Reverse Band Squat

Exercise Name:
Name: Reverse 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: Knee Wraps, Weight Lifting Belt
Experience: Advanced
Rep Range: 1-5
Training Tempo: 2 – 0 – X – 0
Related Exercises:
Variations: Band Squat
Alternatives: Barbell Squat, Box Squat, Squat with Chains

Instructions with Pictures

Note: Pictures coming soon!

1. Starting Position

  • Attach bands from ends of bar to upper band pegs on power rack.
  • A low bar position is recommended; bar on middle trapezius and across rear delts.
  • Use a wide overhand grip to grasp bar (don’t use an excessively wide grip; narrower is better).
  • Pull shoulder blades together and tense upper back musculature while sticking chest out.
  • Unrack bar and assume a shoulder width stance (or slightly wider).
  • Arch the lower back and upper back; keep neck neutral (aligned with spine).

2. Eccentric Repetition

  • Flex hips and knees until thighs are parallel to the floor (or lower).

3. Midpoint

  • Don’t pause at bottom of motion.

4. Concentric Repetition

  • Extend hips and knees until standing with knees and hips locked out.

5. Repeat

  • Repeat the reverse band squat motion for desired number of reps.
  • I advise using a low rep range of 1-5 with heavy weight.

Common Reverse Band Squat Errors to Avoid

Mistake: Solution:
Improper band strength You don’t want the resistance bands to be too weak or too strong. A good rule of thumb is to use bands that will reduce the total load by 20% at the bottom of the rep (e.g. use 100 lbs. of band resistance for a 500 lb. squat).
Failure to lockout The rep isn’t complete until you’re standing up with hips and knees locked. Sometimes, guys simply forget to lockout. Other times, failure to lockout is due to insufficient speed going into the top of the rep. So be sure that you squat up from the bottom of the rep as explosively as possible to generate enough upward momentum.
Not exploding up This exercise is specifically designed to train explosiveness. So, if you’re not squatting up as fast as you can, then you’re doing it wrong! To maximize explosiveness out of the hole, be sure that you use the Valsalva maneuver, and tighten and push out your abs; while simultaneously squeezing the heck out of your glutes and hamstrings to drive your hips up.
Knees in Activate your inner thighs on pushing your knees out to the sides as far as you can. Be sure to really focus on this when entering the bottom of the squat and halfway through the conentric rep – the two places where the knees are most likely to come in.
Leaning forward Keep your abs tight and pushed out throughout the motion. Keep your shoulder blades together and upper back arched, with your chest up and out. When squatting out of the hole, make sure your chest rises at the same rate as your hips (if your hips rise faster, your torso angle decreases and your weight shifts forward).
Lower back rounding It’s imperative that your lower back stays in a strong, protective arch position. Flexing/pushing out your abs is the most crucial aspect for preserving a proper arch. Be sure avoid leaning forward (see the above tip), as this can cause rounding to occur. Also, don’t stopping at the bottom of the motion. And of course, use weight you can actually handle.

Reverse Band Squat Tips

  1. Attach bands before, or between, the plates. This prevents the bands from moving around or slipping off the ends of the bar. Also, use collars to prevent the plates from moving around.
  2. Use a power rack with upper band pegs for easy and secure band attachment. If you don’t have access to a power rack with upper band pegs, then you can get creative and hook the bands on the top of the frame.
  3. Sit back into the squat instead of dropping your hips straight down (assuming you’re using a low bar squat position, which is what I describe in the instructions above).
  4. Squeeze glutes and hams while pushing through heels to drive hips up. I repeat, activate those glutes! (Again, this assumes you’re squatting with a low bar position.)
  5. Explode upward as quickly as possible, without breaking form. I mentioned this in error #3 above, but it bears repeating, since the primary purpose of this movement is to improve explosiveness and speed out of the hole.
  6. Breathe using the Valsalva maneuver. This bolsters spine safety while boosting strength, explosiveness, and core stability.
  7. Try reverse band squats with a high bar position. Since this lift is typically performed by powerlifters, it’s usually done in with a low bar position. However, there’s no issue with using the high bar position if that’s your preference.
  8. Use stronger bands to target the lockout; weaker bands to target the bottom of the rep. Like I said earlier (see error #1), using band resistance that is 20% of the barbell load is a good starting point.
  9. You can buy high quality bands here. Bands are a great investment, as they can be used for a number of different exercises (e.g. bench press, deadlifts, push up, etc.) and mobility exercises (e.g. shoulder dislocations, band pull aparts).

Is This Exercise Right for You?

The reverse band squat is best for advanced lifters who seek to ehnance their lockout strength and explosiveness out of the hole.

It’s especially useful for competitive powerlifters. This is because it mimics squatting in a squat suit: There is an elastic feel in transitions between the dynamic levels of resistance in each rep (i.e. it starts heavy, becomes lighter, then becomes heavy again).

Beginners should only train with only the barbell squat.

Intermediates, while not ready for reverse band squats, may benefit from other, less advanced squat variations (e.g. box squat or front squat).

It may be necessary to avoid the reverse band squat if you are inexperienced (as discussed above) or have lower back, hip or knee problems.

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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