Activation exercises, like these banded squats, are great for improving your biomechanics for more efficient movement in the squat. It’s essential to have good movement patterns and efficiency before adding heavy weight to your squat. These banded squats also work the gluteus medius, hip abductor and quadriceps. I’m working on strengthening my hips and improving hip mobility, so this exercise is a regular addition to my warm-ups.
To do this exercise, place a sports performance band just above your knees with your feet shoulder width apart. Squat the hips down to the floor as low as possible. The band assists in driving the knees out to activate the muscles in the hip. This type of exercise is called reactive neuromuscular training (RNT) and works to activate targeted joints and muscles and assist in establishing appropriate reflex responses in specific functional movement patterns.
The result is better muscle firing patterns leading to better and more efficient functional movement patterns. The inward pressure on the knees from the band also activates the glutes. This can be very helpful for the inward caving of the knees, one of the more common squat distortion patterns. Perform 3 sets of 10-15 reps, being careful not to speed through the movement. You’ll definitely feel these if you do them right with proper resistance!