How to Do Squats with Resistance Bands
Whether you're working out at home or in a gym and no matter what your goals are, squats are a must for your routine. Squats are an effective exercise that primarily strengthens and builds muscle on your glutes and legs.
Yes, squats can be done using nothing but your bodyweight. However, adding resistance will make them all the more effective.
If you've read my blog on Resistance Bands vs. Free Weights, you'll know that I'm a big fan of bands (and why). If you haven't read it, you can do so here.
In this blog, I'll talk about how to do squats with resistance bands and why you should. My intention isn't to convince you that squats are better using resistance bands. I want to encourage you to try them with resistance bands.
How to Do Squats With Resistance Bands
First, you have to figure out how to anchor (secure) your resistance bands. This is very important. Resistance bands are elastic, so if you don't properly secure them, they can snap back at you and put you at risk of injury. Most people either step on them or fix them to a door frame using an attachment. These are good options when you're at home. Our Evolution Home Gym provides many secure anchor points to make exercise with resistance bands as safe as possible.
Once you've figured out how to anchor your bands, it's time to figure out the right amount of resistance. As with any other exercise, the "right" amount is very subjective; it'll differ from person to person. As a simple rule of thumb, the right amount of resistance will allow you to do 8 - 15 reps (depending on your goals) without compromising your form; I talk about the proper form below. You'll have to experiment with different bands or combinations of bands to find what's right for you.
It may be tempting to load up on the resistance to "make faster progress."
Trust me - it's not worth it. Using too much resistance will compromise your form and may cause setbacks. Ironically, progressing slowly is the fastest way to grow.
How to Do a Proper Squat
Yes, there are many ways to do a squat incorrectly. And unfortunately, doing them incorrectly can put you at risk of long-term injuries to your knees, hips, or back.
If you've never done squats before, I recommend trying them with just your bodyweight. Hold onto something if necessary as you get used to the movement, balance, etc.
Otherwise, grab your bands:
- Stand with feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart; toes will point slightly outwards (away from the body).
- Push your hips back as you lower to the ground (imagine sitting in a chair). As you lower to the ground, your upper body will naturally hinge (bend) forward. Only lower as far as you feel comfortable.
- As you lower yourself, keep your back straight and your chest high, and take note of tracking (keeping) your knees in line with your toes. In other words, don't let them buckle.
- Press through your heels and come to starting position.
Note: if you anchor your bands in front of you, i.e., when using a door attachment or the Evolution, make sure to (really) engage your low back to counter the bands pulling you forward.
Below is a video that captures the details of how to do squats and mistakes to avoid. There's a lot of information in this video, so pause as necessary.
Why You Should Do Squats With Resistance Bands
Now that you know how to do squats with resistance bands, let me tell you why you should do them with resistance bands.
As I mentioned in my Resistance Bands vs. Weights blog, resistance bands have qualities that make them tremendously effective. In this case, their elasticity and 3-dimensional resistance allow you to take your squats to the next level.
When you do squats with free weights, you only getting resistance in the vertical plane (up and down). On the other hand, when you anchor your bands in front of you, you get the added benefit of horizontal (forward-backward) resistance. Combined, this creates an angular resistance that forces you to engage your core, specifically your low back (or else you'd get pulled forward). It encourages good form and strengthens your low back, which has the added benefit of promoting good posture.
However, because it pulls you forward, it's even more important to start with a smaller amount of resistance and slowly work your way up.
Variations of Squats
Now that you know how to do squats with resistance bands, it doesn't take much to modify or add to them.
Here are a few variations for you to try (we demonstrate on an Evolution but feel free to anchor your bands on something else):
If you enjoy using resistance bands and are interested in an Evolution, you can purchase one here.