So, are you struggling to keep your gait upright and steady? Do you find yourself strangely clumsy and more prone to leg trips? Then a monster walk exercise might be just the solution you are desperately looking for.
Well, doing monster walks will help you regain and upscale strength in your lower glute muscles. This ultimately leads to more improved balance in your lower body regions.
The good news is that, unlike other workouts, you don’t need to have complicated equipment to go about it. A sturdy elastic band will get the job done just fine.
In other instances, you might also hear other trainers referring to the monster walk as the band walk.
Now, what are its benefits? How do you properly do it? What are some of the mistakes you’ll want to avoid? And last, of all, are there other variations that you could incorporate during your workout session?
Let’s dive in and find out…
What is the monster walk exercise?
The monster walk exercise is an ingenious routine that helps to fire up your glute muscles.
These muscles are scientifically known as the gluteus medius and the gluteus minimus. These two are the smallest of all the collective glute muscles and help with abduction.
This exercise also helps to add strength and resistance to the TFL (tensor fascia latae) muscles. These muscles help you bring stability to the knee and hip areas.
Now, the name “Monster Walk” may have gotten inspired by the type of motion it brings forward when doing the exercise.
As you do it, you’ll attain a squat-like position and make spaced steps with your knees apart. If you really think about it, you’d actually kinda look like a monster walking out from a swamp or something, ha-ha.
I guess what’s most exciting is that this exercise is easily accessible. You don’t have to look for sophisticated training equipment to hack it.
It can be a home-based routine for everyone who wants to train their hip abductor muscles.
To do it, the primary setup only requires that you have an elastic band and a convenient space.
Benefits of doing monster walks
There are many unknown benefits of doing monster walks that you may not have heard of. If you take your fitness seriously, knowing these benefits can help you maintain discipline each time you work out.
Let’s take a look at some of them below:
1. Acts as a muscle primer
It’s no surprise that several athletes have picked up the monster walk routine. Most of the time, you’ll find this exercise used as a primer before the main workout sessions. These may include squats, deadlifts, and leg presses.
The reason is that doing monster walks beforehand helps your brain prepare for the task at hand. It will send down signals to the hip and lower back muscles and activate them for the incoming exercise.
2. Improves your kinetic chain function
Your hip abductor and extensor muscles serve an integral role in maintaining optimal kinetic chain function.
In the gym, other ways that you can improve the said muscles is by using extensor or abductor machines. These machines let you push back against a lever with your legs. As you do it, your main body remains centered in a horizontal position atop a bench.
The other alternative includes doing a Side Leg Raise.
Doing monster walks helps keep your lower region pert and enhances associated hip and leg mobility.
3. Helps reduce musculoskeletal problems
Regularly conditioning your glute muscles helps give you a sturdy posture. It also helps in preventing your lower back from getting sloppy injuries at the same time.
This is because frequent monster walk exercises tone your rear muscles. At the end of it all, it goes a long way in keeping musculoskeletal issues at bay.
4. Strengthens your connective tissue
If you have a personal trainer, chances are that you have heard them constantly talk about the importance of strengthening your connective tissue. The same also goes if you regularly visit a physiotherapist.
Strong connective tissue equals great and improved stability. This stability helps you enjoy much better walking, running, or even standing.
What you’ll need before you start
Getting down to business, you won’t need to acquire much from the stores before you begin.
The most important thing for you is to just get some type of resistance band. If you have an elastic tube lying around, that could work as well.
Ideally, the surest bet is if you can get your hands on the standard small looped knee band. This is because these types of bands got manufactured purely for this purpose.
Currently, monster walk bands retail anywhere from $5 – 25. As you can see, it’s very affordable if you can spare the bucks.
But, not to sound rigid, you can just as well use a longer band if that is what’s available in your house. You can cut the extra length and tie it or alternatively fold it into a smaller coil. The most important feature is that it has to bring a tight wrap when worn right above your knees.
In either case, the band shouldn’t be too taut. An excessively tight band can cut blood circulation to your hip and knee muscles. This, in the end, might affect the response that the glutes and TFL muscles will get from the workout.
Another crucial thing to note is that your tube or band should offer comfort when worn. By comfort here I mean that the tube/band should not tag or pull on your leg hair.
A good monster walk band should also not irritate your skin when sweat runs into it.
How to do monster walks
Getting right into business, let’s take a look at how to do a proper monster walk.
To the average person, it may appear regular or overly simple to the naked eyes. On the contrary, though, the burn comes from the continued, strenuous tension on the glute muscles.
See the steps below:
- Tie or place your resistance band of choice slightly above the knees. Ensure that the band is not so tight that it impedes thigh movement.
- Clasp your arms or cross them before your chest with the elbows bent and parallel. You can also choose to hold them straight in front of your chest. Again, remember to keep them lateral and parallel from the ground.
- Enter a squat position (quarter stance) by keeping your hips pressed back and the knees slightly bent. (A quarter squat stance helps target the hip muscles by allowing precise hip muscle activation.)
- Keep your core engaged by making your chest, shoulder, and head square.
- Afterward, make small but wide steps with the band tucked around your leg to move forward. You can do reps to cover about 5 to 15 yards when moving forward and also backward.
- Keep your steps wide if you want to fully engage the outer glutes.
- If you’re using a band with less resistance, then you can go farther than 15 yards. If you’re using a band with stronger resistance, then you can do shorter distances.
Hint: Using monster walk bands that have stronger resistance is a great way to build more strength.
Now, the main idea is to create as much tension as you can when doing your reps. A successful session will leave you feeling great amounts of burn running through your muscles as you move. The same tension can be also noticed on the band/tube as you step forward or backward.
If you are not feeling this strain, then it only means that you’re not doing something right.
Confirm to see whether your steps are too fast or your squat is not deep enough. Another cause could be that your resistance band might be too loose.
Also, the slower you move, the better the results. To get consistent slow movement, you can count 4 to 5 Mississippi, pausing a second between every step.
Common mistakes when doing the monster walk
You may not get the expected effects certain times you do your monster walk routine. An example of one such effect is the building of tension in your muscles.
If that is the case, then it could mean that you are not doing something right. It could be a mistake in your setup or movement routine.
The common mistakes likely to happen are:
Misusing the core
You must sustain control of your core or trunk as you engage your reps.
As fatigue settles in, you might feel compelled to cheat. The most popular way that athletes do this is by compromising their core to make larger steps.
Despite the intensity of the moment, you should keep your back straight as in the original stance. You must also always keep your body facing forward and minimize fidgeting.
Losing control of the trail leg
This is likely to happen when you start moving too quickly. As a result of this, you’ll risk losing balance and miss strength development in your flanking hip muscles.
Ensure that you always maintain control in your steps, more so, in the trail leg during the exercise.
Wrong band tension
This occurs when you use a band or tube that does not have the required amount of tension. If this happens, your glute muscles won’t get the most of what this exercise intends to give.
Thus, it’s unquestionably vital that the band’s tension remains spot-on.
If your band wears out from the progressive training sessions, then go buy a new one to keep the exercise effective.
Monster walk variations
There are numerous varieties that you can bring into your monster walk workout. Depending on what you choose, the overall process and results could be more or less intense and rewarding.
Let’s look at a few that you can try out below:
1. Adjusting Band Position
Most monster walk variations come to be from adjusting the position of the band on your leg.
Placing the band above your knee is less tense and serves as the standard position.
On the other hand, placing the band around your ankles makes the steps much harder and the tension more intense. The reason is that you would have transferred the load (band) farther away from the lever (your hip).
You can also wrap the band around your toes if you’re up for more beast mode conditioning.
2. Forward Step Monster Walk
In this variation, you have to move one foot forward and then step on the outer side right before you touch the ground. Afterward, repeat this step with the other foot, again, as you cover your preset distance.
Make large “monster” steps, keep your feet wide apart, and maintain control of your core as you move forward.
3. Back Step Monster Walk
This is a reverse motion of the Forward Step Monster Walk.
Simply, move one foot backward and to the outer side before you touch the ground. Repeat the same procedure with the trailing foot.
Here, again, you must control your core, keep your feet wide apart, and make large “monster” steps backward.
4. Adjusting Body Position
Going with a lower squat stance increases the amount of work you’ll need to put in. It’s more intense and results in more durable muscle toning.
A straight, more vertical monster walk stance, however, is often easier to pull. Naturally, they also mean longer durations before you can get the same outcome as with deep-squat monster walks.
It doesn’t really matter where you are when you want to carry out a monster walk exercise.
The main things needed are a resistance band and a comfortable space where you can work out. And even sweeter, you don’t have to buy a new band from the gym store. You can pick up any band lying around the house or tie up an elastic tube and you’re good to go.
Just ensure that the tube or band does not cause a reaction with your skin and provides the right tension.
To get the most out of your Abductor Muscles, avoid mistakes like compromising your core. That only leads to little effect on the targeted muscles and apparent wastage of time.
To spruce up your routine throw in some of the variations I have talked about for the ultimate experience.
Important: Seek the advice of a certified trainer or physician if you have a pre-existing injury on your hip or knee. That way, you will get the best insight as to how you can safely do the monster walk routine without causing further damage to yourself.
I hope this was helpful to you. If you have any queries or thoughts, I’d be more than happy to hear them out in the Comments Section below.
Now, go get some power-ups!