How to Do Barbell Walking Lunges Properly

If you are one of those people who started bodybuilding long ago, in that period when people started becoming alive to the joys of bodybuilding, then you are probably familiar with the barbell walking lunges. It is one of the OGs of bodybuilding.

If you jumped on the bandwagon pretty recently, we will walk you through this exercise, break down its steps for you, talk about the many benefits, mistakes to avoid and other exercises which are quite similar to this.

The barbell walking lunge focuses mainly on the leg muscles. It is an exercise that compounds cardio conditioning to weightlifting  and the end result usually is some serious leg building. It is mostly anchored on the lunge movement and some people define it as a progression to the barbell lunge.

Your mode of performing this exercise either as a reps or set distance will be largely determined by your personal fitness goals and your preferred style of training.


Here is how to approach this exercise. You will require a barbell to do it.

  1. Start with your feet firmly planted on the ground, sleep the feet shoulder width apart
  2. Place the across your traps.
  3. Take one step in front  and while so doing, let both of your knees to bend at the same time.
  4. Lower yourself until the knee of the leg that remains back makes contact with the floor
  5. Drive through the front foot and extend the knee as you stand up fully and return to the starting position.
  6. Do the same for the other leg
  7. Do as many reps as you wish


In order to reap the full benefits of the barbell walking lunges, here are some tips you could use and mistakes to avoid.


Only progress to the elevated version when you are entirely sure you are comfortable and have mastred the techniques of the bodyweight variation of this movement.

This exercise depends on the small wins and linear progression. Injuries and a lot more awaits if you rush to add range of motion without first working on acquiring the right motor control needed to do this exercise.


When rising to te upright position, take care not to let your shoulders propel the movement as this may end up hyperextending your spine. This movement should be generated by your lower body.


Do not let your knees cave inwards when performing this exercise, as doing so will result in injured joints and ligaments. When you descend to the bottom on one knee, make sure both legs are at 90 degree angles at the knees.


One thing you have to remember when performing exercises that incorporate split squats or lunges is, to work the quads take just a small step and  drive up through the ball of the foot.

On the other hand, if you wish to work the glutes and hamstrings, increase your step and this time drive up through the heel of the foot.


Unilateral Movement Development

Most athletes and fitness enthusiasts wax lyrical about unilateral movements, and for a good reason. These movements are important when in correcting joint and muscular dysfunction and motions that depend on these. They also make it easier for you to carry out bilateral movements like the squats.

If you carry out a proper barbell walking lunge, paying attention to the form and progressions, you will find that you will be spending a lot of time on one leg at a time.

The stepping forward, bending of the back knee, and supporting the whole movement mostly means you have to support your body weight and that of the barbell on one leg.

This therefore makes it a good unilateral movement exercise. It will improve thee strength of each leg individually, correct imbalances and enhance increase bilateral performance.


As we have pointed out earlier, you can target different leg muscles when doing barbell walking lunges, simply by increasing or decreasing the length of your step.

Larger step will work on the glutes and hamstrings while at the same time encourage increased mobility for the regions around the hamstrings, ankles and the hips.

Bigger steps would also mean increased range of motion for the hips, knees, and ankles. This  lengthening of the range of motion earns the hips better  mobility and control at the deeper end ranges.

These movements are very important especially for pro athletes and elderly people, as they improve joint capsule and ties strength.


We spend most of our days moving around from one place to the other, from one room to the other, from this place to the next.

What this means is that we place unimaginable pressure on our legs which have to carry our weight from one place to the other.

If you work out regularly, your legs are involved in most of the routines you do. What this means is that. in order for our legs to continue functioning well, we have to increase their strength and stamina so they do not impede our movement.

Barbell walking lunges are a surefire way of increasing the strength of your legs and working your leg muscles, and improving both unilateral and bilateral movements.


Lunges, by their very nature, are very integral in improving the performance and mobility of the hips. Depending on the variation that you choose, barbell walking lunges will help you gain control of end ranges of knee and hip flexion.

This kind of control is important when performing exercises, especially those that involve lifting. If you do bodybuilding exercsices routinely, this is one exercise you want to add to your routine to improve  strength and control in deeper bilateral movements like squats.


Well-shaped glutes are good on everyone, men and women alike, and anyone who says otherwise is the biggest liar of our time. The barbell walking lunges work the glute muscles especially when you pace yourself to take bigger as opposed to smaller steps.

However, working the glutes is not just for aesthetics. Strong glutes help stabilize the knees and hips, which get engaged a lot when doing exercises that involve unilateral movements.


Exercises similar to this one include walking lunges with weights and walking lunges with dumbbells.


Barbell walking lunges are just the perfect leg builder exercise, more so when you have mastered the form. Do it regularly and you will admit that this oldie is a goldie!