Top 10 Exercise Alternatives to Lateral Band Walks

Lateral Band Walks

Have you ever performed lateral band walks as part of your lower body workout routine? The exercise is commonly recommended to reinforce the muscles around the knees. But what if you want to mix up your regimen, don’t have access to resistance bands, or are recovering from a knee injury? Are there effective alternatives to the lateral band walk that still activate the same muscle groups?

Luckily, you can target your abductors, gluteus medius, and other knee stabilizers in a variety of ways. Exercises like monster walks, side lunges, clamshells, and more can be done anywhere with minimal equipment.

Read on to discover over 10 lateral band walk alternatives to strengthen your knees and keep them healthy.

Top 10 Alternatives to Lateral Band Walks

The lateral band walk is a popular exercise used to strengthen the muscles around the knees. A resistance band is looped around the ankles and the person takes side steps to work the abductor muscles on the outer thighs as well as the gluteus medius. This helps stabilize the knee joint and prevent injuries.

While lateral band walks are excellent, there are times when you may want an alternative exercise. Reasons include variety in your routine, lack of bands, injury recovery, or targeting muscles differently. Here are some of the top alternatives to lateral band walks for knee strength.

Monster Walks

The monster walk works the same muscles as the band walk but adds a greater balance challenge.

Begin in a squat stance, while your legs hip-width aside. position the resistance band just over your ankles. Continue the squat and take exaggerated side steps, maintaining your chest upfront and core involved. Take 10-15 steps one way, then switch directions. You can increase difficulty by going lower into the squat.

Monster walks work the abductors, glutes, quads, and core.

Side Lunges  

The side lunge primarily targets the gluteus medius, a crucial muscle for knee stability. Stand with feet together, hands on hips.

Take a large step sideways with one leg, curving the knee and pulling your hips backward as you go down. Keep the other leg straight. Go as low as you can control, keeping your torso upright. Drive back up through the working leg and return to the start. Do 10-12 reps on each side. Use minimal or no weight to isolate the glutes.

Hip Abduction Machines

Most gyms have hip abduction machines where you sit and press your knees outward against resistance.

These directly strengthen the glute, medius, and abductors. Adjust the weight to a challenging level. Press your knees out as far as comfortable, slowly return, and repeat for 12-15 reps. Do 2-3 sets.


This exercise can be done anywhere without equipment. Lie on your side, knees bent at 90 degrees, and heels together. Keeping feet in contact, lift your top knee as high as you can while keeping the pelvis still. Slowly lower back down. Do 10-15 reps, then switch sides. Make it harder by tying a light resistance band around your knees.

Clamshells specifically work the gluteus medius.

Fire Hydrants

These are another good bodyweight option.

Get on hands and knees with a flat back. Lift one leg straight out to the side, keeping the knee bent 90 degrees. Raise the leg as high as you can, then slowly lower it. Repeat for 10-15 reps before switching legs. To increase difficulty, tie a resistance band above your knees or around your ankles.

Fire hydrants target the glutes, hips, and abductors.


Skaters mimic the explosive side-to-side motion used in speed skating. Start with feet wider than hip-width apart. Push off with one leg and jump sideways, landing on the other leg in a slight squat. Immediately push off the new leg and leap to the starting side. Do 10-15 total jumps on each side. Skaters engage the abductors to stabilize the knee joint during lateral motion. They also get the heart pumping!

Resistance Band Squat Walks

Loop a tiny elastic band around your legs, slightly over the knees.

Get into a comfortable squat position, keeping tension on the band. Maintain the squat and take slow steps to one side for 10 steps. The band pulls the knees inward as you fight to take lateral steps. Switch directions. This constant abduction activation strengthens the muscles supporting the knee.

Side Shuffles

Set up cones or other markers five yards apart.

Start at one cone in an athletic stance. Shuffle your feet quickly to the other cone, keeping low in a semi-squat. Don’t cross your feet. Shuffle back to the first cone. Work up to 2-3 minutes of continuous shuffling between cones. Keep your hips and shoulders facing forward the entire time. Side shuffles build abductor and adductor endurance.


Find a box or bench 12-18 inches high. Stand facing it, feet hip-width apart.

Step up onto the platform with your right foot, pressing down through the right heel to lift yourself. Step down with the same leg, keeping the left foot flat on the floor. Do 10-12 reps before switching sides. Drive through the heel to engage the glutes and abductors. Increase resistance by holding weights.

Wrap Up

In summary, the muscles targeted during lateral band walks play a key role in knee joint stability.

While band walks are great, don’t be afraid to switch it up! Exercises like monster walks, resistance band squats, side shuffles, and step-ups also activate the abductors, glutes, and hips.

Choose 2-3 alternatives and do them 2-3 times per week. Work within your comfort range and progress slowly by adding reps or resistance. Following a consistent knee strengthening program helps prevent injury down the road. Mixing up your lateral band walk alternatives keeps the knees strong while adding beneficial variety to your workouts.

Keep these exercises in mind next time you train your legs!

That’s the size of this article. I believe you have learned a lot about the alternatives for lateral band walk. These exercises will help strengthen your knees and keep you in a good fit.

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