By Praveen & Maheek Nair
By performing lunge variations, you can activate different muscles. Lunges are one of the most effective exercises for targeting the lower body. It activates the quads, glutes and hamstrings, and helps improve lower-body strength, balance and stability.
5 Types of Lunges
A walking lunge works the same muscles as a basic lunge, but it may help elevate your heart rate from the additional movement.
- Start by performing a basic lunge with your right leg lunging forward.
- Instead of returning to a standing position, start to lunge forward with your left leg so it’s now in a lunge position. Your right leg should stay in position to stabilize you.
- Continue this “walking” motion as you continue to lunge forward, alternating legs, for 10 to 12 reps on each leg.
Jumping lunges are a fantastic lower body exercise that increases the intensity and difficulty of the basic lunge by adding a jump. The addition of a plyometric jump not only challenges the quads, hamstrings, glutes, hip flexors, and calves, but it also recruits your cardiovascular system. This gives your heart rate a boost and helps you burn more calories.
- Stand in a staggered stance with your right foot about two to three feet in front of your left foot. Let your arms hang by your sides.
- Keeping your chest up, back straight, and core engaged, lower yourself into a lunge: front thigh parallel to the floor, rear knee bent to about 90 degrees.
- Jump straight up so that both feet leave the floor. Swing your arms up in front of your chest will help optimize your momentum and power.
- Switch leg positions in the air, landing softly with your left foot forward.
- Immediately lower your body back into a lunge to begin your next rep.
- Continue alternating legs with each rep.
The Curtsy Lunge is a great exercise to stabilize your hips. The movement is a variant of a standard lunge, but you hold your lower body in the position of a curtsy for additional glute strengthening.
- Stand with your feet hip-distance apart and let your arms fall at your sides.
- Draw a semicircle with your right foot, moving it clockwise until it crosses behind your left foot. Keep your right toe tucked and clasp your hands together at your heart.
- Lunge down as deeply as possible, hovering your knee a couple of inches off the floor.
- Slowly return to the standing curtsy position.
- Repeat the lunge on the other side.
- Begin standing with feet together.
- With the right foot, step backward and drop your right knee to the floor, creating a 90-degree angle.
- Push off your right foot to bring both feet back together to the starting upright position. Alternate legs.
- This variation is particularly effective for working the glutes.
Side or lateral Lunges
The side lunge is a great exercise because it works the sides of the glutes (the gluteus Medius), which are important stabilizer muscles for the hip joint. Tightness in the groin, hip, and ankle can make this move challenging.
- Stand with feet together and hands clasped in front of chest.
- Take a large step out to the right, immediately lowering into a lunge, sinking hips back and bending right knee to track directly in line with right foot. Keep left leg straight but not locked, with both feet pointing forward.
- Push off the right foot to straighten right leg, step right foot next to left, and return to starting position.
- Do 8 to 12 reps. Repeat on the other side. Try 3 sets per side.
If you are looking for a strong core take note that a varied Lunge workout activates & builds core muscles too.