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Squatting with resistance bands is an affordable and convenient way to build muscle and strength.

Squats are a popular exercise that targets the glutes and surrounding muscles. However, many people don’t find regular squats challenging enough.

Using resistance bands can give you an additional challenge to make squat exercises more effective.

This article lists 9 ways to do banded squats and explains how they can benefit your workout routine.

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Guille Faingold/Stocksy United

Resistance bands are perfect for squats because they help control the squat movement from start to finish.

They provide resistance when you lower into a squat, which is called an eccentric movement, as well as resistance when you rise to standing position, which is called a concentric movement (1, 2).

This means your muscles are working under tension throughout the exercise, making them work harder.

Ultimately, this leads to muscle building. The exercise causes the muscles to tear and break down, which sends repair and muscle growth signals to the body (1, 2).

Squatting with resistance bands targets the glutes, quadriceps (front thighs), and hip adductor muscles. Secondary muscles this exercise targets include the back and core, which your body needs for balance and stabilization (3, 4, 5, 6).

You can use three main types of resistance bands for squats:

  • Loop bands. These continuous loops provide various levels of resistance. They’re usually worn just above the knees or ankles and highly versatile, which makes them useful for full-body workouts.
  • Mini loop bands. These shorter loop bands are designed to be worn above the knees for lower body workouts. They’re typically made with a soft fabric to prevent them from rolling up.
  • Free bands. You can tie these long, thin sheets into a loop or wrap them around your feet or another object for resistance. You can use them for both upper- and lower-body workouts.

Depending on where you are in your fitness journey, you may want to choose bands that provide more or less resistance.

The bands typically come in resistance loads of 5–150 pounds (2.3–68 kg).

It’s important to select a band that provides a challenging resistance. However, make sure that the band you choose still allows for proper form.

Choosing a resistance that’s too difficult for you can lead to buckling of the knees. This increased rotation of the knee inward can lead to injury (2).

Resistance bands usually come in packs, providing various levels of difficulty. You can purchase them easily at an affordable price in most exercise stores or online.

Shop for resistance bands online.


Resistance bands add additional load and resistance to regular squats. This allows for greater muscle activation, which is crucial for building strength and muscle.

When performing banded squats, be sure to keep your core engaged, back flat, and weight centered. Also, make sure to avoid hunching.

If the band resistance is too difficult, try performing the movement without the band until you build up strength and balance. You will not benefit from resistance bands if your form is not correct.

Working with a physiotherapist, personal trainer, or other qualified healthcare provider can help you learn how to perform each move properly and safely.

Here are 9 banded squat exercises you can easily add to your workout routine.

1. Standard banded squat

Adding a resistance band to a normal squat can introduce a new challenge to your workout. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Stand with your feet slightly more than hip-width apart with a loop or mini loop band just above your knees. Your toes should be pointed slightly outward with your hands on your hips or in front of you.
  2. Slowly push your hips back into a sitting position while bending your knees.
  3. Continue to lower yourself until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Your knees should be at a 90-degree angle. Hold the position for 2–3 seconds, then slowly lift back up into the starting position.
  4. Perform 8–12 reps.

Tip: Do not rise too quickly. Most benefits from squatting come from the concentric movement of rising up. Slowly stand up while focusing on squeezing your glutes.

2. Banded sumo squat

Sumo squats are well known for growing your glutes. They’re similar to a regular squat but target more of the gluteal muscles.

  1. Stand with your feet slightly more than hip-width apart. Your toes should be pointed outward by about 45-degrees. Place a loop or mini loop band just above the tops of your knees.
  2. Lower your hips back and bend your knees into a squat formation.
  3. Hold the position, return to a normal position by pushing into your heels and activating your glutes.
  4. Perform 8–12 reps.

3. Banded goblet squat

A banded goblet squat focuses on lowering your body toward the ground, which helps activate your glutes, quads, calves, and core.

  1. Place your feet slightly more than hip-width apart with your toes angled slightly outward. Set a free band under your feet. Hold the ends of the band with both hands and bring them together in front of your chest to create a triangle.
  2. Begin to lower into a squat position, bringing your butt back as if you’re trying to sit on your heels. Lower yourself as low as possible and hold for 2–3 seconds.
  3. Raise your body by pushing your heels into the ground and squeezing your glutes until you’re in standing position.
  4. Perform 8–12 reps.

4. Banded pulse squat

This movement involves a standard squat with an additional step before rising.

  1. Stand with your feet slightly more than hip-width apart with a loop or mini loop band just above your knees. Point your toes slightly outward and put your hands on your hips or in front of you.
  2. Slowly push your hips back into a sitting position while bending your knees.
  3. Continue to lower yourself until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Knees should be at a 90-degree angle.
  4. Before standing up, rise slightly and pulse up and down for a count of five.
  5. Rise back up, focusing on driving your heels downward and activating your glutes.
  6. Perform 8–12 reps.

5. Banded lateral leg raise squat

This move requires balance but can be highly effective at targeting your glutes. It’s important to keep your back flat and core tight to help you stay balanced.

  1. Stand with your feet slightly more than hip-width apart with a loop band just above your ankles. Your toes should be pointed slightly outward and your hands should be on your hips or in front of you.
  2. Lower into a standard squat position, focusing on moving your hips back and bending your knees. Hold for 2–3 seconds.
  3. As you return to standing position, lift your right leg out to the side until you feel the tension of the band. Then, return to standing position.
  4. Alternate each rep with the other leg.
  5. Perform 8–12 reps.

Tip: If you find this move difficult, perform the squat first and return to standing position. Pause for a moment and then proceed with the outward leg extension.

6. Banded split squat

The split squat helps target other muscles along with your glutes, such as your calves, biceps, and shoulders.

  1. Stand with your feet hip-width apart and take a step forward with your right foot. Place a free band or loop band underneath your right foot. Hold the ends of the band with your hands to your sides.
  2. Lower your body until both knees are at 90-degree angles. This should look similar to a lunge position with your left knee facing the ground and your right knee up.
  3. Press down on your right foot to drive yourself back up to standing position. Make sure to activate your glutes throughout the movement.
  4. Perform 8–12 reps.

7. Anchored squat

If you only have access to long free bands, you can still perform banded squats.

  1. Take a long free band and tie it around a solid structure (e.g., a pole, weighted gym bench, or knob on a firmly closed door). It should be around 3–4 feet (91–121 cm) off the ground.
  2. Place the other end of the band around your hips and step forward with both feet until you feel tension.
  3. Once you’re in a stable position, slightly bend your knees and push your hips back. The band will naturally pull your pelvis back when you bend your knees. Focus on holding proper form and not allowing the band to pull you backward.
  4. Hold for 2–3 seconds and return to standing position.
  5. Perform 8–12 reps.

8. Barbell banded squat

If you have access to a barbell rack, you can add resistance bands for an extra challenge. However, only perform this if you’re already comfortable performing traditional barbell squats.

  1. Place a loop or mini loop band just above your knees. Next, approach the barbell rack and carefully place the bar across your shoulders.
  2. Step backward and slowly lower yourself into a standard squat position. You should feel the additional resistance from the resistance bands. Hold for 2–3 seconds before returning to standing position.
  3. Perform 8–12 reps or however many you can perform safely.

Tip: Do not use resistance bands if you cannot safely perform a barbell squat.

The additional resistance can take your focus away from safely squatting with the weight you’re holding. This may lead to injury of the knees, back, and other areas.

9. Lateral band walk

Though not technically a squat, the lateral band walk combines a squat position with side-to-side movement.

  1. Stand with your feet hip-width apart with a loop or mini loop band just above your knees.
  2. Lower into a quarter-squat with your hands on your hips or in front of you. A quarter-squat is about half of a normal squat.
  3. Take a sideways step with your right foot, causing your feet to be positioned wider than your hips.
  4. Move your left foot in the same direction to return your body to a hip-width position. Do not rise up and be sure to stay in the squat position the entire time.
  5. Continue stepping right for 3–4 steps. Then, perform the same motion to the left until you’re back in the spot you started. This concludes one rep.
  6. Perform 8–12 reps.

Tip: Be sure to keep constant tension on the band. If the band is sliding down, try a smaller band or tie a free band around your knees instead.


There are many different resistance band squats you can perform. Focusing on correct form and safe movements will help you get the best results and prevent injury.

Squatting with resistance bands is a low cost, convenient, and effective way to build muscle and strength in your glutes.

You can safely add resistance bands to most squats, provided you’re still able to maintain proper form. It’s best to start with lower-resistance bands and gradually increase resistance from there.

If you’re unsure whether you’re performing the squats safely and effectively, speak with a physical trainer who can assess your form and provide personalized recommendations.