Four Great Lunge Variations

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Four Great Lunge Variations

Build a powerful lower body with lunges.

photograph by PIXDELUXE/GETTY IMAGES | ILLUSTRATIONS BY MCKIBILLO

“The lunge is a great compound lower-body movement that utilizes several muscle groups at once,” says Kathy Benson Zetterberg, NASM-CPT, CES, PES, GFS, owner of Fitness At The Lake in Lake Sherwood, Calif. Each version here starts with kinetic chain checkpoints in alignment: feet straight ahead, knees straight, and the lumbo pelvic hip complex in a neutral position. Perform an equal number of reps on each side.

Reverse Lunge
Reverse Lunge
Good for beginners.  
A. Take a step backward with hands on hips, core engaged. Bend both knees until front thigh is parallel to floor and back knee dips but doesn’t touch the floor.  
B. Press through front heel and push off with back foot. Finish with feet together, pressing hips forward to engage glutes.


Front Lunge

Front Lunge
Targets glutes, quads, hamstrings, calves.
A. Engage core and place hands on hips, then step forward. Don’t let back knee touch floor; continue to full range of motion if no compensation patterns are evident.
B. Push through front heel to return to standing; end with feet together, squeezing glutes. 


Frontal Plane Lunge

Frontal Plane Lunge
Targets gluteus medius and gluteus maximus.
A. Step to the side with a wide stance, keeping kinetic chain checkpoints in alignment.   
B. As you step sideways, the hips slide back and down (the bottom of the move looks like a squat with a kickstand). Keep opposite leg straight, feet and knees in alignment. Press through the heel to shift back to the starting position.   


Transverse Lunge

Transverse Lunge
Added benefits for inner-thigh muscles and knee and hip extensors.
A. Pivot left foot while the right leg steps out 90 degrees to the side. As the right leg lands, the left knee drops and heel raises. 
B. Push off with the right leg, pivot back to the starting position.
 
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