How to Do a Lunge

Lunges are a resistance exercise that is accessible to just about everyone since it does not require a machine to perform. The exercise targets the glutes, quadriceps and hamstrings of the upper legs, and the calves of the lower legs.

Lunges are known as a functional exercise for its ability to aid in strengthening muscles used in everyday activities such as moving and changing directions while walking. As well, the hip flexors get a good stretch, which can help to counteract the long hours most people spend sitting at work and at home.

How To

  • To perform the standard lunge, start in a standing position with feet placed about hip width apart. You should be standing up tall with back straight and head up. Placing your hands on your hips may help with balance.
  • Step forward so that your front and back foot are about 2–3 feet apart. You may need to play with the distance depending on the length of your legs.
  • Slowly bend the front knee to lower your hips until your front thigh reaches about 90 degrees. Your back lower leg may dip slightly below parallel but should not touch the floor. Your weight should be distributed evenly across both feet.
  • Take a breath and then, to finish the movement, press through the front foot to straighten the front leg and return back to standing. Finish all repetitions on one side before continuing on the opposite side.


If you’re new to performing lunges, a good number to aim for would be two or three sets of 10–12 repetitions. As you get stronger you can work toward three or four sets of 15–20 repetitions.


Assisted lunge: If you are new to lunges or simply find balancing during the movement difficult, try using a chair or railing so that you can concentrate on your form. As you get stronger, you should be able to rely less and less on the assistive device.

Side lunge: Lunging to the side works to target the inner thighs and does not put as much stress on the knee joint. Start by standing with the legs 2–3 feet apart and then slowly sink down to one side or the other. The leg you sink down on should see the thigh go no lower than parallel with the other leg extended out to the side while maintaining contact with the floor.

Weighted lunge: Once you’re feeling more confident about performing the standard lunge, you may be looking to increase the difficulty by adding extra weight. You can do this by holding a dumbbell in each hand while lunging. Start with a lower weight until you feel comfortable with the change.

Cautionary Notes

Be careful not to allow the knee to move forward farther than the tip of your foot. This can put excessive strain on the knee joint. Try to think of dropping down instead of forward.

The positioning of both your front and back knee are very important to protecting you from injury while performing a lunge. The front knee should be tracking approximately over your second toe, while your back knee should be pointing straight down, not to either side.

If you have problematic knees or are experiencing knee pain while lunging, check your form to see if that helps. Then, if it keeps up, speak with a fitness trainer to see if they can find a modification for you.

More Lunge Related Resources

Lunge: How to Do a Perfect Forward Lunge
How to do a Lunge
The 13 Best Lunge Variations to Strengthen Your Legs
20 Best Lunge Exercises And Variations for Toned Legs
18 Lunge Variations That Will Work Your Butt From Every Angle | SELF
Lunges for the Hips, Glutes, and Thighs
Ab Exercises | Forward Lunge

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