Walking lunges are a great exercise that can be used as part of any type of workout routine, from beginner to advanced. They target the glutes, quads, and hamstrings while teaching dynamic balance and stability. In addition, they can help improve your posture and walking gait by training your muscles to move in unison.
This guide will cover everything you need to know about doing walking lunges properly: tips, variations, and benefits.
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How to Do Walking Lunges Properly?
To start with the proper form for walking lunges:
- Begin standing tall with feet hip-width apart and arms relaxed at your sides.
- Take a step forward with one foot and lower your body until both knees form right angles.
- Keep your back straight, and your core engaged throughout the movement.
- Your front knee should not extend past your toes, and your weight should be evenly distributed between both feet.
- Push off the ground with your front foot and bring the back foot forward to meet it, forming a lunge on the other side.
- Continue alternating legs as you step forward for 10-12 repetitions per side or up to one minute.
Benefits of Walking Lunges
Walking lunges are an incredibly effective form of exercise that can benefit your overall health and fitness in many ways:
Enhanced Muscle Strength And Endurance
Walking lunges target the muscles of your lower body, including your glutes, quads, hamstrings, and calves. Performing them regularly will help strengthen and tone these muscle groups.
Improve Balance And Stability
Walking lunges help improve your balance and stability by forcing you to support your body weight as you move from one leg to the other. This helps strengthen the muscles of your core, which are essential for keeping your posture upright and helping you stay agile on your feet.
Lunges are an excellent way to increase flexibility in the hips, thighs, and other areas of the lower body. The widened stance of a lunge helps open up the hip flexors while stretching out the glutes, hamstrings, and quads.
This increased flexibility can improve overall mobility, benefiting running, jumping, and climbing activities.
Improved Cardiovascular Health
Walking lunges can be very effective in improving cardiovascular health as they are a form of aerobic exercise. Regularly performing them can help increase your endurance and improve your heart health.
Increased Calorie Burn
This exercise can also help you burn more calories due to its demanding nature, making it a great way to lose or maintain a healthy weight.
Variations of Walking Lunges
Walking Lunges are an excellent exercise for improving lower body strength and stability. As you become more comfortable with the movement, you can add variations to your workout routine. Here are some popular variations of Walking Lunges:
It is also known as Backward Lunges. These involve taking a step backward instead of forward to target different muscles in the quads and glutes.
How to Do It?
- To perform a Reverse Lunge, stand with your feet together and take a big step backward.
- Bend both knees to lower into the lunge until your back knee almost touches the ground.
- Push off of your back foot to push yourself back up and return to the starting position.
This variation focuses on strengthening the muscles in your inner thighs and glutes by taking more significant steps laterally (to the side).
How to Do It?
- Start with your feet together, then take a significant step out to one side while keeping your chest upright.
- Lower into the lunge until your thigh is nearly parallel to the floor.
- Hold for a few seconds before pushing off that leg and returning to your starting position.
This variation focuses on your hip abductors and works the muscles of the inner thigh, outer thigh, and glutes.
How to Do It?
- Start with your feet together and take a big step back with one foot, crossing it behind the other as if you were doing a curtsy.
- Lower into the lunge until your front thigh is parallel to the ground, and hold for a few seconds before pushing off of that leg and returning to your starting position.
- Repeat with the opposite leg leading.
Split Squat Lunges
This variation involves stepping one foot forward at a time and then lunging down as low as possible for a maximum range of motion.
How to Do It?
- Start with your feet together, and then take a big step forward with one foot.
- Lower into the lunge until your back knee is almost touching the ground.
- Hold for a few seconds before pushing off that leg and extending your knees.
- Maintain this split position for the duration of the reps you want to perform. Once complete switch sides.
This variation focuses on building strength and stability by holding the lunge in a static position for a few seconds.
How to Do It?
- Start with your feet together and take a big step forward with one foot.
- Lower into the lunge until both knees are bent at 90° angles.
- Then hold for 10 seconds before pushing off that leg and returning to your starting position.
- Repeat with the opposite foot leading.
This variation involves adding weight to your lunges to create more resistance and strength.
How to Do It?
- Grab a pair of dumbbells.
- Hold them in either hand, then perform the lunge as you usually would.
- The added weight will increase the difficulty of the exercise and help build more muscle.
What Muscles Does The Walking Lunge Work?
The walking lunges target several lower body muscle groups, including the quadriceps, gluteus muscles, hamstrings, and calves. The quads are activated as you bend your knee to perform a lunge.
Your glutes are engaged, driving your foot into the ground to put yourself out of the lunge. Your hamstrings and calves are triggered when you lunge forward.
As a bonus, the walking lunge also stabilizes muscles throughout the core and abdominal muscles that help maintain balance during this dynamic movement.
By varying the speed and intensity of the lunge, you can make it easier or more complex, depending on your fitness goals. Additionally, incorporating this exercise into a circuit training program can help increase strength and endurance in the lower body while improving balance and coordination.
As with any exercise, proper form is essential for optimal results. So take some time to practice correct posture when doing walking lunges to maximize all the benefits this exercise offers!
Common Mistakes Faced During Walking Lunges
When doing walking lunges, paying attention to your form is essential to avoid common mistakes.
Decrease The Effectiveness of the Exercise
Some people may be tempted to lean forward too much when lunging, which can decrease the effectiveness of the exercise. It is essential to keep your back straight and maintain an upright posture while performing the lunge.
If you don’t use the proper form, you may lose balance as you lunge forward. To avoid this mistake, ensure you are planting your feet firmly on the ground each time before taking a step. Additionally, don't take significant steps, as this can cause instability in your balance.
Strain the Knees
It is essential to pay attention to your knee position. You want to refrain from having your front knee cave inward when lowering down into the lunge position.
By being aware of these common mistakes, you can ensure that you can perform walking lunges with the correct form and gain maximum benefit from this exercise!
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The Bottom Line
Walking lunges are excellent for developing lower body strength, endurance, balance, and stability. When done correctly with proper form, this movement can help improve everyday movements such as walking, squatting, or running. Various variations can be done to challenge different muscle groups or increase difficulty.
The benefits include improved coordination and range of motion, increased strength and muscle definition in the legs, glutes, and core muscles, and improved cardiovascular health. It is essential to perform this exercise focusing on form to avoid injury while still achieving maximum results.
Proper preparation before attempting any new exercises should also be taken into consideration. You will soon reap the rewards of this great exercise with the correct technique and proper practice!