How to Do Walking Lunges: Techniques, Benefits, Variations

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Target: Quadriceps, glutes, hamstrings, calves, core

Level: Intermediate

Swing walking works as a great exercise to target all the major muscle groups of your lower body, while improving your balance and core strength. This move is familiar to most people – it involves taking a wide step forward, bending both knees, and lowering your back knees to the floor while keeping your torso upright and tall.

Unlike the foot swing in place, the walking leg swing presents an even greater challenge – you have to keep your balance while stepping forward between each swing, shifting weight and body position. while temporarily standing on one leg. Considering how important balance and stability are to functional fitness, this added challenge is beneficial for the prevention of falls and fall-related injuries.

In general, swing walking is a lower-body endurance exercise and should, therefore, be included in a strength-training routine. Because they engage many muscle groups and joints when doing leg swings for a high number of times or times, they can also cause your heart rate to spike. This makes them a great choice to incorporate into circuit training or high-intensity interval training routines designed to do double duty for strength and cardiovascular benefits.

How to do the lunge walking exercise

As a bodyweight exercise, you need very little to get started with swing walking. The more rooms you have, the more room you can take without turning around. Most importantly, you need to have a large open space to at least have successive wide strides. Parks, gyms, and open lobbies are great options, but even an available living room should suffice.

  1. Stand with your feet hip-width apart.
  2. Check your posture before you begin – your torso should be straight and tall, centered on your body, shoulders back, and your chin raised.
  3. Look straight ahead.
  4. Take a wide step forward with your right foot — place your foot about two feet forward, allowing your left heel to lift naturally as you step forward. You may want to rest your hands on your hips or swing your arms naturally — elbows bent at 90 degrees — as you take each step.
  5. Keep your core engaged and upright.
  6. Bend both knees and lower your back knees toward the floor. Stop right before it hits down. Inhale during the lowering (or eccentric) phase of the exercise.
  7. Press firmly through your right heel and extend your right knee to stand up as you lift your left foot off the ground, swinging your left foot forward to bring your right foot forward about two feet. Avoid leaning your torso forward away from your hips when doing this step. Exhale as you stand up (concentric phase of the exercise).
  8. Continue stepping forward with each lunge, alternating sides as you do. If you find yourself losing your balance while walking, stop at the beginning of each plunge when your feet are side by side. Collect your balance, then continue.
  9. Finish your set by bringing your back foot to your front foot on the final move.
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Swing walks challenge your entire lower body and core, making them a great movement to incorporate into any exercise, from warm-ups to strength-training routines. Specifically, you can expect a “burning” sensation in your quads, hamstrings, glutes, and calves while also feeling a connection through your abdomen and lower back.

Any combination exercise that works multiple muscle groups simultaneously is considered functional exercise that mimics the movements of everyday life, making you stronger and better at the basic types of movement that life involves. live demanding.

For example, every time you’re on the floor, you have to get up with some squat or lunge. Likewise, because walking around helps you develop better balance, you’ll be better prepared with the strength and body awareness needed to reduce the chance of a fall or injury when you take the “walk”. rebound” (usually a wide or long step) to catch yourself.

Finally, since swing walks require very little equipment or space, you can incorporate them into any exercise in any position. You can add a few sets while at the park, or you can make them in your living room or hallway. They can even be done in a hotel room or on the beach while traveling. They’re a great way to develop lower body strength — no gym required.

Other Variations

There are nearly endless opportunities for modification and variation when doing walking leg swings. Start with these options.

Lungs walking pause step

If you want to try wild walking, but your balance is a little difficult, pause with your feet together between each forward stride.

  1. After performing a lunge forward with your right foot, as you stand up, bring your left foot forward and place your right foot on the ground hip-width apart.
  2. Take a pause here to make sure you’re getting a good balance.
  3. Continue by stepping your left foot forward to perform a swing on the opposite side.

Dumbbell Walking Lunges

The easiest way to make swing walking more difficult is to add weights to the exercise.

  1. Grab a set of dumbbells or a couple of dumbbells and hold one in each hand as you perform the movement.
  2. Take your time and move correctly to make sure you’re staying in perfect shape while taking on this extra challenge.

If you feel like you need an even bigger challenge, hold a dumbbell in each hand, arms extended overhead for the entire set. This overhead walking lunge variation requires more core engagement while burning your shoulders and arms.

Common mistake

Compound exercises that use multiple muscle groups often come with common pitfalls and mistakes – mainly because there are so many joints involved. It’s easy to overlook the form or not notice where you’re doing it wrong.

The lungs are one of the biggest culprits, and form tends to be most affected when you’re tired. Take your time and pay attention. If possible, do the exercise in front of a mirror until you are comfortable with it so you can spot mistakes as they happen. Here are some mistakes to watch out for.

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Putting your feet too close together when walking

Pay attention to where your feet are as you take each step forward. You want your feet to be hip-width apart (or slightly wider) to provide a good supportive base for balance and stability.

If your feet are too close together, where the heel of your front foot aligns with the toes of the back foot, you are more likely to lose balance. As you step forward, your stride width should feel natural — as if you were simply taking longer strides with your normal gait.

If you take the forward steps as if you were walking on a rope, with one foot in front of the other, you will make the exercise more difficult to perform and you are changing your gait. in the right way it is difficult to maintain the proper alignment.

Taking steps that are too long

Another common mistake is overstating. Yes, while doing the shrug, your steps should be longer than usual, but they shouldn’t be so long that you create an uncomfortable feeling of tension through your groin as you lower your back knee to the floor.

Take long strides instead, but place your front foot only about two or two and a half meters from your back foot. As you perform the lunge, both knees should be able to form a roughly 90-degree angle at the bottom of the move.

Lean forward from the hips

During the swinging walk, you are constantly moving forward and there is a tendency for your torso to start leaning forward to “help” you shift as you plunge. This usually happens when you’re trying to get up to speed in a set and you’re using your forward leaner momentum to help you steer with each beat. It also often happens if you overdo it — taking longer steps than necessary for each run.

The problem is that you detract from your workout and could end up injuring your back if you’re not careful. Slow down and pay attention to your chest as you walk—don’t start leaning toward the ground.

Keep your abs and major muscles active and try to keep your torso perpendicular to the floor throughout each rep. Looking ahead, with your eyes on the wall in front of you, can also help.

Raise the front heel while shaking

Another common mistake (pun intended) when you’re moving too fast when walking around is your tendency to lift your front heel off the floor as you bend your knee and lower yourself toward the floor. The problem is that this causes the alignment of your front leg to be off, putting more strain on your knee.

You want to keep your front heel in place for the entire move – your shins almost perpendicular to the floor, knees in line with your heels – allowing your front heel to lift only after you’ve stepped. Back foot forward to the next repetition.

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Slow down and check your form on the bottom and top of each move – ask yourself if your heels are still in contact with the floor – and check to make sure your front knee does not extend past the toes. Paying attention and taking your time is the best way to identify and resolve this issue.

Improper front knee alignment

A final mistake common to all lunge forms is the alignment of the knees before you perform the lunge. The knee should be in line with the toes throughout the exercise. Some people have a tendency for the knee to “cave” inward toward the midline of the body — called the knee valve — which increases the likelihood of knee pain or injury.

Slow and steady wins this race. Take the time as you lower your back knee to the ground and watch the knee before you lower and stand. If you notice your knees shifting inward, try working the muscles in your hips and buttocks to pull your knees in line with your toes.

Safety and Precautions

As a bodyweight exercise, lunge walking should be reasonably safe for most people as long as you pay attention to your form. Remember to keep your abs and lower back tight – this will help with balance and reduce the chance of tipping over.

It is relatively common for people with knee pain to struggle with their lungs. Consider trying the exercise with a smaller range of motion — only a few inches lower with each breath — if deeper lungs are causing pain.

You can also try upgrading as a modification. Step-ups tend to be easier with the knees while targeting the same muscle groups due to the variation in the angle of the movement. For example, you would step up and raise your body to touch your foot first, instead of stepping forward and lowering your body into a lunge position.

Lunges are a great lower body exercise that will cause a natural “burning” sensation in your active muscles when your muscles are tired. This is normal. What’s not normal is any sharpness or pain when shooting. If you feel sudden pain that is not related to the muscles that are working normally, stop the exercise.


Incorporate this and similar moves into one of these popular exercises:

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