How to Do Squats With a Resistance Band

Four Methods:Preparing to Do a Basic SquatPerforming a Basic Squat With a Resistance BandDoing a Resistance Band Speed SquatCorrecting Strength Imbalances

A resistance band is a lightweight piece of exercise equipment perfect for home or gym exercise routines. Utilizing an exercise band with squats makes for a particularly effective workout. With just a few simple routines incorporating the resistance band, you can exercise your back, legs, core, and neck.

Method 1
Preparing to Do a Basic Squat

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    Select your band. Resistance bands vary in tension (how much force they can resist when pulled). Usually, you will want to choose a medium-moderate tension band. If you have little to no experience doing squats or using resistance bands, try a lower tension band, which is more elastic. A high tension band is for very fit, experienced users and is more difficult to stretch.
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    Balance the resistance band. This means ensuring the right and left sides of the resistance band are equal in length. To do this, grab the handles of the resistance band and dangle the elastic portion in front of you, on the floor.[1] Place the arches of both feet firmly in the center of the band and stand up straight with your feet hip width apart.
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    Check the bands. Make sure you have an equal length of each band on each side. To do this, keep your feet on the band and bring the handles together in front of you without stretching the band. If the handles meet in a symmetrical “kiss,” your bands are balanced.
    • If they are unbalanced, step off the band try to balance the resistance band again. You may need to step onto the band more than once to find its center. As you get more familiar with the resistance band, you’ll learn to more intuitively find the band’s center.
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    Assume the starting position. While standing straight up, lift the handles of the resistance band above your shoulders. Keep the bands behind your arms and keep your elbows down to keep the band in place. Your hands, gripping the handles of the resistance band, should have their backs facing directly behind you and palms forward.[2]

Method 2
Performing a Basic Squat With a Resistance Band

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    Assume the basic squat position. Remember, this means balancing the band, checking the band, and assuming the starting position, as described above.
    • Keep your abs and core tight and upright. Bend your knees slightly and keep your head and eyes facing forward.[3] You’re now ready to begin the squat.
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    Get low. Bend your upper torso forward and bend your hips back, then bend your knees.[4] Keep your back rigid and your shoulders and head up; you’re not taking a bow. Your kneecaps should never extend past the end of your toes. Imagine that you’re lowering yourself into a chair behind you.
    • Continue to keep your abs tight, and when you’ve reached a position where you feel as if you might tip backwards, hold it for about two seconds.
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    Return to the starting position. Come up slowly, using your heels to push yourself up.[5] Continue to hold the resistance band. Don’t let go! Keep holding the handles. Tighten your glutes as you return to the standing position you began from.
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    Don’t strain yourself. Especially if it’s your first time doing squats, stay conscious of your body’s movement and position. The load of the lift, when you return to a standing position, should be on your legs, glutes, and hamstrings, not your back. Remember to hold on to the handles of the resistance band.[6]
    • Have a trainer watch you as you perform your squat to give you feedback and pointers on your technique.
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    Try a squat shoulder press. The squat shoulder press is a variation of the basic squat with a resistance band. Assume the basic squat position and squat down. Instead of just standing up with the handles still beside you, parallel to your shoulders, extend your hands up as you rise. Raise the handles of the resistance band high above your head. Hold the position for three seconds before slowly lowering them back down to your shoulders in preparation for another squat.[7][8]

Method 3
Doing a Resistance Band Speed Squat

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    Attach your band to a squat rack. Sling the handles around the safety bars extending out from the squat rack. The distance from one handle to the other should be about one meter. The ends of the resistance band should sit at two parallel points at about waist height.[9]
    • For a more intense workout, affix the resistance band so the handles are just below waist height. The lower the points at which the band is anchored, the more challenging this exercise will be.
    • Ensure your band is securely fastened and there is no risk of it snapping back on you or a bystander.
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    Sit on a medicine ball. The medicine ball should be situated directly between the two points where the band is anchored. Use a large medicine ball — a ball that is too small will cause you to squat too low and you may injure yourself. The ball is only a marker to let you know how deep you’re squatting. For a more intense workout, use a smaller ball.[10]
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    Assume the squat position. Unlike the standard, basic squat, you will not hold the resistance band in this exercise. The band will remain fastened to the squat rack or other immobile object. The only points of contact you will have with the band will be your back and arms.
    • Wrap the band around your back and below your neck so that it loops over your shoulders. Hook the inside of your elbows into the band. You don't want the band against your neck or you could injure yourself — it should be stretched over your trapezius muscles.
    • With the band still hooked against your back and over your shoulders, push yourself off the medicine ball into a standing position. Keep your feet shoulder width apart and bend your knees slightly. Like in all other squats, your core and abs should be tight and your shoulders should be pushed back. Sit your hips back and put your weight on your heels. Focus your eyes on a point about six feet ahead of you.
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    Squat. Bend slightly forward and drop your butt to the surface of the ball. When you’ve just barely touched the surface of the ball, push yourself back up with your heels using as much force as you can. Try to jump up from the squat. Don’t be afraid to let your feet leave the ground. Return to the upright starting position, keeping your gluteal muscles tight as you do so.[11]
    • Because the band is close to your neck, it is very important you don't use a band with too much resistance or you could injure yourself. Try a medium-tension or lighter band to start.
    • This exercise will help you develop a more powerful lower body and train your muscular endurance.
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    Go for speed. After you’ve gotten the basic technique down, test yourself with a speed squat variation. Go up and down from the ball to a standing “ready” position as fast as possible, for 10-20 reps. Don’t bounce off the ball; barely touch it before launching yourself back up. Each time you come up and down, aim to do so at the same speed. This will help you build endurance.[12]
    • Be careful not to let your knees collapse (angle inward toward each other) or extend beyond your toes.

Method 4
Correcting Strength Imbalances

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    Think about your strength imbalances. Often when we do squats, we favor one side or another of our bodies, leaning more heavily on our right or left foot. With a resistance band, we can correct this imbalance by forcing ourselves to shift weight and turn our hips toward the leg we usually do not favor. [13]
    • This exercise will also strengthen weak quads (the muscles of the the thigh) by pulling the knee forward.
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    Attach your band to a fixed object. Wrap the resistance band around a heavy fixed object such as a squat rack. Position it at knee-height.[14]
    • Ensure your band is securely fastened and there is no risk of it snapping back on you or a bystander.
    • In this exercise, you will not hold the handles of the resistance band. The band will only touch the back of your leg. It will remain fastened to the squat rack or some other immobile object.
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    Place the band around your leg. Slip whichever leg you want to strengthen through the band. If, for instance, you usually shift your weight to your right leg, wrap the band around your left leg. Then, stand about one meter away from the point at which the band is affixed and place your left foot into the loop so that the band is touching the back of your knee.[15]
    • Ideally, the band will be pulling the leg straight out, but it is also acceptable for the band is affixed to a squat rack at a slight angle.
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    Pick up your weights. You can use either kettlebells or a barbell. If using a barbell, place the bar behind your neck and lift it off the rack with both hands. Angle your neck down slightly to better allow the weight to be borne on your shoulders. If using kettlebells, pick them up and assume the front rack position, with each kettlebell resting on your shoulder/upper arm. Hold each kettlebell by the handle, letting it hang off the ends of your fingers. They should sit on or near your shoulders or inner deltoids. Your palms should face inward, towards each other. Place your thumbs a bit under your chin. Angle your elbows away from your body, and make each of your palms face the palm on the opposite side of your body.
    • Don’t round your spine when lifting kettlebells. This could cause injury and places an undue strain on your back. Squat down to pick the kettlebells up, and keep your back rigid in a vertical or slight diagonal orientation when standing up.[16]
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    Lean on it. Put more weight on the leg which has the band wrapped around it to ensure it doesn’t slide.[17] This will help train you to use both legs, rather than just your dominant leg, when lifting. As you continue to use the resistance band to correct your weak leg’s strength imbalance, your body will develop muscle memory and you’ll eventually be able to assume the same strength-correcting position without using the resistance band.
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    Prepare to perform a squat. Preparing to do a squat requires a few specific physical actions. First, tense your arms, neck, shoulders, and belly muscles. Next, relax at the knees. Your thigh and calf should form an obtuse angle measuring approximately ten degrees.Your eyes and head should face forward.[18] Maintain this position until it is time to perform the squat.
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    Move your body into a lower position. Bend forward slightly from the hips, then bend your knees.[19] Your back should remain stiff and your head and shoulders should be oriented in a forward direction. Your kneecaps should never reach beyond the tips of your toes.
    • Continue to keep your abdomen tight. When you feel you've squatted as low as possible without falling backward, freeze.
    • After two or three seconds, return to the starting position. Come up slowly, using your heels to push yourself up.[20] Tighten your glutes as you return to the standing position you began from.


  • To make this exercise less challenging, get an easier resistance band or string the band that you have under only one foot.
  • Do 12–15 repetitions of each method per set. Repeat until you've completed one or two sets.
  • In order to start seeing/feeling results, aim for one or two sets, two days a week, for six weeks. For faster results, increase the number of sets/times per week you exercise.
  • The benefit of squats is increased strength in your entire lower body, particularly your thighs.
  • If you aren’t holding the handles of the resistance band, always check to make sure you’re fastening them to an immobile object correctly so that they do not snap back on you or a bystander.


  • Potential injuries to your knees may be incurred if this exercise is performed incorrectly. Never let them bend more than 90 while doing this exercise. [21]
  • The back is also at risk with squats. If you have back issues, consult your physician or personal trainer before trying squats.[22]

Things You Need

  • Resistance band
  • Towel (optional)

Sources and Citations

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Article Info

Categories: Cardio Exercises