Lunges are a great bodyweight exercise to tone and strengthen the muscles in your legs. Try these 10 variations on a traditional forward lunge to workout the muscles in your legs and take your results even further.
10 Lunge Variations To Tone and Strengthen Your Legs
- Side Lunge
- Reverse Lunge
- Curtsy Lunge
- Slide Lunge
- Single Leg Lunge
- Speed Skater Lunge
- Bulgarian Split Squat
- Alternating Jump Lunge
- Bench Lunge
- Lunge with Leg Lift
Lunges are one of my all-time favorite leg exercises. They add amazing definition and strength to your quads, butt, and hamstrings, and they’re an exercise that you really don’t need any resistance to do.
However I think most of us get in a rut of doing lunges in one plane and one plane only – a common, normal, forward lunge.
Stop limiting your lunges!
In order to maximize this exercise we need to start thinking about movement in three dimensions… forward/back, side-to-side, and rotation.
Today I wanted to share 10 variations on a bodyweight lunge that will take your leg results to a whole new level.
What are the benefits of doing lunges?
Lunges are a great bodyweight exercise that target strengthening the quads, but are great for the butt, hips, and hamstrings as well. There’s no equipment required, and they minimize stress on your lower back (as compared to squats).
Are lunges as good as squats?
While both of these exercises activate the quads, glutes, and hamstrings, lunges typically result in greater activation of the hip stabilizers including the abductors (gluteus medius and gluteus minimus) and deep hip rotators (piriformis).
This is because of the single-leg support nature of the lunge. Without the other leg to lean on, your lateral stabilizers have to work harder during a lunge.
How many lunges to do in a day?
3 sets of 10 repetitions is a great number of daily lunges for beginners. As you get stronger you can increase this number or try some of these other variations listed below.
What muscles do lunges work out?
While the primary focus is on the quads, lunges are a great way to activate the gluteals and hamstrings as well. In order to stabilize throughout the lunge motion, your calves and core have to be firing as well. Lunges are a great exercise to target all the muscle groups in your legs.
Are lunges bad for your knees?
Contrary to common belief – lunges are actually great for your knees… IF DONE CORRECTLY! Most of the time inadequate strength and poor form are the culprits for knee pain during lunges. If you can maintain proper muscle mechanics throughout the exercise, lunges are actually a great exercise at preventing knee pain.
Two rules to perfect your lunges: keep your knee behind your toes (laterally) and right over your foot (straight on).
Can you do lunges everyday?
My recommendation is to never perform the same exercise multiple days in a row. You have to give your muscles a chance to rest and recover to avoid overuse injury and muscle damage. Give yourself at least one day in between, or try mixing up leg day with some other exercise options.
10 LUNGE VARIATIONS TO TONE AND STRENGTHEN YOUR LEGS
How To Do A Lunge
(I figure I should start off with a quick review of what a normal forward lunge should look like. Check out this video.)
How to perform a lunge correctly:
- Knee in line with toes
- Don’t let your knee get out in front of your toe
- Lower your body straight down, not necessarily lunge your body forward
No that we’ve got those down, here are 10 great variations to amplify your lunges!
1. How To Do A Side Lunge
- Start upright with your feet together
- Take a big step sideways towards your left.
- Bend your left leg to drop into a “side lunge” position.
- Try to keep your knees and toes forward throughout the movement.
- Use your left leg to pull yourself back to the upright starting position.
- Repeat on your right leg.
- Start upright with your feet together.
- Step your left leg way back behind you and drop into a lunge with your right leg.
- Use your right leg to pull yourself back up to an upright position.
- Repeat on the left.
3. How To Do A Curtsy Lunge
- Start upright with your feet together.
- Step your left leg way back behind you and over to the right while you drop into a lunge with your right leg.
- Your left leg should cross to the outside of your right leg.
- Use your right leg to pull back up to the starting position.
- Repeat on the left side.
- Use a fitness slider for this one. You can pick up a set RIGHT HERE (you can also use a paper towel to slide on carpet or a small towel to slide on hardwood/tile)
- Stand with the slider under your left foot.
- As you come down into a lunge on the right leg the left slides out laterally to your slide as far as you can.
- Keep your right knee directly over your right toes.
- Pull your left leg in as you return to an upright posture.
5. How To Do A Single Leg Lunge
- Stand on your left leg.
- Extend your right leg back behind you as far as you can, as close to the ground as possible, without actually touching the ground.
- Your right arm can come forward as a “counter balance”.
- Return to starting position.
6. How To Do A Speed Skater Lunge
- Stand upright with your feet close together.
- Leap to your left and land on your left foot.
- As you land, bring your right foot behind you and to the left (similar to a “curtsy lunge”).
- Now return to upright and leap to the right, repeating by dropping into a right lunge with the left leg extending back behind you.
7. How To Do A Bulgarian Split Squat
- Stand on you left leg and extend your right leg back behind you onto a chair or bench.
- Drop into a lunge on your right leg – don’t let your knee extend out in front of your toe.
- Return to the upright position
8. How To Do A Jump Lunge
- Start down in the bottom of a lunge on your right leg.
- Leap into the air and switch your feet position (now your left leg will be forward).
- Upon landing drop down into a lunge on the left leg.
- Leap into the air to alternate back to a lunge on the right leg.
- Stand upright beside a weight bench or sturdy chair.
- Place your right foot up on the chair.
- Use your right leg to pull yourself up onto the bench.
- Perform a “leg hike” by marching your left knee up towards the ceiling.
- Return to starting position back on the floor.
- Repeat with your left leg.
10. How To Do A Lunge with Leg Lift
- Perform a lunge onto your right leg.
- As you come forward out of the lunge lift your straight left leg behind you (up towards the ceiling).
- Repeat lunging onto the left leg with a right leg lift back behind you.
There you go! 10 Variations on bodyweight lunges to sculpt and strengthen, Tone and Tighten! 🙂
Let’s put them into action! Here are a few of my favorite leg workouts with zero equipment required:
Make it happen,
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