Today I want to share a simple but really great way to add band tension to front squats.
Bands (and chains as well) give a unique stimulus by providing accommodating resistance, which means there’s less tension at the bottom of the squat and more tension at the top. Accommodating resistance is great for working on being fast and explosive coming out of the hole, but it can also be useful for folks with knee and/or lower back issues because it deloads the bottom portion of the rep where things can get dicey if you’re not careful.
Trouble is, not many gyms have chains lying around or a power rack with band pegs. If you have those things, consider yourself lucky and make use of them to the fullest.
If you don’t, here’s a simple way to use a basic band to create accommodating resistance, no fancy rack required.
You basically just loop the band around the bar, space it out at the top to slightly wider than shoulder width, then stand on the band and front squat as usual.
It helps to start from the bottom position with the bar on the pins of a safety rack so you don’t have to walk it out from the rack with the bands of your feet. You can do this if need be, but it’s very awkward. So I start from the bottom.
Here’s a video to show you what it looks like. I filmed myself getting ready so you can see how to set the bands up.
I’ve also utilized the bands for drop sets where I start with band-resisted front squats then remove the band(s) and continue squatting with whatever weight on had on the bar. I like these a lot because the bands reinforce the idea of being explosive out of the hole, so when you remove the bands the weight feels easier. Also just from a logistical standpoint, it’s a lot easier to remove the bands than it is to strip plates, especially if you plan on doing multiple sets and don’t want to fuss around with loading and unloading the bar (that’s one of my biggest pet peeves, personally).
Here’s what it looks like in action.
Beware: these are brutal and will torch your legs and core.
I’m often asked “How much tension do the bands add?” Truth is, I have no idea, and it’ll vary for person to person anyway based on height, stance width, etc.
I wouldn’t worry about. Just be consistent with your setup and use the same bands and you’ll be fine. As a point of reference, in the second video, I used a mini band and monster mini band in the second video and it felt like a lot of tension, especially at the top.
Give these a try and play around with different band tension and let me know what you think.
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