For a better booty, toned legs, more coordination and balance, the basic lunge or any of the lunge variations are a must during leg day. It’s different than a squat, where you have more support, due to the split stance, which challenges your balance. When performing a lunge, your body has to continuously re-adjust to absorb your body weight, requiring it to work harder.
Let’s start with the basic lunge, or static lunge, before discussing lunge variations. The basic lunge starts with proper form: shoulders back, chin up and body straight. Don’t forget to engage your core. Step forward with one leg and lower your hips until the front knee is at a 90-degree angle. Your front knee should be above your ankle while your other knee hovers just above the ground. Keep your weight in your front heel when pushing back up, holding your body straight.
Walking Lunge Variations:
This type of lunge exercise is a simple twist on the basic lunge, targeting your glutes and hamstrings, while still putting high demand on your cardiovascular system. You can challenge yourself more by shifting weight, stance and adding dumbbells to the mix. Just step forward with one leg, perform a lunge and then step right into the next lunge with your other leg, like you’re walking. For even more of a challenge, you can perform reverse walking lunges.
Lateral Lunge Exercise:
For this lunge variation, simply stand with your feet hip-width apart and hands on hips. Step to your right and shift your body weight while squatting to a 90-degree angle (bending at the knee). Push off and get back to the center. Finish your reps on one side then perform lateral lunges on the other side. Make sure you keep your weight on your heels and arms out for balance. This type of lunge is a tad gentler on your knees and helps increase flexibility. It engages your core while stretching out your hamstrings.
The Standing Split Lunge Exercise:
Standing with feet hip-width apart, take a big step back with your right foot (like a reverse lunge) and start lowering your body towards the floor. As you lower yourself, bring your right hand forward and left hand back. Your right knee is left hovering over the floor while the left knee forms a 90-degree angle. To finish, straighten up your left leg and draw your right leg back to its starting position. You can perform a standing split lunge with the help of a bench too, placing the foot of your back leg on the bench instead of on the floor.
The Pendulum Lunge Exercise:
You can perform a pendulum lunge with or without weights, depending on how challenging you want it to be. Start like you would a basic lunge, feet hip-width apart, then take a big step forward with your right leg and lower your body, making sure you hit that 90-degree angle. Next, clasp your hands under your right thigh and hold for a few seconds, then unclasp. Next, take a step back with that same right leg straight into a reverse lunge, clasping your hands under the left thigh. Return to the starting position and then repeat with the opposite leg.
Walking Suitcase Lunge Exercises:
The walking suitcase lunge helps target your obliques for a bit of ab work while you work out your legs. It is just like a walking lunge but with a dumbbell in one hand, which helps throw off your balance, requiring your body to work harder. Alternate the weight as you walk, always keeping it in the same hand as your forward leg. For example, if you step forward with your right leg, the dumbbell should be in your right hand. For an even greater challenge, use a kettlebell and try switching hands underneath your bent leg.