Does a mini band around your knees increase glute activity in the squat?
Two studies and my own experiment give us answers.
Foley and friends (2017) found beginners benefited from adding a mini band to their (bodyweight) squats. But in experienced lifters the results were less clear: left glute activity increased while right glute activity decreased.
However, I must underscore that they tested a 3-rep maximum, and people don’t typically train with this intensity in the gym.
A second study by Spracklin et al (2017) showed experienced males activated their glutes 14.5 – 22.5% more when they looped a mini band around their knees in a 5-rep max squat.
However, the company that sponsored the study is also selling such mini bands on their website; they probably wanted to see these results.
Because of the conflicting results (and financial interests), Nieck Detillon (brilliant human movement scientist) and I set out to test this for ourselves.
We hooked him up to an EMG-machine to measure muscle activity, and lo and behold: we found 16% more activity in his glute when adding a mini-band to a 9-10 rep maximum in the low bar squat.
Still, it’s only one person in one test, but together with the 2 scientific studies it indicates that mini bands could make squats more effective at stimulating glute growth.
Do you even use a mini band? In what exercise and do you feel they help?