10 best lunge variations to tone your butt

Woman doing a lunge variation

Lunges are a unilateral exercise known for building lower body strength. As you work one side at a time, you can strengthen your legs and butt. You can also improve your stability and mobility by doing lunges. The exercise improves balance and strength, making them a popular choice in fitness routines. To do lunges, you need to place one leg forward with your knee bent and foot flat on the floor. Your other leg should be positioned behind. This may seem challenging to you at first, but with time, you can try multiple lunge variations to tone your butt.

What are lunges?

Lunges is an exercise that strengthens and tones your lower body, says fitness expert Rhea Shroff Ekhlas. They target major muscles like the glutes, hamstrings, and quadriceps, giving your backside a serious workout. By engaging these muscles, lunges not only strengthen but also tone them, resulting in a firmer and more sculpted butt. So, lunges are one of the best exercises to tone butt.

Hold that lunge for firmer glutes. Image Courtesy: Shutterstock

Lunges engage large lower-body muscle groups, so it may improve your metabolism, according to a 2015 research published in the Journal of Preventive Medicine and Public Health.

Variations of lunges

You can build lower body strength and stability by trying these lunge variations –

1. Forward lunge

  • Take a one foot forward.
  • Lower your body until your knees bend at a ninety-degree angle.
  • Keep your torso upright and shoulders back.

2. Reverse lunge

  • To do reverse lunge, step one foot backwards and lower your body until both knees are bent at a 90-degree angle.
  • Maintain good posture throughout.

3. Walking lunge

  • To do the walking lunge, take a step in the forward direction with one foot into a lunge position.
  • Bring the back foot forward to meet the front foot and repeat with the other leg.

4. Curtsy lunge

  • Cross one leg behind the other, lowering your body into a lunge position.
  • As you keep your hips square, make sure your torso is upright.

5. Side lunge

  • Step to the side with one foot.
  • Bend that knee, as you keep the other leg straight.
  • Push your hips back and keep your chest lifted.

6. Pulse lunge

Perform a regular lunge, but instead of coming all the way up, pulse up and down slightly in the lunge position before returning to standing position.

7. Jumping lunge

Start in a lunge position and then jump explosively, switching legs mid-air so you land in a lunge with the opposite leg forward.

8. Split squat lunge

  • Elevate one foot behind you on a bench or step.
  • Lower your body into a lunge position with the other foot on the ground.

9. Dumbbell lunge

  • Hold a dumbbell in each hand and stand straight, with your arms hanging at ​your sides.
  • Use your right leg to take a step forward and bend your knee until your right thigh is parallel to the floor.
  • Your left leg should be bent at the knee and balanced on your toes during the lunge position.
A woman doing a lunge variation
Experiment with lunge variations to tone butt. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

10. Clock lunges

  • Step forward into a lunge position.
  • Step back to center.
  • Repeat stepping into a lunge position at 12 o’clock, 3 o’clock, 6 o’clock, and 9 o’clock.

Remember to start with proper form and gradually increase intensity as you get comfortable with each variation, suggests the expert.

What are the common mistakes to avoid while doing lunges?

When lunging, avoid these common blunders to maximise effectiveness and minimise injury risk:

  • Overextending: Keep your front knee aligned with your ankle to prevent strain on your joints.
  • Leaning forward: Maintain an upright posture to engage the correct muscles and prevent back strain.
  • Neglecting core engagement: Tighten your core to stabilise your body and enhance balance.
  • Skipping warm-up: Always warm up your muscles before lunging to prevent pulls or strains.
  • Speeding through repetitions: Focus on controlled movements rather than rushing through repetitions to ensure proper form and muscle engagement.
  • Ignoring foot position: Ensure both feet are firmly planted and facing forward to maintain stability and prevent twisting.

Who should avoid doing lunge variations?

Lunge variations like jumping lunges may not be suitable for some people.

  • People with joint issues or balance concerns.
  • Those with knee, hip, or ankle problems should avoid high-impact variations to prevent exacerbating discomfort or injury.
  • Beginners or those lacking core stability might struggle with proper form, increasing injury risk.
  • Pregnant women should consult their doctor before attempting lunge variations due to balance changes and potential strain on the pelvic area.

Lunges are a strength training exercise that has many variations. But before trying them out, prioritise safety and choose lunges that align with your fitness level and physical condition.

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