Lunges are one of the BEST bodyweight exercises around. You can do them anywhere, they firm up your backside, give you a shapelier bottom (who doesn’t want that?) and they also strengthen your glutes, hamstrings, quads, and calves. The lunge is also a great conditioning exercise for many sports and activities, including those that involve lunging movements like tennis, soccer, and basketball. I’ve always liked lunges because there are so many ways to change them up, and they get the job done. If you incorporate lunges into your weekly exercise routine, you will see the results of your efforts in your bottom half!
How To Do A Basic Forward Lunge
With your chest lifted, chin up and abs contracted take a big step forward with your left foot. Sink straight down so your front left knee tracks over the top of your shoe and your back right knee points down toward the floor. You are on your back left toe. Push back to the starting position. Repeat on the right leg. Keep alternating. A good place to start is with 10-12 lunges on each leg and work your way up to 3 sets.
Tweak your way to proper form:
- Keep your knees aligned- front knee over your shoe and back knee pointing down.
- Watch yourself lunge with a side view mirror. Make sure you aren’t leaning too far forward or back or rounding your spine.
- Keep your knees, hips, and shoulders all facing in the same direction- forward.
- Think about how you are distributing your body weight. Don’t force your weight into your kneecaps but rather use them as a hinge. Engage your quads, hamstrings, and glutes.
How To Do Lunge Variations
Go For Reverse Lunges: The same idea as the forward lunge except you step backward. Keep your front knee tracking over your shoe and your back knee points down.
Do Walking Lunges. These are the same as basic lunges except for you alternate legs and you keep walking (moving) forward. Try doing walking lunges across the floor and back several times in a row. Add a set of dumbbells and do some overhead shoulder presses while lunging and watch your heart rate go up!
Try Curtsy Lunges. Cross one leg back and behind the other, and come down into a curtsy lunge. The front foot stays flat on the ground and you are on the toe of your back foot. Pay attention to your knees and make sure to step far enough back so you are using your quads and not forcing weight into your knees.
Add Weight. Pick up a pair of dumbbells and increase the resistance for a challenge. Better yet, add in an upper body exercise like bicep curls and get more bang for your buck!
There are even more variations of the basic lunge: you can change directions, add a medicine ball, or add tempo changes—but before you go there, master the basic lunge and watch your results!
For a demonstration of how to do a proper form, watch this quick video:
30-Minute Lower Body Workout Incorporating Lunge Variations:
Incorporate these lunge variations into a 30-minute lower body workout by performing each exercise in a series of circuits. You will perform each exercise for 45 seconds, taking 15 seconds of rest between each exercise.
Repeat the entire workout x 4 sets for a lower-body burn. All you need is a set of dumbbells to complete this workout. And as always, if you want to focus on form and a full range of motion, ditch the weights altogether and go for bodyweight!
Repeat the entire workout x 4 sets for a 30-minute lower body workout that incorporates all variations. BONUS – you can really count this as a total body workout as we incorporate the upper body in many of these exercises as well!
Stationary Lunges to Overhead Press
Forward Lunge to Bicep Curl
Side to Side Squat and Swing
Cross Behind Lunge with Lateral Raise
Alternating Side Lunge + Front Raise