When it comes to building strong, muscular legs, walking lunges should be one of your go-to exercises. They engage multiple muscle groups, including your quads, hamstrings, glutes, and calves, which makes it a powerhouse move for lower body development.
But as beneficial as they are, a few simple mistakes can prevent them from being an effective part of your workout (and can even lead to injury.)
Keep reading to avoid making three crucial missteps during your walking lunges!
1. Forgetting Proper Form
One of the most common mistakes people make (for any exercise) is not knowing the proper form. With the correct alignment, you can avoid straining your muscles and joints. To perform a perfect walking lunge:
Walking Lunge Form Tips:
- Step Length: Step forward with your leading foot, ensuring your knee forms a 90-degree angle. Your back knee should hover just above the ground.
- Maintain an Upright Torso: Keep your chest lifted and shoulders relaxed. Avoid leaning too far forward or backward.
- Straight Line from Head to Heel: Ensure your head, hips, and back heel are aligned. This promotes stability and prevents unnecessary strain.
- Engage Core Muscles: Tighten your core to stabilize your body throughout the movement.
2. Rushing Your Reps
It's easy to rush through your workout and repetitions (especially once the weight starts feeling heavy). But, rushing your reps can compromise the effectiveness of the exercise and increase your chances of getting injured. Stay focused on doing slow and controlled movements to hit your full range of motion while walking.
Tips for Controlled Lunges:
- Focus on a Controlled Descent: Don't slam your knee on the ground. Bend at your knee and slowly lower your body down with control.
- Don't Push Off. Push Through: As you return to the starting position, focus on pushing down through your front foot. Avoid relying on your hands to push off from your knee! This reduces the effectiveness and the benefits of this exercise by half!
3. Ignoring Muscle Imbalances
Ignoring muscle imbalances can cause you to overcompensate during an exercise, leading to potential injuries and long-term imbalances. It's important to train and target both legs equally during walking lunges.
How to Address Imbalances:
- Unilateral Exercises: Incorporate single-leg exercises like Bulgarian split squats or step-ups to build strength in each leg!
- Start on the Weaker Side: Pay attention during your walking lunges and notice if one side is slightly or more noticeably weaker than another. Starting the exercise on your weaker side allows you to put more energy and focus onto the weaker muscles, helping to bring them up to par with the stronger ones!
Walking lunges make a great addition to any effective leg day routine. But to reap all their benefits, you must ensure you're performing them correctly.
By avoiding these three common missteps—forgetting proper form, rushing through reps, and ignoring muscle imbalances—you'll maximize the benefits of this powerful lower-body exercise.
Remember, we always want QUALITY over QUANTITY. Prioritize perfect form and controlled movements for a leg day that delivers results!