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13 Lunge Variations That Work Every Angle of Your Lower Body

Lunges are the OG of lower-body exercises, and they have stuck around through good and bad fitness trends and come out on the other side, still holding strong to their rightful place in your workout. That's because lunges are more than just a basic quad strengthener—in all their various forms, lunges have the ability to strengthen, lengthen, tone, and tighten all of your lower-body muscles, from your glutes to your calves and all the major and minor muscles in between. Not to mention they have a sneaky way of testing your balance, core stability, and coordination, too. (Another #basic exercise that can be performed in a million different ways: the squat. Discover 12 new kinds of squats to add to your workout.)

To highlight some lunge variations you might not have tried before (or forgot about), we ask a few of our favorite trainers from various disciplines (HIIT, barre, cycling, and boot camp) to share their favorite lunge exercises. Follow along and get ready to burn out that lower bod.

Reverse Lunge to Single-Leg Deadlift

A. Step back with right leg into a reverse lunge with both legs making 90-degree angles.
B. Press through left heel as you straighten legs and hinge forward at the waist. Lift right leg off the ground, sending it straight back behind you. Simultaneously, reach arms straight down in front of you, hovering just above the floor, for a single-leg deadlift. Standing leg should be softly bent.
C. Reverse the movement, bringing right foot down behind you into reverse lunge. Repeat movement as fluidly as possible, going from lunge to deadlift and back again.
D. Repeat on opposite side, with left leg behind right. —Olivia Bernardo, studio manager and instructor at CycleBar Hoboken, NJ

Lunge with Relevé

A. Facing a barre, back of a chair, or countertop, step left leg forward and right leg back. Lower down into lunge position with both legs bent at 90 degrees.
B. Holding this fitness lunge, lift front heel up so only the ball of the foot is on the floor. 
C. From this relevé position, with front thigh parallel to the floor, pulse down an inch and up an inch hovering back knee above the floor. 
D. Repeat on opposite side. Amber Hirsch, fitness director at Local Barre in Hoboken, NJ

Lunge Pulse and Press

A. Facing a barre, back of a chair, or countertop, step left leg forward and right leg back.  Lower down into lunge position with both legs bent at 90 degrees.
B. From the lowest point of the lunge, pulse down twice (no more than an inch) before coming to standing—that's pulse, pulse, press. You can make this move harder by going into relevé and keeping hands in prayer to utilize your core for balance. —Amber H.

Lunge to Yoga Lunge

A. Facing a barre, back of a chair, or countertop, step right leg forward and left leg back. Upper body should be lifted and grip should be light.
B. Keeping front leg bent at a 90-degree angle, begin to incline torso toward barre/chair/surface as you extend back leg long.
C. Push through front heel to stand, keeping back leg long.
D. Repeat on opposite side. —Amber H.

Lunge Jumps

A. Starting in lunge position with right leg in front and both legs bent at 90-degree angles, lower down 1 to 2 inches to gain momentum and push off as you jump directly up, switching legs before landing softly in lunge position with opposite leg in front.
B. Alternate sides and move quickly. Katie Dunlop, Love Sweat Fitness

Single-Leg Split Squat

A. Standing 2 to 3 feet in front of a chair or step, rest top of right foot on top of the chair's seat or step.
B. Bring weight into left heel and bend deeply, lowering until front knee is at a 90-degree angle.
C. Push through left heel to come back to split-stance standing, keeping foot on chair.
D. Repeat on opposite side. —Katie D.

Side Lunge with Knee Raise

A. From standing, step right leg out to the side as wide as you can. Keeping feet parallel, gently land into a bent right leg, bringing weight into right heel.
B. Push off with right foot. As you come to standing, keep right leg off ground and bend and raise right knee to center. Alternate sides. —Katie D. 

Tick Tock Lunge

A. Step right leg forward, coming into forward lunge with both legs forming 90-degree angles.
B. Press through front heel and rise onto ball of left foot, coming to standing and balancing on one leg.
C. Suspend in the air, then drop back down into lunge.
D. Repeat with left leg forward. Lindsey Clayton, cofounder of Brave Body Project and instructor at Barry's Bootcamp

Lateral Tick Tock Lunge

A. Starting with feet together, step right leg out to the side, coming into a side lunge with left leg straight. 
B. In one smooth movement, push off right foot, engage glutes, and lift right leg laterally out to the side. 
C. Landing softly, fall back into the lateral lunge. 
D. Repeat on the opposite side. —Lindsey C. 

Surrender Lunge to Single-Leg Deadlift

A. Start in kneeling position with right knee and left foot down. (Put a towel or mat on the ground for cushion, if needed.)
B. Push weight into heel of left foot and with control and balance stand up on left leg. Right leg is bent hovering above the floor.
C. Keeping shoulders and hips square, with a slight bend in standing leg, reach down and tap right fingertips to floor. Right leg will come behind you, never touching the floor.
D. Slowly return to original kneeling position. 
E. Repeat on opposite side. — Amber Rees, cofounder of Brave Body Project and instructor at Barry's Bootcamp

Around the World Lunge

A. Start with feet shoulder-width apart and step forward with left leg into a forward lunge. Press through left heel to return to standing.
B. Next, step laterally to the left side into a side lunge, keeping right leg straight and all toes facing forward. Right leg should be straight and chest tall. Push through left heel to return to the starting position.
C. Lastly, step back into a reverse lunge with left foot. Press through right heel to return to standing.
D. Repeat sequence on opposite side. Amanda Butler, trainer at Fhitting Room

Forward Lunge with Rotation

A. Make fist with left hand and place right palm around it in front of chest, elbows pointing out.
B. From standing position with feet shoulder-width apart, step left leg forward until both legs form 90-degree angles; right knee should be hovering just above the ground.
C. While in lunge position, rotate upper body over left leg and return to center. Push through right heel to return to standing.
D. Repeat on opposite side. Holly Rilinger, creative director of Cyc Fitness and Nike Master Trainer

Scorpion Lunge

A. Standing with feet shoulder-width apart, step right foot back. Right knee should drop just inches above the ground and behind left foot. (Dropping the knee behind the foot targets the glutes more than the average lunge.)
B. Push through left heel to return to standing.
C. Repeat on opposite side. —Holly R.

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