The squat, and its’ many variations, remains one of the best all around exercises for strength and power development. Its’ utilization of the majority of lower quarter muscle groups also makes it a foundational exercise for patients in our Boulder Physical Therapy practice. The complexity of the complete movement pattern can be a challenge for novice strength training participants and often we utilize modifications in the early training stages to optimize a patient’s mechanics. We have found a looped band around the knees is a great feedback tool to cue a patient into keeping their knees apart. A recent research trial examined the impact of this looped band during a barbell squat.
Foley and colleagues in the International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy analyzed both healthy trained and untrained participants during a barbell squat (2017). Researchers examined muscle activity and knee mechanics during both a body weight and 3 repetition maximum squat to failure. Each of the squats was examined both with and without a resistance band around their knees. Authors reported increased muscle activation of the quadricep and hip musculature during the squat with the band. Surprisingly, the looped band had a minimal impact on knee mechanics among this healthy population.