The Monster Walk Exercise Targets Your Entire Lower Body With Just a Mini Band

All you need is a few feet of space to do the monster walk at home.
Image Credit: miodrag ignjatovic/E+/GettyImages

Monster walks strengthen important stabilizing muscles in your glutes and hips. If you're looking to run with greater ease, improve your balance or get stronger in the weight room, monster walks make a great addition to your workout routine.

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  • What is the monster walk exercise?‌ The monster walk is an exercise where you walk forward and backward with a resistance band around your legs (typically your thighs).
  • Monster walk muscles worked:‌ Monster walks primarily target your gluteus medius and other hip abductor muscles on the sides of your hips. Your gluteus maximus, quadriceps, hamstrings and calf muscles are also targeted to a lesser extent.
  • Are monster walks effective?‌ Monster walks help you build strength in your hips and glutes, which can translate to better balance, increased strength and improved athletic performance.
  • Why are they called monster walks?‌ Imagine a giant monster trying to walk. That's sort of what you'll look like when you do this exercise.
  • Who can do monster walks?‌ Monster walks are suitable for nearly all trainees because they are relatively simple and easy to scale.

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How to do a Monster Walk With Good Form

Skill Level All Levels
  1. Place a mini band on your thighs just above your knees. Squat down slightly by bending your knees and reaching your hips back.
  2. Pick up one of your feet and step forward. Allow your leg to come slightly in toward the middle of your body while still keeping your knee in line with your toe.
  3. Push your leg back out against the band and place your foot on the ground in front of you and slightly to the outside.
  4. Repeat on the other foot.
  5. Keep walking forward in this manner until you complete all your reps.
  6. If desired, you can repeat this process walking backward.

4 Monster Walk Benefits

1. Improved Walking and Running Mechanics.

Your gluteus medius is one of the most important muscles for your walking/running gait because it stabilizes your pelvis and helps control the position of your knees. Over time, weak glute med muscles can contribute to the development of overuse injuries — especially if you're a runner racking up many miles on hard pavement.

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How do you strengthen your gluteus medius? Monster walks are a great place to start. Including them in your workouts can improve your walking and running mechanics so you can cover more miles with less effort. Monster walks are especially helpful if you struggle with knee pain while running.

2. Better Balance

Strong hips and feet are essential for balance. This is especially important for older adults, who are at a greater risk of injuries from falls.

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Monster walks are a great way to build balance. As an added bonus, the monster walk is more accessible than other glute exercises because you don't need to get up and down off the floor.

3. Better Exercise Form

One of the most common mistake with lower-body exercises (like squats) is knee valgus, which is when your knees collapse in toward the middle of your body. Some degree of valgus is not a big deal (and might be inevitable,) but your knees will probably feel better if you can keep them more in line with your toes.

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Knee valgus is often a result of — you guessed it — a weak glute med. When you do monster walks to strengthen your glutes and hips, you can reduce knee valgus and build stronger squats, split squats and lunges.

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4. Easy Set-Up

Monster walks are an ideal exercise for people who train at home, outside or on the road because they only require a single mini resistance band. Plus, you can easily control the challenge of the exercise, by choosing lighter and heavier resistance bands.

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4 Common Monster Walk Mistakes

1. Your Knees Caving In

It's very important to keep your knees in line with your toes when performing monster walks. If you allow your knees to cave inside your toes toward the middle of your body, you miss out on all the great glute strengthening benefits of this exercise.

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Actively drive your knees out into the band with each step. Even if the band is around your feet, you should still strive to keep your knees in line with your toes.

2. Your Toes Point Out

It's okay to have your toes point out slightly out when performing monster walks, but too much can reduce the effectiveness of the exercise. Try to keep your toes pointed straight ahead of you as much as possible.

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3. You Lose Band Tension

Keep constant tension on the band throughout your entire monster walk set to maximize glute gains. If you take steps that are too small, or bring your feet all the way back together in between steps, the tension could go slack, which is a common resistance band mistake. Make sure your steps are wide enough that you never lose band tension.

4. You Lean Left and Right

Some trainees lean their body from side to side while performing monster walks. Others may notice a hip hike or drop, where one side of their pelvis tilts up or down. Both of these are compensations for a lack of hip or core strength.

The goal is to keep your body position level and resist any side-to-side movement as you walk. Watch yourself in a mirror, film your sets or recruit a buddy to keep an eye on your body position.

4 Monster Walk Variations

1. Seated Hip Abduction

Skill Level All Levels
  1. Sit on a box or chair with your thighs parallel to the ground. Place a mini band on your thighs just above your knees. Place your feet on the floor hip width apart and lean forward slightly.
  2. Allow your knees to move in toward the middle of your body.
  3. Next, press your knees back out against the band. Press as far out as you can without letting your feet come off the floor.
  4. Repeat for the desired number of reps.

2. Monster Walk Band on Feet

Skill Level All Levels
  1. Place a mini band around the tops of your feet. Squat down slightly by bending your knees and reaching your hips back.
  2. Pick up one of your feet and step forward. Allow your leg to come slightly in toward the middle of your body while still keeping your knee in line with your toe.
  3. Push your foot back out against the band and place it on the ground in front of you and slightly to the side.
  4. Repeat on the other foot.
  5. Keep walking forward in this manner until you complete all your reps.
  6. If desired, you can repeat this process walking backward.

Tip

For those with larger legs, placing the band around your thighs may not feel comfortable. Instead, wrap the band around your feet instead. This variation challenges your feet and calf muscles more, while still helping you build glute and hip strength.

3. X-Band Monster Walk

Skill Level All Levels
  1. Stand on top of a long band. Grab the ends of the band in the opposite hand, crossing it so it makes an "X." Squat down slightly by bending your knees and reaching your hips back.
  2. Pick up one of your feet and step forward. Allow your leg to come slightly in toward the middle of your body while still keeping your knee in line with your toe.
  3. Push your foot back out against the band and place it on the ground in front of you and slightly to the side.
  4. Repeat on the other foot.
  5. Keep walking forward in this manner until you complete all your reps.
  6. If desired, you can repeat this process walking backward.

Tip

No mini band? No problem! You can also use a long round band or a long handle band to perform monster walks. Place the band underneath your feet and then cross it in your hands so it makes an "X" shape. Experiment with how much you choke up on the band tubing to find the appropriate amount of resistance.

4. Lateral Band Walk

Skill Level All Levels
  1. Place a mini band on your thighs just above your knees or on the tops of your feet. Squat down slightly by bending your knees and reaching your hips back.
  2. Pick up one of your feet and step to the side. Push out against the band with your knees so they stay in line with your toes.
  3. Once your foot is on the ground, pick up the other foot and take a small step in the same direction. Try to maintain tension on the band and do not bring your feet all the way together.
  4. Keep walking to the side in this manner until you complete all your reps.
  5. Repeat the process while walking sideways in the opposite direction.

Monster Walk vs. Lateral Walk

Lateral band walks are a great monster walk progression. Lateral band walks are also extremely effective at building glute med strength. They have the added benefit of introducing a different plane of motion to your workouts so you aren't only training forward/backward exercises.

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