T Nation

Anyone Ever Try High Volume Forward Walking Lunges?


#1

lol.

Every time I do these without a buildup, man I get destroyed. I find it interesting which muscles get hit more than others, and the “imbalances/symmetries” of pain I experience as DOMS sets in. Thing is though, you adapt fast. After 3-4 days of soreness, if I do another session, I imagine i’ll be mostly fine. After 3 or so sessions, I might not experience any soreness/staleness etc - instead i’ll feel the performance improvements (strength gain). I mean it’s similar with most “lifts” but since it’s just bodyweight and unilateral, you adapt fast & experience some rapid performance gains (in my experience). I first realized the “power” of high volume lunges, when it made my single leg jump more powerful, and then helped me transition into being a single leg jumper. They also helped me improve my SLRVJ without weights (barbell) years later. I’ve never maintained it consistently enough with running, because my run-volume historically has interfered. I plan on experimenting with it for much longer now though, being that my run-volume is going to be alot lower.

I doubt it matters how much lunges you actually do, it’s relative. I guess what does matter is, you just keep forward walking lunging non-stop until you feel like you’re toast.

After I finally stop lunging, and just walk it off, my muscles are actually on the verge of cramping/spasming. I have to walk really slow, otherwise my hamstrings or glutes can spaz out.

A few days ago I wanted to make myself so sore that I wouldn’t be able to run for a few days, and wouldn’t run hard for like about a week. So, I purposefully just lunged myself into a muscle coma. I did almost 12 minutes of them, so a few hundred or so: it’s hard to keep count.

Here’s how my legs feel 2 days later:

  • glutes extremely sore (right more-so), extremely tender to just a light touch (lol)
  • quads extremely sore (right more-so, ie VL/VMO = toast)
  • adductors moderately sore (right more-so)
  • hamstrings slightly sore
  • pain is more severe during “eccentric” contractions
  • right side more painful than left
  • legs still feel Platz pumped

Definitely an imbalance of DOMS/pain favoring my right side.

Sitting down onto a toilet or putting on shorts, very difficult. Getting up from toilet, not as difficult. “Eccentric pain” is much more significant.

Finally, the days after such a session, legs feel thicker, lasts a while. Continuing to lunge (even after being adapted) maintains that feeling.

As far as performance/hypertrophy goes: I feel like I could add significant strength, power, lactic threshold improvements, and leg mass with this exercise alone. Improving the duration/total reps, and/or speed I perform the reps, seems like some good variables to progress. I’ve been wondering for a long time, what kind of fitness/strength I would have if I could lunge for 30-60 minutes (occasionally, ie a “long run” style “long lunge” every 2 weeks, with maintenance work throughout the week). I might try to achieve that, not sure yet.

If you’ve done it, or do it, wondering what your feedback is?

peace!


#2

I spent a couple months doing 10 minutes of lunges at the end of my leg workouts. It would put me somewhere in the 250ish range. I think high volume lunges are effective as a finisher, not as a focal point of the workout.


#3

I’ve had periods of time where I’ve done lots of lunges.

Did them around a track a couple years ago. Like 2-3 times, once a week. No idea how many reps it ended up being, but it sure got hard. My quads definitely got bigger, but I was also back/front squatting, deadlifting, doing Oly-lifts, and participating in track.

So I can’t say if the lunges were the cause for it.

I agree with @flappinit . I think they can be great towards the end of the workout but I wouldn’t ever use them to replace squats or something unless I was hurt. I don’t think I can say they’ve contributed much to any strength gains, but maybe if I used weight and did lower reps they would.

My buddy’s done this one a few times:

Has back problems and hasn’t really worked on fixing them, so he’s limited with what he can do for his legs. Say he likes it. You’re not asking for a solution for injury or anything, but maybe you’d like to give it a shot. Depending on where you start, you’re potentially doing 500 lunges 1-2 times a week within 4 months.


#4

ah nice. why’d you stop doing them? just got tired of doing them, didn’t seem worth it, or what? i imagine it’s hard to maintain, 10 minutes is fairly grueling.

pc!


#5

nice! lunging around a track is alot of lunges. probably around 12 minutes or so worth I imagine.

hah nice.

didn’t know there were high rep walking lunge fan clubs, but i’ve been away from stuff for a while. love it.

I love high rep breathing squats, and high volume lunges. That’s a nice article. Those knee extensions would wreck me, just sitting in that position flairs up my calves/back of knee. Also, poor man’s glute ham raises (on a sorinex pmghr bench), wreck my hamstring tendons/back of knee etc. I’ve had my best luck with forward walking lunges AND glute bridges. I just don’t like performing double or single leg glute bridges, or being supine like that. Plus I feel like walking lunges are far more effective than glute bridges, and more specific to running/sprinting, so I just stick to those.

I don’t lift at all right now & haven’t for years, so lunges will be my primary lower body strength exercise for a while. I’ve had no lowerbody strength exercise other than running/sprinting itself, so I imagine lunges will work some magic for quite a while, it’s a pretty intense addition.

For running/sprinting, I really like the “specificity” of high volume forward walking lunges. For example, my heart rate is usually in the 140’s when i’m performing them, so that’s a significant cardiovascular metric, for how long you perform the exercise.

Performing it for much longer than I ever have, is what really interests me. I’m kind of excited to see what would happen if I:

  1. maintain efficiency in the movement throughout the week, using less damaging volume (ie 5-10 minutes)
  2. perform a moderately long session once a week (~20 minutes)
  3. perform a “very long run” style lunge session, anywhere from 30-60 minutes, every 3 weeks.

Kind of excited about that. I feel like it could be very effective at taking my running/sprinting up a notch.

peace!


#6

Just switched it up. I still do it from time to time. It’s grueling for sure but with a relatively light bodyweight exercise like that you build up a tolerance to it real quick.


#7

ah cool.

Yea for sure.

As for increasing intensity though, can always add pauses, increase rep speed, increase duration/volume etc. So from a “theoretical” point of view, avoiding the idea of adding external resistance, there seems to be enough factors to progress for quite a while.

As for the pause, I can’t imagine doing say, 10 minutes of 10-sec-paused walking lunges for example. That sounds insane to me. I can feel my legs turning to shaky-jello just thinking about it. I’ve thought about trying to progress with pauses before, but never really tried it, because it’s far more brutal. I think one would need a much longer buildup before adding pauses, that makes it much more intense to me (on the “back knee” especially). So really need to be extremely adapted before adding pauses into the progression, i’d predict.

The other two components i’ve played with: adding duration/volume and increasing rep speed. Regarding increasing rep speed: when I was getting back into jumping a few years ago (without weights, after a ~5 year layoff), performing the same amount of lunges more explosively, my L-SLRVJ (left leg, single leg running vertical jump) really improved alot once I could performing high volume lunges with more power coming out of the “bottom” of the lunge. I’d land and explode out, really driving all the way through. Legs felt crazy strong. My L-SLRVJ got back up to around ~33" which was really good for me without weights. Could definitely feel some major strength gains from lunges in general, especially the explosive progression.

peace!


#8

theoretical:

10 minutes of: non-stop forward walking lunges, 0s pause, total=300 (150/leg), 2s per rep, DEEP-TUT: (0.5s*300) = 150s / 2m30s

10 minutes of: non-stop forward walking lunges, 5s pause, total=85 (42/leg), 7s per rep, DEEP-TUT: (5s*85) = 425s / 7m4s

10 minutes of: non-stop forward walking lunges, 10s pause, total=50 (25/leg), 12s per rep, DEEP-TUT: (10s*50) = 500s / 8m20s

10 minutes of: non-stop forward walking lunges, 30s pause, total=19 (9/leg), 32s per rep, DEEP-TUT: (30s*19) = 570s / 9m30s

my math could be off (and obviously doesn’t take into account fluctuations/fatigue), but man that sounds psychotic at even 5s pause per leg. lol @ 30s pause. eek.

don’t even know 30s pause is “possible”, sounds savage. lmfao.

I guess the idea though is, a pause (with an explosive concentric) can probably add some serious intensity to the exercise, even with “micro increments”. I mean a “0s” pause (theoretical 0.5s TUT) vs “5s” pause (theoretical 5s TUT) is a massive increase. So, simply going from 0s to 1s would be a huge jump as well. Going from 0s, 1s, 2s, 3s, 4s, 5s over several months could potentially be a strong progression.

Imagine adapting to 10 minutes of 5s paused forward walking lunges… sounds insane.

This is getting into Jay Schroeder/Innosport magic 5-minute LD-ISO territory, but without such a long pause, and without the magic.

peace!!


#9

This could probably be fixed with some mixure of strengthening and/or stretching the right muscles. Have you ever suffered any knee injuries?

Not sure what you meant here. A “poor man’s GHR” is done most often on the floor, with something or someone holding down the ankles. A Sorinex GHR Bench (couldn’t find a PMGHR bench) is a real one, maybe not the best kind, but a real one.

If you’re doing them with your knees on the floor, these aren’t real GHR’s, and that’s probably why they bother you. I’ve been doing them on a proper bench 3-4 times a week for 3-4 sets of 5-8 reps for the past 8 weeks, and that has made my knees feel AWESOME after a summer and fall of lots of biking and sport playing (basketball and soccer), and not much lifting. And I’ve been front squatting a lot too, and continuing to bike fairly often, which both involve the knees, and I’ve had zero knee discomfort, let alone pain.

If you are in fact doing them on a proper bench, and they still hurt, I’d honestly say that is more on your end rather than the movement’s. Stronger hamstrings are supposed to make your knees feel better. GHR’s produce stronger hamstrings. Theoretically, GHR’s should = healthy knees.

I’ve noticed on the one I have in my garage (it’s from Rogue Fitness), there are about 10 or so notches to adjust the foot plate in terms of distance from the pads. There are also 3 notches that raise or lower the foot plate. I’ve never experimented with that one. As far as how far away it is, when I have it at the 5th notch, it hurts my knees. I feel a lot of discomfort in my knees and what I assume is the tendons/ligaments back there. When I move it only an inch back to the 6th notch, it feels great, there’s no pain, and I feel it entirely in my hamstring, right in the MUSCLE. And a bit in the calf.

So who knows? Maybe some messing around with the positioning will help you. I’ve had a few people do GHR’s with success. Those with pretty bad knees do banded leg curls, sliding leg curls, glute bridges, and back extensions before trying them, and those who are fairly healthy jump straight into them. They’ve all been happy with them.

More specific? Yeah, maybe, although while the movement is similar - taking steps in a forward direction, it’s much slower paced and moved through a much longer ROM. Maybe. I don’t know.

Glute bridges, and their more advanced relative, hip thrusts, will (in my opinion) do a better job specifically building up the glutes, and I’ve been a XC and track athlete before, and found NOTHING helped my running more than increased glute strength. Same goes for my former teammates. No matter how sore you get in the butt, I find that lunges are best for the quads, and lead to much less noticeable strength gains in the glutes, and even less so in the hamstrings.

If you really want to just get better at running, I’d focus less on doing lunges more and more often, and just getting stronger. I think after so many minutes of lunges, it becomes less about strength, and more endurance, and strength will make your endurance and speed go up, provided you go about it the right way.

The posterior chain should be worked often with GHR’s, back extensions, hip thrusts, pull throughs, RDL’s, good mornings, and reverse hypers. Squats and deadlifts build up the whole body, and front squats and lunges/split squats are good for quad-focused work. Honestly, I think neglecting the hams and glutes + doing so many lunges will probably piss off your knees and leave your lower back open to injury.

Giving the back of your body extra attention compared to the front is the key to success, in any sport, be it a strength sport or a running sport. For hypertrophy of the quads, sure do lunges, but don’t forget the other stuff or neglect them. And really, how much of an entire program can be based off of one bodyweight movement? Mentally, it’s gonna get boring.


#10

Nope, no injuries. Just never been good in that position.

Terminology confusion I guess. I say PMGHR Bench referring to the actual Sorinex GHR Floor Bench, but not “GHR bench” in the most referred to sense -> the one that’s elevated off the floor where you “roll” on the pads. I have a Sorinex GHR Floor Bench.

People have different leverages. Your leverages might be very different than mine. A good example is the deadlift, where everyone deadlifts the same distance from the floor, but due to leverages, there’s a variety of forms used in order to “compensate” and achieve the best lift in the most optimal position. There’s not much you can do with a GHR Floor Bench. My hamstrings are definitely weak, but the movement itself, even when trying to progress from partial ROM and just negatives, always ends up causing my hamstring insertions to become too achy & has also resulted in tendinitis. So, I avoid that movement. I tried very hard to get better at that movement, slowly over time, but it’s always been a train wreck. Even microscopic partial ROM eccentrics or simply holding myself at nearly the top of the ROM, give me problems. So from the onset, it’s something that’s always caused issues. Tried very hard to progress slowly, several times.

Theoretically yes, practically i’d say it’s not so easy. A GHR floor bench is more of a one size fits all kind of movement, it doesn’t have too much variation. It’s also a very advanced movement. Anyone can perform eccentrics, to whatever ROM they achieve before they are too weak to maintain tension. It’s pretty rare to see people performing a full rep. I’d imagine that has to do with the difficulty of the movement & the strength required. People with longer levers probably have a much harder time with it, ie high jumpers and such.

Sure. Most lifting is slower paced & a much larger ROM though as well. The specificity I was referring to was mostly regarding an upright unilateral exercise. Glute bridges and hip thrusts are bilateral and supine+stationary. Specificity isn’t everything, but i’d imagine forward walking lunges have more “dynamic correspondence” to running/sprinting than supine hip extension.

Building up the glutes, perhaps. But a lunge also builds up the quads.

If we’re talking barbell walking lunges vs barbell hip thrusts, i’d definitely favor barbell walking lunges.

Not sure what it’s worth, but I saw some studies recently that down played the effect of barbell hip trusts, and I think one of the biggest proponents of hip thrusts (Bret Contreras) has backed off a bit, but still believes in them (anecdotally?). Regardless, if it works for someone, that’s great. I’ve personally never liked them, or the idea of them.

nice!

Good to know.

I’m not sure here. They definitely hit the quads hard, but not sure how they wouldn’t hit the glutes very hard - leading to considerably strength gains. The bottom of a lunge is pretty much all glute. How you rise from a lunge definitely matters (it should be hip dominant), that’s why I don’t like lunges in place, too easy to extend back. I do like reverse lunges & BSS somewhat, but prefer forward walking. I can definitely see how they would hit hamstring less than say, RDL or GHR bench. But as far as glutes & quads go, they always hammer me there.

Sure, I see your perspective there. It’s probably the most rational view. I’m not talking about heavy lunges, which is what you are addressing. I imagine if I was referring to heavy lunges, you would be more fine with that (as those rep ranges would be more favorable to strength).

However, you did mention “endurance”, which is one reason I like high volume walking lunges. Will high volume walking lunges improve max/explosive strength as much as weighted lunges & weighted thrusts/squats etc? I definitely doubt it. Will high volume walking lunges improve the overall work capacity & “lactate buffering ability” of muscles involved in running, more so than traditional strength protocols, i’d personally imagine so. In addition to that, will high volume walking lunges still yield strength & hypertrophy increases, i’d also predict so. Not as much as traditional strength exercises, but probably significant enough to improve running economy AND simultaneously improve other important components such as lactate threshold and cardiovascular properties, due to the duration & duration of elevated heart rate etc. Just theorizing, no idea though.

The endurance component adds to the specificity, which intrigues me.

It’s definitely possible. However, if one progresses safely & slowly, one should be able to mitigate against that. Those slow adaptations would probably help prevent against any knee/back issues. I mean it’s just like increasing running volume too quickly. If one goes from 30 miles a week to 100, there’s a good chance they will destroy themselves. However, over time, one can run 100 miles a week or considerably more, if they progress slowly. I feel it’s the same case for lunges.

If one can adapt to 50 bodyweight lunges & feel healthy, they should also be able to adapt to 500, or 1000, or even potentially 10000. I mean at some point the risks outweigh the awards, but a slow progression should develop the tissues to handle that volume in those positions.

Yup. I definitely want to address the posterior musculature. I feel it like crazy when I lunge. If I didn’t, i’d be less excited about lunging, that’s for sure.

Well, running is “boring” in the traditional sense. Running “fast” for a long time, is a mental grind. I don’t actually think i’d get bored with long duration lunges consistently. I never got bored squatting (for jumping), just did it several times per day, pretty much every day, for a long time. Obviously you can add weight to the bar, but that’s potentially just like modifying the lunge itself: adding pause variations, changing the explosiveness of the landing or concentric, mixing up the duration etc. I mean i’m fairly good with monotonous things. Overcoming the monotony of something like high volume lunging sounds like something Emil Zatopek would do to get faster, lol.

Thanks for the advice/info.

peace man!


#11

Longest post in t nation history?


#12

Doubt it.

Though, almost as long as a high volume walking lunge session.

I can’t wait to build up to ~30 minutes of lunges. Very curious to see what happens to my organism.


#13

You guys who are super nerdy about running and training should try Sled Drags for awhile. I’d love to see what you think, what you come up with, and how it worked.

Pulling the sled definetly loads up the glutes, hams and quads without having to go to the deep stretched positions of a lunge.

Some people are into power walking, and sled power walking is cool. Louie says it’s great for middle distance running. He’s got a whole podcast about how “walking harder” teaches you to “run harder” so you can produce more force and shorten ground contact every step. In a race where you take 5,000 steps, every little milisecond adds up. I’m not much into running, but I thought the whole thing was pretty cool.


#14

lol.

I used to have an EliteFTS sled, it disappeared though. Not sure where it went. It was fun to use. I never personally experienced a huge transfer from it, but it was very powerful when it comes to recovery. Definitely helps getting the blood flowing without the extra eccentric stress. I imagine it could help with sprint power for sure, that lean you get from it and the angles you are using to pull it, very specific to the drive/acceleration phase of a sprint. Overall probably a good addition in the toolbox. Only thing I hate about it is the “jerky” feeling of it sometimes, and turning it around etc. It’d be awesome to have a few miles of straightaway where you could just pull non-stop.

Yup for sure.

Yup, 100% agreement with that. Walking/power walking/resisted walking is definitely underrated. I actually get more beat up from intense walking, than I do from any form of running.

Louie/WSB has lots of great ideas.

In terms of “ease of use”, lunges are definitely easier to implement/execute. If I had a place where I could just bring a sled out real ease and drag it for a long time, i’d def be more open to experimenting with it.

peace!


#15

I’ve done 135 for sets of 100 or so per leg, 95 for sets of 300+, and once did bodyweight for a mile. I like them. Calves get surprisingly sore with the weighted ones. Glutes usually get pretty sore, in combination with VMO being sore enough that any sort of pressure causes me to jump.


#16

Damn that’s beast af. High Rep Nation right there.

You must have some solid leg strength, 135 for 100e is crazy sh*t. Sick.

Ah interesting. I’ve had calves get sore a from time just from the bodyweight variation, they get a good stretch in the back leg position. That added resistance probably smokes em`.

Similar experience hah. Glutes/VMO = TOAST. Right now I can barely put any pressure, still so sore. 3 day soreness right now. I’ve had 7 days before etc. I imagine this bout, i’ll probably be good after 5 days though. Going to repeat the volume again, once i’m “recovered”. Then curious to see how long the soreness lasts. Will probably be 50% of what it was this time.

pc!


#17

More so just patience, I’m unable to do them without stopping. Every 10 or so I’ll usually need to take a couple deep breaths before continuing. Also, using a SSB bar helps quite a bit, with a normal barbell my arms would go numb pretty quickly.


#18

@adarqui

GHR Floor Benches aren’t nearly as good as a real one. If you don’t have access to one, I understand, but they are two completely different movements and should be treated as such. If possible, try out a real GHR and see if you notice a difference. I’ve honestly never met anyone who did floor GHR’s and didn’t just feel a bunch of discomfort in their knees, while those who have had severe knee pain felt much better after real GHR’s.

Yes, leverages vary. Quite a bit. I’m 5’10", and do GHR’s. My mom is 5’ and very stocky and does GHR’s. My cousin is 6’6" and very skinny and does GHR’s. My friend’s little brother is 5’2" and quite fat and does them. My girlfriend’s little brother is 4’8" and quite muscular and does them. I think it’s a movement that may be harder for those who are taller (like a lot of movements) but definitely not impossible for almost anyone.

One can bench press quite often, slowly progressing to heavier weights and more reps, using high volume, frequency, and/or intensity, but if no upper back work is done I would not be surprised to find your shoulders eventually started bothering you, no?

Just a thought.

@FlatsFarmer

Definitely have not given these a serious attempt yet. I never do lunges anymore, but sometimes do sled drags as more of a warmup. Haven’t really put much thought into them yet, or any real effort.

Do you do them? Or are you just mentioning them?

@adarqui once more

Wut…:joy:

@brady888

Holy shit man. Found your log recently and am slowly making my way through it. Your training is definitely impressive. Respect.


#19

Thanks for the good answer. Going around corners and turning the sled around are kind of a hassle.


#20

I’ve pulled the sled around a bunch, but inconsistently. Mostly as a fun switch up from lifting weights, for 2-3 weeks, here and there. I’ve never really got super serious and really Trained with it for awhile.