Fix Your Lateral Band Walks
The lateral band walk is a great exercise that can be used when warming up the legs, and it can be easily incorporated into a workout for a nice burnout/finisher. It is a staple in our classic Elite SC warm up that we teach to all of our clients and members. It strengthens the glute medius, helps to improve hip and knee stability, and it’s a great way to enforce proper tracking of the knees (for example: it can help improve your squat by providing a tactile cue ).
Now unfortunately, this exercise is typically performed incorrectly or very mindlessly, which makes it much harder to reap all of the possible benefits.
Here are some tips to make this exercise incredibly effective and get the job done correctly.
Get Those Toes Pointing Forward
During the movement, we sometimes see a slow transition from a parallel stance (toes pointed forward) to a more externally rotated position (toes pointing out). When we allow this to happen, we bring ourselves into a much more unstable position, and we begin working muscles that we don’t intend to work. We can attribute this tendency to posture, habit, certain weaknesses, or just complete unawareness. When coaching this movement, I like to cue my clients to lead with the outside of the heel. This forces the leg to stay parallel and keep the feet in the proper position.
Sit Your Hips Back and Get the Knees Stacked Over the Mid-foot
If you just simply bend at the knees and keep the hips completely underneath your shoulders, it will be incredibly hard to perform this movement. To put it simply, you won’t feel much in your hips, but you’ll feel A LOT in your hip flexors. To get into this position, simply sit those hips back like you’re trying to sit into a chair, and get the tip of your knee hovering just over the center of your foot (don’t be afraid to look down). Some call this position the “athletic position,” but I like to just call it a half squat.
Take Smaller, Slower Steps
If we take big and quick steps, it is much easier to come out of a proper position, and the band tension will vary from almost nothing to extremely tight! To prevent ripping any bands or rushing through a exercise, take it slow. Try keep the band tension constant, and don’t step out farther than a little past the tip of your hip. It will burn, but that’s not a bad thing!
A good way to lose control and make your knees unhappy with you is to bounce up and down as you step side to side. Regain that control that you want to have throughout you’re WHOLE workout and stay low. Imagine that the ceiling lowered down just inches above your head.
When done properly, this exercise provides many benefits and is quite gentle, making it friendly for almost anyone! You can vary the difficulty by placing the band on different parts of the leg (higher is easier, lower is harder), and it’s something that can be done almost anywhere. Give them a try, and keep these tips in mind.
For further questions regarding this article, programming, or coaching, contact us at: