Overview: The walking lunge is a very effective bodyweight exercise used in CrossFit to strengthen and tone your lower body. This is an exercise that can be performed as part of your warm-up process before moving onto more advanced movements, or you can make it part of your leg training routine. A walking lunge, as the name suggests, is a basic lunge while walking a certain distance. This movement can be performed with only your bodyweight or it can be executed with added resistance by holding dumbbells or ketllebells.
Muscles Targeted: Walking lunges target the gluteus maximus (muscles of the butt), quadriceps (front of thighs) and hamstrings (back of thighs). If you want to tone and tighten your thighs and butt but don’t have access to any free weights, machines or equipment, then walking lunges are perfect since you can do them virtually anywhere.
Exercise Instructions: As with any other exercises, maintaining correct posture throughout the exercise is extremely important to avoid injuries and also to get the best results from the movement. Here are a few tips to follow:
- To begin, start by standing upright with your feet together.
- Placing both hands on your hips which will help to keep you balanced as you walk forward.
- Step forward with one leg while lowering your hips to the ground. Your front leg will reach a 90 degree angle. Your front thigh should be parallel with the floor at the bottom position.
- With both knees bent, the front knee should be directly above the front foot (not over the toe) and the back knee should be pointing downwards but not touching the ground.
- Push off with your front foot while bringing your back foot forward. Repeat the lunge with the other leg.
Things to Avoid: As mentioned earlier, executing this exercise with proper technique is crucial to avoid injury and to maximize the effectiveness of the exercise. Here are a few things you should avoid while doing walking lunges:
- Avoid leaning too far forward. Your head should be straight and facing forward and your upper body should remain upright with each step you take during the lunge. it is very important that you try to adhere to this technique in order to maintain proper balance and to avoid back and knee issues.
- Avoid taking very short or long steps. Taking short or long steps while doing walking lunges can result in putting too much pressure and strain on your tendons and knee joints. First thing you should do to avoid unnecessary stress on the knee is to stand straight up after each repetition and then step with the front leg keeping at least a 2 feet of distance from the back leg while bending the knees and lowering the hips. To get a better judgment if you are doing it correctly, check to see if your back leg is at a 90 degree angle from the ground without touching the floor.
- Avoid having your front knee move over your toes at the bottom position. One reason this might happen is if you are taking very large steps forward while doing the lunge. This causes muscles strains and can even cause tears which can result in severe pain.
Reps and Sets: Walking lunges are usually completed for a certain distance versus a number of repetitions. Start off with a distance of only 10 feet in order to get the proper technique down before moving to longer distances. Once you have the correct form down, you can do walking lunges up to 100 feet or even longer.