5 Lunge Variations to Turn Up the Burn on Your Lower Body
Want a strong booty and legs? Lunges are effective in more ways than one! This single-sided exercise works your entire lower half, from your calves and hamstrings to your quads, glutes, and inner thighs.
Lunges also test your balance! You have to stay stable on your feet — and in your core — to perform them properly. And they mimic a walking pattern, which means they make you stronger and more powerful for your evening stroll and your morning run alike.
One of our favorite things about lunges is that there are SO MANY ways to switch them up! You can change the stance, work in multiple planes of motion (like front to back, side to side, or even in rotation), and you can use all kinds of different equipment. Hello, kettlebells, dumbbells, barbells, toning ropes, and ankle weights, too!
To do a regular reverse lunge with strong form, you want to step back and bend both knees, so they reach a 90-degree angle. You also want to keep your shoulders right over your hips, chest up and core tight. Then, drive through that front foot as you push off the back to stand back up. You should feel the burn in the legs and booty by the final rep.
For a few ways to switch up that typical reverse lunge, try these fun, effective lunge variations! See your lower body get super strong and ready to take on any challenge, from lifting heavy to boosting speed on the run!
5 Lunge Variations to Strengthen Your Legs and Booty
1. Stationary Lunge
Maintaining a split stance, like in this stationary lunge, requires you to fire up that core and engage your inner thighs. This is a good lunge option for practicing the proper foot placement.
How to do it: Start with left foot in front of right, feet wide enough to hit a 90-degree bend in both knees at the bottom. Maintain that stance and lower down, bending the knees 90 degrees and keeping your chest tall. Press through both feet to stand back up, keeping feet stationary. Repeat, then switch sides so your right foot is in front.
2. Forward Lunge
To up the challenge of the reverse lunge, step it forward. This requires control, so you don’t send too much weight forward — you want the front knee to track over the ankle. It also forces you to push off the front foot with power to stand back up, engaging that front hamstring.
How to do it: Start standing. Step left foot forward and bend both knees 90 degrees, left knee over ankle. Drive off both feet to stand up, pressing off the left toes to step left foot back toward right foot. Repeat with the right foot stepping forward. Continue alternating.
3. Side Lunge
Take your lunge lateral with this move, which will target your backside and outer thighs. Make sure to send your booty straight back while keeping your knee and toe pointing forward.
How to do it: Start standing. Step left foot straight out to the side, foot parallel to the right foot. Send hips back as you hinge at the hips, bending the knee and keeping weight in the left heel. Keep right leg straight. Then drive through left foot to stand back up. Repeat, then switch sides.
4. Curtsy Lunge + Lateral Leg Lift
Target that cute booty even more with this variation, that has you stepping back on a diagonal to get into a new plane of motion. The leg lift to the side will fire up the glute med muscle, which will power your running and walking, while improving side-to-side (or frontal) plane movement.
How to do it: Start standing. Step left foot back on a diagonal, to about a 4 o’clock position. Keep right knee over right ankle. Drive through the right foot to stand back up. At the top, lift the left leg straight out to the side, foot flexed. Lower it back down and step back to curtsy lunge. Repeat, then switch sides.
5. Figure 8 Lunge
It’s time to add some weight to your lunge! Grab a kettlebell for this one, which tests your core stability while firing up those legs even more.
How to do it: Start standing, holding a kettlebell in your left hand. Step left foot back into a lunge, bending both knees 90 degrees. Lean only slightly forward, keeping back flat and core tight, and pass the kettlebell underneath your right thigh. (The lower you get in the lunge, the easier it is to pass the weight.) Grab the bell with your right hand, then drive through the right foot to stand back up. Repeat by stepping your right foot back and passing the kettlebell underneath your left thigh. Continue alternating.
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