If there’s any exercise that could be considered the bread and butter of many a fitness routine, it’s the bodyweight lunge. Basic in the best way, the lunge is known for strengthening the hammies, quads, and glutes.
The best part? Because there are many variations, it’s nearly impossible to get bored with them. So say buh-bye to that fitness plateau and get started with this roundup of lunges!
1. Bodyweight lunge
This basic movement is the building block for the rest of the exercises on this list — and many workout routines in general. Master it to work your way up to more challenging movements.
Stand with feet together, shoulders back, and core tight. Lift right leg off the floor and take a big step forward.
Lower your body toward the floor until right upper thigh is parallel to the floor and right knee forms about a 90-degree angle. Straighten up by pushing through right heel to return to standing.
2. Clock lunge
This three-part move combines the three basic lunges into one.
Perform a forward lunge and return to standing, then a lateral lunge and return to standing, and then a reverse lunge and return to standing. Repeat in the opposite direction.
3. Walking lunge
Fire up your legs even more with walking lunges. Engage your core to maintain the correct posture and be sure front knee never extends past front foot.
The forward movement will make the glutes, hamstrings, and quads of your leading leg contract maximally. It’s basically like you’re performing a one-legged squat — just don’t forget your good form!
4. Reverse lunge
Though slightly less challenging to your balance than a forward lunge, the reverse lunge is still worth adding to your routine — especially if you’re new to exercise, you struggle with maintaining balance, you have knee trouble, or you lack mobility in your hips.
Stand tall with feet together and hands on hips. Take a big step back with left foot, landing on the ball of your foot. Lower your body and bend right knee until it forms a 90-degree angle. Reverse the movement to return to standing. Repeat on the other side.
5. Reverse lunge and kick
Looking for a full-body warmup? Look no further!
Move through the regular reverse lunge, but instead of returning to standing on two legs, kick your back leg out in front of you until you can touch your toes with your opposite hand. Return to standing and repeat on the other side.
6. Lateral lunge
Step to the side — literally! Also known as a side lunge, a lateral lunge not only strengthens your lower body but also improves flexibility.
Stand with feet hip-width apart. Engage your core and take a big step out to the right. Bend right knee and take care that it doesn’t extend past right toes.
Sit hips back, keeping left leg straight and both feet flat on the floor. Push yourself back up to standing. Repeat on the other side.
7. Alternating lateral lunge
Lower into a regular lateral lunge on your right leg. Keeping back straight and chest high, bring left arm across your body to touch right toes. Reverse the movement and return to standing. Repeat on the other side.
8. Curtsy lunge
Fact: Curtsies don’t just belong in ballet class.
Stand with feet hip-width apart. Take a big step back with right leg, crossing it behind left leg.
Bend both knees and lower your body toward the floor until front knee forms a 90-degree angle. Return to starting position and repeat on the other side.
9. Lateral lunge to curtsy lunge
Talk about a power couple: a lateral lunge plus a curtsy lunge! String these two awesome moves together for one killer exercise. Make sure you keep good form!
10. Lunge with rear leg raise
Lunge ’n’ lift your way to a stronger lower body.
Perform a regular lunge with right leg forward. As you straighten right leg, hinge forward at hips.
Lift straightened left leg off the floor behind you until it’s about parallel to the floor. Return to standing. Repeat on the other side.
11. Tick-tock lunge
As the name implies, this move involves both lunging to the front and lunging to the back, like a clock.
Perform a reverse lunge (No. 4) with your right leg behind you. Push off right foot. Instead of returning to a standing position, immediately take a big step forward into a traditional bodyweight lunge.
Move back and forth until you’re ready to switch to the other leg.
12. Lunge pulse
Hold one end of a towel in each hand, pull it tight between your hands, and raise your arms directly overhead. Lower into a lunge with right foot in front.
Pulse your body up and down about an inch. Return to standing. Repeat on the left side.
13. Elevated reverse lunge
Step right up! Stand on a step or a box and place hands on hips. Step back with left leg, lowering your body into a lunge.
Push through right foot and straighten right leg as you return to standing position. Repeat on the other side.
14. Walking lunge with twist
Grab a medicine ball and hold it in front of your stomach. Step forward with right leg and lower into a lunge, then twist torso to the left.
Rotate back to center and raise your body back up, moving left leg forward into a lunge. Twist torso to the right. Continue alternating.
15. Front lunge pass-under
Baller status! Stand with feet together, holding a medicine ball in front of your chest. Take a big step forward with left foot and lower your body into a lunge.
Hinge at the waist as you shift the ball into right hand. Lower it underneath left thigh to pass it to left hand. Return to standing. Repeat on the other side.
16. Woodchop lunge
Turn a regular lunge into a total-body torcher by adding a weighted upper-body movement to the mix.
Grab a dumbbell with both hands and hold it above your left shoulder, close to your ear. Assume the regular lunge starting stance.
As you lunge forward with right leg, pull the weight down diagonally across your body — the weight should end up next to right hip. Reverse the movement and repeat on the other side.
17. Lunge with biceps curl
Work your upper body and lower body simultaneously with this two-in-one move.
Holding a dumbbell in each hand, lunge forward with right leg.
Once your knee is at about a 90-degree angle, curl the weights, then lower them back down. Return to standing and repeat on the other side.
Talk about a great two-for-one!
18. Walking dumbbell lunge
Walk your way to an even fitter, stronger physique.
Hold a dumbbell in each hand as you make your way forward in a walking lunge.
Tip: You can also use a barbell for this move. Rest the bar across your upper back, engage your core, and perform a walking lunge as usual.
19. Dumbbell reverse lunge
It doesn’t get much simpler than this.
Complete a reverse lunge movement (No. 4) while holding a dumbbell in each hand. To help yourself balance, engage your core and step back slowly until you get a rhythm going.
20. Reverse lunge and press
This move will not only challenge your lower half but also sculpt some seriously strong shoulders.
Stand as you would to perform a regular reverse lunge (No. 4), but hold a dumbbell in each hand a few inches above your shoulders, palms facing forward.
Step back with left leg and then reverse the movement, as usual. However, instead of returning to standing, draw left leg up in front of you to hip level. As you do so, press the weights up overhead. Return to standing. Repeat on the other leg.
21. Dumbbell lateral lunge
Want to make a lateral lunge (No. 6) even more challenging? Bring on the weights!
Grab a dumbbell in each hand and perform the movement. Keep back straight and lean torso forward so that the dumbbells end up at about shin level.
22. Lateral lunge to curtsy lunge with overhead press
Hold a dumbbell in right hand. As you lunge to the left, keep chest high and back straight, then lower torso forward until the weight is a few inches above the floor.
Return to standing and move into the curtsy lunge (No. 8), stepping back with left leg and pressing the dumbbell up over your head. Return to starting position.
23. One-legged lunge with lift
Amp up the regular lateral lunge (No. 6) with this move.
Grab a dumbbell in each hand, with palms facing one another. Perform a lateral lunge on left leg while leaning torso slightly forward until the weights are at about knee level.
As you straighten left leg, lift right leg off the floor and out to the side until it’s almost parallel to the floor. Lower right leg back into the lateral lunge, then return to standing. Repeat on the other side.
24. Diagonal dumbbell lunge
For improved stability and stronger quads and hamstrings, move at a diagonal. Grab a dumbbell in each hand and stand with feet hip-width apart.
Just as you would in a traditional lunge, take a large step forward with right leg, but instead of moving in a straight line, step out on a diagonal. Bend both knees until right knee forms a 90-degree angle. Return to standing. Repeat on the other side.
25. Lateral raise lunge
Another shoulder-sculptor, this exercise builds on the basic lunge movement.
Grab a dumbbell in each hand and hold them at your sides, palms facing in toward your body.
As you lower into a lunge, raise arms to the sides — it’ll look like you’re forming a T with your upper body. Lower the weights as you return to standing.
26. Overhead lunge
To challenge your core and build shoulder strength, add this move to your routine.
Grab a dumbbell in each hand and raise arms overhead, with palms facing one another.
Lunge forward with right leg, then bring left leg forward to meet right. Lunge forward with left leg, then bring right leg forward to meet left. Continue alternating, keeping the weights up throughout the movement.
27. Reverse lunge knee-up
Add some more pep to your (lunge) step!
Perform the reverse lunge (No. 4) as usual, but instead of returning to standing, straighten your front leg.
Jump up and draw back leg up in front of you (so thigh is parallel to the floor), all in one explosive motion. Return to the reverse lunge stance and repeat.
28. Split lunge jump
Get your heart racing with this plyometric exercise.
Start in a lunge stance with left leg forward. Push through both feet and jump up so your feet come together in the air.
Land in a lunge position, this time with right leg in front. Continue alternating, moving quickly through the exercise.
29. Lunge mountain climber
This exercise is basically a hybrid of lunges and mountain climbers (aka the move most people love to hate).
Start in push-up position. Bend right knee and draw leg forward, placing right foot next to right hand — it’s kind of like a stretched-out lunge.
Jump both feet up into the air, switching legs so left foot lands next to left hand. Continue alternating, keeping hips low.
30. Plyo side lunge switch with touch-down
Stand with feet twice as wide as shoulder width. Lower your body into a lateral lunge on the left, keeping chest high. Simultaneously reach right hand down to the floor in front of you.
Push through left foot to hop back up to wide-stance position. Repeat the movement on the opposite side. Continue alternating.
31. Diagonal jumper
While this move may look a little funny, the quick pace will get your heart rate pumping, and the movement itself will yield serious lower-body strength.
Just as you would in the split lunge jump (No. 28), you’re going to be moving quickly between right lunges and left lunges. The only difference? You’ll be lunging on a diagonal — a movement that’s guaranteed to keep things interesting.
32. Lunge jump burpee
Lunges and burpees… yep, you read that right. Rev your metabolism and strengthen and condition your entire body with this two-in-one move.
Perform a perfect burpee, and once you’ve jumped up to standing, immediately perform a lunge jump on your right, then a lunge jump on your left. Repeat — if you dare!