What muscles do the curtsy lunge work?

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The curtsy lunge primarily targets and works the following muscle groups:

  1. Glutes:
  • The curtsy lunge requires significant hip abduction and external rotation, which heavily engages the gluteal muscles, especially the gluteus medius and minimus.
  1. Quadriceps:
  • The quadriceps (front of the thighs) are worked as the front leg straightens to complete the lunge movement.
  1. Hamstrings:
  • The hamstrings on the front leg are activated as they eccentrically control the lowering phase of the lunge.
  1. Adductors:
  • The adductor muscles on the working leg have to contract to resist the abduction movement of the curtsy lunge.
  1. Core:
  • The core muscles, including the abdominals and obliques, have to engage to stabilize the torso and maintain proper form.

In addition, the curtsy lunge also works the:

  • Calves: As you push through the front heel to stand back up.
  • Stabilizing Muscles: The small stabilizing muscles around the hips, knees, and ankles are recruited to maintain balance.

By crossing the back leg behind the front leg, the curtsy lunge creates an asymmetrical loading pattern that challenges both lower body strength and stability. This makes it an excellent exercise for developing well-rounded leg and glute strength.

Performing curtsy lunges with proper form and control can be a great addition to any strength training or functional fitness program.

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