7 Squat and Lunge Variations For Toned Legs

Exercise Form, Fitness, Training Advice

By: // May 22, 2019

Squats and lunges are some of the best bodyweight exercises around. They both target and tone your entire lower body and are staples in leg and butt toning exercise regimens everywhere. But, your body can get used to them if you do them a lot—so mixing it up with some variations is a great idea! It’ll keep your body guessing, and you’ll never get bored.

Squats and lunges are two exercises that so many people dread. They’re tough, they make you sore, and repetitive exercise can sometimes get boring. Lucky for you, we’ve got a solution…to the boring part! Finding squat and lunge variations to switch up your routine is key to making progress if you’re easily bored by exercise, or simply want to add a little variety to your workout, and in this article we tell you about 7 of our favorite (and most effective!) squat and lunge variations. As for the tough and sore part? Sorry, we can’t help you there, that means they’re working!

These 7 variations require no equipment and will activate muscle groups that traditional lunge and squats may not.  Incorporate these moves into your workout to tone your legs and feel stronger than ever!

7 Squat and Lunge Variations For Toned Legs

We’ve pulled out 7 of the best squat and lunge variations that will build muscle and tone up those legs! Not only are these moves super effective, they also allow you to switch up your lower-body workout routine from just standard lunges and squats, preventing the inevitable boredom that comes from any workout routine. Incorporate these moves into your next bodyweight exercise routine and you’ll feel the burn (in a GREAT way!).

Squat Jumps

Squat jumps are a great plyometric (jumping) movement. Traditional squats are great for building strength and toning the butt and legs, but adding a plyometric element (the jump) will help you build more muscle and burn more fat. Additionally, balancing your body weight during this move is a major challenge for your abs, allowing you to build strength and stability through your core.

Related: 14 Days To A Better Butt Challenge

Kick Through Lunge

This is the kick through lunge exercise demonstrated by Get Healthy U founder Chris Freytag.

Aside from all the benefits from a regular lunge (glutes, legs) this move adds core strength and a balance challenge by kicking the leg through and ending up standing on one leg with the other leg extended out in front.  In addition, you will use your core stability to bring the leg behind you again and land back in a lunge position. You also use a slightly larger range of motion (up and down) than a traditional lunge, so you are adding more heart rate and cardio challenge to the strength benefits.


Cross-Behind Lunge

Think of the cross behind lunge as more of a single leg squat. In essence, the leg that drops behind you should not bear any weight. You focus all of your weight on the leg in front, bending that knee and feeling the squeeze in the glute. I addition,  core strength is used to keep you standing in a tall position as you sweep your leg behind you and bend the front knee.

Pistol Squat

Pistol squat is a version of a single leg squat. In this version, you extend the non-squat leg out in front of you in order to keep the weight of your body focused on your glute muscle in the standing leg. This leg also promotes good posture during the squat

Stiletto Squat 

This version of a squat focuses on all of the same traditional squat muscles of the legs and glutes and also adds calf work by lifting the heels as you lower and lift your body. In addition you work core stability due to the balance needed for this move.

Side Lunge

This is a leg toning exercise called a side lunge

The side lunge strengthens and tones the quads, glutes, and hamstrings. Inner thighs are notorious problem areas for so many people, and these squats target that area AND help to shape and lift your booty. Because this variation has you going side-to-side instead of the traditional up-and-down, you’ll be targeting your inner and outer thighs more effectively. This variation is also much easier on the knees, so it’s great for anyone who struggles with a knee injury or knee pain!

Split Jumps

This is a leg toning exercise called a Split Jump performed by Chris Freytag from Get Healthy U

Split jumps are another plyometric exercise that target your lower body, fire up your heart rate and allow you to torch calories and fat more quickly than a traditional stationary lunge or squat would. This particular variation is a blend between strength training and cardio, engages your core, and will help tone up that lower body, one jump at a time!

READ THIS NEXT: No Squat, No Lunge, Better Booty Workout

Printed from GetHealthyU.com


on March 29, 2017 at 9:01 AM Reply

I need to know the exercises for legs but have bad knees and if I over do them then I end up with a sore back and knees. I have an eliptical bc I was told good for knees but even that hurts my back. I want to exercise but dont want to be in pain afterwards HELP

    on March 30, 2017 at 8:32 AM Reply

    Hi Lori - we have all sorts of workouts/articles specifically addressing bad knees and bad back. Check them out below! https://gethealthyu.com/workout-modifications-bad-knees/ https://gethealthyu.com/10-lower-body-exercises-to-combat-knee-pain/ https://gethealthyu.com/10-best-exercises-for-your-bad-back/ https://gethealthyu.com/5-non-running-cardio-workouts/ https://gethealthyu.com/12-minute-hiit-workout-for-bad-knees/ https://gethealthyu.com/5-best-exercises-to-beat-back-pain/

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