Mini Band Lateral Walk
Mini band lateral walk increases lateral hip and thigh strength to assist in rapidly changing direction. Therefore this simple body-weight exercise is especially beneficial for any athlete who engages in sports that require running, jumping, pivoting and twisting.
In order for this exercise to be effective, you need to choose a resistance band with the right strength. Bands allow you to apply resistance to your body where weights might otherwise be awkward.
In this post we’ll discuss about the correct technique for this exercise, offer exercise how-to-video demonstrations, and highlight the key benefits and value that this simple and effective accessory movement can offer coaches and athletes looking to improve the strength of the muscles that act on the hip joint.
To perform the lateral band walk (lateral tubing walk), position a resistance band or mini band above or below your knees. The key is to drive laterally into the ground with your grounded leg while stepping with your opposite leg.
Exercise instructions for mini band lateral walk
Here are step-by-step instructions on how to perform this simple and unique exercise with perfect form for best results.
STARTING POSITION (SETUP): Stand in an upright posture with both feet pointing straight ahead and your hands on your hips. It’s even much better to stand and assume a quarter-squat position (or half-squat position) with your feet hip-width apart. Loop a mini band of appropriate resistance around each ankle. You may start with the lightest band resistance and increase to the next level of resistance once you’re able to complete the required distance or number of repetitions. Keep the resistance band taut, but not stretched (approximately 12 inches apart). This is your starting position for the mini band lateral walk.
ACTION (MOVEMENT): Maintaining the half/quarter squat position and neutral position of the feet, walk sideways against the pull of the resistance band. In other words, keeping your right foot on the floor, step your left foot laterally against the pull of the resistance band so that your feet are slightly further than hip-width apart. Keeping your left foot on the floor, step your right foot inwards to return to the starting position (hip-width apart again). Complete the desired number of repetitions to your left side before switching to the other (right) side. You can either walk along one side (if you have enough space available) or move back and forth, switching between legs.
Additional tips & tricks for mini band lateral walk
Here are some helpful hints (key elements to consider) on how to perform lateral tubing walk safely and effectively.
- Don’t stand fully upright. Instead bend your knees slightly and move into a quarter-squat position to activate the gluteus medius.
- Keep your feet in line with your shoulders. Face forward with your body weight evenly distributed over both feet.
- When we perform the drill we don’t want the feet to come any closer than 12 inches (approx. hip-width apart) because that help us maintain the constant tension under the working muscles.
- Make sure your feet are going completely straight ahead. Most of us have imbalances so we tend to turn the feel out as we get tired. You really don’t want to perform the exercise in a duck walk type of position.
- Next, we want to lift our feet slightly outward so we’re lifting up our arches. Most of us have over pronation which allows our feet to flatten and our knees to turn in which is defeating the purpose of the exercise.
- Avoid faulty hip abduction. This is when you lift your leg out to the side and you’re either hiking the hip up (and not using the gluteus to do the job) or when you lift legs your hips go into flexion (you lift your leg in front of your body). In other words, you have to get hip joints into extension when you perform the walk.
- Do not drag your feet. Take deliberate steps and do not sway your upper body. Your trunk should stay in a straight line the entire time.
What muscles do mini band lateral walk exercises work?
- Primary muscles: Gluteus medius, gluteus minimus, tensor fasciae latae;
- Secondary muscles: Gluteus maximus, quadriceps (rectus femoris, vastus lateralis, vastus medialis, vastus intermedius);
There are so many exercises that focus on the muscles that act on the hip (gluteus maximus, gluteus medius, gluteus minimus, hip abductors, hip adductors, iliopsoas, and tensor fasciae latae).
Consider choosing some of the following glute & hip exercises:
- Cable Hip Adduction
- Cable Hip Abduction
- Standing Hip Extension
- Standing Machine Hip Abduction
- Seated Hip Abduction
- Seated Hip Adduction
- Standing Machine Hip Adduction
Closing thoughts on banded lateral walk exercises
Lateral tubing walk exercise really looks (and feels) pretty strange at first. However, this exercise is actually the perfect way to improve hip stability, strengthen the hip abductors—particularly the gluteus medius—and increase stability of the knee joint. You can either perform the band lateral walk as a part of a dynamic warm-up or as an exercise. In each case, you will have many benefits from including this exercise into your workout routine.