When it comes to scoring a fit frame, Kira Stokes, creator of The Stoked Method, has definitely mastered all the moves you need. (I mean, have you seen that six-pack?) So it should come as no surprise that we often find ourselves scrolling through her feed for fitspiration. This week it came in the form of Lateral X-band Monster Walks + Upright Row, her SMOTD (or Stoked Move of the Day)—which the celeb trainer says is a great way to warm up the body before you begin your actual workout.
Always skimp on the warm-up? That’s a big no-no. “Equate it to taking a test without studying; the result may turn out ok, but you’re tempting fate,” she explains. “Prepping the body using similar movement patterns to what you will experience during your workout increases your ability to properly activate the muscles, and decreases the likelihood of injury. It also sets the tone for the all important mind-muscle connection.”
Lateral X-band Monster Walks in particular wake up the gluteus medius and abductors (think front of pelvis, side of hip, and top of butt), which help stabilize and strengthen the hips, pelvis, and lower extremity for optimal performance. (FYI: Runners, this move is a must for you!)
“The lateral movement is super focused—no rotation or hinge, and the band resistance is light, making it a very stable exercise, allowing you to really mind your muscles, preparing both your mind and body for the work ahead,” notes Stokes, who loves resistance bands because they are essentially a “no-excuse” gym in your bag that can be used anywhere, anytime. The Upright Row here recruits the upper body into the mix, readying the shoulders for movement.
How to do it
Stand tall with feet hip-width distance apart and the arch of each foot on top of a light resistance band. Twist band, to form an “X”, holding the opposite end with both hands; arms hang down in front of thighs with palms facing back.
Keeping legs straight and maintaining a strong core with a slight tuck to the tailbone and butt cheeks squeezed, step the right foot out to the right side, creating tension in the lower part of the band as you simultaneously pull the top part of the band straight up to chest height; elbows should be parallel to shoulders.
As you step left foot in, remembering to keep that hip-width distance between feet, lower arms back down to start.
Repeat entire movement. Do 3 sets of 8-10 reps in each direction, traveling each direction twice.
Make it harder: Trade up to a medium resistance band, or perform it in a squatting position. This tweak transforms the Lateral X-band Monster Walks portion from a prep movement into a meatier move, involving more of the gluteus maximus (AKA the muscle that gives your booty that nice round shape).