A lateral walk is a pace in which the legs move on the same side in unison. The lateral walks are the ultimate fat burners that help to tone glutes, obliques, and even the core.
Regardless of your age, work-life, or body type, walking is an effective workout routine that can guarantee overall body fitness.
Lateral walking does not require much space nor is it muscle-intensive. This makes it a simple must-have workout routine in your training.
It can serve as a good stretch before the main workout to warm the body up.
For the exercise to be more effective a resistance band is used to increase the impact of the exercise. However, for a start, walking side to side is recommended.
This will help you build the needed momentum required to work out with the resistance band.
HOW ARE LATERAL WALKS PERFORMED?
Here’s how to do it:
Beginner level: Side-walks
- Step 1: Get a wide and open space. Stand upright with your feet shoulder-width apart.
- Step 2: Bend your knees slightly and move into a half-squat position. Keep your feet in line with your shoulders and face forward with your body weight evenly distributed over both feet.
- Step 3: Shift your weight over one leg and take a step sideways with the other leg. Move this leg in and out sideways. Do this for at least 8-10 reps.
- Step 4: Slowly shift your weight and switch legs. Do this for another 8-10 side steps. Keep your hips level and your back should remain straight throughout the movement.
Advanced level: Side-walks with a resistance band.
- Step 1: Get a wide and open space. Stand upright with your feet shoulder-width apart. Place a resistance band right above each ankle and wrapped around both legs. The resistance band should remain taut. Repeat the above side walks’ procedures, this time with a resistance band in place
- Visit the link to view a simple demo on the workout.
WHAT MUSCLE GROUPS DOES THE LATERAL WALK WORK?
The exercise targets the following muscle groups:
The gluteus medius is largely the most important hip muscle. The muscle group is involved in turning the thigh inwards so that the knee points toward your other leg.
Moreover, it also stabilizes the pelvis and is considered the primary mover muscle in lateral walking.
TENSOR FASCIASE LATAE(TFL)
This is a fusiform muscle that overlays the glute medius and minimus. It is a hip synergist muscle meaning it helps the primary mover muscles (gluteus medius) to contract more smoothly.
The gluteus minimus is the, smallest of the gluteal muscle group. It lies deep beneath the gluteus medius.
This muscle helps the gluteus medius in stabilizing the pelvic region and thigh abduction. Consequentially, allowing the lateral movement of your legs while keeping the upper body facing forward.
BENEFITS OF LATERAL WALKS
The exercise has numerous benefits to the overall body training. They include:
STRENGTHENING THE GLUTE AND HIP MUSCLES
Strengthening the hips and glutes will help keep the lower back straight. In addition, it will improve dynamic body movements coordination and proper body alignment.
IMPROVES BACK POSTURE
The hips sit at the base of the lower spine which is the base of the entire back. A healthier lower back enables the lengthening and stretching of the back to its fullest extent. This will allow you to attain a good posture.
A good posture makes you appear more confident, reduces the odds of developing age-related joint problems such as osteoarthritis, and reduces the chances of getting injured.
IMPROVES COORDINATION, BALANCE FLEXIBILITY
The lateral walk requires a great deal of focus, coordination, and balance to get the exercise right. Repeated sets build up great body coordination, balance, and flexibility over time.
STABILIZES THE ENTIRE BODY
One of the roles of the hips is to help stabilize the body during dynamic body movements. The hips together with the core work to hold the body upright.
Weak hips cannot maintain the upper body in a stable upright position while moving around.
ALTERNATIVES TO LATERAL WALKS
There are great alternatives to the exercise, such as:
RESISTANCE BAND JUMPING JACKS
Resistance band jumping jacks combine resistance training with cardio. They work to strengthen the hip muscles while also improving your cardiovascular health by boosting your heart rate.
- Step right inside a resistance band and wrap it around your calves. Step your feet out to shoulder-width apart.
- Jump both of your feet out to a wide stance while lifting your arms overhead. Then, jump your feet back to shoulder-width distance and lower your arms. Speed the movement similar to regular jumping jacks.
Fire hydrants are a classic workout that appears simple but are very effective in targeting the glutes and the hips. They specifically target the same muscles as the lateral walk.
- Get your hands and knees on an exercise mat on the floor. Your hands should be directly under your shoulders.
- Slowly lift your knee off the floor and straight to the side until it comes to hip height. Keep your knee at a 90-degree angle as you lift it.
- Lower the knee slowly to starting position. Do this for 8-10 reps with your right knee then switch to your left one.
Glute bridges are a fantastic bodyweight exercise that targets the glutes, hips, and hamstrings. They are a great exercise for any lower body workout.
LATERAL WALK MISTAKES TO AVOID
To achieve the maximum effect from the workout then you have to avoid the following:
THIGHS NOT LEVEL
Avoid tilting your thighs up and down or sideways. As this reduces the tension build-up and thus decreases the overall effect of the workout.
A burning sensation on your hips will be felt when the exercise is done correctly.
Maintaining the correct position is essential in building up tension in the muscles, and therefore building up strength.
INCORRECT KNEE POSITION
Keep your knees bent and aligned over the middle of your feet in your half-squat position. This ensures you are working the target muscles properly and that you are not straining your knees.
AVOIDING SWAYING OR BOUNCING
Avoid incorrect body movement during the workout such as swaying your body or bouncing while doing the side step. This will take the focus off the target muscles.
Lateral walks are a fantastic way to increase the impact on your glutes while also strengthening your hips and building thigh muscles and stability.
Including the workout in your training your regime, as a warm-up or as a stand-alone exercise will improve your overall body mobility and agility.