9 Types of Squats with Bands

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Whether you are building those butt muscles or need to develop stronger knees, you must have been introduced to banded squats.

Additionally, if you are into muscle building or strength exercises, you will come across resistance band squats.

These squats have been used for ages by the most experienced and certainly by beginners to the fitness club.

In fact, any fitness enthusiast will tell you how much they love squats, especially for leg day, and why. Squats are one of the baseline workout moves that anyone can incorporate seamlessly into their exercise routine.

It works wonders for several aspects of your body, including upper and lower, especially if you add that resistance band.

So don’t worry if you don’t know much about squats or resistance bands because, in this post, we will cover all you need to know about banded squats, including ways to do them.

9 Effective Squats With Resistance Bands

banded squats

Let’s talk a little about what a resistance band really is and the many benefits it offers…

What is a Resistance Band?

Resistance bands are simply bands that are made from a rubbery material to help you add more tension to your training.

You can find them in various sizes, lengths, strengths, and colors.

Further, they are available in two styles, one where they are open-ended (free bands) as a jump rope and the other where they are fully closed (loop resistance band), like a rubber band.

Resistance bands provide an uncomplicated source of muscle stretching and strengthening.

Interestingly, resistance bands were originally being used by physical therapists to help their injury or stroke patients recover the strength they lost in their muscles and supporting structures.

But whether they are being used for enhancing athletic performance or recovery in physical therapy, resistance bands provide healthy external resistance that your muscles have to work against.

What is a Banded Squat?

The first thing you need to know is what a banded squat is, as they will help you to better understand its benefits and how it is done in several variations.

A squat is a dynamic strength training exercise that employs the use of several muscles within your lower and upper body.

These muscles will work simultaneously and in collaboration to help you get various tasks done.

To transform it into a banded squat with more resistance and strength training, you can add a resistance band.

When you add a resistance band, you will typically place it above your knees or directly below.

This helps you to keep your back flat, core engaged, and weight-centered.

Plus incorporating resistance band squats into your exercise plans may significantly enhance your exercise performance and strength to have you more active and feeling fitter throughout the day.

What Muscles do Banded Squats Work?

Resistance band squats can work almost all the muscles within your body, particularly those of the lower portion.

Here are the main muscles that get a serious workout each time you assume the squat position with a resistance band on:

The lower muscles targeted:
  • gluteus maximus, minimus, and medius (buttocks)
  • quadriceps (front of the thigh)
  • hamstrings (back of the thigh)
  • adductor (groin)
  • hip flexors
  • calves
  •  gluteus medius
The core muscles targeted:
  • rectus abdominis
  • obliques
  • transverse abdominis
  • erector spinae

You can also work the muscles in your shoulders, arms, chest, and back based on the resistance band squat variations you do.

Resistance Bands Squat Benefits

Squats are undoubtedly one of the most effective exercises you can use to improve athletic performance and the fitness experts certainly will agree with this sentiment.

Resistance band squats are affordable, simple, and convenient; no weights or high-tech gym equipment are needed to get that work in.

Aside from the obvious muscle-building benefits, there are many others you can derive from resistance band squats, including improving the flexibility throughout your lower body, strengthening the lower back and knee joint, and promoting fat and weight loss.

Let’s have a close look at these.

1) Great for Beginners

Learning to do other types of squats can be quite challenging, but band squats are rather easy to catch onto.

When you use a resistance band, it makes you stick to the squatting pattern more easily, therefore, it can help to expedite your fitness progress.

Also, the band provides some amount of support for when your legs get tired, you are less likely to fall over or need to hold onto something for support.

2) Provides Variable Resistance

If you have done a barbell squat, then you are accustomed to having the same resistance the entire lift.

However, as simple as they look, resistance bands provide optimal variable resistance training.

Variable resistance means that the resistance you encounter during your workout increases as you approach the end of the movement then is reduced when you return to the starting point.

The resistance band will facilitate muscular tension through optimum resistance, therefore making your muscles work harder.

The same concept is used when doing squats with free weight.

3) Provide Movement Control

Resistance bands enhance the already very powerful squats because they aid in allowing you to control the squat movement from beginning to end.

When you add resistance band squats to your routine, there is a need for you to utilize more force, particularly when you do an eccentric movement (lower into a squat).

Also, when you carry out a concentric movement, (rise to a standing position), resistance bands facilitate control.

4) Ideal for Rehab

Resistance band squats are often used by physical therapists for persons recovering from injuries that have caused tweaking in their muscles.

These provide leg workouts and bodyweight exercises that are safe for rebuilding muscle strength. Resistance band squats help the small muscles surrounding your joints to get stronger while reducing the pressure on your joints.

Banded squats may also ease pain in your low back and help you to maintain a good posture.

5) Strengthens your Core

One of the main objectives of exercising is to develop strong core muscles so that you can bend, turn, and stand for long periods with ease and resistance band squats help with achieving that goal.

In a 2018 study, greater activation of core muscle activation was evidenced during squats compared to that of planks.

6) Burns Calories

Not what you would expect compared to bike riding; however, resistance band squats can help you burn some amount of calories.

9 Ways to Do Resistance Band Squats

 

Before we take a look at some banded squat variations, let’s explore how to properly do a regular squat.

How to Do a Basic Banded Squat

Among fitness experts, this basic squat is known as an air or bodyweight squat, as it uses your body weight for resistance.

Here’s how to get it done properly:

  • stand with your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart and the resistance band around your legs above your knees (loop resistance bands). For the free band, you can lock it under your feet and pull it up above your shoulders
  • maintain an upright position with your chest, tighten your core, push your hips back into a sitting position and shift your weight onto your heels as you do so
  • drop your hips until your thighs are almost parallel to the floor
  • the muscles in your thighs and glutes should be burning after a few of these
  • ensure your knees do not go over your toes each time you lower your hips
  • lastly, as you push back up to the starting position, exhale.

Now, let’s look at those nine variations.

1) Standard Banded Squat

  • Start with your feet slightly, just about hip-width apart. Place the loop or mini loop band right above your knees. Ensure the toes are pointing slightly outward and place your hands on your hips or clasped in front of your chest. You may also use the free band by stepping on the inner part of the band with your feet about shoulder-width apart and grabbing the other end with an overhand grip.
  • Slowly push your hips back into a sitting position while bending your knees slightly and bringing your butt down
  • Continue to lower yourself until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Your knees should be at a 90-degree angle. Hold the position for 2–3 seconds, then slowly lift back up into the starting position. For the free band, press the band up and over your head.
  • Try to do at least 8–12 reps.

2) Banded Pulse Squat

Banded Pulse Squat

  • Start with your feet slightly more than hip-width apart with a loop or mini loop band just above your knees. Point your toes slightly outward and put your hands on your hips or in front of you.
  • Slowly push your hips back into a sitting position while bending your knees.
  • Continue to lower yourself until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Knees should be at a 90-degree angle.
  • Before standing up, rise slightly and pulse up and down for a count of five.
  • Rise back up, push your heels downward to help with activating your glutes.
  • Try to do at least 8–12 reps.

3) Banded Sumo Squat

Banded Sumo Squat
Courtesy of Sweat App

Sumo squats target the gluteal muscles and so are ideal for growing your glutes.

  • Stand with your feet slightly more than hip-width apart. Your toes should be pointed outward by about 45-degrees. Place a loop or mini loop band just above the tops of your knees.
  • Lower your hips back and bend your knees into a squat formation.
  • Hold the position, return to a normal position by pushing into your heels and activating your glutes.
  • Try to do at least 8–12 reps.

4) Zecher Resistance Band Squat

Zecher Resistance Band Squat

  • Step on the inner band with your feet about shoulder-width apart and grab the other end with an overhand grip.
  • Squat all the way down, keeping a good form as usual. In the squat position, position your arms so that the band is resting between your forearms and biceps (the band will be above wedged in the crooks of your elbow, but as your forearms and biceps are pressed together with your hands facing up, the band should not cause much pressure on your elbows).
  • Drive-up from the squat. As you come up, really squeeze your glutes. You will feel a fantastic contraction in the glutes with the resistance band zercher squat.
  • Sit back down into your squat, going as low as you can without arching your back or letting your knees come forward too much. You should go to at least parallel, but past parallel is also normal (remember, this is a deep squat variation).
  • Drive up and do at least 8–12 reps.

5) Banded Split Squat

Banded Split Squat

The split squat helps target other muscles along with your glutes, such as your calves, biceps, and shoulders.

  • Stand with your feet hip-width apart and take a step forward with your right foot. Place a free band or loop band underneath your right foot. Hold the ends of the band with your hands to your sides.
  • Lower your body until both knees are at 90-degree angles. This should look similar to a lunge position with your left knee facing the ground and your right knee up.
  • Press down on your right foot to drive yourself back up to a standing position.
  • Make sure to activate your glutes throughout the movement.
  • Try to do at least 8–12 reps.

 6) Banded Goblet Squat

Banded Goblet Squat

A banded goblet squat focuses on lowering your body toward the ground, which helps activate your glutes, quads, calves, and core.

  • Place your feet slightly more than hip-width apart with your toes angled slightly outward. Set a free band under your feet. Hold the ends of the band with both hands and bring them together in front of your chest to create a triangle.
  • Begin to lower into a squat position, bringing your butt back as if you’re trying to sit on your heels. Lower yourself as low as possible and hold for 2–3 seconds.
  • Raise your body by pushing your heels into the ground and squeezing your glutes until you’re in a standing position.
  • Try to do at least 8–12 reps.

 7) Anchored Resistance Band Squat

Anchored Resistance Band_Squat
Courtesy of EliteFTS

If you only have access to long free bands, you can still perform banded squats.

  • Take a long free band and tie it around a solid structure (e.g., a pole, weighted gym bench, or knob on a firmly closed door). It should be around 3–4 feet (91–121 cm) off the ground.
  • Place the other end of the band around your hips and step forward with both feet until you feel tension.
  • Once you’re in a stable position, slightly bend your knees and push your hips back. The band will naturally pull your pelvis back when you bend your knees. Focus on holding proper form and not allowing the band to pull you backward.
  • Hold for 2–3 seconds and return to a standing position.
  • Try to do at least 8–12 reps.

8) Banded Lateral Leg Raise Squat

Banded Lateral Leg Raise Squat
Courtesy of Skimble

This move requires balance but can be highly effective at targeting your glutes. It’s important to keep your back flat and core tight to help you stay balanced.

  • Stand with your feet slightly more than hip-width apart with a loop band just above your ankles. Your toes should be pointed slightly outward and your hands should be on your hips or in front of you.
  • Lower into a standard squat position, focusing on moving your hips back and bending your knees. Hold for 2–3 seconds.
  • As you return to a standing position, lift your right leg out to the side until you feel the tension of the band. Then, return to a starting position.
  • Alternate each rep with the other leg.
  • Try to do at least 8–12 reps.

9) Barbell Resistance Band Squat

Barbell Resistance Band Squat
Courtesy of BodybuildingWizard

If you have access to a barbell rack, you can add resistance bands for an extra challenge. However, only perform this if you’re already comfortable performing traditional barbell squats.

  • Place a loop or mini loop band just above your knees. Next, approach the barbell rack and carefully place the bar across your shoulders.
  • Step backward and slowly lower yourself into a standard squat position. You should feel the additional resistance from the resistance bands. Hold for 2–3 seconds before returning to a starting position.
  • Try to do at least 8–12 reps.

These are only a few of the squat variations that you can do with your free and loop bands.

There are also front squats, overhead squats, and others that fully engage your right and left leg or left foot for more or less resistance.

Remember, squatting is a wholesome exercise to incorporate into your workout routine that involves your thigh muscles, outer thighs, calf muscles, inner thighs, upper arms, and more.

Even with a classic squat, you cannot go wrong.

Squats are ideal for full-body workouts and leg day at the same time.

Always try to keep your feet flat, knees outward, core engaged, thighs parallel, toes outward in order to work that entire body.

Squat exercises with resistance bands will become your best friend especially for your lower body workouts and maintaining a correct form.

So, if you don’t have any, go grab yourself some squat bands.