This is one of our new favorite exercises and it’s an incredible way to help gymnasts learn to protect their knees during landing and jumping. This exercise is designed to increase:
- Glute strength
- Knee control
- Body control
- Core strength
The Monster Walk
The Monster Walk brings together a strength training exercise and neuromuscular training to help our young gymnasts learn to control their knees better. It’s been shown that young female athletes that learn to control their knees are 80-90% less likely to have a knee injury than those that don’t learn to protect their knees.
Here is the progression for The Monster Walk:
- Start with a wide stance, and shift all of your weight to one foot.
- Make sure your feet are pointing straight ahead.
- Make a straight line from your toes, to knees, to hips, to shoulders on one side.
- Don’t allow your knees or hips to be outside or inside of this line (see video for examples).
- Shift weight to other side keeping same straight line in point 3.
- Keeping straight line in point 3, begin to side step.
- Use band around thighs and side step
- Use band around ankles/feet and side step
Have fun with this exercise! With a name like Monster Walk, you can even make funny faces and growl as you do it!
Make sure your gymnasts continue to do this exercise at home. To start, have your gymnasts go side to side 10 times each night. In one week, they should master the straight line from feet, to knees, to hips, to shoulders and should be ready to move on to walking.
Then, after a week of walking, start adding the resistance.
Take it slow to increase body awareness and control
Remember, take it slow because we’re trying to teach our gymnast’s brains to talk better to their muscles, so they are able to control their knees when landing. This takes time and patience, and these exercises should not be rushed.
Let us know if you have any questions and we’ll see you at the gym!