Running & Fitness • 13.07.2017

10 New Lunge Variations You Have To Try

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You may have seen my 10 Moves To Strengthen Your Core or 10 Moves To Tone Your Arms Without A Gym posting – now it’s time to hit the lower body with some amazing lunge variations to help tone the legs & glutes while simultaneously getting some cardio training as well. Ladies, do you want a better butt? Runners, do you want some great cross-training moves to help strengthen your legs? Coming right up!

Lunges target the quadriceps, hamstrings, abductors (outer thigh), adductors (inner thigh) and the core. How can you ignore this awesome move in your training?

Here’s what to keep in mind when doing lunges and lunge variations:

  • Keep your core tight & chest up
  • Front knee should never go beyond your front toe
  • Drive through the heel (not the toe) of the foot to power the movement & keep your balance
  • Optional: You can always add weights to make it more challenging

I don’t expect you to do all of these lunge variations in one workout – nor should you. Go through the list and choose 2-3 to incorporate into your next lower body workout. Aim for 3-5 sets of 10-30 repetitions (each leg)!

1. Walking lunges

The longer your stride in the lunge, the more of the booty you recruit. It’s like walking, only with a lunge instead of just a step. Sounds a lot easier than it is, but these pack a powerful punch! Your legs will love you for these.

Woman is doing a lunge

2. Pendulum lunge

Just as a pendulum goes back and forth, that’s what you will do with this lunge. Start in a standing position and 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 backward into a lunge. Complete all reps on one side before switching to the other side. All of the balance & 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 in between the forward and backward lunge. Are you up for it?

Woman is doing a pendulum lunge

3. Lunge booty lift

As if lunges don’t target the glutes already – this variation is a total booty blaster! Ankle weights make this one more challenging & more awesome. Avoid leaning your upper body excessively forward when doing the leg lift. Let your booty do the work! Complete all reps on one side before switching to the other side.

Woman is doing a lunge booty lift

4. Jump lunge

This plyometric, explosive jump lunge is one of my favorite lunge variations and leg exercises on the planet! Why? Because it gets my heart rate up & makes my legs and butt sore every time. Start in a lunge position, right foot in front of the left. Keep your core engaged, lower down a bit to load that lunge and then explosively jump into the air, switch the legs and land in a lunge with the left foot in front. You want to aim to complete these in a quick and controlled manner. But safety is always number one. This is an advanced move, so don’t be upset if it takes a while to increase your repetitions.

Woman is doing a jump lunge

5. Step-up & lunge

For this move, you will need a bench at a height that you feel safe and comfortable stepping up onto. For beginners, this could even be a stair in your house.  Step up onto the bench with your right foot, standing all the way up and bringing that left leg to a high knee – make sure you are really squeezing the right gluteal muscle at the top. Bring the left leg down to the ground and then step off the bench with the right foot and step it back into a lunge. Complete all reps on one side before switching to the other side.

Woman is doing a step-up and lunge

Woman is doing a step up and lunge

6. Side lunge

You really have to make sure you stick that butt out to get proper form in the move. The goal is to have one leg that is completely straight. Don’t try to go down lower if the straight leg starts to bend – work within your limits. You can do all repetitions on one side first or alternate.

Woman is doing a side lunge

7. Pulsing lunge

Get yourself into a lunge-ready position, one foot in front of the other. Stay on this side while lowering down and up repeatedly until you have performed all repetitions. If your legs start shaking during this move – don’t worry – you are doing it right! Complete all repetitions on one side before switching to the other.

Woman is doing a pulsing lunge

8. Lunge front kick

This is a great variation to take out some aggression and kick some stress out of your life! 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.

Woman is doing a lunge front kick

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 are stepping back and to the side at the same time. You can do all repetitions on one side first or alternate. Go for it!

Woman is doing a curtsy lunge

10. Lunge high knee & jump

This one, like the jump lunges, really gets the heart rate up. 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.

Woman is doing a lunge high knee and jump

Woman is doing a lunge high knee and jump

Are you interested in other awesome exercises? Download the Runtastic Results app and get your sweat on today!

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Lunden Souza

Lunden Souza is a Certified Personal Trainer, Fitness Nutrition Specialist & the Runtastic Fitness Coach. This California native started out as an at-home personal trainer in Orange County, California for 5 years, then moved to work at Runtastic headquarters in Austria in March 2014. She inspires Runtastics worldwide with weekly fitness, nutrition and wellness tips via the Runtastic Fitness Channel on YouTube. She loves to do yoga, cook, run in the sun and go for long bike rides listening to her favorite podcasts.
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