How to do a front lunge exercise

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Functional fitness is about making sure you have no muscular imbalances – and lunges are the perfect move to prevent that from happening

Exercise should be as much about functional fitness as it is raw power. We work out in the gym so that we can take that energy, mobility and strength into the real world to complete everyday tasks. With that in mind, we’ve got to make sure that both sides of the body are equal.

You can squat until the cows come home but if you have an imbalance, working on both legs isn’t going to help. To really assess your range of motion, you want to exercise one leg at a time.

That’s where lunges come into their own. Not only can you work on each leg individually but you add weights or jumps to make the move more dynamic and compound (exercising more than one muscle at once). They’re a great foundation for more complex moves like single-leg deadlifts or pistol squats.


  • Quadriceps (front thighs)
  • Hamstrings (back thighs)
  • Glutes (bum)
  • Calves


  1. Stand up tall, hands on your hips
  2. Step forwards with your right foot so that nearly all of your weight in on the right
  3. Your left leg is outstretched behind with just your toes on the ground
  4. Bend your right knee until it reaches a 90’ angle – making sure that it doesn’t go beyond your toes
  5. Bend your left knee at the same time so that it hovers just above the ground
  6. Lift your front lunging leg back to the starting position and go again

Repeat for 12 reps on the right leg before switching to do 12 reps on the left.


It’s all about the range of motion rather than sprinting your way through the move so lunge mindfully.

Lunging is all about the angles

Eventually, you want to form a 90’ angle between your thighs and calves.

Keep your knees behind your toes

Weight should be back in your heels at all times.

Engage the core

Keep those abs locked to give you greater balance.

Keep your knees facing forwards

You don’t want them to face out to the sides but keep everything aligned.


Instead of lunging on one leg then another, jumping lunges have you switching between legs. Get into your lunge position then lightly jump to switch legs over, taking care as you come back down to land softly (on your heel in the front foot and on your toes in the back foot). Use your arms to propel you up and safely down.

Don’t be fooled by the same, this is most definitely a lunge. This time, you don’t have to move your feet at all until it’s time to change sides. Get into your lunge stand and keep your feet in place, lift yourself up and down. It’s the back leg that does the most dynamic work here. Add weight to make it more challenging.

Instead of lunging on the spot, lunge forward and then lunge with the other leg to take the next step. Add some weight (a dumbbell in each hand or a heavy kettlebell) to increase the load. Be careful not to slam your knee into the floor as you go.

Instead of lunging forwards, this is a backward lunge with a difference – your back foot can’t touch the ground. It’s fantastic for improving balance as well as leg strength. Stand up straight and take a step backward. Bend towards the ground, back knee hovering off the ground but don’t let the foot touch and then come back up to standing.

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You can do them anytime, anywhere—just make sure you’re doing them right!

Lunges are a quintessential exercise; you can do them anywhere and the effects can be seen in no time, in the form of shapely, toned legs and backside (just in time for bikini season!). If you’re planning on incorporating lunges into your routine, however, make sure you’re not doing more harm than good. Find out how to do lunges correctly below.

The basics: It’s important to do lunges properly so you don’t put unwanted strain on your joints. Here’s how to perfect your form:

  • Keep your upper body straight, with your shoulders back and relaxed and chin up (pick a point to stare at in front of you so you don’t keep looking down). Always engage your core.
  • Step forward with one leg, lowering your hips until both knees are bent at about a 90-degree angle. Make sure your front knee is directly above your ankle, not pushed out too far, and make sure your other knee doesn’t touch the floor. Keep the weight in your heels as you push back up to the starting position.

Challenge your muscles: Now that you have the basics down, you can modify your lunge workouts in many different ways in order to work different muscles. For example, Crunch gym personal training manager Tim Rich recommends reverse lunges (stepping back instead of forward) as a good way to complement the forward movements in your daily life. “We always move forward,” Tim says. “Moving in a reverse direction requires more skill and helps regain some balance and athleticism.” Here are more recommended lunge variations to try:

  • Do a bicep curl with dumbbells while you lunge to work your upper body while you strengthen your legs.
  • Do this walking forward lunge workout to further challenge your balance.
  • Change it up with side lunges so you can work your lower body muscles in a different way than you normally do. Find out the correct way to do a side lunge here.

Injury prevention: Even though lunges are one of the best ways to work your lower body, some people tend to avoid lunges because it can put too much strain on the knees. If you feel pain, Tim recommends you take smaller steps as you lunge. “Reducing the range of motion will still develop good strength and alignment,” Tim says. Slowly increase your lunge distance as your pain gets better. Some people also find that doing a reverse lunge instead of a forward lunge also helps reduce knee strain.

How to Do a Front Lunge Exercise

How to Do a Front Lunge Exercise

If you’ve ever knelt down to tie your shoe or seen someone propose on a bended knee, you’re familiar with the lunge. A lunge is a single-leg bodyweight exercise that works your hips, glutes, quads, hamstrings, and core and the hard-to-reach muscles of your inner thighs.

Lunges can help you develop lower-body strength and endurance. They’re also a great beginner move. When done correctly, lunges can effectively target your lower-body muscles without placing added strain on your joints.

While studies on this quintessential exercise are limited, we did dig up a study on swimmers. In 2015, researchers figured out that those who warmed up with either squats or lunges had faster swimming times — not too shabby for such a simple exercise. Cuenca-Fernández F, et al. (2015). Effect on swimming start performance of two types of activation protocols: Lunge and YoYo squat. DOI: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000000696

Ready to take the lunge? Master the move by following the steps below from personal trainer Greg Nieratka. Then keep reading to learn how to fix common mistakes and try some variations.

How to Do a Front Lunge Exercise

1. Stand tall with feet hip-width apart. Engage your core.

2. Take a big step forward with right leg. Start to shift your weight forward so heel hits the floor first.

3. Lower your body until right thigh is parallel to the floor and right shin is vertical. It’s OK if knee shifts forward a little as long as it doesn’t go past right toe. If mobility allows, lightly tap left knee to the floor while keeping weight in right heel.

4. Press into right heel to drive back up to starting position.

5. Repeat on the other side.

Tightrope lunge

Sure, lunges will challenge your balance, but there’s no reason to make it extra hard on yourself by narrowing your stance. Avoid bringing your front foot directly in line with your back foot, as if you’re walking on a tightrope. “This dramatically reduces stability,” Nieratka explains.

The fix: Start with feet hip-width apart and maintain that gap as you step.

Heel pop

We hate to break it to you, but “pop, lock, and drop it” should be reserved exclusively for the dance floor. When it comes to lunging, you’ll want to step forward enough so that your front heel won’t pop off the floor.

“If your step is too shallow, your knee will travel forward past your foot, which puts unnecessary stress and strain on the knee,” Nieratka says.

The fix: Take a larger step, plant your heel, and drive it into the floor to return to starting position.

Upper-body drop

With a forward lunge, it’s OK to, well, shift your weight forward. But beware of bending at the hip and letting your upper body drop, which will put added strain on your knee.

“This is especially important if you are doing a lunge under load or with a weight,” Nieratka says. If your chest falls, you run the risk of losing balance, falling, or even dropping the weight on yourself — ouch!

The fix: Engage your core. Think about pulling your belly button toward your spine. Also, keep your eyes forward instead of looking down.

Once you master proper form, you can add weight to make it more challenging — and rewarding. “The weight can be a barbell, one or two dumbbells, a kettlebell, or really any object you have at home,” says Nieratka.

Water bottles or a jug of laundry detergent totally counts too. Or try these lunge variations to switch up your routine.

Reverse lunge

Go easy on your knees with this lunge. Stand with feet hip-width apart, engage your core, and take a big step backward.

Activate your glutes as you bend front knee to lower your body so back knee lightly taps the floor while keeping upper body upright. Drive front heel into the floor to return to starting position. Repeat on the other side.

Walking lunge

Perform a forward lunge and walk it out. At the low point of the lunge, instead of returning to starting position, shift your weight forward and drive front heel into the floor.

Rise up as you bring back foot forward to meet front foot. Reset feet to hip width. Repeat on the other side as you continue to move forward.

Lateral lunge

From starting position, take a big step to the right with right foot, keeping toes forward and feet flat on the floor. Send hips back, shift weight into right heel, and extend arms in front of you for balance. Push off right heel to return to starting position, then repeat on the other side.

Curtsy lunge

With hands on hips and feet wider than hip-width apart, step left leg behind right leg. Bend right knee, engage glutes, and lower until right thigh is parallel to the floor. Lightly tap left knee to the floor. Drive right foot into the floor to rise to starting position. Repeat on the other side.

Clock lunge

Lunge in all four directions on each side. Lunge forward with right foot, lunge laterally with right foot, reverse lunge with right foot, and then curtsy lunge, bringing right foot behind you. Repeat on the other side.

Walking lunge stretch

Perform a walking lunge by stepping right foot forward. At the bottom of the movement, hover left knee just above the floor and twist from your hips to the right over right knee.

Place hands on knee to help deepen the stretch. Hold for 2 seconds. Press into right heel and bring left foot to meet right to return to standing. Repeat on the other side.

Split lunge jump

Stand with feet hip-width apart. Instead of stepping, jump into a forward lunge position with right foot forward. Drive right heel into the floor to explosively jump up.

Switch legs in midair so you land with left leg forward. Immediately lower into a lunge on the other side. For momentum, pump arms as if you’re running.

Special thanks to personal trainer Greg Nieratka for demonstrating these moves for us.

N ot sure how to do lunges? We’re here to help.

Lunges are a single-leg bodyweight movement that are deceptively simple, highly effective and can be done literally anywhere (e.g. the living room, beach, by your desk, on a plane, etc.).

We’ll break down the essentials for this foundational exercise so you can reap the rewards and ensure you’re doing more good than harm.

There are a host of lunge variations out there, however, in this article, we’re sticking to the classic forward lunge. This compound unilateral exercise—that’s sports talk for a multi-joint movement that focuses on one side of the body at a time—demands a great deal of mobility, balance and core strength all at once.

How to do lunges for beginners

Forward lunges are one of the most effective lower body workout routines, employing and sculpting your quads, glutes, hamstrings and calf muscles; while your abs and lower back are called into action for stability.

As mentioned above, we are sticking to the forward lunge today. Here is how to perform the movement:

Stand with feet hip-width apart

Take a large step forward with one leg

Keep the majority of your weight on your front foot as you lower your hips, keeping the front foot flat and back heel lifted

Descend until your rear knee almost touches the floor and the front knee is stacked directly above the ankle, creating 90° bend in both knees

Drive through the heel of your front foot and push yourself back up to your starting position

Lunge Do’s and Don’ts

When you are executing lunges, there are some cues to keep in the back of your mind:

Do take a big step forward (a larger step than you would when walking)

Do keep your feet hip-width apart, to avoid walking a tightrope and wobbling to one side

Do engage your core and keep your back straight for stability during the entire movement

Do use your arms for extra balance by holding them out to your sides if needed

Do keep neck neutral by focusing on a point at eye level

As you perfect your lunge, there are also some things to watch out for. When lunging forward:

Don’t let your knee extend beyond the toes of your leading leg.

Don’t let your rear knee rest on the ground (do hover just above the ground)

Don’t continue if any noticeable knee pain arises before or during the exercise

Don’t lean backwards, forwards or hyperextend your neck

Tip: when descending, focus on maintaining control by really flexing your core and leg muscles to control the descent.

Start slow and steady

If you don’t feel comfortable doing lunges fear not, you’re not alone. Lunges can be a tad intimidating as there’s a lot to take into account, including flexibility and balance. But, don’t worry, there’s tons of room for progression and, like most movements the more often you do them, the more you’ll improve with time. Use your 8fit app to learn different lunge progressions like standing next to a wall for added support.

Another great tip for beginners is to start by taking smaller steps forward, this will decrease the range of motion (depth) then from there increase the distance of your forward step and go as low as your mobility will allow. The more you practice the more comfortable you’ll feel performing them.

Still finding lunges challenging? Then dial it back and revisit the basics and build-up/refine your squats. Why? Well, they use the same muscle groupings but are considerably easier don’t require the same amount of strength, mobility, and balance as a lunge. Once you can squat to 90°, then a satisfying deep lunge is just around the corner.

Lunge alternatives

Squats are a great alternative exercise. Any variation works, but best to start with shallow squats or wall squats. Otherwise step-ups, glute bridges and hamstring curls (on a weight machine) should do the trick.

Harder lunge variations

As you progress through your main fitness program on the 8fit app, you’ll be introduced to different types of lunges. Here are some harder lunge variations you might encounter:

Weighted walking lunges

Bulgarian split squats

Keep in mind that whether you’re just starting off or a seasoned fitness veteran coming back from time off or injury, start small, pay attention to proper form and build up the depth of your lunge gradually. Slow and steady wins the race.

How to Do a Front Lunge Exercise

The lunge is a resistance exercise that can be used to help strengthen your lower body, including your:

When practiced from different angles, lunges are also a functional movement. Functional movements can help you work muscles in ways that benefit everyday movements you do outside of exercising. For example, side lunges help strengthen the muscles your body uses to move and change direction.

Lunges can also help prepare your muscles for participating in exercise and sports that require a lunging motion like tennis, yoga, and basketball.

Read on to learn more about the benefits of lunges and how to incorporate them into your daily routine.

How to Do a Front Lunge Exercise

The basic lunge works the quads, glutes, and hamstrings. To correctly do a lunge:

  1. Start by standing up tall.
  2. Step forward with one foot until your leg reaches a 90-degree angle. Your rear knee should remain parallel to the ground and your front knee shouldn’t go beyond your toes.
  3. Lift your front lunging leg to return to the starting position.
  4. Repeat 10 to 12 reps on one leg, or switch off between legs until you’ve totaled 10 to 12 reps per leg.

By performing lunge variations, you can activate different muscles. For example, instead of lunging forward, you can lunge to the side.

Side lunges, also known as lateral lunges, can help you increase flexibility and strengthen your thigh muscles. You can also do a walking lunge to keep your body moving and help elevate your heart rate. Adding a torso twist to lunges works the abdominal muscles.

Walking lunge

A walking lunge works the same muscles as a basic lunge, but it may help elevate your heart rate from the additional movement. To do a walking lunge:

  1. Start by performing a basic lunge with your right leg lunging forward.
  2. Instead of returning to a standing position, start to lunge forward with your left leg so it’s now in a lunge position. Your right leg should stay in position to stabilize you.
  3. Continue this “walking” motion as you continue to lunge forward, alternating legs, for 10 to 12 reps on each leg.

Lunge with a torso twist

A lunge with a torso twist gives you the added benefit of working your abdominals in addition to your glutes and quads. To do a lunge with a torso twist:

  1. Start by performing a basic lunge with your right leg lunging forward.
  2. After your right leg is lunged forward in front and you’re feeling stable, use your core to twist your torso to the right. Hold for a few seconds. Don’t move your legs out of lunge position.
  3. Twist your torso back to the center. Step back to standing with your right leg.
  4. Switch legs and lunge forward with your left leg, and, once stabilized, twist to the left this time.
  5. Perform 10 lunges with twists on each side.

Side or lateral lunge

In addition to working your glutes, hamstrings, and quads, a side or lateral lunge also works your inner thigh muscles. To do a side lunge:

  1. Start standing tall, feet hip-width distance apart.
  2. Take a wide step out to the left. Bend your left knee as you push your hips back. Keep both feet flat on the floor throughout the lunge.
  3. Push off with your left leg to return to standing.
  4. Perform 10 to 12 lunges on the left side before switching to the right.

If you’re looking to improve your physical fitness level and strengthen your legs, consider adding lunges to your weekly exercise routine 2 to 3 times a week.

If you’re new to fitness, you can start by doing 10 to 12 lunges on each leg at a time. If your goal is to lose weight or tone your body, lunges should be performed in addition to cardiovascular exercise and other strength training moves.

Try cardio or high-intensity interval training 2 to 3 times per week, alternating days with strength training, like lunges, on the other days.

If you aren’t sure how to set up an exercise routine, work with a certified personal trainer who can make a schedule for you to follow.

Can you use lunges to spot train your muscles?

Some of the pros of spot training, or targeting only one area of your body with lunges, are that you may see a slight increase to muscle development or tone in that area.

The cons are that your body can quickly adapt. The move will no longer be challenging after a few weeks. Instead, a well-rounded fitness routine can help you meet your goals.

This leg move does all kinds of amazing things for your body.

How to Do a Front Lunge Exercise

Adding reverse lunges into your regular rotation will do for your body what you should be doing for your car: delivering a routine, total-body tune up.

The single-leg move will increase stability, fix muscle imbalances, reduce knee and hip pain, and even help you walk better in heels, says Darin Hulslander, certified strength and conditioning specialist and personal trainer with This Is Performance. And just like a wax and shine, that step-back-and-squat will build your booty and sculpt your legs.

How To Do Reverse Lunge

How to: Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, hands at side or on your hips. With your right foot, step back about one and a half times your normal stride length, landing with the ball of that foot on the ground and your heel up. Lower the back leg straight down until it gently grazes the ground or close to, creating a 90-degree angle in the front leg. Push through the heel and midfoot of the front leg to return to standing, bringing your right foot back in line with your left. Repeat on the left side. That’s one rep.

“The reverse lunge is probably the best overall single-leg exercise you can do.”

Form notes: Ensure the toes and knee of your back leg are facing the same direction throughout the entire move to keep your knees healthy. And make sure you’re fully bending the back leg, or it’ll cause a strain in your hips. If you feel any pain, don’t go down as far, Hulslander says.

If you need stability support at first, do the move next to a ballet bar or wall to help as you lower and raise. And if you have limited ankle or hip mobility, try Hulslander’s prisoner reverse lunges first: Place your hands behind you head as you step back, lower, and return to start. This helps open the chest, keep a more neutral upper back, and reduces the strain on already tight tendons, he explains. Work your way up to hands on your hips.

Reps/sets you should do to see results: Do eight reps on one leg, then switch and repeat on the other side. Complete three to four sets total.

The Benefits Of Reverse Lunges

“The reverse lunge is probably the best overall single-leg exercise you can do,” Hulslander says.

How to Do a Front Lunge Exercise

For starters, the move actively targets the quads, glutes, and hamstrings—which means it’s strengthening and sculpting your entire backside. It teaches the knee to stabilize itself over the toe—great for your running technique—and it’s easier on your knees than the typical lunge since stepping backward calls for less shearing of the joint.

Additionally, reverse lunges improve your range of motion and mobility, which will cascade into boosting pretty much every aspect of your life. “A lack of ankle mobility is one of the main causes of knee pain I see, while limited hip mobility contributes to lower back pain,” Hulslander says. In addition to less pain, you can expect this move to help with everything from squatting deeper to picking your kids up off the floor.

To top it off, this move teaches your body how to shift your weight backward—something you rarely practice but often need, like when someone comes around a corner too fast or you misstep in high heels, Hulslander points out.

Make Reverse Lunges Part Of Your Workout

Beginners should start working reverse lunges into their routine twice a week, just using bodyweight. Once your body is used to all the stability work, Hulslander advises leveraging the move as often as every workout. He likes to do one or two sets of five reps as part of a dynamic warmup because, “it creates a nice stretch in the glutes, and gets the brain thinking of how to do the exercise.”

How to Do a Front Lunge Exercise

In a workout, pair reverse lunges with an upper-body move during circuits so your legs can get adequate rest from such a demanding movement. Or make them a part of your HIIT routine (but keep it weight-free since you want to execute it fast, but with proper form). And program the move toward the start of your routine since it’s “a more taxing movement and you don’t want to be too fatigued or your form and balance will suffer,” Hulslander says.

More advanced variations on side lunges: If you can execute three sets of eight bodyweight reps without your knee banging the floor or feeling strain in your hips (signs of muscle weakness and limited mobility, respectively), you’re ready to upgrade:

  • Throw a towel or slider under your back foot, which will force the front leg to work much harder to stay stable and keep the back leg from sliding out too far.
  • If your goal is muscle building, add weight to the bodyweight move—like a dumbbell or kettlebell.
  • The most advanced version: Elevate the front foot two to four inches off the ground. “This forces the front leg to work harder,” says Hulslander, “and requires deeper hip mobility to help you return to the starting position.”

Primary muscles: Glutes, quads, hamstrings
Secondary muscles: Core
Equipment: No equipment


1. Stand with your feet hip-width apart, take a step forward and then slowly bend both knees until your back knee is just above the floor.
2. Stand back up, take a step back with the same leg, and bend both knees until your back knee is just above the floor.
3. Repeat this back and forth movement for the entire duration of the set, and then switch legs.


Maintain your back straight, keep your shoulders back and tighten the abs. Breathe in as you lunge and keep your weight in the front heel. Breathe out as you push back up to the starting position, and maintain your feet hip-width apart throughout the entire exercise.


The front and back lunge is a very effective lower body exercise that helps to tone and sculpt your glutes and thighs. This move also improves the flexibility of the hips and increases your balance and stability.



Practice doing forward lunges and backward lunges separately. Once you’re comfortable with your form, advance to the front and back lunges and do 2 or 3 sets of 8 to 10 repetitions, on each side.


To calculate the number of calories burned doing the front and back lunges, enter your weight and the duration of the exercise:


Try these other lower body exercises to strengthen, sculpt and tone your thighs, hips, legs and glutes:
Pilates grasshopper
Frog bridge
Step up crossover
Curtsy lunge side kick

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How to Do a Front Lunge Exercise


The lunge pattern has always been one of the most useful and popular exercise available. Many lunge variations exist, each with their own unique set of benefits.

The front rack reverse lunge is one of the best variations, as it trains the entire leg musculature while incorporating strength and stability in the upper body and core.



Trains each leg individually, exposing and improving any potential imbalances that exist from side to side

The front rack creates an entirely new challenge as the weight is pulling you forward, causing you to keep the core muscles engaged

Improves overall core stability and total body balance



Pick up two kettle-bells (dumbbells are okay, but kettle-bells are better) and hold them at your sides

Use momentum to ‘clean’ the kettle-bells onto your anterior shoulders with the bells facing outwards

Keep your elbows high and in front of you the entire time, with your hands close together by your neck

At this point, the kettle-bells should be resting comfortably on your upper arms

Stand up tall and set your feet at a stance closer than shoulder width, with your feet pointing forward

Brace your core

How to Do a Front Lunge Exercise

Begin the movement by stepping back directly behind you, while doing your best to keep the other foot pointing straight ahead

Once you are on the ball of your foot of the back leg, begin bending at the knee of the front leg

It is okay to let your knee translate forward over your toes, but do not let your knee move inwards

Keep your spine neutral and your core braced throughout the lift

Once the knee of your back leg touches the floor lightly, you have reached the endpoint

How to Do a Front Lunge Exercise

When looking from the side, your front knee should be at a 90-degree angle to the floor

Reverse the movement by extending the knee of the front leg and slowly returning the trailing leg to the starting position

Do not allow any lateral translation of the working knee at any point

Do not allow any change in your spinal alignment

It is easier to keep working on the same leg for the desired amount of repetitions before switching sides



Brace your core and maintain this tightness throughout the repetition.

Focus on keeping your upper body completely still while going through the lunge.

Lower the weight if necessary.


It is permissible to have forward movement of the knee over the toe but not an inward movement.

This pattern is extremely common among trainees and puts a lot of stress on the meniscus and medial ligaments.

Lower the weight if necessary to keep the knee well aligned with the rest of your joints


Want to know how to use this exercise in your workout? Check out The Best Workout Template For Busy Individuals to learn how to integrate it into your training!


Perform 50% of your body weight for 8 repetitions each leg


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How to Do a Front Lunge Exercise

Alex Robles, MD, CPT / Brittany Robles, MD, MPH, CPT

Alex & Brittany Robles are physicians, NASM CPTs, health & fitness experts, and founders of The White Coat Trainer: a site dedicated to improving the health and fitness of busy professionals. Their advice has been featured on KevinMD, The Doctor Weighs In, My Fitness Pal, Reader’s Digest, Livestrong, and The Active Times. Learn more about them here.

1 thought on “How to do Front Rack Reverse Lunges Correctly and Safely”

The approach that you take to fitness is what makes sense to me even though I now have plenty of time in my daily life (retired) to devote to fitness. Thanks for the exercise list and accompanying demonstrations.

This is one of the best exercises runners can do. Make sure you’re doing it right.

How to Do a Front Lunge Exercise

How to Do a Front Lunge Exercise

Running is a unilateral movement, meaning you use just one limb at a time to continuously propel yourself forward. That’s why it’s so important for us to incorporate unilateral exercises into our regular strength-training workouts. Doing so builds strength, balance, stability, coordination, and lowers the risk for injury.

Lunges are one of the best unilateral exercises anyone can do, says Takia McClendon NASM-certified personal trainer and co-founder of City Fit Girls. Not only do they build strengthen in your legs, but they can also help you identify weaknesses that may lead to injuries down the road.

Still, many people perform them incorrectly, so knowing how to do a lunge properly is important before banging out some quick reps during your next workout.

While lunging, improper form can cause unnecessary stress on the knee, make you feel unstable, or make the move ineffective. Common lunge mistakes McClendon sees include:

  • leaning your torso too far forward or allowing your chest to drop
  • not bending low enough with the front or back legs
  • allowing hips to dip

To avoid these mistakes, here’s everything you need to know to do a lunge with with perfect form, plus variations you can try.

[The best runners don’t just run, they hit the gym. The Beginner’s Guide to Strength Training will teach you all the fundamentals to get the most out of your weight session.]

How to Do a Proper Lunge

Stand with feet hip-width apart. As you perform the exercise, be sure to engage your core and keep chest lifted, especially if you hold a weight at chest as shown. Step forward with right foot while keeping left foot in place. Bend both knees, creating a 90-degree angle with legs. Keep your right knee behind the top of right toes and tracking with the first two toes. From the side, the angle of your shin and your back should form parallel lines. Once both knees are bent to 90 degrees, and left knee hovers above floor, push off through right heel and return to standing. Repeat on the left leg.

First, mimic this movement using just body weight. Over time, you can incorporate a kettlebell (as shown) or dumbbells racked on shoulders into your routine.

How to Do a Front Lunge Exercise

Benefits of Curtsy Lunge

Summer is coming and it is high time to tone your body and make it beautiful. Lunges are basic exercises if you want to work out your glutes and legs. Curtsy lunges target your inner thighs as well as your glute medius, a smaller butt muscle that helps stabilize hips to help improve your posture. Besides, this exercise engages your quads, hamstrings, calves and back. So it works out many parts of your body at the same time.

However, it may be difficult for beginners but it is effective. You can perform it anywhere, you do not need any fancy equipment. If you want to gain benefits, like from any other exercises, you should perform curtsy lunges in a proper way.

Regular and proper performance will bring you excellent results – your legs and glutes will be toned and beautiful. Be ready for men’s glances! Moreover, you will become stronger, healthier and happier.

How to Do Curtsy Lunge

  • The initial position: stand straight with your feet wider than shoulder width apart. Hold your hands on your hips;
  • Then step your left leg behind you and to the right so your thighs cross, bending both knees as if you are curtsying;
  • Return to the starting position, and switch legs.

How many curtsy lunges should I do per day?

Do as many curtsy lunges as needed according to your workout routine or workout plan. Firstly, do this exercise for 30 seconds, then, as you get stronger perform it for a minute. Do 2-3 sets three-four times a week.

    Warm up before lunges! This exercise engages many muscles and joints – they should be ready for the workout; Throughout the exercise, you can put your hands on your hips or you can hold your hand in front of you for balance; Focus on keeping your body straight and do not let the rear foot or front knee rotate out to the side.

Lunge Variations

  • How to Do a Front Lunge Exercise

How to Do Side Lunge – Benefits, Variations, Workout Routines

How to Do a Front Lunge Exercise

How to Do Lunges – Benefits, Variations, Workout Routines

Curtsy Lunge Workout Routines

15 Leg Exercises – Utter Workout Routine for Women

Strong legs are sexy, sexy legs attract attention and thanks to this routine you will wear a bikini all summer long to show off your stems! Better yet, these multi-muscle moves also engage your glutes and abs so you can get a complete bikini body in minimum time. These fifteen exercises offer body benefits for […]

By Brad Gouthro



The Reverse Lunge With Front Kick is an exercise combo that not only targets the hamstrings, quads, and glutes, but the front kick also helps improve overall knee health.


1. While standing with your feet hip width apart, position your fists in front of your face like a boxer, and take a step back into a lunge position, keeping your torso upright while lowering your body towards the floor until your back knee almost touches the floor.
2. Press your front foot through the floor to rise back up while completing a front kick with the back leg.
3. Lower your kicking foot back back to the starting standing position, then repeat the same movement with the opposite leg.
4. Alternate legs for reps.

Check The Lower Body Hurricane Tabata Workout

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How to Do a Front Lunge Exercise

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Get Ridiculously Fit Without Living In The Gym Or Slaving In The Kitchen…



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By Brad Gouthro



The Barbell Front Drop Lunge is similar to the traditional barbell drop lunge, however in this variation, not only does the exercise target the hamstrings and glutes, since the barbell is held in the front rack position, it’s easier on the spine. Also, since the weight is loaded on the front of the body, it pulls in more core strength to stabilize the torso to remain upright.


1. Position a barbell in the front rack position, similar to a front squat. The barbell should rest on the front of your shoulders and griped with your fingers, and your elbows pointing forward and parallel to the floor.
2. With your feet hip width apart, with one leg, take a big and wide step back and behind your opposite leg to get into a lunge position.
3. Lower into the lunge, with your torso upright and core contracted, until your back knee is just above the floor.
4. The barbell should remain square to the front and not rotate as you descend into the lunge.
5. Then drive your front foot through the floor to get back into the starting position.
6. Complete all the reps with one leg, then switch legs and repeat.

Check The Lower Body Hurricane Tabata Workout

Have You Downloaded our FREE New Ultimate Live Lean Starter Guide Yet?

If not, click here to go download it now. This guide takes away all the confusion with your diet and workouts as it gives you the exact meal plan, video cooking lessons, and grocery lists you need to Live Lean without being a slave in the kitchen. It also includes a FREE 4-week Hot Body Workout program.

This is the type of premium content our inner circle members at receive every single month.

How to Do a Front Lunge Exercise

So many of you have already download the starter guide for free and are loving the results. If you haven’t downloaded it yet, do it here.

Subscribe To My FREE Live Lean TV Health, Fitness, & Nutrition YouTube Channel For More Videos:

If you enjoyed today’s episode, make sure you subscribe to my Live Lean TV YouTube channel as we upload new episodes every Monday and Thursday.

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Get Ridiculously Fit Without Living In The Gym Or Slaving In The Kitchen…



Brad Gouthro is the founder of Live Lean TV, a media company focused on helping men and women “Live Lean” 365 days a year. Brad’s programs and content have helped millions of people all over the world learn how to get in shape, and more importantly, sustain it for life.

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A fitness trainer gives us a step-by-step guide to reverse lunges, and why they’re so good to do.

When it comes to lower body training, compound moves are the best way to build muscle. Up there with the classic muscle building exercises, such as squats and deadlifts, are lunges. They’re one of the most versatile moves and can be done statically, walking, rear foot elevated, in a deficit… the list goes on.

“Lunges are an absolutely amazing functional exercise, because it directly mimics what you do when walking and running,” explains Emma Obayuvana, Strong Women ambassador. “Adding weight to them will help you build muscle and strength, but they can be done just with bodyweight too.”

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How to do a lunge correctly

One of the best variations of lunging is the reverse lunge – done by stepping one foot backwards instead of treading forwards. While it might sound like a tricky move, it’s actually suitable for almost everyone to do.

What are the benefits of reverse lunges?

Reverse lunges put less impact on the joints than other variations of lunging and squatting, which means that they’re a bit easier on people who have knee or hip pain (but of course, check with a fitness trainer or doctor before working out if you’re injured).

That doesn’t mean they’re the easy way out: according to a study presented at International Conference of Biomechanics in Sport, reverse lunges had the biggest effect on glute and quad development. That means more muscle building from just one exercise in both the anterior and posterior muscles in the lower body – which sounds like a great trade off to us.

Becoming stronger with your reverse lunges will also help you in other sports, according to Emma: “The movement translates into your performance when it comes to running by mimicking the direct body mechanics and muscles during as you drive that reverse leg back up to standing.”

What muscles do reverse lunges work?

Reverse lunges work the anterior and posterior muscles in the legs, including:

How to do a reverse lunge:

  1. Stand straight, with feet hip width apart. Keep the shoulders back and engage the core as you step one foot back as far behind you as possible.
  2. Bend at both knees to lower to the ground, taking the back knee as close to the floor as possible and keeping the front leg bent at 90 degrees, so the thigh is parallel to the floor.
  3. Now to stand up. Lift the back leg off the floor by taking the weight into your front foot heel, squeezing your glute and hamstrings.
  4. Now you’re back to starting position, either complete the set by alternating which leg steps back or do the reps on one leg before moving on to the other.

Key tips for a reverse lunge

You won’t get those amazing glute and quad gains by just moving through the motion, so use mind-to-muscle connection to reap the benefits of the reverse lunge. “When you stand up, the most important thing to think about is which muscle you’re activating,” says Emma. You should really feel your glutes work here.

“However, just because this is a leg exercise it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be thinking about your upper body,” says Emma. “It’s crucial to keep your chest up and open.” This will help to reduce sagging through the spine, which can lead to back pain. You should also protect the back by engaging the core – you shouldn’t be arching your back during the movement.

You should also remember to stay strong through the knees so that they don’t collapse inwards: this puts a lot of pressure on your joints but will also compromise your balance.

Follow @StrongWomenUK on Instagram for the latest workouts, delicious recipes and motivation from your favourite fitness experts.

How to Do a Front Lunge Exercise

Just like building a house, when it comes to shaping your body, you’ll want to forge a strong foundation first. And there’s no better brick than a classic move, to help fortify your muscles and your technique for any other exercises to come.

Once you master the classics, you’ll be able to mix and match them along with their variations, for better workouts and a stronger you. Here’s how to do a perfect lunge.

The Move: Lunge

How to Do a Front Lunge Exercise


The lunge is like the one-trick pony of fitness: You can do it anywhere, use it to build foundational strength, add to it for compound (full-body) exercises, and even perform it as a walking movement, to create a dynamic (active) warm-up stretch. This pony is also an excellent calorie-burning move, as it challenges large muscle groups, like your thighs and glutes—all at once. Insider tip: Lunges are one of the best ways to give your booty a visible lift.


Stand, and with your chest up and eyes ahead, step two to three feet forward with your right foot. Allow both knees to bend until your front knee is at about a 90-degree angle, with your knee behind your toes, and your back knee a few inches above the floor. Press into your right foot, and press back to start. Repeat, stepping forward with your left foot, and alternate legs for 8 to 12 reps per side.

Mix It Up: 4 Lunge Variations

Lunge with Dumbbell Press

How to Do a Front Lunge Exercise

Creating compound moves allows you to work several muscles at once to form a total-body exercise. You also challenge yourself with different movement patterns, which helps to hone your balance, coordination, and general athleticism—all of which can help prevent injuries. This move tones your thighs, glutes, arms, and shoulders.

Stand with two lightweight dumbbells (about two to five pounds, each), held at chest height, palms facing forward. Step forward into a lunge, and as you lower your body toward the floor, press the dumbbells overhead, keeping your elbows slightly bent, and arms just in front of your ears. Step back to start, and lower the dumbbells, repeating on the other side. Alternate for 10 to 20 total reps.

Balance Lunge

How to Do a Front Lunge Exercise

As its name suggests, this move helps fine-tune your balance, and provides an extra challenge to glutes and thighs. Balance lunges also work your core, which fires up to help stabilize your body during the entire exercise.

Stand two to three feet in front of a bench or sturdy chair, and place the top of your left foot on the bench. Slowly lower into a lunge, keeping your right knee behind your right toes. Press back up to start, and perform 8 to 12 reps before switching sides.

Lunge with Kick

How to Do a Front Lunge Exercise

This lunge not only delivers an extra balance and core challenge, but it’s fun. It also forces you to land softly and slowly on your back leg, creating an added strength boost.

Stand with your hands on your hips, clasped in front of your chest, or holding a light pair of dumbbells, and step forward with your right foot, into a lunge. Press your body up toward your start position, and kick up with your left leg before stepping your left foot back behind you into a lunge. Perform 8 to 12 reps before switching sides.

Side Lunge

How to Do a Front Lunge Exercise

Lunges don’t have to simply move in one direction. This version works your body laterally, challenging the sides of your thighs and glutes—areas you may not ordinarily train. Performing side lunges not only works your lower half a little harder, but helps to prevent injuries, by strengthening your muscles in new ways.

Stand with feet hip-distance apart, with your hands clasped at your chest or on your hips, and your hips and knees slightly bent. Keeping your chest and head up, step about three feet to the side with your right foot, with your toes facing forward, and maintaining your slightly lower stance, bend your right knee and sink your hips low toward the floor. Press back off your right foot and return to start.

This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for medical diagnosis or treatment. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or condition. Always check with your doctor before changing your diet, altering your sleep habits, taking supplements, or starting a new fitness routine.

How to Do a Front Lunge Exercise

Related Articles

The lunge is a great conditioning exercise, especially useful for sports such as tennis, basketball or soccer, but it also builds and tones muscles in the legs and hips. There are many variations of the lunge. You can do a basic front lunge, a crossover or a back lunge. You can do lunges anywhere without any special equipment but can add intensity by holding a barbell or dumbbells while you lunge.

Forward Lunge

A simple forward lunge targets muscles in the abdomen, hips and legs. It primarily focuses on the glutes in the hip and buttocks and the quadriceps and hamstrings in the thigh, but also works muscles in the calf. It is basically a variation on walking. You step forward with one leg, bending until your thigh is parallel to the floor and your back knee almost touches the floor. Then you stand up and lunge with the other leg. The specific muscles are transverse abdominus, gluteus maximus, gluteus medius/minimus, quadriceps, hamstrings and obliques.

Rear Lunge

A rear lunge works the same muscles but with more emphasis on the quadriceps. The secondary target area is glutes in the buttocks and the muscles in the front and rear of the calf. You do a rear lunge much like a forward lunge, except you step to the rear rather than front. You bend the forward leg until the thigh is parallel to the floor, and bend the rear leg until the knee almost touches.

Walking Lunge

A walking lunge is a series of forward lunges and works the same muscles, but adds an element of stability because you move forward. You lunge with one leg, but instead of standing erect and lunging with the other leg in the same spot, you rise up on the front foot, then lunge ahead with the other foot.

Other Variations

Other variations are the in-and-out and crossover lunges, which put more emphasis on the inner and outer thighs. Instead of stepping straight forward, you lunge diagonally away from your body, so you lunge to the left side with your left foot, for instance. For a crossover, you lunge across your body, so your left foot crosses over the right. These lunges also exercise the buttocks and hamstrings.

Bob Haring has been a news writer and editor for more than 50 years, mostly with the Associated Press and then as executive editor of the Tulsa, Okla. “World.” Since retiring he has written freelance stories and a weekly computer security column. Haring holds a Bachelor of Journalism from the University of Missouri.

If It Doesn’t Challenge You It Doesn’t Change You

How to Do a Front Lunge Exercise

What are the most common exercises people do for lower body strength and hypertrophy gains? Squats and lunges, of course! No one can deny the benefits that squats offer and the fact that they work so many muscle groups. But, lunges have some of the same perks. Like squats, they’re a functional exercise that works all the muscle groups in your lower body. Plus, you can do squats and lunges using your own bodyweight or with added resistance. You’re working big muscle groups with both exercises, so they burn significant calories as well. Therefore, both of these “workhorse” exercises should be part of your lower body workout. But, today, let’s focus on the lunge and see what the advantages and disadvantages of the two main types of lunges are – front vs back lunges.

As you know, there are a variety of lunge variations. The two “basic” ones are front lunges and back lunges. The big difference between the two is with a front lunge you step one foot forward as you lower your body while with a reverse lunge, you step a foot behind your body when you lunge. You might wonder whether one lunge has benefits over the other. It really depends on your objectives, how orthopedically sound your knees are, and your sense of balance. Let’s look at each.

Front vs Back Lunges: Is One Lunge Better Than the Other?

Do your knees hurt when you lunge or squat? If you have knee problems, the back lunge is the safer bet. The reason? When you do a front lunge, you step one leg forward and place it in front of you, but then you have to push off that leg to propel your leg back to the starting position. The pressure you apply when you push off of the leg places added stress on the knee. Plus, with a forward lunge, you shift your center of gravity in front of you as your knee moves closer toward the toe. This, too, places more stress on your front knee.

Also, with a forward lunge, your weight shifts toward your toes and the ball of your foot, whereas with a backward lunge, the weight is more on the heel of your foot, a healthier place for it to be. Reverse lunges also keep your spine in a more neutral position. This is helpful if you have back problems and is also a safer position for your spine. So, reverse lunges are safer for your knees and spine relative to a front lunge.
On the plus side, studies show that forward lunges, although predominantly a quadriceps exercise, are also effective for targeting the hamstrings and glutes. According to an ACE study, lunges are even better than body-weight squats for activating the glutes. Plus, you’re in a more unstable position when you lunge than when you squat, so you work more stabilizing muscles as well.

Therefore, for hamstring and glute strength, front lunges are an asset, assuming you don’t do them too often or use poor form and end up with knee pain. You also should avoid doing them if you have pre-existing knee pain. The other upside of front lunges is they’re a natural movement. In fact, front lunges are similar to the movement we do when we walk. In contrast, back lunges feel unnatural. How many times do you extend a leg back behind you and lunge or walk backward?

Back Lunges Are Easier for Balance

However, front lunges are challenging in another sense. When you step forward your center of gravity shifts forward, and you may have problems keeping your balance when you first start out. In contrast, back lunges are a bit more balance-friendly for beginners. On the other hand, doing front lunges regularly can help you develop your sense of proprioception and balance.

One way to make forward lunges more knee and balance-friendly is to lean your torso forward slightly onto the heel of your front leg when you lunge. But, don’t go TOO far forward. Your knee shouldn’t extend past your front toe when you lunge. However, a slight forward lean makes it easier to balance. It also removes some of the stress on your knee and it works your glutes and hamstrings more. Your torso should move straight up and down when you lunge. Another way to make it easier to balance when you front lunge is to avoid placing your front foot directly in line with your back foot when you step forward. Placing your foot a little wider in relation to the back foot creates greater stability and helps you stay balanced.

When you first start out with front lunges and are struggling to balance, don’t take a huge step forward as this too makes it harder to stay stable. A good stepping distance is about the length of your leg. As you become more comfortable with the exercise, you can shift the focus more toward your glutes and hamstrings by stepping out further. A bigger step forward places less emphasis on the quads and more on the hamstrings and glutes.

What about reverse lunges? The reverse lunge also targets the hamstrings and glutes and, when you do them correctly are an effective exercise for building glute strength. The other advantages, as you now know, are that it’s easier to stay balanced when you do a back lunge and they’re safer for your knees and spine. They’re also a better option for beginners, especially if you’re doing them holding weights.

Front vs Back Lunges: Why Not Do Both?

If you have healthy knees, why not include both front and back lunges in your workout? Plus, you can include other lunge variations in your workout as well. For example, curtsy lunges work your inner and outer thighs more than front and back lunges. Walking lunges and jump lunges add a cardiovascular component to the exercise. So, add more variety to your lunges and reap the rewards!

Use lunges to build up stronger legs.

The lunge is a core training staple that can help to build strength and size in your legs, but are you sure you’re even doing the exercise correctly?

For this gold standard leg move, you shouldn’t settle for anything other than perfect form—especially because it’s such a simple, essential movement that should serve as one of the centerpieces of your training plan. Let Men’s Health fitness director Ebenezer Samuel, C.S.C.S. and associate fitness editor Brett Williams guide you through the move’s subtleties, saving you from the bad habits that are keeping you from unlocking your fitness potential.

Before you drop down and get lunging, take note that it’s extremely important to pay attention the movement here. Smacking your knee down on the ground won’t just leave you scraped and bloody—you want to be much more deliberate in your steps.

How to Do a Front Lunge Exercise

Glutes On

Eb says: When you step forward turn your glute on, so your knee shifts slightly outward. People often have a habit of letting their knee shift toward their midline, and that’s the last thing you want. The same way you push your knees out when squatting, you want to create that same motion when you lunge to protect the health of your knee in the long run.

Chest Up

Eb says: Don’t let your chest fall, and don’t let your upper body be a momentum-generator in the lunge. This is a leg move, and you want it to be driven by your legs, not some attempt at rocking your upper body or your shoulders, or hinging forward to get up.

Think about keeping a tight core, and keeping your shoulder blades down and in in a standard lunge; maintain that rigidity as you’re lowering and standing up.

No Back Knee Slam

Eb says: There’s a dynamic quality to the lunge, but this is still a move about control. Exhibit that and control your body as you lower into the lunge, making sure your back knee doesn’t hit the ground or slam into it. You should be in enough control as you lower down that your back knee stops an inch from the ground.

Work in Reverse

Eb says: If you’re not feeling comfortable with the forward lunge, shift to the reverse lunge, which, in many ways, is actually superior to the forward lunge. It’s going to alleviate a lot of stress on that front knee, and it’ll force you to be spatially aware as you step back.

And the best part about the forward lunge (and the reason I love it so much): When you stand up from it, it gives you more natural hip extension, mirroring an action that we need more of in real life.

Once you’re comfortable with the movement, try out these lunge variations.

  • Pendulum Lunge
  • Walking Lunge
  • Jump Lunge
  • Pulse Lunge

How to Do a Front Lunge Exercise

Alternating Forward Lunges is a lower body exercise that strengthens virtually all of your leg muscles as well as your glutes while also getting your heart rate up to help you burn fat. The lunge is the most popular and commonly-used exercise available for training the lower body. For good reason! Lunges activate all the leg muscles and train your lower body to fire. People often struggle to fire their glute muscles when performing certain lower body activities such as squats. In a forward lunge, you are pushing off in a way that encourages those muscles to fire up and get to work.

If you learn how to do alternating forward lunges, you will help shape and tone your legs and glutes. When you step forward into the alternating forward lunge and bend your knees, you grip primarily with your quads and glutes. When you push back to start position the idea is to press off your heel which will help fire your glutes and activate that beautiful backside!

If you find this exercise bothers your knees, try lunging forward onto a platform such as a step or a low bench. This will lessen the angle of the knee bend and the impact you make during the movement. If that still doesn’t help, practice a backward lunge instead.

Here are the steps to performing alternating forward lunges:

1) Stand tall with your feet hip distance apart.

2) Take a large step forward and lower your body toward the floor. Both legs should be bent at a 90-degree angle at the bottom of the lunge. Push off front leg to rise back up to start, and repeat on the other side.

Alternating Lunges are a great workout that you can do whether you are at the gym or in your living room.

Targets: glutes, quads, hamstrings

How to Do a Front Lunge Exercise

Lunges are a simple, easy and effective exercise that train your leg muscles including quads, glutes, hamstrings and calves. It’s a really popular exercise and no equipment is required – all you need is a bit of space.

We asked Senior Physiotherapist, Beverley Gorbutt from Ascenti for her expert advice on how to get the technique right and common mistakes to watch out for.

Good technique

To set up your lunge, take a long step forward or backwards. Your feet should be hip distance apart with your toes pointing forward.

To lunge, bend both knees at the same time. Lower your hips until your front knee is at a 90 degree angle with your upper leg parallel to the floor.

The back heel should be up off the floor, so your back leg is supported by the ball of your foot. The knees should stay in line with the feet.

Push your weight through your heels to bring yourself up to the starting position. Move straight down and straight up – an easy way to remind yourself of the correct technique is to think ‘elevator, not escalator’.

You should maintain a tall, long spine and keep your chest up, with your shoulders down and relaxed. Keep your hips square and eyes looking forward throughout.

When doing exercises like this it’s a good idea to set the number of lunges you want to perform, so you have a goal to work towards. For example, you could try doing 3 sets of 15 reps on each leg, then increase.

Remember, it’s better to do a smaller number of reps using the correct technique each time, than to keep going for ages but in the wrong way.

An easy way to up the intensity is to add weights, such as by holding a dumbbell down by your side in the hand opposite to your front knee. You can also add pulses where you lunge to full depth, then come up halfway, then back down to full lunge position.

Common mistakes

A common thing that people get wrong is not having a big enough space between their feet.

How big your stride should be depends on how tall you are and how long your legs are. An easy way to check whether your feet are far enough apart is to check whether you can see your toes when you bend your knee.

When your front knee is at 90 degree angle, the knee should be just above the tip of your toes. If your knee is tracking too far forward over the front foot, your feet are too close together.

Putting too much pressure on the front knee like this can lead to pain, and suggests the back leg is not being fully activated, when the lunge should work both legs equally.

This sometimes reveals itself by leaning too far forward from the hips. Remember to keep your spine long and tall with your chest up and shoulders down.

If you notice yourself leaning forward during the lunge, this probably means that your core isn’t engaged. Lack of core activation means you aren’t getting the most out of the exercise as you want to give your abs a workout too.

A third mistake people make is not keeping the front knee in line with the toes, which can be seen by the front knee rotating inwards.

Performing a lunge incorrectly like this can cause ankle, knee or hip pain, and is usually caused by decreased strength in the glutes or leg muscles.

Want to build some lunges into your workout at home? Why not try this cardio workout which incorporates jumping lunges.

Lunges are an essential exercise with countless variations, with or without weights. This is a move you can do anywhere and see the effects — toned legs and a shapely backside — in no time. But to reap these benefits, you need good form. And so you don’t do more harm than good, here’s how to perform lunges correctly.

How to Do a Front Lunge Exercise

How to Do a Forward Lunge

  • Keeping your core engaged and your torso upright, step forward with one leg, lowering your hips until both knees are bent at about a 90-degree angle. Make sure your front knee is directly above your ankle; you should be able to see your front toes. Your back knee should hover just above the floor.
  • Press your front heel into the floor as you push back up to the starting position.
  • Repeat for 10 reps on one side, then switch legs. Or you can alternate which leg steps forward for alternating lunges.


Now that you have the basics down, you can modify your lunge workouts to challenge your body in different ways.

  • Work harder by holding weights at your sides as you perform front lunges.
  • Step backward into the lunge for reverse lunge. This version might be easier on your knees.
  • Add a dumbbell bicep curl to your lunges to work your upper body while you strengthen your legs.
  • Try walking forward lunges to further challenge your balance.
  • Change directions and try side lunges to work different muscles in your lower body. Find out the correct way to do a side lunge here.

Injury prevention

Even though lunges are one of the best ways to work your lower body, some people tend to avoid them because this exercise can put too much strain on the knees. If you feel pain, decrease the range of motion and take smaller steps. Slowly increase your lunge distance as your legs get stronger. Some people also find that reverse lunges or walking lunges to be kinder to their knees.

Learn how to do single-dumbbell front lunge and power row at bottom. Presented by Real Jock Gay Fitness Health & Life.

This lunge and power row combination is as much about balance and coordination training as it is about building strength. To maintain a lunge while doing a powerful dumbbell row, you must maintain your balance by engaging your core and legs. This means you not only train your legs and lats, you also make your entire body a stronger and more cohesively functioning machine. Try to put as much power as you can behind the row, and stay low through your legs.

Starting Position
Stand upright with a dumbbell held in your right hand at your side and your feet about hip-width apart.

1. From the starting position, lunge forward with your left foot, dropping down through your back knee and thigh, and being careful not to let your front knee come ahead of your toe. Your left foot should be pointing out in front of you, with your left knee bent and your left foot firmly on the ground; you right heel may come up off the mat slightly, depending on how deep you have lunged.
2. Holding at the bottom of your lunge, incline your chest forward at a 45-degree angle, engaging your center and keeping your shoulder blades together and back flat. Perform a powerful upright row, bending your right elbow as you pull it quickly straight up and back toward the ceiling, until it is at least level with your back. Contract across your right shoulder blade as you lift, and keep your right arm fairly close to your body—it should travel in a straight rather than arcing line.
3. Bring your arm back down out of the row, straighten your upper body back to vertical, and then push off with your left foot to return to the starting position. Repeat for a set of 12 lunges and rows with the right arm, and then switch to the other side for 12 more, lunging with the right foot and rowing with the left arm.

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One giant step back for strong thighs

How to Do a Front Lunge Exercise

The lunge is a terrific functional exercise. You work a whole host of lower-body muscles in a manner that directly translates to improved sporting performance. And if you don’t play any sport, then you’ll at least appreciate how much better you’ll be at walking. Frankly, there aren’t many lower-body exercises better than the forward lunge, but one of them is the reverse lunge.

While both the forward and reverse lunge do a great job of working your thighs, glutes and calves, the latter has the edge because the forward momentum generated when you drive back up to the starting position more closely mimics the movement of running. It’s also easy to overstep and get your weight in the wrong position during the forward lunge, whereas if you put it in reverse the movement naturally brings your weight over the front heel, which is where it should be.

So the reverse lunge is one of those rare cases where the variation might be better than the original exercise, like the Godfather Part II. And if you want to argue about that then let’s turn to the unassailable example of Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls being better than Ace Ventura: Pet Detective – we can all agree on that at least.

How To Do The Reverse Lunge

You might assume that a reverse lunge is exactly the same as a forward lunge done backwards, and you’d be more or less right. Start by standing straight and bracing your core muscles. Then take a giant step backwards with your left foot. Bend your right knee until it’s at 90°, and lower your left knee until it is also bent at a right angle. Then push back up and return to the starting position.

Make sure you keep your torso upright throughout the movement. You can opt to alternate legs with your reps, or do all of them on one leg before switching to the other.

Reverse Lunge Variations

Reverse lunge with dumbbells

How to Do a Front Lunge Exercise

Once you’re comfortable with the bodyweight version of the reverse lunge, add a little weight to make the exercise more difficult and more rewarding. Hold a pair of dumbbells by your sides as you lunge.

Reverse lunge to biceps curl

Don’t let your lower body have all the fun. Hold a pair of dumbbells by your side as you lunge backwards. Then, as you push forwards back to the starting position, curl the dumbbells up to your shoulders.

There’s a place for both in your fitness plan.

Lunges make an appearance in countless workouts, whether you’re focusing on strength, power, or functional movements—and for good reason. The exercise strengthens the lower body while requiring balance and core stability. Lunges simply make you steadier on your feet and ease the effort of everyday movements such as walking.

Some trainers include forward lunges in a routine, whereas others focus on the reverse variation. The question is: What’s the difference? To help you determine which lunge exercise will help you reach your fitness goals, we turned to Aaptiv Trainer Kenta Seki. Read on to learn the difference in mechanics and muscles worked, as well as what to keep in mind when you perform each type of lunge.

Looking to start a regular strength training routine? Aaptiv can help.

Forward Lunge

How it works: “Front lunges use momentum to push your center of gravity forward, which causes you to catch and control your weight as you land into the lunge,” Seki explains. To get back up, you have to press your weight backward.

Targeted muscles: quads and core

Reverse Lunge

How it works: “Reverse lunges use stability in the front leg to step your rear leg back into a lunge and then power in the front leg to step that rear leg back forward,” Seki says. You power this movement with your front leg, driving into your heel as you step back up to stand. You shouldn’t have much weight in that back leg.

Targeted muscles: glutes and hamstrings

What the Two Lunges Have in Common

In terms of form, you should keep a few things in mind for both variations, including a 90-degree bend in each knee. This requires a wide-enough step to achieve the right angle, Seki says. That means your back knee should be slightly behind you rather than right beneath you. Make sure you ground down into the heel of your front foot. Press into it to take on most of the weight. Don’t let that front heel lift off the ground. You also want to avoid moving your knee too far forward beyond your toes.

Aaptiv’s strength workouts have visual workout guides, so you always do your exercises with perfect form.

Should you do forward or reverse lunges?

“Because front lunges propel your bodyweight forward, they have more potential to cause knee injury or strain if done incorrectly,” Seki explains. “For this reason, I recommend beginners start with rear lunges first to perfect their form and control before progressing to a front lunge.”

If you’re a more experienced exerciser, Seki suggests incorporating both into your workouts—just make sure to maintain good form. One last tip: If you’re doing lunges for the first time, don’t use added weight or resistance. When you feel confident and strong, then go ahead and pick up some dumbbells.

Pick up some dumbbells and push play on an Aaptiv class today!

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The lunge is a functional lower-body bodyweight exercise that primarily targets your quads. Just like the squat, lunges are extremely effective for building lower body strength and the exercise will also activate your glutes, hamstrings and core.

Follow these six steps to ensure you’re using proper form while performing lunges. Good form is essential to your workout routine not only because it makes the exercise more effective, but also because it will help you to avoid injury.

How to Do a Front Lunge Exercise

-How to Do a Lunge-

1. Start standing tall with your feet about hip-width distance apart. Make sure that your feet are planted firmly on the ground, that your core is tight (draw your bellybutton into your spine) and that your spine is straight (keep your shoulders relaxed and draw your shoulder blades back and down). Look straight ahead to keep your neck in line with the rest of your spine.

2. You can keep your hands at your side or put them on your hips. Wherever you choose to place them, just make sure that the position is comfortable for you.

3. When you’re ready, take a big step forward with your left foot, allow a slight bend in your right knee as you move forward. Pay attention to your posture. Maintain a straight spine by keeping your core tight, your shoulder back and down and your gaze straight ahead. (Note: Pay attention to your body and the limit of your range of motion. You may not be able to achieve the full range of motion right away, but the goal is to eventually lunge low enough so that both of your knees form 90-degree angles and the thigh of your forward leg is parallel to the floor.)

4. For the final segment of the movement, while maintaining a straight spine, lower your right knee down towards the ground so that your front (left) knee forms a 90-degree angle and your right (back) knee is hovering just above the ground. Always make sure that your forward foot is planted firmly on the ground at that your forward knee always remains in line with your ankle. (Never let your knee fall forward in front of your foot.)

5. Pause for a moment in the lunge position before you push through your left (front) foot to slowly return to the starting position. (This should be one fluid motion.)

6. You can choose to alternate between lunging left and right or first perform a number of repetitions leading with your left leg before you switch to your right. Repeat the motion for as many repetitions as you can without compromising your form. (Just like with any other exercise, five perfect lunges are much better and way more effective than 10 performed poorly.)

Add this exercise to your regular workout routine to build functional lower-body and core strength. If you were able to do 10 the first time, aim for 11 or more during your next workout and continue progressing from there.

Once you’ve mastered the basic lunge, try adding a new level of difficulty by adding weights, creating a compound movement like a lunge + dumbbell curl, or for a super serious burn, try lunge jumps.

To make the exercise less difficult, first try performing it in a stationary position. Instead of returning to the full starting position in between lunges, simply take one step forward and then flex and bend your back knee to lower yourself up and down in the lunge position.

Thanks to Body Space Fitness in New York City for sharing their exercise space with us.

It’s all about the form.

Sure, the forward lunge seems like a simple exercise—you’re literally just putting one foot in front of the other. In truth, though, it’s a compound movement that requires so many muscles (big and small) to work together in order for you to keep your balance and work one side of your body in isolation of the other.

Because of this, forward lunges are a staple lower-body exercise that’s great for beginners and advanced fitness levels, alike. It can be used to build strength and muscle using nothing but your own bodyweight or holding a pair of dumbbells for an added challenge once you get a hang of the move.

No matter, which version you choose, to pull one off properly, your legs, butt, hips, and core all have to work together, which only really happen with proper form. So, before you dip down into your lunge, here’s everything you need to know about the move: technique, benefits, modifications, and more.

How To Do A Forward Lunge

  1. Start standing with feet hip-width apart and hands by sides.
  2. Take a big step forward with right foot and bend at knee until both knees form 90 degree angles while bringing hands to clasp in front of body.
  3. Press down into right heel to push back to starting position. That’s one rep.

Reps/sets for best results: three sets of 12–15 reps on each leg.

Form tips: Think train tracks, not tightrope, with your feet in order to stagger your stance and create a solid foundation. Keep your knee tracking over your second and third toes and maintain an upright posture with your torso even as you lunge forward.

Benefits Of A Forward Lunge

Forward lunges target the large muscle groups in your legs, including your quads, calves and hamstrings the most, but you’ll also be working your abs, especially those internal stabilizer muscles.

They’ll also light up those glute muscles, which means you’ll be looking at a toned butt in no time. Plus, mastering this single-leg movement will improve your balance and overall hip flexibility.

How to Do a Front Lunge Exercise

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This exercise is a combination of the reverse lunge and front kicks.

Major Muscles Worked

Other Muscles Worked

Reverse Lunge to Front Kick Guide

  1. Standing straight with knees hip-width apart.
  2. Step your right foot back and lower your leg into a lunge position thus having both knees bend at 90 degrees.
  3. As you are coming back up, throw a kick to the front ensuring your leg stretches out in a straight form.
  4. Get back to a lunge position for the next rep.
  5. While alternating legs, do two sets of 10 reps.

Trainer’s Tips

  • Go at moderate pace to get better effects.
  • If you have a back or knee injury or condition do seek medical advice on whether this exercise is appropriate for you.
  • Ensure surface is flat and good for balance.
  • Focus at a specific place at the front of where you are facing in order to maintain balance.

How to Do a Front Lunge Exercise

Benefits of Reverse Lunge to Front Kick

Strengthens lower body muscles

Aids in muscle stretching thus can be used as a pre exercise.

Can be carried out anywhere without gym equipment.

How to Do a Front Lunge Exercise

Lunges are all-stars at strengthening your butt and legs, so you’ll find them in some form as part of almost every workout routine. Unfortunately, after one too many rounds, you may start to experience knee pain from lunges for a few different reasons.

Sometimes the toll lunges take on your knees may simply be due to putting all that extra pressure on already bad knees. Or that knee pain may be due to incorrect form or more commonly, muscle imbalance. “Our body is interconnected, and when we have an imbalance in muscles of the feet, legs, hips, and glutes, this can create pain from incorrect form due to compensations,” says Courtney Virden, a fitness trainer and pelvic floor expert.

For some people, correcting those muscle imbalances can help make lunges more pain-free, but there are also some alternatives Virden recommends that work the same muscles in a more knee-friendly, low-impact way.

Exercises to do instead of lunges if you’re experiencing knee pain

1. Static lunge

Virden recommends skipping normal lunges and instead going with a static version, where you don’t move your feet and instead focus on holding the lunge.

How to do it:

  1. Start with your legs wide enough apart so that when you lunge your knee stays above your ankle.
  2. Lower into your lunge. Instead of alternating legs, stay on the same leg.
  3. Keep your torso tall and your tailbone dropped so that you use your glutes and abs—not your lower back.

2. Glute bridge

Aside from being really gentle on the knees, Virden says glute bridges are a great way to strengthen the muscles needed for lunges as well. “It’s also an exercise that’s ideal for any age and fitness level,” she says.

How to do it:

  1. Lie on the floor with your feet under your ankles (hip-distance apart, pointing straight ahead).
  2. Tilt your pubic bone toward your spine and slowly lift your hips off the floor.
  3. Slowly round your spine back down and repeat.
  4. For a greater challenge, do this exercise with one leg on the floor and the other leg slightly lifted up.

3. Squat with stability ball

Doing a squat with a stability ball helps strengthen your lower body, minus all the pressure on your knees. “This is a great exercise to do barefoot to help you remember to press your toes into the floor,” Virden says. “Doing this will enable your abs to help you and keep proper form.”

How to Do a Front Lunge Exercise

How To Do Side Lunges

See below instructions and video demonstration on how to do side lunges along with FREE related workouts.

Healthy Living Starts Here

Side Lunge Exercise

This is a great exercise to add into your workouts to tone your lower body, improve your balance, and get leaner legs.

Take a large step with your right foot to the right side and lunge toward the right.

Make sure your right knee does not extend past your toes and keep your left leg straight.

Push off through your right foot to return to the start to complete then follow the same procedure for the left.

Benefits Of Side Lunges

Here are just a few reasons why you should do this exercise.

1) Side lunges will help decrease the appearance of saddlebags because they activate those outer thigh muscle directly.

2) Side lunges help tone and shape your booty and give you a nice, strong and shapely backside.

3) The side lunge gets your heart pumping.

4) It improves balance and stability.

What Muscles Do The Side Lunge Work On

The lunge is a lower body exercise that targets the glutes in your hips and butt along with the hamstrings and quadriceps in your thighs.

What Equipment Is Required To Do A Side Lunge

How Many Calories Do Side Lunges Burn?

Side Lunges, will generally burn about 100 calories for every 10 minutes you do the workout.

How To Do A Side Lunge Video Demostration

List Of Free Fitness Workouts For Related Muscle Group

The side lunges is an amazing exercise, but it can be even more effective when you incorporate it into other workouts. See below our list of workouts that utilize this exercise.

Written by Rhonda Shade

Rhonda Shade Is the founder of Change In Seconds. A healthy living platform that features clean eating, healthy recipes, meal prep, printable workouts & a unique tracking software to help you achieve a healthy lifestyle.

Calisthenics / Very Easy

Equipment Needed

  • Exercise Mat

My Performance

Sitewide Performance

  • All
  • Male
  • Female

Average Sitewide Bodyweight Lunge Pulse Reps

Average Male Bodyweight Lunge Pulse Reps

Average Female Bodyweight Lunge Pulse Reps

How to do Bodyweight Lunge Pulse:

  • Step 1: From a standing start, step forward like a regular lunge.
  • Step 2: Lunge down partially, about a quarter of the way down as you would for a normal lunge. This is the starting position.
  • Step 3: Begin exercise by pulsing up and down, performing the lunge by going up and down about 3 inches or so. Be sure you are always in the lunge position and never standing up during the exercise.
  • Step 4: Complete for the desired number of repetitions.
  • Muscles Worked

    How to Do a Front Lunge Exercise How to Do a Front Lunge Exercise How to Do a Front Lunge Exercise How to Do a Front Lunge Exercise How to Do a Front Lunge Exercise How to Do a Front Lunge Exercise


    bodyweight lunge pulse is a calisthenics exercise that primarily targets the quads and to a lesser degree also targets the calves, glutes, groin and hamstrings . more

    bodyweight lunge pulse is a calisthenics exercise that primarily targets the quads and to a lesser degree also targets the calves, glutes, groin and hamstrings.

    The only bodyweight lunge pulse equipment that you really need is the following: exercise mat. There are however many different bodyweight lunge pulse variations that you can try out that may require different types of bodyweight lunge pulse equipment or may even require no equipment at all.

    Learning proper bodyweight lunge pulse form is easy with the step by step bodyweight lunge pulse instructions, bodyweight lunge pulse tips, and the instructional bodyweight lunge pulse technique video on this page. bodyweight lunge pulse is a exercise for those with a very easy level of physical fitness and exercise experience. Watch the bodyweight lunge pulse video, learn how to do the bodyweight lunge pulse, and then be sure and browse through the bodyweight lunge pulse workouts on our workout plans page!

    This standard move might be the best precursor to crushing the rest of your fitness goals.

    With all the insanely cool exercise ideas out there (ahem, this toilet paper workout, for example) it’s easy to get excited about trying tricky moves. But that doesn’t mean you should forget about standard moves; maintaining mastery over the basics is always important.

    Take the forward lunge: “This is a great functional exercise because it puts the body in a motion that’s similar to our day-to-day movements of walking and running,” says trainer Rachel Mariotti, who is demonstrating the move above.

    Forward Lunge Benefits and Variations

    Whether you’ve always wanted to run a faster marathon, push a heavy sled, power hike up a mountain, or execute a perfect pistol squat (or the even more advanced shrimp squat), the forward lunge is going to help get you there. This classic move is a great way to build base strength in each leg. When you’re doing two-legged moves (like squats), it’s easy to compensate for weak muscles on one side. But when you’re lunging, you’re forced to acknowledge any imbalances you may have. “The forward lunge isolates and strengthens each leg individually and can be a good indicator of how strong each glute and hip is,” says Mariotti.

    Begin with bodyweight lunges, then progress by adding weight via dumbbells or a barbell. Want a cardio-strength challenge? Try walking lunges: Take eight to 12 lunge steps forward without stepping feet together between each lunge.

    How to Do a Forward Lunge

    A. Stand with feet together and hands clasped in front of chest or on hips.

    B. With core engaged, take a large step forward with the right foot, lowering into a lunge until both knees form 90-degree angles.

    C. Push off the middle of the front to step right foot back next to left and return to starting position.

    Do 8 to 12 reps, then repeat on the other side. Perform 3 sets.

    Learn how perfecting your lunge form can aid in easier everyday movements.

    One of the most basic movement patterns that you perform daily without even realizing it is lunging. The lunge requires core stability , single leg balance, and strength in your lower half to keep you upright, stable, and moving with ease. And, it just so happens to mimic the movements we make when we run, take the stairs , or simply walk. That’s why it’s critical to master your lunge form.

    And Aaptiv is here to help. We have visual guides that highlight form cues and muscles worked so you can get the most out of your strength workouts.

    “Lunges are one of those exercises that transfers to everyday life—whether you’re walking , going upstairs, or [going] downstairs,” says Michael Septh , a NYC-based personal trainer. “It might not be the same range of motion, but you’re stabilizing on one leg and maneuvering from hip to hip throughout your day,” just as you do in a lunge. While many of the exercises we do work both legs at once, it’s important to do these one-legged movements correctly so that you’re steadier on your feet.

    The Key to Proper Lunge Form

    The biggest mistake that Septh sees people make with their lunge form is distributing their weight in the wrong spot. “A lot of people put weight on their back knee,” he says. “But, you should load lunges into the front hip and heel, not the knees.” (Ever feel knee pain while lunging? This is probably why.)

    A few other lunge form notes: Make sure to bend both knees equally, Septh says, and maintain a nice tall torso. “Use your hands on your hips as a cue to stay upright,” he suggests. “Don’t grip the floor with your toes. Instead, think of pushing through your midfoot and heel.”

    For a front lunge, work to push off that front foot to stand back up, rather than pulling yourself up with the back leg, Septh advises. And, for a reverse lunge, think about pulling from the glute and hamstring of your front leg, while keeping weight in the heel of that front foot.

    Techniques to Improve Lunge Form

    If you find that you’re experiencing knee discomfort during lunges, have wobbly legs as you go, or just don’t feel 100 percent confident in your ability to perform the move, then it’s time to take it down a notch. Here are three ways to get stronger through your lunge, according to Septh.

    Get support

    For added stability, opt for lightly holding onto a TRX, the wall, or a barre—anything that you can place your hands on for extra balance, Septh recommends. Then, start with your feet staggered and drop down into a split squat with both knees bent 90 degrees. Push back up to stand and repeat, keeping your feet staggered (so that you don’t step forward or backward.)

    Move on to a hands-free split squat

    Once you feel sturdy in that supported lunge, work on a standing split squat without holding onto anything. You’ll start with your feet staggered, with a mat or block on the floor between your legs. Bend both knees 90 degrees. Try to go low enough until you lightly tap the block or mat with your back knee. Stand back up and repeat.

    Work on your glutes

    Besides practicing the split squat with or without assistance, you also have to have strong pelvic integrity. This means that you don’t arch or round your low spine while performing the move. To help, start with pelvic tilts. Lie on your back on the floor, and plant your feet on the ground. Flatten your back against the floor by engaging your abs and tucking your pelvis slightly. After a few reps, move on to glute bridges by squeezing your glutes and lifting your hips toward the ceiling. Slowly lower back down and repeat.

    Now that you know how to improve your lunge form, check out the strength workouts on Aaptiv.

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    Welcome to the guidebook to your healthiest life. Aaptiv delivers the highest quality fitness and health information from personal trainers and industry experts. Subscribe now for a weekly dose of inspiration and education.

    How to Do a Front Lunge Exercise

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    Obese people have a leg up over other beginning exercisers. Since you move the weight of your body around all day, you start off with a base level of strength that unconditioned skinny people may not have. Utilize this strength and safely challenge your muscles further to start your workouts on a positive note. Lunges develop strong quadriceps, hamstrings and glutes, and the added muscle mass will increase your metabolism and burn more calories all day long, even on your off days. Since your leg muscles are significantly involved in daily activities, simply driving to the gym may get a whole lot easier too.

    Step 1

    Do a stationary lunge for added stability. Stand about 2 feet away from a wall or sturdy piece of equipment. Place one foot in front of the other, about 3- to 4-feet apart and keep your balance by lightly touching the wall for support. Keeping your torso upright, contract your abs and all the muscles in your legs to support your joints. Bend both knees until the front knee is at a 90-degree angle and the back knee is a few inches off the ground. If this is too intense, only lunge as far down as you feel comfortable. Squeeze your leg muscles to come back up to the start. If it hurts your knees to repeatedly move up and down, lower into the lunge and hold the position for five to 10 seconds.

    Step 2

    Perform a chair squat to safely work the same muscles. Place a chair with its back against the wall. Stand in front, facing away from the chair with feet hip-width apart. Resisting the movement with your leg muscles, sit back into the chair as slowly as you can. Keep your weight in your heels and move your butt back in space to really feel your legs and butt working. Without resting, tightly contract your leg muscles to come back up to stand. Use the strength of your legs rather than momentum. Use a higher chair to make this exercise even more accessible.

    Step 3

    Do small step-ups. Stand next to a wall and face a 2- to 5-inch step, sturdy block of wood, or stair. Lightly touch the wall for support. Place your right foot on the step. With your weight towards your right heel, use the muscles in your right leg to step up fully onto the step. Slowly lower back to the start by resisting the movement with the muscles in your right leg. Repeat on the left side.

    It’s been a little while since I posted in the Best Butt Exercises area!

    I know I was updating this weekly, but I don’t want to just post any old exercise just for the sake of keeping up a weekly quota. I’ll be posting butt exercises a bit less frequently now that we’ve already built up the bulk of an excellent index – this exercise today will make up the 40th addition to this index of awesome butt exercises!How to Do a Front Lunge Exercise

    Today I’ve got an exercise that I can’t believe I haven’t already written about – the lunge. This one is up there with squats for being one of the most recommended butt exercises!

    Exercise: Step Back Lunges
    Muscles worked: Glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps (and balance too!)
    Jolie Recommends: 3 sets of 10 per leg
    Difficulty rating: 5
    Effectiveness rating: 7

    Best Butt Exercise #40: Step Back Lunges

    Lunges are a very popular exercise which are recommended when most people think of ‘butt exercises’, however I always used to find that they didn’t do much for me in terms of hitting my glute muscles! The main reason was because my quadriceps and other muscles kept taking over (due to inactive glutes).

    How to Do a Front Lunge Exercise

    This variation of lunges that you are about to learn will help to target your butt muscles more if you’re anything like I was. Stepping backwards into the lunge rather than forwards really helps to engage the glute muscles rather than your quadriceps, since you naturally will tend to keep your weight shifted backwards.

    Foot positioning in lunges (the distance between your front and back foot) is quite important too. If you take a wider lunge stance, this shifts the effort of the movement more into your glutes; with a shorter lunge stance, your quadriceps will be doing more of the work.

    If you are interested in working that butt, don’t forget to take a wide lunge stance!

    How to Do the Move

    The video below shows how to do a stepping back lunge. While traditional lunges that you may have seen before aim to have a 90 degree right angle at the knee on both front and rear legs, this variation is more about keeping your stance wide and really working the glute muscle of the front leg.

    How to Do a Front Lunge ExerciseA wider stance will allow you to sink into a deeper lunge for your front leg – almost like a single-legged squat for your front leg.

    It should be almost like a single legged squat on your front leg – perfect for working out the glutes!

    If you like, you can bend your rear leg a little if you like – experiment a bit and see what works best for you in order to feel this exercise in your butt muscles!

    1. Start standing, with both feet pointing straight ahead.
    2. Engage your core muscles to keep your back and spine in a neutral position, and torso upright.
    3. Bending at the right knee, sink down into a lunge by taking a large step backwards with your left leg, landing directly behind and in line with your right foot.
    4. Use your glute muscles on the right leg to push up through your front heel out of the lunge and back to the starting position. This is one rep.
    5. Repeat on the other side, alternating legs for each rep.

    Perfecting Your Form

    • Keep your stance wide enough so that your front knee doesn’t extend out over your front toes when in the lunge.
    • Concentrate on using your glute muscles to do the work, not those quads!
    • Keep your core muscles engaged the entire time. The more upright your torso is, the more you should feel this in your glutes.
    • Push up through your heel on your front foot to exit the lunge, not the toes (imagine you are doing a single legged squat at this point!).

    Reppin’ It

    I prefer to do reps on alternating sides for this exercise, to ensure that I train both sides of my body evenly. To start off with, try for 3 sets of 10 reps (i.e. 5 reps per side), and ramp it up to 3 sets of 20 reps (i.e. 10 reps per side). Focus on slow and controlled movement to really target and feel your glute muscles working.

    If you’ve already mastered this movement then it’s time to get serious by weighting it up! Dumbbells work great for this, or you can use something like a weighted bar or barbell.

    These two exercises will help you build your puny quads, clean up your form, and even strengthen your core.

    How to Do a Front Lunge Exercise

    Most people do lunges while holding dumbbells at their sides or with a barbell on their backs. While there’s nothing wrong with either method, it’s rarely done correctly.

    Instead, most lifters lean way forward, sometimes to the point of falling over. A slight forward lean is fine when you’re lunging without weights (it can increase glute activation) but when you add heavy weights into the mix, it’s putting the lower back in a precarious position.

    Part of the problem is simply going too heavy, but the placement of the weights exacerbates the issue. Instead, try this:

    Frontloaded Walking Lunge

    Start by holding a dumbbell in the goblet position until you run out of weight, then progress to using a barbell with a front squat grip.

    How to Do a Front Lunge Exercise

    The front loaded position forces you to stay upright, putting less stress on the spine and more stress on the quads, where we want it.

    There’s also a built-in protection mechanism against your own ego. It keeps you honest because you’ll need to go much lighter than you would if you were to hold dumbbells at your sides or put a bar on your back, and you can’t cheat or else you’ll drop the weight.

    Loading the weight anteriorly provides an added core stability benefit as you must fight to resist flexion, giving you more bang for your buck.


    Utility: Basic or Auxiliary
    Mechanics: Compound
    Force: Push



    Stand with hands on hips or clasped behind neck.


    Lunge forward with first leg. Land on heel, then forefoot. Lower body by flexing knee and hip of front leg until knee of rear leg is almost in contact with floor. Return to original standing position by forcibly extending hip and knee of forward leg. Repeat by alternating lunge with opposite leg.


    Keep torso upright during lunge; flexible hip flexors are important. Lead knee should point same direction as foot throughout lunge. A long lunge emphasizes Gluteus Maximus; short lunge emphasizes Quadriceps.

    Weighted versions of this exercise would normally be considered auxiliary in context of other basic exercises (ie: Barbell Squat, Sled Leg Press). However, in the context of ‘body weight’ only program, this exercise can be considered basic.


    For less intensity, perform Split Squat.


    Exercise can be made more challenging with additional weight. Also consider Step-ups.