Bodyweight Squats with a Band is a great warm-up exercise that combines the benefit of a bodyweight squat with added glute activation by utilizing a resistance band. It’s one of my favorite movements to include in a Back Squat, or even Olympic lift, warm-up.
In this step-by-step guide, I’m going to teach you how to do bodyweight squats with a resistance band, show you what muscles they work and give you a few alternatives in case you need them.
How To Do Bodyweight Squats with a Resistance Band
- Resistance Band (either a standard band or a mini-band)
- Start by creating a loop with a resistance band. (You can skip this step if using shorter mini-bands)
- Create a loop by making one twist in the middle of the band and then doubling the band over. Essentially you’re making a smaller loop that will fit snugly around your legs.
- Step into the loop you’ve created with both legs and pull the band up to just above the knee.
- Now perform your bodyweight squat by placing feet shoulder width apart, toes straight ahead or slightly pointed out.
- Squat down by first hinging the hips back and then bending the knees and dropping the hips straight down.
- Chest should stay up, eyes focused straight ahead.
- Feet should remain flat on the floor with weight evenly distributed between the heel and ball of the foot.
- As you descend, push your knees out against the resistance of the band. This will engage the glutes more and help reinforce proper technique.
- Stand tall by pushing the feet ‘through the floor’, driving the hips up and the shoulders tall.
- Repeat for the desired number of reps.
The biggest error I see when watching athletes do bodyweight squats with a band is placing the band too high or too low on their legs. In my opinion, wrapping the band around the ankles or on the mid-thigh doesn’t place the same amount of tension on the Glute Med as placing just above the knee.
I also think placing the band just above the knee also helps mentally reinforce pushing the knees out during a squat which can be a huge benefit in preventing knee valgus during the squat.
Banded Bodyweight Squat Benefits
Here are three benefits of incorporating a resistance band into your squat routine:
Increased Muscle Activation
- Constant Tension: Unlike free weights, where tension can vary throughout the squat movement, resistance bands maintain constant tension on the muscles, providing a continuous challenge and potentially leading to more significant muscle engagement and growth.
Improved Form and Technique
- Knee Stabilization: Placing a band around your knees can cue you to press your knees outward, which can help in engaging the hip abductor muscles and avoiding the common “knee caving in” issue (valgus collapse). This is particularly beneficial in reinforcing proper knee tracking and squat form.
Versatility and Accessibility
- Portable and Convenient: Resistance bands are lightweight and portable, allowing you to perform squats with added resistance anywhere, whether you’re at home, in a hotel room, or at the park. This makes maintaining a consistent workout routine much easier when you’re away from the gym.
Bodyweight Squats with a Band are going to work the same muscles as a regular bodyweight squat.
The Quads are the primary emphasis, but the Hamstrings and Glutes are also heavily involved as well. As mentioned previously, the band puts extra engagement on the Glute Med.
Best Rep Schemes
Because I primarily use Banded Bodyweight Squats as a warmup movement, I typically program them as 1 to 2 sets of 10 to 15 reps.
Bodyweight Squats with Band Alternatives
Don’t have any resistance bands? Here are a couple of alternatives that you can use to replace Banded Bodyweight Squats.
Bodyweight Squats (no band)
For the two alternatives here, we’re going to superset Bodyweight Squats (with no band) with another exercise that is more of a glute activation movement.
So, bodyweight squats supersetted with…
Lateral Leg Raises
A great glute activator that doesn’t require any equipment is lateral leg raises.
Simply lay on your side, top leg straight, toe dorsiflexed and pointed slightly down. Lift the leg up and lower back down under control.
For Bird Dogs, start on your hands and knees. (Table Top Position in yoga)
Extend your right arm straight out in front and lift the left leg straight up behind, squeezing the glute at the top.
Alternate back and forth, lifting the opposite arm and opposite leg at the same time each rep.
Using either Lateral Leg Raises or Bird Dogs in combination with regular bodyweight squats is the best alternative to doing Bodyweight Squats with a band.
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This guide is just one of dozens that we have in our Exercise Library. If you’d like to see more mobility and activation-type exercises, make sure to check out the Warm-up Section.