Squats are considered by many to be the king of all exercises! This movement targets all of the muscles in the lower body while building strength and stability in your core. Incorporating resistance bands into your squat routine allows you to target specific muscles and increases the intensity without worrying about buying expensive and bulky weights.
To help you take your squats to the next level, we have listed the seven most effective squats you can perform with resistance bands!
1. Standard Banded Squat
This exercise is the most basic squat you can perform with a resistance band, and it helps you concentrate on your glutes!
- Stand with your feet roughly hip-width apart and loop your band around your legs. Raise the band until it sits just above your knees. Your toes should be pointing at a slight outward angle, and you might want to raise your hands in front of you for stability.
- Slowly perform a squat movement by pushing your hips back and bending at the knees. Think of yourself as trying to sit in an invisible chair and aim for a controlled movement without using your hands. It is also important to keep your back straight by squeezing your core.
- Continue to lower your body slowly until your thighs are parallel with the ground. Bend your knees at a 90° angle. Hold this for one or two seconds before slowly rising back to the original standing position.
- If you can, perform between 8 and 12 reps.
2. Banded Pulse Squats
This fun variation helps strengthen the inner thigh muscles as well as the quads and hip abductors. It is a great exercise for improving balance and stability.
- Stand in the same position as a standard squat and loop the band in the same position.
- Perform the same standard movement, but once you reach the point where your thighs are parallel with the floor, pulse your body up and down about an inch in height and depth. Perform 3 to 5 pulses with each squat.
- Once you have completed the pulses, rise back to the standing position by pushing downwards through your heels. Try to lift your body with your glute muscles.
- Aim for 8 to 12 reps, with one squat and the 3 to 5 pulses counting as a single rep.
3. Banded Sumo Squat
The sumo squat is a well-known squat variation that targets the glutes.
- Stand with your feet a few inches wider than hip-width. Point your toes outwards on a 45° angle and loop your resistance band around both legs. It should sit just above the knees.
- Lower your hips and bend your knees to perform a squat. Once you reach the point where your upper legs are parallel with the ground, hold this position for a few seconds.
- Return to the standing position. Your feet should remain far apart and at the same 45° When you rise, really focus on activating your glutes, which should occur naturally as a result of the wider stance.
- Perform 8 to 12 reps.
4. Banded Butterfly Squats
This fun squat variation helps to strengthen the inner thigh muscles, as well as the quads and hip abductors. They are a great exercise for improving balance and stability.
- Assume the standard squat position with the band looped around your legs above the knees.
- Perform a standard squat, but just before your legs reach parallel with the ground, stop your descent.
- At this point, keep your body stable and push your knees outward. You may need to pivot on the balls of your foot to work against the tension of the band.
- Once your knees have spread to the point where you feel significant resistance, move them back together in a controlled manner.
- Once you have spread your knees apart and returned them together, raise your body to the standing position.
- You can perform this movement 10 to 12 times. If you would like to feel a burn, you can add additional butterfly movements to each squat by simply spreading your knees apart three times per squat.
5. Anchored Band Squats
This squat is slightly different from those mentioned above, as the band increases stability rather than resistance. It is an excellent exercise if you are new to squats and need help perfecting your form.
- Anchor your resistance band at roughly shoulder height. You can either use the door anchor that your resistance bands came with or any piece of equipment you can loop your band through.
- Grip the anchored band and step back until it is taut but not overly stretched.
- Perform a squat movement, but grip the band throughout the movement. You will feel the tension in the band as you reach the lowest point of your squat.
- Focus on performing a standard squat with solid form, meaning your back should be straight, your knees stable, and your upper legs should reach a parallel point with the ground.
6. Banded Split Squats
Banded split squats help you tone and strengthen your entire legs. If you are looking to add muscle and definition to your legs, this is a helpful exercise.
- Place your right foot over the resistance band.
- Get into a split squat form by bending your right leg at the knee in front of your body while stretching the other leg behind you. Again, your right foot, which should be pinning the resistance band, should be your starting front foot.
- Hold the top of the resistance band with your hands, which should be up near your shoulders.
- Lower your entire body while keeping the resistance band at shoulder height. As you raise your body, the band will create tension, which will increase resistance on your leading leg’s quad muscle.
- Once you have performed 8 to 12 reps, switch legs and repeat the routine with the other side of your body.
7. Banded Squats with Lateral Leg Lifts
This squat variation helps you build strength in your hamstrings and hip abductors.
- Start in a standard squat position with your resistance band looped around your legs a few inches above the knees.
- Lower yourself into a standard squat and return to standing once your thighs reach parallel with the ground.
- Once standing, lift your left leg out to the side in a standing motion. The knees should be straight and you should feel resistance from the band.
- Return the leg to shoulder width.
- Perform another squat, but when you reach the standing position this time, lift your right leg outwards.
- Perform the squat around 10 times, but make sure you perform an even number so that you perform the lateral leg lift an even number of times on each side.
Resistance bands allow you to improve your squatting form and add intensity to your routine. They take up very little space, and you can perform these squats anywhere! Remember, your form should always be your number one priority, as it will help you build strength, stability, and avoid injuries!