Walking Lunges vs Lunges

Lunges (stationary) and walking lunges are two common unilateral movement to increase movement patterning, body conditioning, and more. Below we break down both movements and determine which one is best based on your goals.

Walking Lunge

The walking lunge is a type of lunging movement that entails a lifter taking steps in a cyclical motion, which is a progression upon a forward step lunge. The demands of balance, coordination, and body control can impact some athletes and lifters, in which coaches should use the notes below to best suit the needs of athletes and fitness goers of all levels.

Lunge

The lunge can be classified as an movement where a lifter drops into a single kneeling position, assumes stability at the bottom, and comes back to standing. This umbrella term includes a wide array of directions lunges (backwards, forwards, lateral, crossover, etc) as well as both stationary and walking types. For the sake of this article we will refer to “lunges” as all stationary movements. Below is a good video demonstration on how to properly lunge.

Walking Lunge and Lunge

The below sections detail four differences between walking lunges and the lunge (stationary), all of which offer coaches and athletes valuable information regarding how to program, progress, and adapt training programs for specific athletes and groups. Note, that there are a wide array of lunging variations (both stationary and walking), however this is a general overview of the differences between both categories of lunges.

Movement Application

While both lunges can have a significant role in the ability to apply gym movements into real-life and/or sporting actions, the walking lunge does help bridge the gap faster (generally). By increasing a lifter’s basic understanding of how to move fluidly, without having to think about every little joint action and step can enhance movement patterning, integrity, and movement as a whole during non-controlled situations (sports, real-life, etc). While lunges can help to increase unilateral strength, muscle, and fitness, walking lunges can also be used to increase many of the same, and then some.

Degree of Difficulty

The walking and stationary lunge is a challenging unilateral movement that targets the lower body, balance, coordination, and movement integrity. Generally speaking, lunges that area stationary require less balance, coordination, and awareness than walking variations. With that in mind, having lifters perform stationary lunges in earlier stages of training development prior to dynamic walking lunges would be a feasible progression.

Additionally, due to the less complex nature of the walking lunge, some lifters may find it easier to load heavier weights in a more fixed/stationary position so that balance and coordination are not as large of limiting factors.

Range or Motion

All lunges can have a very large potential for increased range of motion at the hip, knee, ankle, and other segments of the body. Generally speaking, a walking lunge will allow for a lifter to dictate foot placement by feel, often opting for a position that is comfortable and fluid, which can work to increase their ability to perform lunges. In the event they have issues with balance, coordination, of leg strength, coaches must adapt a program to help them build better movement (walking) or strength and neuromuscular efficiency (stationary).

Balance, Stability, and Proprioception

As discussed above, the walking lunge does increase the need for balance, stability, and body control, due to the non-uniform and unstable (more unstable) nature of the walking movement vs the stationary. While lunging (stationary) wcan increase unilateral balance, coordination, and proprioception, adding walking lunges into the mix will surely help translate those skills to other lifestyle and training movements.

More Lunges!

Here are some of the most popular Lunging workout articles!

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Mike holds a Master's in Exercise Physiology and a Bachelor's in Exercise Science. Currently, Mike has been with BarBend since 2016, where he covers Olympic weightlifting, sports performance training, and functional fitness. He's a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) and is the Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach at New York University, in which he works primarily with baseball, softball, track and field, cross country. Mike is also the Founder of J2FIT, a strength and conditioning brand in New York City that offers personal training, online programs for sports performance, and has an established USAW Olympic Weightlifting club.In his first two years writing with BarBend, Mike has published over 500+ articles related to strength and conditioning, Olympic weightlifting, strength development, and fitness. Mike’s passion for fitness, strength training, and athletics was inspired by his athletic career in both football and baseball, in which he developed a deep respect for the barbell, speed training, and the acquisition on muscle.Mike has extensive education and real-world experience in the realms of strength development, advanced sports conditioning, Olympic weightlifting, and human movement. He has a deep passion for Olympic weightlifting as well as functional fitness, old-school bodybuilding, and strength sports.Outside of the gym, Mike is an avid outdoorsman and traveller, who takes annual hunting and fishing trips to Canada and other parts of the Midwest, and has made it a personal goal of his to travel to one new country, every year (he has made it to 10 in the past 3 years). Lastly, Mike runs Rugged Self, which is dedicated to enjoying the finer things in life; like a nice glass of whiskey (and a medium to full-bodied cigar) after a hard day of squatting with great conversations with his close friends and family.