Lunges help build your the booty, sculpt powerful legs, and create better overall balance. But if you tweak the move a bit or add some equipment to the mix, you'll see even bigger rewards. Here are a number of lunge variations to get you started — your arms, tush, thighs, and legs are going to love you!
— Additional reporting by Susi May
Source: POPSUGAR Studios
Deep Reverse Lunge
Reverse lunges are already challenging, but if you step back even further, deepening your stance, you'll really feel it in your lower body.
- Begin with your feet together, holding a dumbbell in front of your chest.
- As you step your right foot back into a deep lunge, lower the dumbbell to your left foot. Make sure your left knee is directly over your ankle.
- Step your right foot forward to return to the starting position. Repeat, lunging the left foot back. This counts as one rep.
Side-Lunge to Curtsy
This sideways lunge will target your outer tush as well as your inner thighs.
- Holding a dumbbell in your right hand, side-lunge to the left, bringing your right hand to your left foot. Lower your butt as much as possible. Keep your toes pointed forward and your left knee bent to no more than 90 degrees.
- Push off gently with your left foot, and come into a curtsy position with your left leg crossing behind your right as you press your weight overhead. Keep your hips square and your curtsy tight. Both feet should be pointed forward. This completes one rep.
Adding arm work to this glute- and inner thigh-toner makes this a time-saving full-body move.
- Stand with your feet shoulder-distance apart. Grasp a dumbbell in each hand or a medicine ball. Extend your arms down at your sides if you are holding dumbbells or hold the medicine ball in front of you with arms extended.
- Take a large step diagonally forward with your right foot, planting your foot at the 11 o'clock position. Sink down until your thighs form right angles. As you bend your knees, curl the dumbbells toward your upper arms or the medicine ball toward your chest.
- Extend your legs, lift your right knee and bring it in toward your chest, and lower your arms. Step back with your right leg, this time lunging behind your torso and stepping back to the 8 o'clock position. As you sink down into the reverse lunge, complete another bicep curl. This completes one rep.
Scarecrow With Back Lunge
Holding a lunge tones the leg, while the scarecrow motion works small muscles that support the shoulder joint, which are known collectively as the rotator cuff.
- Step your left leg back into a deep lunge, making 90-degree angles with both knees.
- Raise your arms out to the side until your upper arms are parallel to the ground. Bend your elbows to 90 degrees making a loose fist with your hands.
- Hold the lunge while as you rotate your upper arms forward to bring your fists to the floor; then rotate the upper arm backward to bring the fists up. Do not lower or raise your upper arms; keep them parallel to the floor. This complete one rep.
Reverse Lunge and Kick
This is a great move for warming up the entire body. It's a dynamic stretch for both the hip flexors and the hamstrings.
- Step back with your left foot coming into a deep lunge bending both knees to 90 degrees.
- Press the right heel into the ground as you push off with your left foot, kicking your left leg to touch your left toes to your right hand.
- With control, return to the lunge position. This completes one rep.
Glider Side Lunge
This exercise works the legs and glutes, but as you slide your leg back to center, your inner thigh does all the work. You need one of those discs like the Valslide , but if you don't have one, just use the lid of a plastic container and do this move on a carpet. Or wear socks and try it on a wood floor.
- Stand with your feet a few inches apart, with your right foot on the plastic lid. Make a fist with one hand and cup your other hand over it. Keep your hands in front of your chest throughout the exercise to help you stay balanced.
- Put weight into your left leg, and as you slowly bend your left knee and squat down, slide your right foot out to the side. Then as you slowly straighten your leg, slide the right foot back in. Most of your weight remains in the leg that's not moving. This completes one rep.
Side Lunge With Weights
The side lunge works the muscle on the side of the pelvis as well as the inner thighs, while the curtsy move tones your tush.
- Holding a five- to 10-pound weight in your left hand, stand with your feet and knees together, hands on your hips.
- Take a large step with your right foot to the right side and lunge toward the floor.
- Make sure your right knee does not extend past your toes and keep your left leg relatively straight.
- Push off through your right foot to return to the start to complete one side lunge.
Split Lunge Jumps
Great for shaping the legs and butt, jumping lunges can sometimes be intense on the knees. Hopping your feet together before switching sides decreases the impact on the knees.
- Stand with your feet together and your knees soft. Jump and come into a lunge with your left leg forward.
- Push off with both feet, jumping them together, then hopping into a lunge with your right leg in front.
- Jump your feet back together to complete one rep.
Reverse Lunge and Press
This full-body toner gets the heart rate going, too!
- Stand with your feet together, holding the weights at your shoulders with your palms facing out.
- Step your left foot back coming into a lunge, making 90-degree angles with your front and back knee.
- Push off your left foot, bringing your left knee forward so it is even with your left hip while raising your arms above your head. Do this motion with control.
- Without touching the floor with your left foot, step back into the lunge to start your second rep.
Runner's Lunge With Push-Up
Adding a little push-up to a basic runner's lunge deepens the stretch for your hip flexors, the muscles on the front of the hip joint, while moving in and out of a plank warms up your core.
- Start in plank position, and bring your right foot to the outside of your right hand. Bend your elbows slowly to deepen the stretch.
- Return your right leg back to plank position, and repeat on the other side. This completes one rep.
Reverse Lunge With Reach
Get your legs fired up while testing your balance with this move.
- Stand with your hands at your waist, and step back with your left leg into a deep lunge. Increase the stretch by lifting your left arm overhead and reaching to the the right.
- Return to standing, and repeat this move on the other side to complete one rep.
Alternating Side Lunge
Moving laterally is great way to work the glutes on the side of your pelvis (known as the gluteus medius) as well as the inner thighs. These muscle groups help stabilize the pelvis and should be considered part of the core.
- Start with your feet directly under your hips. Step your right foot wide to the side coming into a lunge with your left fingers touching your right foot. Your right knee shouldn't go beyond your right toes. Keep your chest lifted and your weight in your heels.
- Push into your right foot to return to standing, then lunge sideways to the left to complete one rep.
Lunge With Overhead Lift
This lunge variation works your arms and challenges your balance and core strength.
- Begin with your feet together holding a weight in your right hand. As you step your left foot back into a deep lunge, bend your elbow to a 90-degree angle with your palm facing in towards your body.
- Transfer your weight to your right leg, and swing your left leg as you press your dumbbell towards the ceiling.
- Step back to lunge slowly with control finding balance with your core strength. This completes one rep.
Split Lunge With Twist
This lunge variation will tone up your lower body and arms, but that twist will make your core work, too.
- Begin with your feet together holding a five- or eight-pound dumbbell in each hand.
- As you step back with your right foot for a deep reverse lunge, press up your weights for a bicep curl.
- Using your core strength, rotate your chest towards your left leg and extend your arms out to either side and hold. Step back to the starting position.
- This completes one rep.