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Exercise Well: 7 variations on lunges from fitness expert Stephanie Mansour

Lunges are great exercises to strengthen and tone both the front and back of your legs, your glutes and improve balance.

Whether you’re looking for an at-home lower body workout or ready to jazz up your current exercise routine, we’ve got a variety of lunges to suit your fitness level.

Lunges are great exercises to strengthen and tone both the front and back of your legs (both the front and back of your legs), your glutes and improve balance.

Check out the 7 variations below to spice up your workout routine:

Basic Stationary Lunge

Standing with your feet as wide as your hips, hands on your hips, and then step your right foot forward. Bend both knees so that they’re at about 90 degree angles. This is your position for your stationary lunge. Press down through the front heel to come back up to standing with straight legs. Repeat this lowering down and then coming back up for 10 times, and then switch to the other side.

Forward Lunge

Start with your feet as wide as your hips. Then, step your right foot forward as far as it was in the basic stationary lunge, and lunge down. Then press down through your right heel to come back to a standing position. Repeat this forward lunge 10 times with the right foot stepping forward, and then repeat with the left side.

Back Lunge

This lunge is the exact opposite of the forward lunge. Step back with your right foot and bend both knees to lower down into a lunge. Then, press down through the front heel to come back to center. Repeat 10 times stepping back with your right foot and then switch to the left.

Back Lunge with Lift

Repeat the back lunge, but this time before you bring the back leg back to center, lift the leg behind you. This will really target the glutes and upper hamstrings!

Side Lunge

Start with your feet as wide as your hips. Then step your right foot to the right and bend the right knee into a side lunge. Keep the left leg straight. Press down through the right heel and come back to center. Repeat 10 times to the right, and then go 10 times to the left.

Exercise expert Stephanie Mansour suggests adding a side lift to a side lunge for a variation during your workout.
Brian Ernst/Sun-Times

Side Lunge with Lift

Perform the above side lunge, and this time when you come back to center with the right leg, lift the right leg straight out to the side to work the gluteus medius and outer hip. Repeat this 10 times on the right, and then switch to the left.

Curtsey Lunge

Finally, it’s time to take a bow! But we’re going to keep the exercises going by coming into a curtsey lunge. Step the right foot back behind the left, and bend both knees as you open the arms out and act like you’re taking a bow. Press down through the right heel, and come back to center. Then step the left foot back and do a curtsey to the opposite side, and come back to center. Repeat 10 times to each side.

Stephanie Mansour wants you to ‘“step up” your fitness regimen. Mansour coaches private clients in weight loss, provides fitness/health/lifestyles advice on national TV shows, and offers her free 21 Day Challenge online. Check out her fitness tips every Thursday in the Well section of the Chicago Sun-Times. And visit her website at stepitupwithsteph.com.