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The Best Pain for Gain: Low Walking

Low walking is  the most brutally efficient way I know of quickly getting into racing shape.  It makes running seem like a vacation. But when it’s crunch time for the Northshore Marathon, it’s my go-to exercise at least once per week. My coach Dianne Holum had two rules for proper low walks: 1) Keep your body so low that you can slap the ground with flat palms, and 2) extend the back (pushing) leg fully straight with each stride before landing the front foot.

All this is easy to say but hard to do when you start getting tired. Limit your low walks initially to just 20-40 seconds, and repeat only after your heart rate has come down again into the low 100’s. When you push off the right foot, you’ll slap the ground with your right hand, and vice-versa. Look forward to keep your weight back and butt down, and push straight back so your body doesn’t bob up and down much. Staying consistently low is key.

Basically, when done correctly, you are doing dynamic alternating jump lunges. If you ask me, low walking is like putting money in the bank that pays you interest later. Beware of overdoing it at first, as you may unknowingly rip your glutes to shreds and not be able to walk or sit without significant pain for days afterwards.