Reverse Band Box Squat – Muscles Worked and Benefits

Band training is an advanced technique often to increase strength, neural drive, and rate of force development for more advanced strength athletes/lifters. One method of of band training is the reverse band training, which can be applied to movements like deadlifts, squats, and presses.

In this article, we will discuss the reverse band box squat, a squat variation that is used in more advanced strength athletes to maximize strength development.

Muscles Worked

The reverse band back squat targets many muscle through the body, primarily:

  • Quadriceps
  • Hamstrings
  • Gluteals
  • Erectors (lower back)

Reverse Band Box Squat 

In the below video the reverse band box squat is demonstrated. To start, the lifter must secure the bands above the barbell on a secure structure, often a squat rack. Be sure to have the bands stretched down vertically with minimal diagonal pull, as this will affect the bar path of the squat. It’s suggested that a lifter uses a spotter (or two) for getting in and out of the rack.

6 Benefits of the Reverse Band Box Squat

Below are six benefits of the reverse band box squat. Note, that list of the benefits are unique to the implementation of reverse bands in most types of squats.

Neural Overloading

One of the biggest benefits of performing reverse band box squats is that it allows lifters to supra-maximally load the box squat. In doing so, you allow a lifter to place more weight on their back and move throughout the range of motion with heavier loads that they typically would without band assistance. Increased neural drive, muscle activation (due form large overloads of the movement), and increased training stress, when done correctly (and not overused) can be a great way to stimulate neurological adaptations in response to maximal loads.

Confidence

Nearly every one of us has stepped under a heavy squat and felt either (1) like a beast, surprised at how “light” it feels on our back, or (2) the complete opposite, feeling every single ounce of the weight slowly crushing you.

When dealing with heavy loads (above 90% RM) the nervous system and mental state (confidence) can determine the success of the lift even before you attempt to lift it. Reverse band box squats can be used to amplify the benefits of the box squat in that it will allow a lifter to use near max loads with assist (the bands assist the lifter as the are stretched, which occurs the most at the deepest positions in the squat) and become more confident stepping under heavy squats.

Load Stronger Ranges of the Squat

Reverse band box squats allow an athlete to load a squat movement in a way that decreases loading at the bottom of the squat (typically the hardest part for most athletes), and increase the load (less band assistance) as a lifter ascends from the squat. In doing so, can also offer a lifer to challenge stronger ranges of the box squat as well without being limited by the weaker phases (deeper in the squat). This can be a great way to address sticking points as well.

Increase Technique and Stability in Bottom of Squat

Using reverse bands forces a lifter descend lower than normal, which in turn can help them control the eccentric phase of the squat and understand body mechanics and proper torso positioning. In the bottom the the reverse band box squat, the lifter can also increase stability and core tension (especially due to near/supra-maximal loading). As a lifter ascends, the required core stability and bracing is increased (due to lessening band assistance) furthering the need to develop stronger bracing capacities at near/supra-maximal loads.

Rate of Force Development

Reverse band box squats helps to increase the rate of force production through the lifter having to increase force output (total output as well as rate of force output) as the lifter ascends in the squat. By having the bands release assistance the less the are stretched (from the bottom of the squat to the top) the lifter must recruit more muscle units to continually overcome the increasing loads.

Improved Eccentric Strength

Reverse band box squats allow a lifter to unrack, walkout, and squat with near/supra-maximal loading for more repetitions than normal (due to band assistance). In doing so, the athlete can lower loads that exceed their concentric abilities either on tempos or slower, controlled descents. By doing so, they increase eccentric loading and strength capacities, yet still are able to squat the weight back up due to the increased band assistance at the bottom range of the box squat.

Squat Variations to Master

Take a look below at the following squat variations, each offering strength and power athletes some serious squat strength and muscle gains.

Featured Image: @jimmythepoo Instagram

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Mike holds a Master's in Exercise Physiology and a Bachelor's in Exercise Science. Currently, Mike has been with BarBend since 2016, where he covers Olympic weightlifting, sports performance training, and functional fitness. He's a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) and is the Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach at New York University, in which he works primarily with baseball, softball, track and field, cross country. Mike is also the Founder of J2FIT, a strength and conditioning brand in New York City that offers personal training, online programs for sports performance, and has an established USAW Olympic Weightlifting club.In his first two years writing with BarBend, Mike has published over 500+ articles related to strength and conditioning, Olympic weightlifting, strength development, and fitness. Mike’s passion for fitness, strength training, and athletics was inspired by his athletic career in both football and baseball, in which he developed a deep respect for the barbell, speed training, and the acquisition on muscle.Mike has extensive education and real-world experience in the realms of strength development, advanced sports conditioning, Olympic weightlifting, and human movement. He has a deep passion for Olympic weightlifting as well as functional fitness, old-school bodybuilding, and strength sports.Outside of the gym, Mike is an avid outdoorsman and traveller, who takes annual hunting and fishing trips to Canada and other parts of the Midwest, and has made it a personal goal of his to travel to one new country, every year (he has made it to 10 in the past 3 years). Lastly, Mike runs Rugged Self, which is dedicated to enjoying the finer things in life; like a nice glass of whiskey (and a medium to full-bodied cigar) after a hard day of squatting with great conversations with his close friends and family.