Want strong, lean legs?
Try These 4 Must-Do Lunge Variations!
These lunge variations are a great way to strengthen your legs in every plane of motion to not only sculpt amazing looking legs but also prevent injury!
Lunges are a great lower body exercise to strengthen and tone your legs and glutes. They are not only compound exercises that allow you to work more muscles at once, but also unilateral movements, which makes them great for correcting imbalances and preventing injury.
Use these 4 lunges to work your legs from every angle to build function lower body strength and get lean legs!
4 Must-Do Lunges For Strong, Lean Legs:
Exercise #1: Balance Lunge
The Balance Lunge is a great way to challenge your quads, glutes and even your core without even adding weights! Plus, while this move strengthens your legs, it can also improve your mobility. By placing your back foot up on a bench or box, you can increase the range of motion you work through!
To do Balance Lunges, place one foot back up on a box. You can place the top of your foot on the box by pointing your toe or you can flex your foot and rest the ball of your foot on the box. Hop your front foot out so you are in a nice wide stance with your back foot up on the box.
Then sink down into a lunge, dropping your back knee toward the ground as you bend your front knee to 90 degrees. Really sit back into the lunge. Make sure you aren’t going forward onto your front toe and that your front knee is not going past your toe. You want to sit back to make your glute work. You should also feel a nice stretch in the front of the leg that is back when doing this move.
Keep your chest up nice and tall as you sit down and back. If you are struggling to sit back, you can hinge very slightly forward at the hips, but do not round over or arch back to try to keep your chest up.
After sinking down as low as you can, drive back up to standing, driving through your front heel and the back foot. Don’t go forward as you drive up. Then repeat, sinking back down.
Beginners may want to use a super low box or do the move from the ground as a Split Squat.
Exercise #2: Duck Under Lunge
The Duck Under Lunge is a great variation to work on hip mobility as you strengthen your legs and glutes, especially your glutes!
To do the Duck Under Lunge, stand up nice and tall, facing to the right with your back leg in triple extension, on the ball of your foot with your knee and hip extended. Your legs should be just wider than shoulder width.
Then begin to lower down almost as if lunging downing and, as you sink, rotate to pivot your back heel down and come into the bottom of a squat. You will then want to begin to pivot and rotate up toward the left side, pivoting your right foot.
Keep your chest up the entire time and do not let your back round toward the ground. Keep your core engaged so that you don’t feel this in your low back. Do not lean forward to try to get lower to the ground. While you can hinge a bit at the hips, you don’t simply want to lean forward to “duck under.” You actually want to squat down as low as you can.
Pivot to the left and pop up to stand up tall out of the squat, feeling your glute engage to power the pivot and move to standing. Then lunge back down and pivot into the squat before rotating and popping back up on the right.
As you get comfortable with the move, try to make it as fluid as possible, getting as low as possible while quickly moving between the pivots and standing up. The move should almost look like you are drawing a “U” shape. Beginners may need to make it look more like a “V” until their hips open up more. Move quickly and really engage your glute at the top!
Exercise #3: Get Up Lunge
The Get Up Lunge is a leg KILLER.
No weights are needed to make this lunge challenging because you have to move all the way to kneeling on the ground before standing back up. And your legs don’t even get a break when you stand up as you have to stay down in a squat even at the top!
To do the Get Up Lunge, start standing with your feet close together. Then sit your butt back and sink into a little squat. You will not stand up out of this squat while performing the Get Up Lunges.
From this little squat, lunge back to half kneeling on the ground. Keep your chest up as you step one leg back and lower that knee down to the ground so that you are half kneeling down.
Then lunge back with the other leg until you are fully kneeling on the ground. Keep your chest up and back flat as you come to kneeling. Do not sit back on your heels as you lower down to the ground.
From here, you will stand back up one leg at a time. Step one foot forward and place that foot flat on the ground so that you are back in a half kneeling position. Then step the other foot forward up to your front foot, but do not fully straighten your legs as you bring both feet back together. You want to return to that starting little squat.
Repeat the Lunge, either lunging back with the same leg or by alternating sides. Make sure that even when you stand up, you don’t completely extend your legs. You want to stay in that little squat even at the top so your legs are working the entire time.
Exercise #4: Side To Side Lunge
The Side to Side Lunge is a great way to improve your mobility and strength your inner thighs and glutes. By staying low as you shift side to side, you’ll make your legs spend more time under tension for great results without adding any weight!
To do the Side to Side Lunges, stand with your feet wider than shoulder-width apart and your toes both pointing straight ahead. Bend your right knee and sink your butt down to the right.
Keep both heels down and your left leg straight as you sit back into a lunge on your right side. You can place your hands on the ground if you want to remind you to sit back but don’t round over even as you hinge over.
Then, keeping your butt low, slide across into a low lunge on the other side. Your left knee will bend as your right leg straightens. Both heels should stay down and your butt should stay low.
Hold for a second on each side before sliding back across. Stay low until all reps are complete.
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