Cue ZZ Top’s “Legs.” It’s time to use them with walking lunges.
A variation of the standard lunge, a walking lunge is basically a series of lunges where you move forward instead of staying in one place. This “walk” creates a movement that strengthens the leg muscles, and also works the core, hips, and glutes.
- Focus on your form. Stand up straight with your feet shoulder-width apart. Hands can be placed on your hips or at your sides.
- Slightly lean forward, taking a step with your right leg. Put all your weight into your right heel.
- Bend your right knee at a 90-degree angle, lowering down into a lunge position, staying on your left leg’s toes.
- Without moving your right leg, repeat the same movement with your left leg and pause in that parallel lunge position.
- Alternate legs as you walk forward.
- You can do 10 to 15 reps on each leg, repeating with 2 to 3 sets.
Work the entire lower body
Walking lunges strongly focus on the legs, but it actually works several muscles. Want to tone and lift your booty? Walking lunges are the answer.
Walking lunges work lower body muscles such as:
So, it’s basically the perfect lower body exercise.
Increase range of motion
If you’re trying to enhance your flexibility, lunges are the answer. Walking lunges increase your range of motion by loosening up all of those tight muscles in the leg and booty region. The move can also improve your balance and form — two main factors in the walking lunge.
Walking lunges are a practical and functional exercise because it mimics everyday movements (think sitting down, stepping, and standing up). This lunge variation will make these types of movements easier in the long run.
Even though it’s considered a leg exercise, the walking lunge also focuses on your overall balance. The lunge movement increases your core stability. Hello, strong core!
Walking lunge with torso twist
Equipment: medicine ball or one dumbbell
How-to: Stand with your feet hip-width apart, engaging your abs. Hold your weight or medicine ball in front of your torso. Step forward with your right leg and lower into the lunge position, twisting your torso to the left. Rotate your body back to center and up. Then repeat on the opposite side, alternating legs and twists.
Be sure the movement is coming from your torso, not your arms. Alternate the walking lunge 10 to 15 times with 2 to 3 sets.
Pro tip: No weights, no problem. Use just your bodyweight!
Walking lunge with weights
Equipment: dumbbells, kettlebells, or a barbell
How-to: Keep those shoulders back and your torso upright as you hold a dumbbell in each hand (at your sides). Keep your arms relaxed during this exercise, and step forward with your right leg, putting all of your weight into the heel.
Bend the knee, lowering into the lunge position. Without moving your right foot, move your left foot forward and repeat the same movement on the left side.
Alternate the walking lunge 10 to 15 times with 2 to 3 sets.
Pro tip: If you have a barbell on hand, you can up the intensity of this move. Place the bar on the upper back and engage your core as you lunge to keep good posture.
Walking lunge with glute kickback
Equipment: none (just your bod!)
How-to: Get ready to shape that booty. Step into a regular lunge with your right leg forward. As you come back up, straighten your right leg and move your hips forward as you lift your straightened left leg back until it’s parallel to the floor.
Repeat on the other side, alternating 10 to 15 times for 2 to 3 sets.
Pro tip: Add dumbbells, kettlebells, or a barbell to this move to make it more challenging.
Overhead carry walking lunge
How-to: This walking lunge variation will have your muscles working like crazy. The arms, shoulders, upper back, and core will be on 🔥 (but in a good way). Grab a dumbbell in each hand with arms fully extended overhead (with palms facing each other).
Lunge the right foot forward to begin the walking lunge, pause, then bring your left foot forward to complete the move. Repeat on the other side, alternate the walking lunge 10 to 15 times for 2 to 3 sets.
Pro tip: Keep the weights elevated during the entire movement. You can also do this without weights (it’s still a challenge!).
Shoulder carry walking lunge
Equipment: dumbbells or kettlebell
How-to: This walking lunge is similar to an overhead carry walking lunge and is a killer arm workout. But, instead of keeping your arms raised above your head, you’ll keep them in front of your shoulders (with your palms facing each other).
Step with your right leg into a normal lunge with the dumbbells still placed on the shoulders, then bring the left foot forward into a lunge. Repeat until you’ve done 10 to 12 reps on each leg for 2 to 3 sets.
Pro tip: You can also give single shoulder carries a go by using one dumbbell at a time or a sand bag on one side.
It’s super important to have good form for walking lunges. Without balance and coordination, you risk falling and injuring yourself. Trust us, you don’t want to pull a muscle from incorrect form either.
If you’re a beginner, you might want to stick to static lunges first and make your way up to walking lunges.
Stay away from injury and perfect your lunges with these tips:
- Be sure to keep your body in an upright position during the entire movement.
- Avoid leaning forward too much, risking a fall.
- Always keep that core engaged.
- Don’t overextend your leg while extending forward.
- Step out so your body feels comfortable, and keep your hips and torso straight. You don’t want to put too much pressure on your knees.
Whether you’re a professional athlete or just a beginner, lunges are a versatile exercise anyone can do at the gym or at home. With several variations, you can create a full body workout at any time.
Walking lunges are a good option to add to the strength and toning portion of your workout. You can add walking lunges 2 or 3 times a week to your routine to get those legs moving.
Also, try to alternate your strength workout days with cardio and high intensity interval training (HIIT) workouts. Walking lunges are great to incorporate into your warmup or cooldown because they’re known to activate your hip flexors (which can help stretch things out and help you avoid injury).