But I’m sure you didn’t come here for a simple one-word answer, so let’s have a more in-depth look into it!
Why are lunges effective for your glute workout?
The reasons behind lunges being a useful exercise for glutes workout can fall into three key areas.
When you’re doing a specific exercise, whether it be lunges, squats, deadlifts, planks, sit-ups (the list goes on, and on), you’ll find that you’re never quite using just one muscle group. It is near impossible to only ever focus on one group, which is why we often break up targeted exercises into two groups, primary and secondary. Your primary group will be the muscles that are doing most of the work, while your secondary muscles are those that basically pick up the slack. If a muscle group doesn’t fall into the primary group when doing an exercise, then it’s probably not going to be as effective as you’d like it to be.
For a second here, let’s compare lunges and squats. Both exercises do activate the glutes at different stages of their movement, while also using the quadriceps and hamstrings. When you perform a squat, your primary muscle group being engaged are your quads, while your glutes and hamstrings come into gear in the secondary engagement. With a wide variation of lunges, the primary muscles that get used are your glutes and quads, with the hamstrings and abdominal muscles coming in second.
So not only are you activating and strengthening your glute muscles when performing a lunge, but you’re also getting a much more rounded workout out of it! Because they mimic a wide range of your everyday movements (walking, running, going upstairs), they help with everyday strengthening as well!
So not exactly glute related, but good to know, nonetheless. Lunges are a great exercise to correct any pesky muscle imbalances in your legs as they are done by isolating each leg. Keeping the balance in strength in both legs can aid in spinal alignment and help with lower back pain. This type of exercise will also help you with stabilization, as it’s done on one leg, bringing in a bit of a core workout while you’re at it.
Talk about multi-tasking!
Possibility for Variations
We get it, don’t worry, sometimes we get bored too, performing the same exercise over and over again. But with lunges, the potential for variations, in all levels of intensity and difficulty, is almost endless!
By far, the most effective lunge variation is the walking lunge, whether that be with or without weights. Walking lunges are the complete package, they develop the glutes, hamstrings, and quads, in addition to your hips and thighs, and because it’s a single leg movement, it’s completely spine-friendly. They also get your heart rate up and boost your metabolism by sitting at the edge of strength and cardio training. What more could you want?
Well, if you do want more, we’ve compiled a list of just a few more of these variations for you, to keep your workout fresh and entertaining, and to keep those glutes on fire!
Bodyweight Forward Lunge
This is going to be your basic, foundational lunge, so making sure you’ve got the technique down is super important for your glutes workout! Before moving on to more intensive variations, always check with a professional to make sure you’re performing this one right!
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. You can either put your hands on your hips or hold them together in front of your chest.
Step forward with your right foot, and plant it firmly on the floor with your toes pointing straight. This should be about a two-foot stride (or as far as is comfortable for you).
Bend your knees to create two 90-degree angles with your legs. Keep your chest upright and your back straight, and make sure your butt and core muscles are engaged.
Push back up with the heel of your right foot to return to your starting position.
Repeat on one side, and then switch to the other.
Once you’ve got this basic one down, try the reverse lunge (stepping back instead of forward), or try with weights held firmly in both hands to add more resistance. for your glutes workout
Bodyweight Lateral Lunge
Remember, lunging doesn’t all have to be front to back, you can also move side to side and make your glutes workout funnier!
Start with your feet together and your hands on your hips.
Take a two foot step out to the right (or as far as comfortable). As your foot connects with the floor, push your butt back, hinging at the hips to lower into a lunge on your right knee.
Hold for a second, then push back with your right heel to returning to the start.
Repeat on one side, then switch to the other side.
If you want to add resistance, try using weights, or a resistance band for that extra burn.
Assume your basic starting position, that is, feet shoulder-width apart and your hands where comfortable (on hips or in front of chest).
Step your right foot behind you diagonally and lower your right knee down until your calf is parallel with the floor. Bend your front knee, so it sits at about a 90-degree angle.
Use the driving force of your left heel to return to your starting position.
Repeat on one side, and then switch sides.
Curtsy lunges are great for targeting not only the glutes, quads, and hamstrings but also the calf muscles and core!
This one will get your heart pumping, and your muscles fired up!
Start with your feet together.
Step back with your left foot (as you would with a reverse lunge), but keep your heel off the floor.
Move into a basic reverse lunge, with knees bent, butt and core engaged and hands in front of your chest. Lean your torso forward slightly, keeping your back flat.
Push through with both your feet to jump straight up. You can swing your arms by your sides to add momentum as well.
When you land, lower straight back into a lunge, and then jump again. Keep the movement going to keep the heart racing.
Repeat for thirty seconds on one side, and then switch sides.
Reverse Lunge to Overhead Press With Knee Drive
Start in your basic lunge position, with a dumbbell in your right hand. Rest it on your shoulder.
Raise your right foot, and then step it back about two feet. Land on the ball of your foot and keep your heel off the floor. Bend your knees into a lunge, with your back flat and butt engaged.
Push through the heel of your left foot to return to your starting position. As you do, lift the weight directly above your head, straightening your arm up and drive your right knee up to your chest.
Move back down into your reverse lunge, returning the dumbbell to rest on your shoulder.
Repeat on one side, and then switch sides.
Happy lunging everyone!