Lunges are a powerful exercise, allowing you to shape and strengthen almost every muscle in the lower body. Learn to do them with good form and this exercise can become a valuable part of a strength training or circuit training workout.
Other Variations of the Lunge
1) Classic walking lunge or stationary lunge
Make sure that if you’re doing a walking lunge, set up proper form before you sink down into the lunge. Go for efficiency instead of speed.
2) Curtsy lunge to knee lift
Start with one leg forward, toes angled out 45 degrees. Step your other foot totally back behind the front, so that your foot is behind the opposite shoulder. Sink low into a curtsy lunge, then as you exhale, lift the back leg out to the side, bending the knee. Really think about squeezing your glutes to lift your leg. Make sure that you take a nice big step back and to the side for your curtsy lunge.
3) Single-leg lunge
Stand in front of a chair or a bench, with the chair or bench about 3 feet behind you. Place one foot on top of the chair of bench. As you lunge, watch the front knee to keep it stacked above your front ankle.
4) Low lunge to squat
For this exercise, you aren’t rising in between switching – keep your body LOW and knees bent the entire time. Torso stays upright, step back into your lunge, then keep the front knee bent as you step out to the side to squat. Step the opposite foot behind and lunge. Watch the front knees to make sure they don’t extend past the toes.
5) Lateral lunge and side leg lift
Hold one dumbbell and take a big step out with your left leg so that your foot angles out at 45 degrees. Your right leg stays straight and strong with toes pointed forward. Think about sinking your hips down and back as your keep your core tight and chest lifted. As you rise, use your glutes to lift your leg out to the side.
6) Walking lunge with hip extension
For your lunge setup, make sure your feet are hip distance apart, and think about sinking down instead of forward as you lunge. Watch the front knee to make sure it doesn’t extend past your toes. When you lift up to come to standing and switch legs, lift the back leg up behind you (squeeze your booty!) before bringing it forward.
7) Lunge with a pulse
Hold the lowest part of your lunge (both legs at 90 degrees) and pulse up two inches and down two inches.
8) Tempo lunges
Change the tempo of the exercise: down for two counts and up for two, down for four counts and up for four, down quickly and rise slowly, down slowly and rise quickly, or two quick lunges followed by two slow lunges.
9) Rotating lunge to plié squat
Start in lunge position, making sure your front knee doesn’t bend in front of the toe and keep your legs parallel to each other—like a train track, not a tightrope. Rotate to the side, and sink into your lunge before rotating to the front to complete a plié squat.
10) Jumping lunges
Start in lunge position, making sure your front knee doesn’t bend in front of the toe and keep your legs parallel to each other—like a train track, not a tightrope. Make sure to land with a soft knee and sink into your lunge before springing up. If the impact is too much, try quick and efficient lunges instead.
11) Crescent lunge with back knee bend and straighten
Start in a crescent lunge with front leg bent at 90 degrees (keep your front knee stacked over your front ankle), and your back leg straight and strong. Bend your back knee slightly, before pressing it back to straighten your leg.
12) Stability ball lateral lunge
Perform your lateral lunge keeping your straight leg on top of a stability ball.
13) Stability ball single leg lunge
Stand about 3-ft in front of the stability ball and place one foot back on the ball. (Stand close to a wall if you need to for balance.) Sink into a lunge position, making sure your torso stays upright and your front knee remains stacked over your front ankle.
14) Clock lunge
Complete a forward lunge, followed by a lateral lunge, and then a reverse lunge. For the reverse lunge, make sure you take a big step back. Repeat, leading with the opposite side.
15) Reverse lunge and kick
Slide a big step back to come into a lunge position. Watch your alignment and make sure your front knee is stacked over your front ankle, and your chest is lifted with a tight core. Focus on sinking DOWN, instead of forward. Slide that foot back to center (keeping a slight bend in your opposite leg) and flex the foot to kick in front of you. Repeat on the opposite side.
Beginners can start with one exercise (such as a basic lunge) and do one to two sets of 10 to 16 reps, adding weight when you feel comfortable. Intermediate and advanced exercisers might choose one to three lunge variations for each workout, performing one to three sets of 10 to 16 reps.