the music or engage in group chatter. To get the most of booty band exercises, however, you need to be intentional and specific.
As you do your glute-band workouts, be intentional by consciously squeezing your glutes before every move. If you’re already in motion, it’s too late to get the most out of every rep.
3. Allowing Your Back to Arch
Whether you’re doing glute bridges or squats, your lower back would love to help! This can lead to low-back discomfort and possibly injuries over time.
Don’t give your back this chance to take over your workout. Instead, consciously draw the front of your ribs together as you engage your core. This will help your ribs stay over your pelvis, which will naturally align your back. Keep the ribs engaged for all of the reps in each set.
4. Always Doing the Same Routine
Always doing the same five or six glute-band exercises will lead to a progress plateau. Glutes have so many muscle fibers that can be activated with a few simple variations. If we consider the glute bridge, for example, add variations like elevating feet on a bench, adding weight to build into a hip thrust exercise, trying single leg versions, or changing positions to do a clam in a side plank on your knees.
You don’t need every variation every day. Instead, pick one or two variations to do in each workout. Adding variations will allow more of your glutes’ muscle fibers to have a chance at activation, toning and strengthening. More active fibers means faster results.
5. Not Taking Care of Your Bands
Treat your bands like you would treat a tube of lipstick. Bands will degrade if stored at extreme temperatures or in direct sunlight. They will also degrade or become sticky if cleaned with harsh chemicals like typical gym and household cleaners.
Instead, use yoga mat cleaner, or make your own. You can make your own cleaner by combining vinegar or witch hazel with water at a 1:4 ratio. If you’d prefer a different scent, consider adding a few drops of tea tree, lemongrass, or lavender oil.
And if you have kids or pets at home, remember to store your bands in a place that they cannot access them. Kids and pets like to chew on plastic and rubber, which presents a choking risk. Keep your loved ones safe by storing your bands out of reach
Aways inspect your bands before you use them. If they have even a small hole or tear, stop using them for your workouts. Small rips can lead to the band snapping; this presents a major injury risk, especially if the band flies toward your eyes.