Exercise of the Week: One Arm Overhead Walking Lunge

The one arm overhead walking lunge is a very challenging exercise that will give you a lot of bang for your buck.  It is an advanced exercise that requires a certain amount of mobility, stability, and strength to perform correctly and safely.  Adding this into your workouts will definitely add a very challenging element and take a common exercise such as the lunge to another level.


There are numerous muscles at work in this exercise which will help build strength, power, stability, and burn fat.  The more muscles an exercise uses the better a fat burner it is.

You will be working all the muscles of the lower body, the core, shoulders, arms, and upper back.  All the muscles are working together to move and stabilize the weight as the overhead position of the dumbbell will want to sway and challenge the stability more.

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How to Do It

Start in a standing position with arms straight to the ceiling.  Step forward, lunging down.  Make sure the front shin stays vertical and weight and tension goes into the glutes, hams, and quads of the front leg.  Keep the core tight to prevent any extension through the lower back.  Push the weight to the sky to ensure vertical extension of the arms.


If you are unable to 1.  bring your arms up vertically to the ceiling, then you have some shoulder mobility work to do (a whole other blog post).  Or you may lack stability in the shoulders to maintain the weight and proper shoulder position.  For the time being you can just rest one head of the dumbbells on your shoulders to get some benefit of top loaded lunge.  2.  If just a bodyweight lunge is challenging enough for you then work on that until 10-12 reps with good form can be accomplished.  3.  if you are unable to prevent the front knee from protruding forward (over the toes) during the walk, then   remaining stationary or performing reverse lunges will keep the hips moving back and getting your weight into the heel of the front foot while keeping the shin vertical.  4.  If you are unable to prevent any lateral flexion to compensate for the overhead weight on one side of the body, then some more lateral core stability is needed.  You can strengthen that with side abdominal planks.


Your limiting factor in this exercise can be how much weight you can hold over your head.  That alone can limit your ability to perform the exercise or how many reps you can do.  To continue to build strength and power in your legs and stability in your core and shoulders without using more weight, just increase certain variables such as time under tension.  This could mean holding a lunge in the bottom position for three seconds before standing back up.  You could throw some pulsing reps in, such as taking a step, do five pulse up and down in the lunge movement before taking another step.

You can use your imagination and get pretty creative.


About The Author

Kevin Fulton

Kevin Fulton is personal trainer in Pittsburgh, PA. His goal is to help his clients look, feel, and move better. In his spare time you can find him under a barbell or practicing jiu jitsu.

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