Improve leg strength: 7 benefits of walking lunges

Walking lunges are a variation of stationary lunges. Instead of standing back upright after performing a static lunge on one leg, you “walk” forward by lunging out with the other leg.

woman in purple leggings doing walking lunges across the gym

Walking lunges strengthen the leg muscles as well as the core, hips and glutes. You can also make walking lunges more challenging by adding weights or doing a walking lunge with a torso twist.

Muscles worked in walking lunges

Lunges are unilateral exercises that work multiple muscle groups in the lower body. The muscles worked in walking lunges:

  • Quadriceps: Walking lunges heavily target the quadriceps, the muscles on the front of the thigh above the knee. These muscles are responsible for extending your knee as you step forward and rise back up to a standing position.
  • Hamstrings: The hamstrings are the muscles on the back of the thigh and play an essential role in stabilizing your legs during walking lunges. They lengthen as you bend your knee and then contract as you push back up from the lunge position.
  • Gluteus Maximus: Walking lunges are excellent for targeting your gluteus maximus, the largest muscle in your butt. As you push up from the lunge position, your glutes contract to extend your hip joint. This movement is important for building firm and shapely buttocks.
  • Calves: The calf muscles, including the gastrocnemius and soleus, work to stabilize your ankle joint as you step forward and lift your body during walking lunges.
  • Adductors (Inner Thigh Muscles): Walking lunges require some adductor, inner high muscle involvement. These muscles help stabilize your legs as you step forward and maintain proper alignment.
  • Core Muscles: To maintain balance and control during walking lunges, your core muscles, including the abdominals and lower back muscles, are actively engaged. They help stabilize your trunk.

How to do walking lunges

woman in purple leggings doing walking lunges across the gym
woman in purple leggings doing walking lunges across the gym
  • Stand up straight with your shoulders back. Hold one dumbbell in each hand and keep your arms at your sides, keeping your torso upright.
  • Step forward with your right leg, putting your weight into your heel.
  • As your right foot touches the floor and stabilizes, bend the right knee, lowering down parallel to the floor into a lunge position.
  • Without moving the right leg, move your left foot forward, repeating the same movement on the left leg. 
  • Repeat this movement, “walking” forward as you lunge, alternating legs.

Benefits of walking lunges

Leg strength and muscle development

Walking lunges are a great way to build strength in your quads, hamstrings and glutes. This can help you to improve your performance in other activities, such as running, jumping and climbing stairs.

Improve balance and coordination

walking lunge benefits

Walking lunges help to improve balance and coordination by challenging your body to maintain stability while moving. This can be helpful for preventing injuries and improving athletic performance.

Walking lunges help you develop coordination because they require you to keep your balance while lifting one leg out of the ground at a time and stepping forward with it.

Tone your legs

Walking lunges can help to tone and sculpt your legs, giving them a more shapely appearance. giving you a more defined lower body.

Improve posture 

Walking lunges can help to improve your posture by strengthening the muscles in your back and core. They strengthen your core muscles and lower body muscles, which help improve balance, coordination and stability.

Strengthening these muscles can lead to better posture that support you when stand up straight.

Improve core muscles

To maintain balance during walking lunges, your core muscles are actively engaged, leading to a stronger and more stable core over time.

Boosts hip flexibility 

Lunges promote hip flexibility and range of motion, which can be beneficial for women, as flexibility is often important in daily activities. Walking lunges increase flexibility by stretching out muscles contracted from sitting all day at work or school.

Fixes muscle imbalances

As a unilateral exercise, lunges work one leg at a time. During the exercise, you are working to stabilize your body throughout the movement.

Functional exercise

Walking lunges are practical because they mimic movements we do every day. This can make daily activities easier.

Common mistakes to avoid during walking lunges

Walking on a tightrope

Avoid putting your feet too close together during the exercise. Instead of stepping with one foot directly in front of the other, try lunging like you are on train tracks that are hip-width apart.

This will help you maintain your balance and keep from falling over.

Lifting your front heel through the motion

Focus on keeping your entire foot down, driving through the heel on each exercise. Lifting your front heel as you lunge can put unnecessary strain on your knee.

Knees caving in

Try to keep your ankle, knee and hip in one line, and ensure your knee is not caving in or out. 

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