How To Do A Forward Lunge? Video Exercise Guide

Curtsy lunges Forward Lunge Forward Lunge benefits Forward Lunge stretch Forward Lunges for beginners Lateral lunges Reverse lunges Walking lunges

 Forward Lunge Overview

A forward lunge is a bodyweight exercise that works muscles throughout your lower body. Perform forward lunges by taking a large step forward and lowering yourself until your front leg and back leg are both at nearly a 90-degree angle. Then, push into your front heel and foot to raise back up to a standing position.

What is the benefits of Forward Lunges

Consider some of the benefits of regularly performing forward lunges.

1. Forward lunges activate muscles throughout your lower body. The forward lunge works muscle groups in your legs like the hamstrings, quadriceps, hip flexor muscles, gluteus maximus, and adductor muscles in your inner thighs.
2. Forward lunges increase your core stabilization. With proper form, forward lunges engage the stabilizer muscles in your core and back. Remember to keep your upper body aligned during the full range of motion.
3. Forward lunges are versatile. The forward lunge requires no equipment, making it one of the best lower-body exercises to practice at home. If you want to increase the challenge of the exercise, consider holding a kettlebell, barbell, or pair of dumbbells during the lunging movement.

Muscles Worked by the Forward Lunge


quad muscles | thigh anatomy

Your quads are made up four muscles, all of which help straighten your knee: the rectus femoris, the vastus intermedius, the vastus lateralis, and the vastus medialis.


glute muscle anatomy | dumbbell deadlift

Your glutes are comprised primarily of three muscles: the gluteus maximus, gluteus medius, and the gluteus minimus. They’re responsible for straightening your hips, drawing your femurs away from your body’s midline (abduction), and rotating your legs inward and outward.


The hamstrings, calves, and core also play supporting roles in the forward lunge.

Why are forward lunges so hard?

As soon as you step forward and your back heel comes off the ground, the movement is immediately more unstable than a reverse lunge. This also creates a greater challenge for your core which has to work harder to keep your body stable.

How to Do Forward Lunges for beginners?

The Forward Lunge is a great bodyweight leg exercise that targets the muscles in the quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, and calves. By completing all the reps on one leg first, it helps increase the time the muscles are under tension. To get started:
1. While standing, take one step forward with one leg.
2. As you make the descent into the lunge, your front thigh should reach parallel to the ground or as close as your mobility allows.
3. Your back knee should be bent at a 90 degree angle hovering just a few inches above the floor.
4. Ensure your upper body is upright and perpendicular to the ground.
5. Press your feet through the floor to return to the starting position.
6. Complete all the reps on one leg, then switch legs and repeat.

Are forward lunges bad for the knees?

In fact, if lunging forward is your typical way of performing the lunge exercise, you could be causing yourself a knee injury.

The forward lunge is particularly harsh on the knee for a couple of reasons.

First, the front leg is in an open chain position and absorbs a lot of force the moment your foot hits the ground.

An open chain exercise is one in which the working limb is not in contact with the ground or a similar stable surface. A closed chain exercise is one where the working limb is in contact with the floor or other fixed object.

Second, the muscles of the quadriceps are stretched when the knee is already partially flexed. In this stretched, eccentrically loaded position, the landing force goes directly into an already stinging patella tendon and feels like a knife digging into your knee with every rep. Not a good situation.

Are lunges more beneficial than squats?

If you're an athlete and want to work on balance and coordination with muscle and strength gain, lunges are better than squats because the movement's one-leg-at-a-time flow requires you to focus on correcting imbalances and improving your agility.

Attention: Who should not do lunges?

A C-shaped piece of cartilage called the meniscus cushions the knee joint. Aging can cause the meniscus to weaken and tear. When you have knee pain, working out can be stressful. Exercises that you should not do if you have bad knees include leg extensions, squats, lunges, and possibly running.

4 Types of Forward Lunge

Once you’ve practiced forward lunges, consider trying one of these four lunge variations.

1. Walking lunges: If you want to add a cardio element to your lunge exercises, practice the walking lunge by using your front leg to lift your body forward into another lunge, bringing your back leg into the front.
2. Reverse lunges: Practice reverse lunges by taking a step backwards and lowering yourself down into a lunge position. While the forward lunge emphasizes your quadriceps, the reverse lunge puts special emphasis on your hamstrings and glutes.
3. Lateral lunges: The lateral lunge, also known as the side lunge, involves a unilateral movement as you extend one leg out from the side of your body.
4. Curtsy lunges: Perform this advanced lunge variation by crossing one of your legs behind you before lowering yourself into a lunge position. The curtsy lunge activates your gluteus medius and other hip abductor muscles that run along your inner thigh.

What exercise can replace lunges?

  • Glute Bridges

This move targets the glutes and hamstrings, two of the main lunging muscles, without putting strain on the knees, says Dene. "If you have any tenderness in your knees when you do this exercise, squeeze a cushion between your legs,"

Lie on back with knees bent and feet in line with sit bones. Engage abdominals, keep spine flat, and press arms firmly into floor at sides. Squeeze your glutes and, keeping weight in your heels, lift hips away from floor, pressing pelvis toward ceiling and being mindful to keep spine in neutral position. Lower hips to floor and repeat 10 to 30 times.

  • Step-ups

This exercise strengthens the same muscles that help to transition your body weight through up and down movements, which is what happens during lunges, says Dene. "The difference is that this exercise requires a smaller range of motion," she says, "which strengthens the thighs and muscles around the knee with less potential for injury."

Stand in front of elevated platform, such as stable bench or step. Step up, 1 foot at a time, to stand on top and then step back down. Start with low platform to keep hips as stable as possible while stepping up and down; to make this exercise more challenging, hold pair of 5 lb weights in each hand. Repeat 10 to 30 times.

  • Chair Squats

If lunges aggravate your knees, chances are that squats will too, says Dene. "However, doing squats from a supported position, like in this modification which uses a chair, decreases the range of motion and emphasizes the upward motion of standing, which works the backside," she says. "Plus, learning how to move your lower body with an upright spine is also really beneficial for the health of your back."

Sit on bench or chair. Keep feet on floor, hip distance apart and parallel to one another. Squeeze glutes, press into heels, and stand straight up, then slowly return to seated. Keep spine in neutral position. Quick tip: The higher the chair, the easier this will be. You can also move hips closer to front edge of chair to make this move easier.

  • Single Leg Balance

One benefit of lunges is that they challenge both your balance and ankle stability.

Stand 1 arms-distance away from wall or chair, feet hip-distance apart and parallel to one another. Hold onto wall or chair for support, engage thigh muscles and abdominals, and lift 1 knee to 90-degree position in line with hip crease. Stay here 10 seconds, then switch sides.

Quick tip: To increase the intensity of this exercise, don't use the wall or chair for support.

  • Clams

Don't be fooled by the fact that this exercise doesn't mimic the lunge at all, It targets the abductors, which are the stabilizing muscles at the side of the hips. "Oftentimes the pain that people experience in their hips and pelvis when they do lunges comes from an instability in the hip girdle, and this move can help create more stability,"

Lie on one side, resting head on upper arm or on pillow. Bend knees to 90 degrees. Keeping feet together, rotate top knee toward ceiling, separating thighs and feeling muscles of outer hip contract. Squeeze inner thighs to lower leg back down. Repeat 10 times, then switch sides. The goal is to try to keep your hips completely still, only moving the thigh bone from within the hip socket as you do each repetition.

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