Lunges – 5 Different Ways to Do a Lunge Exercise

Lunges are one of my favorite leg exercises to do, especially when I don’t feel like doing squats, or my hips feel really tight.

Doing lunges always loosens the tightness in my hips and hamstrings. 

Plus I always feel like I get a better leg workout with lunges than squats. 

Another reason why I love lunges is that there are many variations to them. You can even do a different lunge variation in almost every leg workout.

It’s especially great since you can target a different part of your legs, inner and outer thighs.

Not to mention, the lunge is also fantastic but exercise working the gluteus medius more than squat does.  

My lunges vs squats post discuss more on the differences. 

For example, side lunges target the inner thighs and courteous lunges hit the outer thighs. Doing different lunge variations in your workouts helps engage a wider variety of leg muscles. 

It is also another great way to avoid boredom. 

I don’t know about you, but I hate doing the same exercise all the time, every time. I get bored, and fun, exciting appeal of even a great exercise wears off too quickly. 

If you are only used to doing one type of lunge, try some of these variations below.

5 Ways to Do a Lunge

5 lunge variations

1. Lunge

This basic body-weight movement is the building block for the rest of the exercises on this list—and many workout routines in general. Ace it to work your way up to more challenging lunges.


Step 1: To start, stand up straight with your feet together, shoulders back, and core tight. Lift your right leg off the ground and take a big step forward. 

Step 2: Lower your body toward the ground until your right upper thigh is parallel to the floor and your right knee forms about a 90-degree angle. Straighten up by pushing through your right heel to return to stand.

2. Side Lunge 

Step to the side—also known as a side lunge or lateral lunge. This move not only strengthens your lower half but hit those hard to reach inner thigh muscles. It also improves flexibility.

Side lunge

Step 1: Start standing, with your feet hip-width apart. Engage your core and take a big step out to the right. Bend your right knee (but make sure that it doesn’t extend past your right toes) and sit your hips back, keeping your left leg straight and both feet flat on the floor.
Step 2: Push yourself back up to standing. Repeat on the other side.

3. Walking Lunge 

Work your thigh muscles even more with walking lunges. The forward movement makes the glutes, hamstrings, and quads of the leading leg contract to their maximal. It’s basically like performing a single-leg squat. Maintain good posture throughout, and be sure your front knee never goes past your front foot.

Walking lunge

Step 1: Stand with your feet hip-width apart and your hands on your hips. Step forward with your right leg and slowly lower your body down until your right knee is bent at least 90 degrees.
Step 2: Pause, then raise up. Bring your back foot forward so that you move forward (like you’re walking) a step with every rep. Alternate the legs each time.

4. Reverse lunge 

The reverse lunge is a lot more forgiving, especially on your balance than a forward lunge. The move is still worth adding to your routine—especially for anyone new to working out or struggling with maintaining balance, dealing with knee trouble, or lacking mobility in the hips.

Reverse lunge

Step 1: Stand tall, with your feet together and your hands on your hips. Take a big step back with your left foot, landing on the ball of your feet.

Step 2: Lower your body down while bending your right knee until it forms a 90-degree angle. Push back up to the standing position and repeat. This time, step back with your right leg. 

5. Curtsy Lunge 

Curtsy lunge

Step 1: To start, stand with your feet hip-width apart and hand on hips. Keep your chest and eyes up and shoulders squared.

Step 2: Take a big step back with your right leg, crossing it behind your left leg. Bend both knees, lowering your body towards the floor until your left thigh is nearly parallel to the floor. Return to the starting position and repeat on the other side.

The Takeaway

There you have it! 

Lunges are my go-to exercise for a great leg workout and sculpting my legs and butt.

They are super easy and friendly on the knees as opposed to other leg exercises such as squats, especially if you’re just getting started with working out.

Start with the basic lunge and work your way up to other lunge variations that are more challenging.

Which lunge variations will you try next? Leave me comments below to let me know.

Misato Alexandre


After making healthy living a priority, Misato lost over 20 lbs in less than 90 days. Instead of weight loss being a dreading experience, living the lifestyle of health and fitness granted her more happiness and joy than ever before. She co-founded Fitwirr to make health and fitness simple for everyone and share her tips through writing evidence-based articles on nutrition, weight loss, and exercise.

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