The muscle groups used when walking include the calf muscles, tibialis anterior and ankle extensor muscles, hamstring muscles and quadriceps muscles, according to HowStuffWorks. The hip flexor muscles, buttock muscles, abdominal muscles, and arm and shoulder muscles are also used.
When walking, the calf muscles are responsible for the upward and forward momentum in the "pushoff" stage of walking, which raises the heel off the ground, HowStuffWorks explains. The tibialis anterior and ankle extensor muscles lift the foot and toes during the forward motion or "swing" phase of the leg. As the heel touches the ground, the muscles then lower the foot and toes. The pushoff phase of walking uses the hamstring muscles found in the back of the thighs. The body uses the quadriceps muscles when extending each leg while walking. In the swing phase, the hip flexor muscles raise the thigh forward. Brisk walking works the gluteal or buttock muscles.
HowStuffWorks states that when a person walks with a natural, upright posture, his abdominal muscles get strengthened. Lastly, the arm and shoulder muscles are used when a person pumps his arms intensely up to chest or shoulder level while walking. This involves swinging the left arm forward naturally, while the right leg strides ahead.