In this post we’ll take a look at the best squat resistance bands you can use for your banded leg workouts.
Specifically, we’ll cover:
- Why it’s a good idea to do use resistance bands for squats
- What are the best kinds of squat resistance bands
- Different kinds of banded leg exercises for strength & muscle mass
First let’s take a look at why squats are simply the best leg exercise you can do for increasing strength, power and muscle mass and why using squat resistance bands are the perfect alternative to barbells.
Resistance Band Squats: Best Leg Exercise for Strength & Mass
There really is no leg exercise more effective than squats for building strength and muscle mass. This is because they hit all the major muscle groups, including quads, hamstrings, glutes and calves, forcing them to work together as a single unit.
Recruiting so many large muscle groups in one movement means that the energy output of this exercise is through the roof. It’s a fact that high-intensity compound exercises like squats, deadlifts and lunges, burn the most calories and put the highest stress on your muscle fibres.
This makes squats a super effective exercise for losing fat, as well as for creating huge strength adaptation in your leg muscles. They will create an anabolic, body-wide muscle building environment in your body. Do squats and your whole body gets stronger.
Squats done for strength and mass are usually done using a barbell because this allows you to go heavy. So why do this leg exercise with a resistance band?
Why use a resistance band for squats?
Not everyone can do heavy squats with a barbell, especially if they’re prone to injury. Heavy barbell squats can put a lot of strain on the knees, hips and lower back. So if you have any problems in these areas, you may want to avoid the squat rack.
Doing banded squats, on the other hand, is much kinder on the joints. Partly this is due to the effect of variable resistance training – whereby the resistance level of elastics increases as the band is stretched.
This has been shown to be a safe and effective way to increase lower body strength and power, especially for sport rehabilitation, which is why bands are often used for physiotherapy.
Using resistance bands for squats and other leg exercises means your muscles get the appropriate amount of resistance throughout the movement. Since your muscles are strongest when your legs are more extended, the level of resistance should increase the higher you go. That is exactly what happens with banded squats.
What are the best exercise bands for squats?
Squat resistance bands fall into two categories: those that provide vertical linear resistance and those that provide horizontal concentric resistance.
For linear resistance squat bands, i.e. those that increase the difficulty of the exercise by increasing the amount of weight your legs have to push up on, we recommend using long resistance loop bands:
Resistance loop bands are ideal for doing squats because you can step into one end of the loop, anchoring it to the ground, and then either place the other end over your shoulders or hold it in front of you. You can then perform squats with added resistance, like this:
Here’s a quick video showing you how to do squats with the band placed over your shoulders:
Resistance loop bands are the best for leg exercises like squats, lunges, deadlifts and much more. Check out our complete guide to 50 of the best resistance band exercises you can do with this kind of band.
For adding linear resistance to squats, you can also use a resistance tube band:
Although resistance loops are more versatile, tube bands come with soft foam handles, making them very comfortable to use. To do squats, you just stand on the middle of the band and hold the handles by your shoulders like this:
Check out our full guide to resistance tube exercises. And here’s a short video showing you how you can do leg exercises using a resistance tube band:
Mini Resistance Bands for Squats
The other way to use bands in your squat workout is to add concentric (instead of linear) resistance to your legs. For this you can use mini resistance bands:
Instead of increasing the linear resistance of squats, using mini bands will push your legs inwards, forcing more engagement of your glute and hip muscles during the movement. You just need to place them around your legs, above the knees:
Mini resistance bands are perfect for activating all the muscles around your hips and thighs. They can be used for squats and many other lower body exercises like hip abductions, glute kickbacks and lunges. See our full workout guide, and here’s a video of a resistance band leg and glute workout:
For more advanced users, a fabric-covered glute band works in the same way as mini bands but with a much higher level of resistance.
Squat resistance bands – final thought
Using resistance bands for squats means you can have a full leg workout gym which is small enough to fit in your bag and take with you anywhere. They are super portable and very cheap – the perfect addition to your home gym.
Check out our online shop to find the best resistance bands for your leg workout.