10 Lunge Variations You Have to Try
Looking to tone and strengthen your lower body? Lunges are the perfect exercise for that. They are a powerful move that activates your legs, glutes, and core and helps improve stability and balance.
Lunges are multi-joint movement exercises that involve activating your hip, knee, and ankle joints. This means you are using a lot of muscle groups all at once. Although lunges should be a go-to move for your next lower body workout if you suffer from knee pain or are recovering from an injury, it may be best to check in with your doctor before doing lunges.
10 Types of Lunges to Incorporate Into Your Workout
1. Walking Lunges
The longer your stride in the lunge, the more you will work those glute muscles. It’s like walking, only with a lunge instead of just a step. Sounds a lot easier than it is, but this lunge exercise packs a powerful punch! Your legs will love you for these.
How to Do Walking Lunges
Start by standing up straight with your feet shoulder-width apart. Take a big step forward with one foot, and bend both knees until your back knee is parallel to the floor but not touching it, in a basic lunge position. Pause for a beat, lift up, and then step your back foot forward to land in front of you into another basic lunge position. Continue walking forward while doing the lunge motion with both legs.
2. Pendulum Lunge
Just as a pendulum goes back and forth, that’s what you will do with this lunge. Although the movement is the same as a regular lunge, the pendulum lunge is a test of your balance, strength, and control. Are you up for it?
How to Do a Pendulum Lunge
Start in a standing position, then step forward with your right leg into a lunge. Press through the heel of the right foot to come back to start, and then step the right foot back into a lunge. Complete all reps on one side before switching to the other. All the balance and control should come from the core and the left foot. If you are really looking for a challenge, don’t let the foot touch the ground between the forward and backward lunge.
3. Lunge Twist
This lunge exercise is a great addition to your next warm-up or cooldown, as it engages your lower body and gets your core and spine ready for movement. For an added challenge, you can hold a medicine ball in your hands when doing the twist.
How to Do a Lunge Twist
Step into a basic lunge position with your right foot, remembering not to let your knee go past your toes. Be sure you have a straight back, then twist your upper body to the right. You can hold your arms in front of you or keep them at your hips, whatever feels more comfortable. Bring your torso back to face forward and step the right foot back to a standing position. Repeat this on the left side, performing the twist motion to the left.
4. Jump Lunge
This plyometric, explosive jump lunge is one of our favorite lunge variations and leg exercises on the planet! Why? Because it gets the heart rate up and makes the legs and butt sore every time. This is an advanced move, so don’t be upset if it takes a while to increase your repetitions.
How to Do a Jump Lunge
Start in a lunge position, right foot in front of the left. Keep your core engaged, lower down a bit more to power that lunge jump and then explosively jump into the air, switch the legs while jumping, and land in a lunge with the left foot in front. You want to aim to complete these in a quick and controlled manner.
5. Pivot Lunges
In order to avoid injury and get your lower body and core ready to do some work, be sure to warm up. Pivot lunges are a great way to do this. This exercise engages your leg strength, core, balance, and directional change. Do the rotations slowly and at your own pace. Don’t forget to engage your core in order to power you to change directions.
How to Do Pivot Lunges
For this move, you start with your feet together. Turn towards one side, step forward with your right foot and lower into a lunge. Remember to keep your right thigh parallel to the ground. Your back knee should be slightly above the floor but not touching it. From here, push back up from your lunge position and rotate to the other side. Lower down into a lunge position once again. Push back up and continue the rotations.
6. Side Lunge
For this side lunge variation, you really have to make sure you stick your butt out to get a proper form in this move. When doing a side lunge (also known as a lateral lunge), the goal is to have one leg completely straight. Don’t try to go down lower if the straight leg starts to bend – work within your limits.
How to Do a Side Lunge
Start in a standing position with your feet shoulder-width apart. Take a wide step to your side with your right foot. Your body and toes should be facing forward. Bend your right knee. Make sure to keep your hips back and body upright. Push off from your right foot to return to the starting position. You can do all repetitions on one side first or alternate.
7. Touchdown Lunge
This one may sound like a move at a football game, but in reality, it’s a variation of a classic lunge with an added challenge to your quads and hamstrings. When bending forward to touch the floor, this deep range of motion means your muscles have to work a little harder to return to the start position.
How to Do a Touchdown Lunge
Get yourself into a lunge-ready position, step one foot in front of the other and lower down into a basic lunge. Make sure your back is nice and straight, and lean your torso forward until the tips of your fingers touch the floor. Activate your quads and hamstrings to slowly raise yourself back up. Step out of the lunge position and repeat on the other side.
8. Lunge Front Kick
This is a great variation to take out some aggression and kick some stress out of your life! It also is a great way to improve your stability and flexibility. Make sure the gluteal muscle of the standing leg is completely engaged to ensure a really powerful kick. Complete all repetitions on one side before switching to the other.
How to Do a Lunge Front Kick
Start in a standing position and step back with your right foot into a basic lunge position. Step out of the lunge, and instead of returning to the starting position, kick your right leg up. Set your right leg down to the starting position. Alternate legs until you have completed your set.
9. Curtsy Lunge
While this may look like a graceful move, you’ll really feel it working. You might feel a bit unstable at first, but that is completely normal. It’s not every day we step back and to the side at the same time. This lunge variation is particularly good at helping strengthen and tone your inner thighs and glutes. What are you waiting for? Go for it!
How to Do a Curtsy Lunge
Stand shoulder-width apart and place your hands on your hips for better stabilization. Take a big step back and to the side with your right leg, crossing your right leg behind your left leg. You should land on the toes of your right leg. Bend your knees, bringing your left thigh parallel to the floor. Keep your chest up by engaging your core. Push back up and return to the starting position. You can do all repetitions on one side first or alternate.
10. Lunge High Knee and Jump
This one, like the jump lunges, really gets the heart rate up and also adds a degree of intensity to your workout. This lunge variation is a more advanced variation, but you can always adjust the speed of your movement to match your intensity level.
How to Do a Lunge High Knee and Jump
Start in a standing position and then step back with the right foot into a lunge. Drive through the left heel and bring that right leg up to a high knee and jump on the left foot. You can use your arms in a running motion to support this movement (opposite arm as leg). After the jump, try to bring the right leg right back into that lunge position. Complete all repetitions on one side before switching to the other.
Form Tips to Do a Proper Lunge
- Keep your core tight and chest up
- Your front knee should never go beyond your front toe
- Your back knee should not touch the floor
- Drive through the heel (not the toe) of the foot to power the movement and keep your balance
- Optional: You can always add weights to make the lunge variations more challenging
Don’t expect to do all of these lunge variations in one workout – nor should you. Go through the list and choose two to three to incorporate into your next lower body workout. Aim for three to five sets of 10-30 repetitions on each leg.
If you need inspiration for your next lower body workout check out our Featured Workouts in the adidas Training app or use our Workout Creator to choose your intensity level and specific muscle groups you want to target.