Squats get a whole lotta love these days, but lunges are an overlooked lower-body builder.
Lunges exercise work many different muscles at once, so they’re ideal for strong quads, toned hamstrings, and a sculpted booty.
While most women are familiar with bodyweight walking lunges, there are actually lots of different lunge variations to try.
Some lunges are better for building your butt while others help you slim down your thighs.
Why not challenge yourself to try some new-to-you lunges in the 30 day lunge exercise challenge?
This 4-week routine consists of fast workouts that you can do at home or at the gym. There are eight carefully selected leg exercises that will help you lose fat and tone your lower body for quick results.
The 30 day lunge challenge includes detailed exercise descriptions, helpful tips, and the exact workouts you’ll follow each day for 4 weeks.
Put on some cute tights, grab a pair of dumbbells, and get ready to earn strong, sexy legs!
Lunge Workouts for Women that Work
If you’re doing lunges with good form, they’re actually good for strengthening the muscles that support your knees. The problems occur when the knee tracks too far forward or collapses inward (typically due to weak glutes). Here are a few quick tips:
Add exercises that strengthen the gluteus medius: Clamshells, Fire Hydrants, and Lying Leg Raises
Feel your weight in your entire foot – don’t come up onto your toes
Make sure your glutes are active during the lunge. Touch your butt if you have to – it sends a signal to the brain to wake up a lazy glute muscle!
Add kneeling lunge stretches to your routine – these help open up tight quads and hip flexors.
Dumbbell lunges are your go-to move for the 30 day lunge challenge. This is the standard lunge movement that sculpts your butt, thighs, quads, and hamstrings and is a must for any great lunges workout.
Stand tall while holding a pair of dumbbells down by your sides, your palms facing in towards your body. With your chest up and shoulders back, step forward with your right leg and slowly lower your body until your front knee is bent 90 degrees. Pause briefly and then return to the starting position. Complete all of the reps on one side before doing the same amount of reps with the other leg.
Reverse Dumbbell Box Lunge
Reverse lunges require even greater glute and hamstring activation than traditional lunges. Plus, by standing on a box, you get greater range of motion throughout the lunges exercise.
Stand on a 6” box, riser, or step and hold a pair of dumbbells down by your sides. With your chest up and shoulders back, step backward with your right leg into a lunge. Lower down as far as you can. Pause briefly and return to the starting position. Complete all reps on one side before switching.
Overhead Dumbbell Reverse Lunge
By holding dumbbells overhead instead of at your sides, your entire core has to activate during this lunge variation. It’s a great way to challenge your balance and strengthen your abs. This full-body move will help you have a killer lunges before and after.
Hold a pair of dumbbells overhead, straight over your shoulders. With your chest up and shoulders back, step backward with your right leg and lower your body until your front knee is bent 90 degrees. Pause briefly and return to the starting position. Complete all of the reps on one side before switching.
No lunge challenge would be complete without lateral lunges (aka side lunges). These lunges exercises are great for sculpting lean inner thighs. Lateral lunges target your hip adductors and glutes.
Hold a pair of dumbbells at arm’s length with a neutral grip. Lift your left foot and take a big step to the left. Send your hips back and lower your body by bending your left knee. Your right foot will remain flat on the floor. Push back to the starting position. Repeat all reps on one side before switching.
Curtsy lunges work your hamstrings and your glute medius, providing an effective lunges workout — you’ll definitely feel these the next day. The medius is on the side of your butt, so strengthening it will give your booty a rounder, perkier appearance.
Stand with your feet together. You can rest your hands on your hips or clasp them together in front of your chest. Step your left leg behind and across your right leg. As you step, lower your body down so that both knees are bent, as in a curtsy. Your front knee should be in line with your front ankle. Return to standing and alternate legs. Keep alternating sides until you’ve done the required number of reps for each side.
Split Squat Iso Hold
The “iso” here refers to isometric: an exercise that is done in a static position (Planks are the most common example). The challenge comes from squeezing your glutes and maintaining the position with good form.
Begin in a lunge position. Lower straight down until your back knee is just 1-2 inches off the ground. Your torso should remain upright and your front knee should not collapse inwards. Squeeze your glutes and hold for 30 seconds. Repeat on the other leg.
You may have done hip raises (or glute bridges) as part of a yoga or Pilates class. Fitness pros love them because they tone the hamstrings, glutes, and stomach. While this isn’t exactly a lunges exercise, it will go a long ways to activate those lazy glutes.
Lie on the floor on your back with bent knees and both feet flat on the floor. Keep your arms out to the side at about a 45-degree angle with palms up. Brace your core, squeeze your glutes, and lift your hips off the floor until your body forms a straight line from shoulders to knees. Lower back to the floor.
Get ready for cardio! Lunge jumps will leave you breathless as you build a strong butt and thighs and really hammer home this lunges workout.
Lower your body down into the bottom position of a lunge. Quickly and powerfully, jump up and switch the position of your legs mid-air. When you land, you’ll be in the opposite stance as when you started. Use your landing to propel another jump and another switch. Keep alternating your position on each rep.
About Toning Your Hamstrings and Sculpting the Perfect Tush
The 30 day lunge challenge was designed to help you build the perfect backside, both your hamstrings and your glutes.
Women are naturally quad dominant. That is, we tend to use our quad muscles when our hamstrings and glutes should be doing the work.
That’s typically due to weak hamstrings and glutes – a problem that’s even worse for those of us who sit all day.
And although lunges exercises certainly do work the quads, they’re also incredible for your hamstrings and butt. It’s also easier to identify and address muscle imbalances during lunges because you do them one leg at a time.
For all of the lunge exercises in the 30 day lunge challenge, make sure you do the same number of reps on each leg. It’s best to start with your weaker leg in case you can’t complete all the reps.
In addition to the more typical lunge variations included in the lunge challenge, you’ll also be doing a few bonus exercises:
Lunge Jumps are done with power and speed for maximum fat burning.
Hip Raises are the only non-lunge exercise of the challenge, but they isolate the glutes and hamstrings in a unique and effective way.
Split Squat Iso Holds are like a stationary lunge. Even though you’re not moving, your muscles are hard at work!
Follow along with the 30-day lunge exercise challenge and expect to see and feel results fast!