Exercise 101: Lunges

Exercise 101: Lunges

Lunges tone your legs and backside faster than any other move. They may seem simple but it is important to get your form right – you won't just risk injury but you’ll also be wasting your efforts by simply performing ineffective lunges. 

The Perfect Lunge

  1. To get your lunge right, begin by ensuring your upper body is perfectly straight, your shoulders are back and your chin is up. Choose a point on the wall or in the distance ahead of you and remain focused on it.
  2. Next, engage your core fully and take a step forward with one leg whilst also lowering your hips so both your knees are bent to 90 degrees.
  3. Your front knee should be directly above your ankle and not pushed out any further as this can put too much pressure on your joints. Your other knee should not touch the floor.
  4. Use your heels to bear your weight as you push back up to the starting position and switch legs.

If you are finding the lunge difficult or painful you can take smaller steps. Your body will still benefit as you learn the form before extending your lunge distance.

Lunge Variations

Give your lunge something extra and push your body a little bit further with these variations.

Clock Lunge

As the name suggests, the clock lunge sees you carrying out the lunge movement in a circle, just like the ticking hands of a clock.

  1. Perform your forward lunge and then return to the starting position.
  2. Move around clockwise, carrying out 12 lunges in total before returning to your forward-facing position.
  3. Then give it a go anti-clockwise. The movement in the clock lunge helps to strengthen your ankles and knees.


Walking Lunge

Your legs will really feel the burn with a walking lunge.

As the name suggests, it follows the same pattern as your regular lunge but you step forward with each lunge.

The benefit for your quads, hamstrings and glute muscles are enhanced through the additional movement. Maintain good posture to ensure you avoid any strains and keep your standard lunge form in mind at all times.


Lateral Lunge

Confuse your muscles a little bit more by taking your lunge out to the side instead of forwards.

The benefits of the lateral lunge include all of the muscle strengthening of your classic lunge with the additional of improved flexibility.

  1. Rather than stepping your lunge forward, step it sideways to the left.
  2. Remember to bend your knee but not to extend past your toes.
  3. Keep your right leg straight and use your heels once more to return to your starting position, then give the other side a go.

The Author

Jessica Ward

Jessica lives in South West London. Boxercise, yoga, pilates, weight training and long distance running are her main interests.


Mike D.
12 January 2016

Mike D.

I injured my calf muscles doing these as part of a 'sudden' 7 minute workout app last year. Be warned and build up slowly!

Clare R.
10 January 2016

Clare R.

I also feel that workout is incomplete without lunch.. (sorry Joseph!!) - but seriously, a guide to doing the lunge right is very useful.

Joseph M.
10 January 2016

Joseph M.

No workout is complete without some kind of lunch (for me anyway). I haven't tried all of these variations though so I'm definitely going to find a way of working them into my gym sessions - thanks!

Sasha B.
8 January 2016

Sasha B.

I have just tried the walking lunges around our house. My dog was looking at me very strangely. But they are tough, and I reckon I will ache tomorrow. So I would recommend these as a good thing to do around the house.

Matthew C.
7 January 2016

Matthew C.

I would definitely agree that you need to watch your form so you don't injure yourself. I did some of these on a spur of the moment when feeling lazy at Christmas and strained my calf. Warm up first!

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