A Better Way To Do Band Walks


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A Better Way To Do Band Walks

The lateral band walk has been a staple in many coaches and therapists playbook for years now. It’s popularity soared as a result of numerous studies connecting the link between manual hip abduction strength and lower extremity injury risk.

I have no doubt about the importance of the hip abduction and external rotation musculature as it relates to reducing lower extremity issues however I do doubt the efficacy in which it is tested and trained.

My primary issue with the classic lateral band walk is that isolated hip ab/adduction is not a movement that translates to life. Ab/adduction, rotation and flexion/extension happen in sequence together when controlling the relationship between the pelvis and femur and should be trained with that in mind.

I believe the a variation of the band walk shown above has utility as a motor control drill to develop awareness of the relationship between lower leg, femur and pelvis especially in those athletes who are at risk for non-contact lower limb injuries. Following mastery of this drill however, developing strength with traditional single leg exercises would be recommended to develop resiliency in these positions.
Coaching Points:

Tension Into The Band: Place the band under just under the knee. Maintain tension outwards into the band while the foot is on the ground.

Pelvis-Femur Relationship: Coach the athlete to keep the pelvis centered over the femur so that they can sit back into their hip and optimally use their glute musculature.

Ribcage: The athlete should be in a “ribs down” position with the thorax relatively flexed to promote oblique function. Cueing a cross-body reach with the opposite arm can help promote improved rib and pelvis position.

Foot: This drill is beat performed without shoes so that the athlete can feel the ground and develop the intrinsic foot musculature. The athlete should have a straight foot, active arch and relaxed toes.

Regression: If the athlete struggles regress them to an unbanded version of the drill. Id suggest most people start with this version as this drill will often be difficult without the use of a band.