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Five Fun Lunge Variations You Should Try!

Oct 24, 2019


In keeping up with our fun leg variations, I wanted to introduce y'all to something that has been overlooked for far too long. The uni-lateral leg exercise aka the lunge, is such a versatile movement that can have monumental impacts on your leg strength and endurance. Below, I will highlight five variations of the lunge that if done together or added to three workouts a week will leave with defined legs, some abs, and probably fairly sore.

The Reverse Lunge > Forward Lunge

I see countless Fitfluencial folk (usually girls) doing walking lunges, but why? Let's use our Show UP Fitness science to teach you why forward lunges are probably not the best:

  • They're teaching a falling pattern. We typically fall forward, so why train this pattern endlessly with walking lunges that usually are performed improperly.

  • Forward lunges are knee dominant aka they target the quads > glutes. When the torso angle is greater than the tibial angle, the movement is predominantly hip dominant = more glutes! If the angels are parallel, then it's 50-50 knee & hip. When the tibial angle is greater than the torso angle, it's more knee dominant. Remember, there's no such thing as a perfect exercise, so if you're trying to target your glutes, or have knee pain, focus more on hip dominant lunges such as the reverse lunge.

The forward lunge is one of the simpler lunges. You will place one of your feet in front of your body with your knee bent at a 90 degree angle. Then your opposite foot will step back, leg straight and quad flexed. When in position, you will slowly lower down and up, making sure that your knee is tracking over your toes and does not move past the toes. When you rise up, slowly and carefully that will be one lunge. You will need to track which foot is in front of the other and then switch sides to make sure both legs are equally exercised.

The Deficit Lunge

The glutes externally rotate, abduct (upper fibers), posteriorly tilt the pelvis and extend. The greater ROM you go through the more damage to the muscle. Doing a lunge from an elevated position will take the glutes through a larger ROM aka leave you sore as hell. Make sure you count out how many you do on both sides so each are equally exercised and to maintain your big toe, little toe, and heel on the ground at all times. It's perfectly ok for your knees to go over your toes if those checkpoints remain in contact with the ground.

Step-Up & Reverse Lunge

The lunge step up is another variation that will require some concentration while performing. You will need to find a block or step that is at least 12 inches off the ground. When ready, put one foot in the middle of the block (make sure it is stable!!) and step up. Concentrate on using your glutes and quads to push yourself up so you don't bear too much weight on your knee. As you carefully step down, go back into a reverse lunge. When you come back to the beginning position, that is one rep. After 8-12 reps, place your other leg up on the box and go through the same motion. Keep switching sides until both legs are even, all the while making sure your knee is tracking with your toes.

Switch Jump Lunges

The fourth variation of the lunge is a bit tougher than all of these. You will need to make sure you are concentrating on your form as doing this one wrong could have an impact on your knees. Place one of your feet in front of your body with your knee bent at a 90-degree angle. Then your opposite foot will step back, leg straight and quad flexed. When in position, you will jump up, out of your form and switch legs to have the back foot now in front in a 90-degree position. This is one jump lunge!

Reverse Lunge Switcharooskies

Anytime you are forced to track an object (catching a ball or switching over a weight) the brain produces a protein called Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF.) BDNF can help with neurogenesis and long-term memory.

We see too many people working out mundanely without much thought -this exercise will challenge that. Do this exercise at the end of your uni-lateral workout for 1-2 sets of 8-12 reps with light weights. If you are a trainer, you could have your client do reverse lunges and catch a ball that you throw to them as a value add and extra challenge.

Lunges are a great exercise that will definitely leave your legs feeling like they worked out. As with any exercise you should be focused on your form and make sure you are doing it accurately. To see more exercise tutorials or to get your own free personal assessment, head on over to or subscribe to our Youtube channel.

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