Exercise Tip: Band Walks
Band Walks are a great frontal plane exercise that dynamically challenges the lower body, upper body, and abdominals. During a traditional band walk the starting position is often overlooked. Too often, clients or athletes begin with excessive lumbar extension, over-active quadriceps (squatting), and a forward head posture. Instead, utilize concepts from the Postural Restoration Institute to improve form on the traditional band walk. The initial position should establish a Zone of Apposition (ZOA), inhibit the low back, and bias oblique facilitation. To do this, take a breath and round your upper back as you exhale and reach forward, this allows the rib cage to depress to aid ZOA development through oblique activation. Next, perform a posterior pelvic tilt to further promote oblique contraction, ZOA, and low back inhibition. Through these positional variances, the main goal of utilizing the hip musculature is enhanced for proper exercise execution. Sustain the above mentioned positions while hip abduction occurs to begin the exercise. However, don’t forget two key aspects when performing PRI band walks. First, beware of a compensated thorax side bend when moving the lead leg. It’s too common that clients or athletes use their oblique’s as their primary means of hip abduction. Instead, keep down and back heel pressure to turn on the hip extensors before moving the primary leg. This will assist in adequate stability while the hip abducts to decrease the need to compensate throughout the kinetic chain. Furthermore, when bringing the secondary leg back to a shoulder width position, strive to eccentrically control the leg. This ensures the client or athlete is getting the most out of both phases of the exercise (concentric & eccentric). Repeat this process with the correct position, muscles, and speed to improve the traditional band walk.