What gets your heart pumping the most?
There’s many exercises that challenge your body. But among them all—some lunge variations top the list.
(I’m looking at you, jumping lunges).
Lunges are an exercise that most people can do and customize to their fitness intensity.
A workout including lunges is one that’s challenging for the lower body. Lunges work your hamstrings, gluts, quadriceps and calves.
You can use them to strengthen your muscles, make moving easier or prepare for exercise. You can also speed up the pace you do lunges for a cardio-like benefit.
Read on to learn the 11 lunge variations.
How to Do Lungless Properly
Lunges seem like—and can be—a simple exercise, but it’s critical to do them properly. If you have an incorrect position while lunging, you can end up injuring yourself. It’s better to do the exercise slowly to ensure you have food form than to speed it up and get hurt.
Here’s how to do a basic lunge:
- Stand up straight
- Step forward, placing your leg at a 90-degree angle, sending your opposite leg to the floor
- Make sure your knee doesn’t extend past your toes
- Return to starting position
Common lunge mistakes include:
- Your knee going past your toes
- Leaning forward or having bad posture during the lunge
- Having wobbly knees and an unstable stance
- Moving too fast and compromising form (ex. jumping lunges)
11 Lunge Variations: How to Different Lunges
Lunge variations are great to try when you’re working out at home and need some apartment-friendly exercises.
#1 Forward Lunge
This is the basic lunge. With your feet hip-width apart, take a step forward, bending your knee to a 90-degree angle and sending your back leg down. Stand back up into position and repeat on the other side.
#2 Reverse Lunge
What do reverse lunges work? Like forward lunges, the reverse variation strengthens glutes and hamstrings. It can be good for those with join issues since it puts less pressure and allows your front leg to be stable. Stand with your feet hip-width apart and take a step backward. Bend your front knee forward, lowering your body so the knee gently touches the floor. Return to position and repeat on the other side.
#3 Curtsy Lunge
Curtsy lunges look like what they sound like–doing a curtsy in a lunge position. Standing up, step back your left leg behind your right leg, bending the right knee. Touch the floor with your knee. Return to position and repeat on the other side.
#4 Side lunges
Side lunges work your hamstrings, glutes, quads and strengthens inner thigh muscles. It’s also a great exercise to do if you’re trying to gain flexibility, such as getting into splits position. To do a side lunge, stand with your feet hip-width apart. Step to your left, bending your left knee and pushing your hips back. Return back to position and repeat on the other side.
#5 Clock Lunge
A clock lunge combines the lunges of all directions: front, side, back and curtsy. Lunge in all 4 directions with one foot and then switch to the other side..
#6 Walking Lunges
Walking lunges are the same as a standard lunge, but adds movement. This can challenge balance and strengthen muscles. To do walking lunges, step forward 2 or 3 feet into a lunge. Lower your hips into the lunge, hold for a moment and then bring your back leg forward into your natural position. Repeat, walking forward in a smooth transition for each lunge.
#7 Lunge Twist
This lunge twist give you the benefits of a regular lunge, but also adds some abdominal work. To do it, begin with a normal lunge. When you’re in lunge position, activate your core by twisting your torso to the right. Twist back and stand up. Repeat on the other leg and the other side.
#8 Airborne Lunges
Airborne lunges are a challenging variation that can increase leg strength and improve your coordination. This one will take a little longer to get the hang of. Strand on your right foot and bend your left heel upwards. Bend your right knee, sitting back into your heel as you lunge down and drop your left knee.
#9 Add Weights
If you want to add some extra intensity to your lunges, consider adding dumbbells. This can give you more strengthening benefits while also raising your heartrate.
#10 Bulgarian Split Squat
This one combines a lunge and a squat. It helps strengthen the same muscles as a lunge, but the focus is on the front leg. This isn’t one to try for beginners. Ensure you understand proper form and have the focus to pay attention to form while doing this lunge variation. To do a Bulgarian split squat, stand with one leg on a bench or sofa that’s slightly below knee-height. Your other leg should be at a 90-degree angle in front of you. Bend your front knee to lower into the lunge.
#11 Alternating Jump Lunges
This is advanced exercise is a variation of the walking lunge. Don’t try it until you’ve mastered the basic form of the lunge. If you’re working out at home in an apartment, jumping lunges can be a louder exercise. Consider using carpet, mats and landing lightly.
When you’re in the lunge position, powerfully push off the floor using your arms and force. Jump and switch your legs in the air, landing in a lunge position on the opposite leg. If you can’t do this quickly without compromising form, go slowly until you can build your way up.
Summary on Lunge Variations
Whether you’re working out at home or in the gym, lunges are a great way to burn fat and gain strength. If you’re a beginner, make sure to master the basic lunge before you try more complex variations. Remember, the most important thing is to get your form right so that you can continue working out without injury.