Adding in the band resistance makes the majority of the concentric portion significantly tougher, and you will be blown away by how much you feel your legs and glutes during the lockout. Trust me, this exercise is tough enough with just a band so don't jump the gun. Master the technique before you add additional resistance, both in terms of the band, and kettlebell/dumbbell.
While I like to use this exercise as a brutal lower body workout finisher, it is very versatile and can be performed as one of your main lower body exercises, as part of your warm-up, or as part of a conditioning circuit. You can perform higher reps (8-12), or you can increase your weight and decrease your reps (3-6).
- Place a resistance band so it's resting under the mid/back portion of your feet, and on your upper traps. Make sure that the band is not sitting on your neck. This is important. Use as much tension as possible, but only if you are able to maintain proper form for 100% of your reps.
- Grab onto a kettlebell by the horns. Keep the kettlebell right against your body, and squeeze your arms into your sides. Pretend that you are crushing something in your armpits.
- Form a tripod base by keeping the weight on the mid/back of your foot, and keeping your toes down, particularly your big and baby toes. These parts of your foot should remain in contact with the floor for the duration of the exercise. Pretend that you are suctioning or screwing your foot to the ground.
- Before you go, take a deep breath in through your nose (360 degrees of air around the spine), brace your core (5-6), and tuck your ribs towards your hips (close the space in your midsection). This will stabilize your pelvis and spine, allowing you to focus on your lower body.
- Now perform a squat and take 3 seconds to lower yourself down to your full depth. When you are performing the squat, aim to sit between your heels, and keep your torso in a relatively upright position.
- As you are pushing up and are completing the rep, exhale.
- Do not allow your lower back to hyperextend or ribcage to flare.
- Never allow your muscles to disengage at any point. Eccentric does not mean that you get to relax and shut off your muscles. Maintain control at ALL times. The same goes with the lockout.
- Do not allow your knees to cave in or fall out. Keep them in line with your toes. Also, in most instances, it is perfectly fine (if not helpful) if your knees are above, or even slightly in front of your toes. The key is that you do not allow your weight to shift to the front of your feet, and your heels must not leave the ground.
- Reset before each rep.
Make this exercise easier by using a band with less resistance, or by using a lighter weight, or no weight at all.
Make this exercise more challenging by using a band with more tension and/or a heavier weight. You may also perform a negative 1.5 rep scheme where you take 3 seconds to squat down, stand halfway up, squat back down, and stand back up. This is one rep.