Are walking dumbbell lunges great for building a man’s legs or is this exercise only good for toning a woman’s legs?

Men shouldn’t write off an exercise just because women are often seen doing it with small dumbbells or no extra weight for that matter.

As a former personal trainer and one who has worked out since age 15, I wonder if some men avoid the dumbbell walking lunge because it’s more associated with women—and many of the women who perform this movement don’t use supplemental resistance.

If you’re a man who believes there’s no benefit to a man’s body via the dumbbell walking lunge, why don’t you try this movement holding a 30 pound dumbbell in each hand.

• The knee of the forward leg should be slightly over the foot; no pronounced dorsiflexion.

• The knee of the back leg should come fairly close to the floor, but don’t contact it.

• Your back should be straight, erect, at all times; no leaning forward!

• See how many steps you can take while maintaining correct form and movement.

Depending on how advanced you are in your fitness endeavor, you may find the 30 pound dumbbell walking lunge to be moderately challenging—or impossible without breaking form (leaning forward or lunging shallow) after only a handful of steps.

Choose a dumbbell weight that will challenge you without forcing bad form.

When I see men performing the dumbbell walking lunge, it’s always of a prolonged nature, meaning, longer than a typical set would last for a deadlift, squat or leg press.

Sometimes it’s done as a superset after the back squat. I’ve also seen men doing it in isolation, neither right before nor right after some other weightlifting set.

Depending on how long you can sustain a walking lunge (good form), this exercise can be a muscle building movement or a fusion of weight training and cardio.

If it’s a fusion of resistance and aerobics, you won’t maximize the muscle building aspect of it.

In other words if you want huge quads, you won’t get them lunge-walking around for 60 seconds non-stop.

But shorter and grueling stints will contribute to the muscle building process. You should be able to go, with good form, for at least 10 seconds.

Additional Benefits of Walking Dumbbell Lunges

• Strengthens the knees

• Strengthens the core

• Works the glutes

• Provides an alternative to other quad-centric exercises that a trainee may not be fond of such as dumbbell squat jumps.

The vast majority of the women I’ve ever seen doing dumbbell walking lunges were using no weights or very light weights.

But don’t let that stop you, as a man who wants to build muscle, from doing this exercise.

Lorra Garrick is a former personal trainer certified through the American Council on Exercise. At Bally Total Fitness she trained women and men of all ages for fat loss, muscle building, fitness and improved health. 


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