Back To Basics #5: Walking Lunge

The bodyweight walking lunge is an exercise that often proves to be challenging for many people. I’ve had many clients tell me they don’t feel stable, they’re worried about it bothering their knees (even if time and time again it doesn’t) or that it is a move they just generally don’t like. However, lunges are a great exercise to help work your quad and glute muscles, increase balance and stability, and even work your abdominal muscles!

Key points: During a walking lunge, it is important that each time you step out into a lunge, you are stepping with precision, maintaining good form, keeping an upright posture, and maintaining your balance. You should begin standing with your feet directly underneath your hips, your shoulders down and relaxed, and your spine in one straight line. Step one foot straight out in front of you so that your feet end up relatively far from each other (try to step out to the equivalent of the distance between your hands if you spread your arms out to the sides, but one foot is in front of you and the other is behind you). Your feet shouldn’t be lined up with one another, however. Think of them as being on two separate railroad tracks – close together but not actually touching. Bend both knees to begin lowering yourself down into the lunge. Your upper body should not move at this point. Keep your abdominals engaged and your chest tall and allow only the lower body to move. Once the front knee is parallel with the hip crease and the back knee is hovering just a few inches above the ground, take a moment to pause and memorize this position, as this is where you want to end up at the bottom of each lunge. Then use your glutes and quad muscles to help push you back up as you bring your back foot forward to return to the starting position. In real time, you would step one foot out and descend to the bottom position in once swift movement, pause at the bottom position, and then propel yourself back up and immediately step the back foot out in front to repeat the motion on the opposite side.

Breathing: Inhale as you begin to first move the foot out in front of you, and exhale as you drop into the lunge. Then inhale to come up and exhale as you drop into the next lunge.

Muscles engaged: While this is a lower body exercise, you will need to use your abdominals to help keep your upper body upright and to help maintain your balance. You’ll feel your glutes, hamstrings, and quads all working during the lunge.

Check out this video of the walking lunge!

Since this movement can prove to be a bit challenging for many people, begin by just lunging in place to get the motion down. Once you feel more comfortable with it, then transition into the walking lunge.

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