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The Lunge Exercise for the Thighs

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Exercise Pages


Home -> Advanced Training -> Exercise Technique -> Lunges

Primary Movers:
Gluteus Maximus, Quadriceps, Hamstrings

Secondary Movers:

Anatomy of the Glutes

Click the Professor to review the anatomy of the Glutes.

The Lunge is a simple but very effective exercise for the legs. It involves balance and coordination, which is very useful for sports as well as muscle development. The dumbell version of the Lunge is the easiest to start with though it can also be done with a barbell.

How to do it:

  • Hold two dumbells in your hands by your sides.
  • Step forward with one leg and lower your upper body down, bending your leg (don't step out too far). You should have about two to two and a half feet between your feet.
  • Do not allow your knee to go forward beyond your toes as you come down, keeping your front shin perpendicular to the ground.
  • Push up and back and repeat with the other leg or do all the reps with one leg then switch.
  • The farther forward you step, the more the glutes and hamstrings you will use (closer works the quads more, just don't go too close).
  • It is very important to keep your upper body vertical.
  • Go down until your bottom knee almost touches the ground.
  • Think about sitting back when doing these. This will prevent you from leaning too far forward.
  • It is best to do this exercise all on one leg without standing up each time. Stepping forward can overstress your knee. Simply do all your reps on one leg then switch legs and do all your reps on the other leg.


  • Don't have both your legs in a straight line. Keep them horizontally separated by about six inches to keep your balance. Doing this increases your base of support and makes your body more stable.

Common Error:

  • Leaning forward on the way down - this can cause you to lose your balance and can place unnecessary stress on your back. Always strive to keep your upper body vertical. Do these in a mirror or in front of a horizontal bar or table (so that your abdomen will hit the bar or table if you lean forward) and be sure to focus on sitting back during the descent.


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