Training Abroad: My Favorite Lower-Body Compound Movements

by Jordan Syatt August 7, 2012

Aaaand I’m back!!!

After 8 weeks abroad I’m finally back in Boston and ready to get to work.

Over the next couple of months I’ll be extremely busy as I’m going to completely transform my online coaching services, begin working on a new e-book, catch up on all of the latest research, start contributing regularly to the site, and of course get back to my own training regimen.

I still have a bit more travelling to do as I’m flying to St. Louis for a student convention and afterwards I’ll be in Martha’s Vineyard for a couple of days with family and friends, but other than that I’m back and excited to be here.

I eventually want to write up a brief re-cap of my time abroad, but first I’d like to dedicate several posts to outlining my favorite go-to band training exercises.

After 8 weeks of solely using the bands I found a number of movements which proved to “work” better than others, so in the following week I’ll be posting videos with specific directions for each one.

Today’s post will be solely focused on my favorite lower-body compound movements but stay tuned for more upper-body and core training exercises within the next couple of days.

I hope you’re all doing well and having an amazing summer! Feel free to drop a comment, write me an e-mail, or get in touch with me on facebook or twitter any time.

Never Minimal. Never Maximal. Always Optimal.



  • Band Resisted Good Morning

Personal Notes:

Pros: The Band Resisted Good Morning worked great as an accessory exercise following my main lower-body movement. Performed correctly it absolutely destroys my hamstrings, glutes, erectors, and abdominals. It’s incredibly easy to increase the tension to make it a heavy (i.e. within the 6-8 rep range) movement or, if I wanted, I could easily reduce the tension and use it in a higher repetition range (i.e. 12-15).

Cons: In my eyes, the major con of this movement is that the band can become extremely uncomfortable around your neck. Additionally, as the tension gets greater the band can pull your head out of optimal alignment and will probably leave some scratches on the back of your neck. Granted, heavy iron bars do similar things but I thought it was worth noting nonetheless.

  • Band Resisted Good Morning/Deadlift Combo   

Personal Notes:

Pros: This is bar-none (pun intended) my favorite banded lower-body movement. I could use it as a heavy main move (i.e. 1-5 repetitions) or I could use it as a heavier accessory exercise (i.e. 8-12 reps). I loved the loading from different positions and have rarely felt my glutes and hamstrings working as hard as they did during this exercise. I will definitely be incorporating this into my training regimen once I return to a conventional gym.

Cons: Similar to the Band Resisted Good Morning it will probably leave marks on the back of your neck and can pull your head out of optimal alignment. Also, holding onto the band (in the DL portion) can be somewhat difficult/uncomfortable.

  • Band Resisted Trap Bar Deadlift

 Personal Notes:

Pros: I tried a lot of DL variations using the bands but this one seemed to be the best. I could load it up as heavy as possible and I was always able to stay in proper form and not worry about the band slipping away or losing all of its tension. By far the best exercise for getting that lower-body Max Effort stimulus.

Cons: Unfortunately the range of motion is relatively small so that really limits how much strength one can maintain from the bottom of the DL. Additionally, the tension increases rapidly so it can become somewhat difficult to hold onto the bands. Finally, because you have to stand on multiple bands to receive enough tension, it may create a slightly unstable surface which is clearly not ideal.

  • Band Resisted Bulgarian Split Squat

 Personal Notes:

Pros: This is an all around fantastic movement and is by far my favorite single-leg band resisted exercise. It allows for full ROM, is extremely challenging (especially from a strength perspective), and can be performed pretty much anywhere. Not to mention, every day after I performed this movement I could barely walk because my glutes and hamstrings were absolutely wrecked.

Cons: The only con I can think of at the moment is that there isn’t *as much* tension at the bottom of the movement. Therefore, if your weakness is out of the hole/off the floor it probably isn’t your best option.

  • Band Resisted Reverse Lunge

Personal Notes:

Pros: Similar to the Bulgarian Split Squat this is another great move. It recruits the entire posterior chain and is easily performed anywhere. I like to use the Reverse Lunge as a progression before the Bulgarian Split Squat but it’s an all-around safe, efficient, and productive exercise.

Cons: In order to maintain balance and fully recruit my glutes and hamstrings I had to keep my trailing foot on the ground. Personally this doesn’t bother me but if you’re training for single-leg movements in sport this could be a potential drawback.

  • Band Resisted Single Leg Deadlift

Personal Notes:

Pros: This movement was absolutely incredible at recruiting my glutes and hamstrings. I most often used it in the 8-12 repetition range and it really forced me to keep a neutral spine while achieving full hip extension. I’m not sure why but using the bands in this move made me far more aware of true hip extension as opposed to lumbar extension

Cons: The main issue was the grip – as I wanted to get heavier I either had to add another band or reach further down on the band I was currently using. As I increased the tension, however, it got very difficult to hold onto and made completing the exercise slightly more uncomfortable.

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