If Frankenstein Had Glutes, He Could Have Run Away
Get Fit With Monster Walks
Most of the exercises performed in the gym emphasize the sagittal (front/back) plane of motion. Squat, lunge, elliptical, and treadmill are all sagittal plane activities. In athletics and life, we must be able to move efficiently in all planes of motion. Our gluteal muscles are the primary producers of lateral and rotational movement in the lower extremities. Strong and responsive gluteals keep your knees and lower back safe from injury during athletic activities. A simple exercise to improve gluteal function and move better in the often-neglected frontal plane is a band monster walk.
You will need a mini resistance band or a lateral resistor. Place a mini band loop around your ankles. Assume an athletic stance with the feet straight ahead, knees bent, and hips flexed. The band should be held taught throughout the exercise. Try to keep the hips and shoulders level throughout the exercise. Your torso and pelvis should not wobble side to side. Move the right foot 12 to 18 inches to the right, and after planting the right foot, follow with the left. Remember to keep some tension on the band. When you have completed the prescribed number of repetitions, rest and then lateral step back to the left.
As you get better at this exercise, try performing the drill moving forward and backward. The backward monster walk is an excellent gluteal activation exercise for runners. Try performing one or two sets of eight to ten repetitions.
Michael S. O’Hara, P.T., OCS, CSCS