The Frankenstein walk gets its title from the signature walk of a popular horror film monster, Frankenstein, who moved stiffly with his arms stretched out because he was blind.
His blind walk became so popular that pop culture adopted it for a very long time.
As it turned out, pop culture lovers aren’t the only ones who adopted it; fitness enthusiasts did too, when they discovered they could tweak it a tiny bit to help them stretch a couple of muscles in the body.
Popularly known as the “walking toe touch”, this walk has since become a household name in gyms where it is commonly used as a warm up exercise or simply to stretch the calves and hamstrings.
Here’s how to do it properly:
- Begin by standing upright, with your feet hip width apart.
- Tighten your core.
- Extend your arms in front of you, with your palms facing down.
- Moving forward, swing your left leg up to extend it out completely and create a 90-degree angle with the rest of your body.
- Try to make the leg touch the fingers on your left hand.
- Then, lower your left leg, swing the right leg up and repeat the above step.
- Continue for up to 1 minute.
Once you feel comfortable with your form, you can try reaching your arm to the opposite foot as you extend the other arm behind your body.
This will make this movement a bit more challenging.
WHAT MUSCLES DOES THE FRANKENSTEIN WALK WORK?
HAMSTRINGS AND CALVES
These are the main muscle groups the Frankenstein walk targets.
It uses a natural range of motion to stretch, strengthen and warm-up the muscles and tendons in your thighs, calves and hips.
This exercise also requires that you brace your core to help you remain stable during the motions.
By tightening your core, you will get to work your rectus abdominis or even your obliques in cases where you’re performing it with opposite limbs.
FRANKENSTEIN WALK BENEFITS
GREAT WARM UP EXERCISE
The Frankenstein walk helps prepare your body for intense lower body workouts by activating the muscles in your thighs and lower legs so that you are able to fully engage them as you work out.
REQUIRES NO EQUIPMENT
This movement does not require any special gym equipment to perform; you can even choose do it at home and you’ll still get the intended results.
However, if you want a bit more challenge, you can place weight cuffs around your ankles so that you are able to work the target muscles more.
The Frankenstein walk stretches and strengthens the muscles around your hip area to help you develop more stability and flexibility that will enable you to move around with ease and avoid injury in your hips.
EASY TO LEARN
This exercise is not complicated. The steps are relatively simple and you can master the correct form on your own without the help of a fitness trainer.
WORKS YOUR CORE
The Frankenstein walk recruits your rectus abdominis to help keep your posture straight and give your body the stability it needs throughout the movement.
ALTERNATIVES TO THE FRANKENSTEIN WALK
The leg raise is a classic bodyweight exercise that mainly works your lower abs but also stretches your hamstrings, hip flexors and lower back muscles.
How to do it:
- Lie on your back on a mat/floor, with your feet pressed together and your legs straight.
- Place your arms by your sides, palms facing down. Alternatively, you can place your hands under your butt to keep them still.
- Tighten your core.
- While keeping them straight, lift your legs some inches off the floor, pointing your toes away from your body. Make sure your chin and pelvis are tucked throughout the movement. All reps should begin from this position.
- Lift your legs until the knees are over your hips or until your butt lifts slightly off the floor. At this point, your legs should form a 90-degree angle with your torso.
- Pause for a second or two at the top position.
- With your core still tight and your upper body pressed to the mat/floor, lower your legs slowly and with control until they are almost touching the ground. This is a complete rep.
- Repeat these steps as many times as you desire.
For this exercise, you can begin by doing 2-3 sets of about 10 reps each, and then increase the number of reps or sets as you get more comfortable.
The pigeon stretch, aka the pigeon pose, is a hip-opening movement often incorporated in yoga flows.
It stretches your back, thighs and hip rotators to improve your overall hip mobility and loosen the muscles in there.
How to do it:
- Get into the tabletop position.
- Bring your left leg forward, bending it slightly at the knee.
- Fold the left leg in front of you. Your left foot should move towards the right side.
- Extend the right leg behind you as you press the top of the right foot to the floor.
- Then, look up towards the sky, with your chest up. You can also move your chin downwards to bring your chest close to the mat.
- Hold this pose for about 10 deep breaths and then switch to the other leg.
FRANKENSTEIN WALK MISTAKES TO AVOID
BENDING AT THE WAIST
Your entire torso should be upright all through this exercise.
If you move any part of it, including your waist, you risk releasing the tension from your core, which will in turn loosen up the hamstrings and calves, making this movement ineffective.
FAILING TO BRACE YOUR CORE
Tightening your core not only keeps the tension in your target muscles but also helps stabilize your spine and lower back as you move your limbs.
Make sure you don’t stop tightening your core from the beginning to the end.
BENDING YOUR KNEES
Your legs should remain straight and rigid as you bring them up to your arms so that you get to stretch the muscles in your thighs and legs as much as possible.
Bending your knees might release some of the tension from those muscles, making this movement less effective.
MOVING WITH MOMENTUM
Since you want to stretch your calves and hamstrings as much as you can, you might want to make slow, steady and controlled motions during this movement instead of moving with momentum.
The Frankenstein walk is one of the easiest stretch movements you can use to stretch your lower body.
It also requires zero equipment to perform, which means you can do it anywhere, any time.
Be sure to try it out the next time you’re looking to warm up your lower body muscles before an intense workout, and you will see the benefits for yourself!