Is TikTok's Viral Death March Exercise More Effective Than Lunges?

Many people dread leg day, because it can be brutal. You're working some rather large muscles that can often hurt for days (if you're working them effectively). Leg day requires a lot of effort and energy, and some exercises, like front squats and leg presses, can really torch calories (via Visualized Future).

To improve your balance and coordination, you could try exercises like walking lunges and Romanian deadlifts (RDL). Walking lunges will help correct any imbalances in your leg strength because you're working one leg at a time. You're also increasing mobility in your hips and power in your glutes (via Barbend). The RDL works on hip strength and mobility while also firing your glutes, hamstrings, back, and calves (via the American Council on Exercise).

But what if you combined the benefits of the walking lunge and the RDL? It's called the Death March. TikTok's Eddy J says, "If RDL's and lunges had a baby, this would be it." The Death March isn't more effective than lunges, but it makes a good finishing exercise that can supplement leg day (via Catalyst Athletics).

How to do the RDL Death March

If you already know how to do a single-leg RDL, you're already part of the way to the RDL Death March. People who are new to the RDL Death March should choose a lighter weight or no weight until they get the proper technique down. The movement should also be slow and controlled to avoid injury (via Lyfta).

Begin standing with two dumbbells (or no weight) at your side. Take a step forward like you're doing a lunge, but not as long of a step. With the front leg slightly bent and holding about 70% of your weight, hinge from your hips with your back neutral. Lean as far forward as possible until you feel a slight stretch in your hamstrings. Your core should be working to stabilize your spine, and your back leg serves as a kickstand for your balance. Then, press your foot into the floor as you use your glutes and hamstrings to hinge your torso back up. Step the back leg forward and repeat.

The RDL Death March can make your lunges more effective

According to Catalyst Athletics, the RDL Death March works more on the stabilizing muscles of your back, glutes, and hips than your legs. This exercise helps improve the mobility and stability of your hips and back, which could help you the next time you do lunges or any leg exercises. It's best to do the RDL Death March at the end of your workout so you're not overloading your back.

T-Nation says the RDL Death March can be an exhausting movement because you're challenging your muscles in a different way. Each step gets more challenging as you work to maintain your balance and form. Start by walking just 10 yards, then work up to 40 yards.

Once you nail the RDL Death March, you can change things up by using a barbell rather than dumbbells. Rather than using the back leg to help you balance, you can increase the difficulty of the RDL Death March by lifting the back leg with each step forward, making it a single-leg RDL Death March (via Lyfta).