11 Best Types of Lunges and How to Perform Them

Types of Lunges- Group Doing Forward Lunges

When it comes to working out, there are countless options to choose from. I feel lunges are an extremely underrated exercise. So, I want to walk you through the 11 best types of lunges and how to perform them.

If you aren’t really a fan of lunges or never gave them much of a chance, I want you to try each of these lunges.

Give them a fair chance.

And keep all of the benefits I am going to tell you about in mind as well.

You might just find lunges are not as lame as you thought!

What Muscles Do Lunges Work

Woman's Lower Body- What Muscles Do Lunges Work

Lunges are great because they work the major muscle groups in your lower body.

These muscles include your glutes (butt muscles), your hamstrings, and your quadriceps.

If you are into squats or recently read my posts on squats, you will notice these are the same muscles that squats work.

So, if you are looking to tone and strengthen your lower body, lunges are an excellent addition to your workout routine.

Benefits of Lunges

Woman Lunging- Benefits of Lunges

If you are a person that thinks lunges are lame, I am about to change your mind.

There are many different benefits to lunges that people do not even think about when considering what exercise to do.

I get you want to pick exercises that you enjoy, and you should. But you should also keep an open mind when an exercise has so many great benefits.

So, let me break it down for you.

Strengthens Your Legs and Butt

The most obvious benefit of lunges is that it strengthens your legs and butt. Lunges work all of the major muscle groups in your legs and your glutes.

If you are looking to strengthen your legs, this is an exercise you want to add to your workout routine.

And as an added bonus, it works that butt.

Tones Your Legs and Butt

These are common areas that ladies love to work on getting toned. I know a few guys that want these areas tone as well.

Lunges are one of the best exercises to tone your legs and butt.

What I love about lunges is that it is one exercise to strengthen and tone your legs and butt. Most of the time when you want to strengthen and tone an area, you have to do a couple different exercises to get the same effects.

Weight Loss
Baggy Pants- Benefits of Lunges

Lunges can help you reach your weight loss goals.

Depending on your intensity, you could burn quite a few calories doing lunges. The higher the intensity, the more calories you will burn.

Also, different types of lunges require more effort, so that will play a role as well.

I do suggest, if weight loss is what you are after, make sure you have proper form down before increasing your intensity so you can avoid injury.

Balance and Stability

This is a benefit that is going to help you throughout your life.

When doing lunges, you are working each leg separately. That means you require more balance to perform the exercise.

So, when you do lunges, you use your core and back muscles to stabilize your body and balance.

The more you do the more you will improve that stability and balance.

Keep in mind, this will come in very handy in your old age to help keep you mobile safely.

Stand Taller

When I was doing extra research into the benefits of lunges, this was a benefit I had not considered or heard of before.

I think this is an awesome benefit, especially since I am only 5 feet tall.

Lunges strengthen your core and back muscles without straining your spine.

That saves it from being compressed, like other exercises cause it to become. We will talk about this more in a moment.

Fix Imbalances

As I just mentioned, lunges requires you to work each leg separately, strengthening them.

If you have a weaker side, you can work that one more to build the muscle and help correct the symmetry in your muscles.

For example, this is common for people who break a leg. If they have to stay off of it for a long time, one leg muscle becomes bigger than the other.

My father-in-law actually had a bad knee for many years before he finally had it replaced. Looking at his calf muscles, you can see that the muscle on what was his bad knee is still a little smaller than his other calf.

Lunges can be used to correct these imbalances, which is important because keeping your body symmetrical helps to keep the rest of your body in line.

Better Flexibility
Woman Bending on a Beach- Benefits of Lunges

Lunges work your hip flexors.

If you have a desk job where you are sitting most of the day, this might be the biggest benefit to you.

When you sit a lot, you aren’t working those hips and they can become stiff.

Lunges will work out that stiffness and put some flexibility back into your hips.

Plus, it will help relieve that lower back pain from sitting and not using those muscles enough.

Improves Common Movements

Think about what the movement of a lunge looks like for a moment and you will realize that it mimics movements you make everyday.

Two extremely common movements are walking and walking up stairs.

By doing lunges, you will be strengthening the muscles used for these movements, making them easier to do.

Imagine how great it would be to walk up a bunch of stairs and not get so winded!

Healthier Spine
Woman's Back- Benefits of Lunges

This is often overlooked as a benefit to lunges. Most weightlifting compresses your spine.

For example, putting a barbell on your shoulders to do squats. It puts more strain on your spine.

Lunges work a lot of muscles without compressing your spine. It’s a nice way to let your spine relax.

And because it strengthens your core and legs, it helps them to stabilize your body more, meaning you can reduce your back pain.

Improve Mood and Confidence

Who wouldn’t like to be happier and have a boost in confidence.

Believe it or not, lunges can do this for you.

We all know that exercise can reduce stress and releases endorphins, which make us happy.

In fact, studies have shown that exercising for 30 minutes a day, 3 times a week can be more effective at reducing depression than depression medication.

That’s amazing!

Now, you might be asking where the confidence boost comes in.

To that I say, try out lunges for a while and sculpt that butt. Then come back and tell me if having a butt that looks great in jeans and leggings boosted your confidence!

Convenience
Woman Doing Weighted Lunges- Benefits of Lunges

I love exercises that are convenient. And I love sharing them with others because it makes it really hard to make excuses not to do it.

Lunges do not require much space in order to get a great workout and they also do not require any equipment, if you don’t have/want any.

The lunges I am going to walk you through doing can all be done with or without weight.

And this brings me to the last of the benefits of lunges.

Variety

There are so many different types of lunges that it would be hard for anyone to get bored with them.

This makes them perfect to add to any workout routine because you can always switch up the lunges you are doing.

Who doesn’t love having options?!

How Many Lunges Should I Do

Mix of Numbers

How many lunges you should do is going to depend on what your exercise level is.

If you are a beginner, you want to start off doing just your body weight without adding any weights. You would shoot for completing 2-3 sets of 10-12 reps per leg.

You would then want to work your way up to 3-4 sets of 15-20 reps per leg.

From here, you could add on weights to give yourself more of a challenge.

I also want to point out that different types of lunges might affect how many you can do. For example, you might have no problem doing 4 sets of 20 reps of forward squats, but you can only do half as many for the reverse lunge to overhead press with knee drive

NOTE: You do not what to do lunges every day. This can exhaust the muscles in your legs and you could even see a decrease in your performance. Make sure you are giving those muscles time to rest every few days.

Types of Lunges And How To Perform Them

Types of Lunges- Man Doing Side Lunge

I am going to walk you through 11 different types of lunges and how to perform them.

These are relatively simply exercises that pretty much anyone at any skill level can do.

I do want to point out that I will be talking about these without using weights. Just know that you can use dumbbells or a medicine ball when you do these lunges as well.

If you want some equipment but don’t have any, check out my post, Best at Home Exercise Equipment You Will Love.

Always get the movement and form down before you challenge yourself and add weight. This is going to help prevent injury.

1. Forward Lunges

When you hear lunges this is going to be what comes to your mind. These are the most common type of lunges and probably the first one you learned back in grade school.

How To Perform Forward Lunges

Start by standing with your feet about hip width apart.

Keep your upper body straight and your shoulders back.

Make sure to keep your core engaged the whole time. That means tighten those muscles.

Then, take a step forward and lower your hips until both knees are at about a 90-degree angle.

Be sure that the knee close to the floor, does not actual touch or rest on the floor.

Then, rise back to the starting position, making sure to push your weight into your front heel as you do so.

Do the same thing with the opposite leg.

2. Lateral Lunges

You might also hear these referred to as side lunges. You are really going to feel this one work your inner thighs.

This lunge is going to feel weird if you have never done it before because you are bending one knee and keeping the other straight.

Check out the video below. I feel this one in particular is better understood by seeing how it is done, rather than only reading.

How To Perform Lateral Lunges

Stand in a comfortable position with your feet about hip width apart.

Pick a leg and move it out to the side. You will in a wide stance.

Then, bend that knee while keeping your other leg straight.

Push through your heel and stand up.

Step back to the starting position and do the same on the other side.

3. Reverse Lunges

This is just like a forward lunge, but you guessed it, you move your leg backwards instead of forward.

This is one of the types of lunges you want to try if your knees aren’t in the best shape.

These lunges puts less stress on your joints and is a great choice for those who have less hip mobility, knee concerns, or difficulty balancing.

How To Perform Reverse Lunges

Start by standing with your feet about hipwidth apart.

Keep your upper body straight and your shoulders back.

Make sure to engage your core to really get the effects.

Then, take a step backward and lower your hips until both knees are at about a 90-degree angle.

Then, rise back to the starting position, making sure to push your weight into your front heel as you do so.

Do the same thing with the opposite leg.

4. Alternating Forward to Reverse Lunges

This lunge can be a little more difficult for those that do not have the best balance.

As you move from the forward lunge to the backward lunge, your foot you are lunging with does not touch the ground.

That means you will be relying on the other leg to hold you steady.

How To Perform Alternating Forward To Reverse Lunges

Start with your feet about hip width apart.

Choose a leg to start with and step forward, bending your knee until it almost touches the ground.

Push yourself back up through that front foot.

Then, without setting your foot back down, bring that foot back into a reverse lunge and lower your knee until it almost touches the floor.

Stand back up and continue until you are done with your reps. Then, switch to the other leg.

5. Reverse Lunge With Rotation

I love this type of lunge because it works your core more with the rotation part of this lunge.

As I mentioned earlier, you can add dumbbells or a medicine ball to any of these lunges. This is a great lunge to hold a medicine ball if you want to really torch your core.

How To Perform Reverse Lunge With Rotation

Stand with your feet hip width apart.

Pick a leg and step back, lowering your knee until it almost touches the floor.

As you lunge back, you want to rotate just your upper body over your front leg.

You can continue to do one leg at a time or you can alternate legs.

6. Reverse Lunge To Overhead Press With Knee Drive

Out of all of the types of lunges, this is probably the one people read the name of and pass on doing because it seems like a lot.

It is really not as scary as it seems and once you get the movement down, you will be surprised at how simple it really is.

So, before you count it out just give it a shot first!

How To Perform Reverse Lunge To Overhead Press With Knee Drive

Start with your feet hip width apart.

Pick a leg and step back into a reverse lunge, lowering your body until your knee almost touches the ground.

As you bring your leg back up, you want to drive your knee upwards, while thrusting the opposite arm into the air.

Then, swiftly move into the next rep.

7. Curtsy Lunges

This is one of the types of luges that gives extra attention to those inner thighs.

It also works a muscle in your butt called the glute medius. This is a small muscle that helps to stabilize your hips and improve your posture.

How To Perform Curtsy Lunges

Stand with your feet hip width apart.

Choose a leg and take a step back, crossing that leg behind your front leg.

Lower your leg until it almost touches the ground and your knees are at a 90-degree angle.

Push up through your front foot, coming back to the starting position.

You can continue to do one leg at a time, or you can alternate legs.

8. Curtsy Lunges With Kick

For anyone who wants to give a little kick to their lunges, this one is for you.

The kick added to the curtsy lunge helps to improve balance and adds a little bit more of a challenge.

How To Perform Curtsy Lunge With Kick

Stand with your feet hip width apart.

Choose a leg and take a step back, crossing that leg behind your front leg.

Lower your leg until it almost touches the ground and your knees are at a 90-degree angle.

Push up through your front foot.

Instead of coming back to the starting position, kick your leg out to the side.

Go immediately into the next rep.

9. Jump Lunges

This is an advanced version of a walking lunge.

It works your calf muscles with all of the other muscles a normal lunge works.

And this exercise can help improve you ankle stability and balance.

How To Perform Jumping Lunges

Start with your feet about hip to shoulder width apart.

Jump and move one foot forward and one foot backwards.

When you land, bend your knees down to that 90-degree angle.

Jump up and switch your legs in midair, so the foot that was just in the front is now in the back (and vice versa).

As you jump, use your arms to help stabilize yourself and gain momentum.

Keep jumping back and forth until you are done with your set.

10. Sprinter Lunges

Sprinter lunges are meant to be a more fast paced lunge to really get your heart rate up.

The stance you will have is also different than a traditional lunge and is important to feel the full effects of this move.

How To Perform Sprinter Lunges

Stand with your feet about hip width apart.

Choose a leg to start with and step it way back, into a position like you would see a sprinter in.

Your back leg may not form a perfect 90-degree angle but bend your front leg so that one does.

Then bring your back leg up, almost like you are doing a high knee.

From here, you can continue to work one leg, or you can alternate legs.

11. Clock Lunges

This is an accumulation of a bunch of types of lunges, which means you are getting a good workout.

A lot of people like this lunge because it gives you a variety. You are not just doing the exact same movement the entire exercises.

How To Perform Clock Lunges

Stand with your feet hip width apart and imagine you are standing in the center of a clock.

Choose the leg you will be moving and take a step forward to 12 O’Clock, bending your knees until they are at 90-degrees, to do a forward lunge.

Then, take that same leg and do a diagonal lunge toward 1 O’Clock.

Next is a side lunge at 3 O’Clock.

Then onto a reverse lunge at 6 O’Clock.

After that is a curtsy lunge, where you would plant that foot at about 7 O’Clock.

Finally, you do a crossover lunge toward 10 O’Clock. For this lunge you will move your leg in front of the legs that is planted.

Repeat until you finish your set.

Best Types Of Lunges Recap

Types of Lunges

We have covered the 11 best types of lunges and how to perform them, as well as other useful information you are going to want to keep in mind about lunges.

For example, lunges work your glutes, quadriceps, and hamstrings. That means you will be strengthening and toning your butt and legs.

You can also feel many of the benefits, if you add lunges to your routine. Like, improving balance, stability, flexibility, and common movements. All of which can help you later on in life.

If you are new to lunges, you can do just body weight lunges. Do 2-3 sets of 10-12 reps per leg. Then work your way up to 3-4 sets of 15-20 reps per leg. And if you need a challenge, add some weight into the equation.

Finally, take the time to go through and try each of these types of lunges. Some you might like more than others, but I’m sure you will fine a few you want to add to your workout routine.

Woman Doing Lunges
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Published by Amy

I have always had a strong passion for health and fitness, as well as helping others. So much so, that I went on to receive my Level 1 Precision Nutrition Certification. My goal is to help others feel at their best! I know it can be a struggle to reach your fitness goals, whether it is losing weight, getting in shape, or improving your overall health. I want to help you reach your goals and find what works best for you so you can stick to it! Let's work on making you Happy Healthy and Strong!

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