Lunges are a fantastic exercise for those at the start of their fitness journey because they're low-impact and you can practice them daily with a minimal chance of injury. There are many variations to the lunge, with each requiring slightly different techniques.
Check out some of the most common lunge variations below if you feel like stepping up your leg-workout game. But first, let's go over some of the most common lunge mistakes and how you can avoid them.
Refresh Your Memory: Need a recap on what lunges are and how to do lunges? Click here for our beginner’s guide on how to do lunges.
Common Lunge Mistakes
Although it’s a relatively easy exercise, it can take some practice to learn how to do lunges with correct form. By recognizing and eliminating these errors, you’ll be able to take full advantage of the fitness benefits of a lunge. It’s worth noting that some form mistakes can lead to knee pain, so make sure to keep these tips in mind.
Don’t lean too far back. When you perform a lunge perfectly, most of the weight should be placed on your forward leg. When you lean back, the benefits of the move are considerably less. The trick is to keep your back straight while engaging your core muscles.
Keep your front knee behind your toes. While bending the knees into a lunge movement, aim to keep your legs at 90 degrees. By making sure that your knees don’t go over the top of your toes, you’ll protect your quadriceps from any added strain.
Step with your legs out in a straight line. When you lunge forward, make sure to move your knee forward in a straight line, and not off to either side. Not only will this help to complete the move with perfect execution, but it lessens the chance that you’ll become overbalanced and fall over.
Up for a challenge? Try these 5 lunge variations
Once you master the forward lunge, there are plenty of other ways to take your practice to the next level. You can even add weights to your workout so that you can strengthen the muscles in your arms and back while completing the movement. Adding resistance will also make the movements more slow and controlled. The best weights for lunges include a barbell, kettlebell, or dumbbells—just make sure that the weight is light and comfortable at the start.
If you are looking to add a little variety to your workout, or you just want to try something new, there are a few different lunge variations to try, each with their own positives and benefits. Below are some of the most common lunge variations and what to expect when you try them:
The reserve lunge is even more foolproof than the forward variation, and it is much harder to lose balance when performing it. Keep your front foot planted and step back instead of forwards. This exercise targets the quadriceps at the front of your legs.
The walking lunge starts at the same point as a forward lunge, but when you have your knees bent, push off your trailing leg and bring it forward into a ‘walking motion’ and repeat. This variation keeps your core engaged and will help to strengthen your mid body and abdominal muscles.
The lateral lunge, named as such because of its sideways motion, helps with strengthening the core and working on improving balance and coordination. This variation also works a few more muscles in your inner and outer thigh. To complete a lateral lunge, stand upright with a straight back and take a big step to your side with one leg. The trailing leg should stay straight while your leading leg bends to a 90 degrees angle. Repeat on the other side.
This variant incorporates forward, reverse, and lateral lunges into one exercise. The basic premise is to complete a clock face of movements. Start with a forward lunge (this is your 12 o’clock). The lateral lunges will be your 3 o’clock and your 9 o’clock with your reverse lunge filling the 6 o’clock position. If you want to test yourself, try and complete it as fast as you can without ever sacrificing your form.
A split jump lunge will add an explosive movement to your workout, giving you access to plyometric exercise, too. It will also add cardiovascular exercise to your training. The basic premise is a forward lunge, but when your knees are bent, use some explosive power to push off your feet and jump, switching the position of your feet in mid-air. This amazing workout is difficult but can strengthen your core considerably.
Variety's the spice of life: Want to switch to your upper body? Try our chest workout at home!
Step into your new favorite workout
If you want to start your fitness journey, lunges are a great introduction to getting into shape. Working muscles in your entire lower body, especially the glutes, quads, and hamstrings, is an important way to build body strength and keep your fitness levels up. Once you’ve mastered the basics, there are many ways to evolve the lunge and plenty of variations to jazz it up. Try our 30-minute HIIT workout to get an idea of how to take this movement to the next level. Or if you're running short on time, we've got a 20-minute HIIT workout and a 10-minute HIIT workout you can try. When you're done, make sure to save time for a full-body stretching routine to cool down.
Whatever your overall health goals are, 8fit can help to build a fitness routine that is tailored to you—keeping you motivated and improving your wellbeing. Join us today!