How to Do Walking Lunges

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Walking lunges are a fantastic workout for targeting all of your lower body's major muscle groups while also increasing your balance and core strength. Most people are familiar with this movement, which entails taking broad forward steps, bending both knees, and bringing your back knee to the floor while maintaining an upright and tall body.

Walking lunges are more difficult than stationary lunges because you must keep your balance while stepping forward between each lunge, adjusting your weight and body position while standing on one leg. This increased effort is useful for preventing falls and fall-related injuries, given how important balance and stability are for functional fitness.

Walking lunges, in general, are a lower-body strength-training exercise that should be incorporated in any strength-training plan. Walking lunges can raise your heart rate since they activate various muscle groups and joints when performed for a long period of time. As a result, they're a great choice for circuit training or high-intensity interval training regimens that are meant to provide both strength and cardiovascular advantages.

How to Do Walking Lunges


Walking Lunges: How to Do Them

Walking lunges require very minimal equipment to begin as a bodyweight workout. The more space you have, the more lunges you can do without having to turn around. Most crucial, you'll need enough room to take several wide strides in a row. Parks, gyms, and open hallways are all good choices, but even a spare living room will suffice.

Standing with your feet around hip-distance apart is a good place to start.

Before you begin, make sure your body is erect and tall, with your core engaged, shoulders back, and chin raised.

Keep your eyes straight forward.

Take a broad step forward with your right foot, about two feet ahead of you, allowing your left heel to naturally lift as you take the step. As you take each step, you may wish to place your hands on your hips or swing your arms naturally (elbows bent at 90 degrees).

Maintain an upright posture by keeping your core engaged.

Lower your back knee to the floor by bending both knees. Just before it lands, come to a halt. During the lowering (or eccentric) phase of the exercise, take a deep breath in.

As you lift your left foot off the ground and swing it forward to plant it approximately two feet ahead of your right foot, press firmly through your right heel and rise to your feet by extending your right knee. Avoid bending your torso forward from your hips as you take this step. As you climb to your feet, exhale (the concentric phase of the exercise).

With each lunge, take another step forward, alternating sides. If you start to lose your balance while walking, pause while your feet are near to each other at the top of each lunge. Continue once you've regained your balance.

On the final lunge, bring your back foot to meet your front foot to complete your set.


The benefits of doing walking lunges

Walking lunges are a wonderful action to integrate into any workout, from warm-up to strength training programs, because they target your entire lower body and core. You can anticipate to "feel the burn" in your quads, hamstrings, glutes, and calves, as well as abdominal engagement and low back engagement.

Any compound exercise that works many muscle groups at the same time is termed a functional exercise that simulates everyday movements, making you stronger and better for the types of movements that everyday life necessitates.

Every time you're on the floor, for example, you have to get up with a squat or lunge variation. Walking lunges also help you develop greater balance, so you'll be better prepared with the strength and body awareness needed to avoid falling or injuring yourself as you take a "recovery step" (typically a broad or lengthy one) to catch yourself.

Finally, because walking lunges require little equipment and little space, they can be incorporated into any workout in any setting. You can do a few sets in your living room or hallway, or you can do them while at the park. They can even be done while traveling in a hotel room or on a beach. They're a terrific technique to build lower-body strength without having to go to the gym.


Other Alternatives

When it comes to walking lunges, there are nearly limitless adjustments and variants. Start with these possibilities.


Walking Lunges with a Pause

If your balance is a little shaky and you want to try a walking lunge, halt with your feet together between each forward stride.

As you rise to stand after one forward lunge with your right foot, move your left foot forward and plant it hip-distance from your right foot on the ground.

Take a breather here to make sure you're in good shape.

Continue with a lunge on the opposite side by stepping your left foot forward.


Walking Lunges with Dumbbells

Adding weights to walking lunges is the simplest approach to make the workout more difficult.

While doing the movement, hold a set of dumbbells or a couple of kettlebells in each hand.

Take your time and move carefully to ensure that you retain great form while taking on this additional task.

If you want an even tougher workout, grip a dumbbell in each hand and stretch your arms straight overhead for the duration of each set. While torching your shoulders and arms, this overhead walking lunge version needs even more core activation.


Common Errors

Because there are so many joints involved in compound workouts that employ numerous muscle groups, they are prone to hazards and common errors. It's all too easy to lose track of your form or fail to realize where you're going wrong.

Lunges are one of the worst offenders, and when you grow weary, your form suffers the most. Take your time and pay attention to what's going on. If possible, practice the exercise in front of a mirror until you feel confident in your ability to spot mistakes as they occur. Here are some common blunders to avoid.


Stepping with your feet too close together

As you take each forward step, pay attention to your foot location. To provide a decent base of support for balance and stability, keep your feet around hip-distance apart (or somewhat broader).

You're considerably more prone to lose your balance if your feet are too close together, with the heel of your forward foot aligned with the toes of your rear foot. Your stride width should seem natural as you walk forward, as if you were simply taking longer strides with your typical gait.

If you take steps forward as if you're walking on a tightrope, with one foot immediately in front of the other, you'll make the exercise much more difficult to complete, and you'll change your stride in a way that makes maintaining appropriate alignment more difficult.


Taking excessively long steps

Overstretching is another typical blunder. Yes, you should take longer steps during lunges than usual, but not so lengthy that you end up with a painful stretch in your groin when you lower your back leg to the floor.

Instead, take extended steps with your front foot planted two to two-and-a-half feet ahead of your back foot. Both knees should be able to form around 90-degree angles at the bottom of the lunge when you perform it.


From the Hips, Lean Forward

When you're doing walking lunges, you're continually going forward, and your body has a strong desire to start leaning forward to "assist" you in shifting. This usually occurs when you're trying to complete a set quickly and rely on the momentum of a forward lean to propel you into each lunge. It also happens a lot if you're overstriding, which means you're taking more steps than you need for each lunge.

The trouble is that you're disengaging your core and, if you're not careful, you could injure your low back. Slow down and keep an eye on your chest as you walk—it shouldn't begin to tilt toward the ground.

Throughout each lunge, maintain your abs and core muscles engaged and your torso about perpendicular to the floor. Looking ahead, with your gaze fixed on the wall in front of you, might also be beneficial.


Lunging with the Front Heel Lifted

Another common blunder (pun intended) while doing walking lunges too quickly is lifting your front heel off the floor as you bend your knees and lower yourself toward the floor. The difficulty is that this puts your front leg's alignment off, putting greater strain on your knee.

You should keep your front heel planted throughout the lunge—your lower leg should be about perpendicular to the floor, and your knee should be aligned over your heel—only lifting it after you've stepped your back leg forward for the next repeat.

Slow down and double-check your form at the bottom and top of each lunge, making sure your heel is still engaged with the floor and your front knee isn't stretching over your toes. The easiest strategy to recognize and solve this problem is to pay great attention and take your time.


Having an Out-of-Sync Front Knee Alignment

The position of the front knee as you perform the lunge is a common problem for all types of lunges. Throughout the exercise, the knee should be aligned with the toes. Knee valgus is a condition in which the knees "cave" inward toward the midline of the body, increasing the risk of knee pain or damage.

This is a race where slow and steady wins. Take your time lowering your back leg to the ground, and keep an eye on your front knee while you do so. If you realize your knee is slipping inward, consider engaging your hip and glute muscles to bring it back into line with your toes.


Precautions and Safety

The walking lunge, as a bodyweight exercise, should be quite safe for most people if they pay strict attention to their form. Remember to keep your abdominals and lower back engaged to maintain balance and reduce the risk of falling over.

Lunges are a common source of pain for those with knee problems. If deeper lunges cause pain, attempt the exercise with a narrower range of motion—like simply dropping a few inches with each lunge.

Step-ups can also be used as a modification. Because of the difference in angle of the motion, step-ups are easier on the knees while yet engaging the same muscle groups. Instead of stepping forward and lowering your body into a lunge, you'll be stepping up and elevating your body to meet the first leg.

Lunges are a great lower-body exercise that will give your working muscles a natural "burning" sensation as they weary. This is very normal. Any sharp or shooting pain is not natural. Stop exercising if you suddenly suffer discomfort that isn't connected with regular, working muscles.

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