Band Squat

Exercise Name:
Name: Band Squat
Muscles Worked:
Primary: Glutes
Secondary: Calves, Hamstrings, Quadriceps, Spinal Erectors
Function: Strength, Explosiveness
Mechanics: Compound
Force: Push
Main: Barbell, Bands
Ancillary: Power Rack
Optional: Weight Lifting Belt, Knee Wraps
Experience: Advanced
Rep Range: 1-5
Training Tempo: 2 – 0 – X – 0
Related Exercises:
Variations: Reverse Band Squat
Alternatives: Barbell Squat, Box Squat, Squat with Chains

Instructions with Pictures

Note: Pictures coming soon!

1. Starting Position

  • Attach resistance bands from bottom of rack to barbell (on each side).
  • Use a low bar position; place bar on middle traps and across rear delts.
  • Squeeze shoulder blades and tighten upper back.
  • Unrack weight and take one step away from pins.
  • Stand with feet shoulder width apart (or wider) and point toes out.
  • Arch lower back and flex abs to protect spine.
  • Lift chest and extend thoracic spine (i.e. arch upper back).

2. Eccentric Repetition

  • Flex knees and hips to squat down until top of thighs are at least parallel to floor.

3. Midpoint

  • Don’t stop at the bottom; transition to the concentric rep right away.

4. Concentric Repetition

  • Extend knees and hips to squat up until standing upright with knees and hips fully extended.

5. Repeat

  • Repeat the band squat motion until the set is complete.
  • It’s most effective in the 1-5 rep range.

Common Band Squat Errors to Avoid

Mistake: Solution:
Insufficient band strength Use moderate to high strength resistance bands; not light resistance. If you use only a small amount of resistance (relative to the total bar load), there won’t be a big difference between the heaviness of the load at the bottom of the rep vs. at the top. You only get the full benefits of the lift when you use bands with sufficiently high resistance.
Not locking out Be sure to squat all the way up, until your knees lock. Yes, it becomes more difficult as you ascend, but that’s the whole point: Lockout strength is one of the main things trained with band squats.

Band Squat Tips

  1. It’s best to use a power rack with lower band pegs, which are made precisely for attaching bands. However, you can try other creative ways of attaching them (e.g. if you have an extra pair of safety catches, put them on the lowest setting and attach the bands to them).
  2. Be sure the rack is securely fastened to the floor (or sufficiently heavy) so that it does not lift up during the set.
  3. According to research, band resistance should constitute 20% of the total load (i.e. the weight of the barbell and plates, plus the resistance of the bands at the top of the rep). So, if the total load is 500 lbs., then 100 lbs. is band resistance and 400 lbs. is the barbell and plates.
  4. Load the weights on after the resistance band such that the plates press against it. Or, you can put the bands in between the plates so there’s no chance of the band slipping off the barbell end and onto the thin part of the barbell.
  5. Use the band squat to bust plateaus related to weak lockout strength or lack of explosiveness out of the hole. If you’re progressing fine without said issues, you probably don’t need this lift in your routine.
  6. Try the high bar squat position (bar on upper traps, hip width stance, torso more upright at bottom of rep). This is a traditionally a powerlifting movement, which makes the low bar squat the default style for this lift. However, the high bar squat is perfectly fine, too. Use whichever you prefer.
  7. Combine band squats with box squats if you really want to work on explosiveness out of the hole.
  8. Use durable, quality resistance bands like these. They come in different strengths; you’ll want the moderate to high resistance ones.

Is This Exercise Right for You?

Band squats are best for advanced lifters. If you’re an advanced trainee, then read on to see if band squats would be a smart addition to your routine.

Have you hit a plateau on squats? Do you need to improve your lockout strength? Are you weak out of the hole (i.e. the bottom of the squat)?…

…If so, then you’re an ideal candidate for this exercise (again, an advanced level of experience is a prerequisite).

You may want to avoid this squat variation if you:

  • Are a novice or intermediate (because it’s unnecessary and inefficient).
  • Have lower back injuries, or other relevant issues/ailments.

About the Author Alex

Hey! My name is Alex, and I'm the owner and author of King of the Gym. I started this website back in late 2009 during college, and it has been my pet project ever since. My goal is to help you learn proper weight training and nutrition principles so that you can get strong and build the physique of your dreams!

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