Anatomy of

Anatomy of: Walking Lunges

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“What is the best exercise for the lower body?”

While I have a few favorites, I’d say my top pick would have to be walking lunges. I say this for a couple of reasons. They’re effective, modifiable and can be performed almost anywhere. They’ll give you the biggest bang for your buck!

Why should I include walking lunges in my exercise routine?

Walking lunges use almost every muscle in your lower body. This includes the quads, hamstrings, calves and glutes.

This exercise is a lot easier on your back, than say, squats. They don’t put as much of a load on your spine.

They are modifiable, meaning you can make them easier or more difficult depending on your skill level. If you’re just starting out, use your body weight. If you’re more advanced, you can hold dumbbells at your side or a barbell on your shoulders.

I’ve always been a fan of single leg exercises. I say this because it allows you to focus on one leg at a time, isolating the muscles in each leg. When performing walking lunges, you’re constantly alternating from one leg to the next. Aside from making your lower body stronger, walking lunges will also improve your balance and stability.  

How do I do it?

Walking lunges require you to take a large (glute dominant) or small (quad dominant) step forward taking your knee as close to the ground as you can. There are four things that you’ll want to pay attention to in making sure that your form is correct. It may help to have someone assess you from the side. Improper form can lead to knee, back and/or hip injuries.

  1. Make sure that the thigh of your forward leg is parallel to the ground.
  2. You also want to be sure that the knee of this leg is not going past your toes.
  3. Try to keep your torso upright with just a slight forward lean. Staying to straight up or too far forward will put extra strain on your back.
  4. As you push your weight up back into the standing position, you want to focus driving through your heel. This will keep tension off of your knee and focus the work in your glutes. Pushing through your heels will make a huge difference, even in other situations. Next time you’re climbing stairs, focus on driving through your heel instead of your toe. You’ll feel the difference!

Incorporating them into your leg day routine

I don’t think I had one client that I didn’t make perform walking lunges at some point. I even made myself do them at least once a week, but I enjoyed them more than most. Here’s an example of a leg day with walking lunges:

  • 5 sets of 20 alternating lunges with the 65# EZ bar on my shoulders (60 second break in between sets)
  • 5 sets of 10 (per leg) single-leg dead lifts with the 50# kettle bell (We’ll go over these in the next “Anatomy of…”)
  • 3 sets of 15 with 185# on the leg press; superset with 3 sets of 15 calf raises on the leg press also at 185#
  • 3 sets of 15 weighted glute bridges (hip thrusts) with the 65# EZ bar

Try it out!

Next time leg day rolls around, be sure to incorporate walking lunges into your routine! If they begin to feel easy, remember that you can add weight. One thing I’d like to remind you of is to do them slowly. It’s not a race. Focus on the movement. After you try them, let me know what you thought! Your legs AND booty will thank you!

Oh, and, don’t forget to stretch!

Until next time…


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I'm an NASM Certified Personal Trainer and Corrective Exercise Specialist. I worked in a gym setting back in Florida for over 2 years, training one-on-one clients and leading group fitness classes. I absolutely loved it, but once we moved across the country to Colorado, I decided to take the opportunity to pursue a slightly different career! My obsession with exercise and love for writing collided, which is how I became a fitness lifestyle writer.

1 Comment

  1. Dad

    November 15, 2017 at 7:13 pm

    Very good advise…Except the title should be Puking Lunges 🙂

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