Lunges are the go-to exercise for developing all the primary muscles in your lower body, including your quads, glutes and hamstrings.
Lunges allow you to target each side of your body separately, making them an ideal exercise for determining any type of muscle imbalance. This exercise also builds up your overall stability and is excellent for core strengthening.
The best thing about lunges is that you can do them using your body weight or make it more challenging by including free weights, such as kettlebells, dumbbells, resistance bands or barbells.
This article discusses some of the best types of lunges you can do using free weights.
Best types of lunges to do with weights
1) Dumbbell forward lunge
You can perform dumbbell forward lunges either with dumbbells or kettlebells.
- Stand straight with your feet at a shoulder-width distance.
- Hold dumbbells in each hand and rest your arms along your sides, palms facing inwards.
- Slowly lift your left foot and step two feet forward. Put your feet firmly on the ground.
- Bend both your knees in a way that your left quad and right shin become parallel to the floor.
- Make sure to lean your upper body slightly forward. Keep your back straight and not rounded or arched.
- Your left knee should be directly above your left foot, while your core and hips should be properly engaged.
- Now push through your right foot’s heel and return to the initial position. This whole movement completes one rep.
- Repeat the same move on the other leg. Complete 10 reps on each leg.
2) Low lunges with weights
You can use dumbbells or kettlebells for low lunges with weights.
- Start by standing in a split stance position with your feet about two feet apart. Put one foot forward and one slightly back.
- Hold dumbbells or kettlebells in each hand.
- Slowly bend your knees and take the weight down to the floor.
- Keep your shoulders back and abs tightened. Push through your front heel to lift your body halfway up.
- Lower down again and repeat the movement for at least four sets of 10 reps.
3) Lunge deadlift
- Start by getting into a basic lunge position with your back foot on a step or an elevated platform. Your front leg should be far enough so that your knee stays behind your toes as you do the lunges.
- Hold dumbbells or kettlebells in both hands.
- Bend your knees and lunge down while also lowering your torso towards your front thigh, bringing the dumbbells down on the floor.
- Keep your back straight, push yourself up through your front heel and straighten your torso. Return to the initial position.
- Repeat the movement for three sets of 10 to 15 reps on each leg.
4) Barbell lunges
- Put a medium-weighted barbell on your shoulders. You may use a bar pad on your shoulders for more comfort.
- Take a split stance position with your right foot forward and your left leg back.
- Keeping your core tightened and upper body straight, bend your knees and lower your body towards the ground.
- Make sure to keep your front knee behind your toes and lower your body straight down and not forward.
- Lower your body as much as you can but make sure not to touch your back knee to the ground.
- Now, push through your front heel to stand up and do not lock your knees while you are at the top of the movement.
- Complete at least four sets of 10 reps.
5) Sliding side lunges with weights
- Put a towel under your left foot and hold a dumbbell or kettlebell in your hands.
- Keep your entire weight on your right leg and bend your knees and slide your left foot to the side.
- As you squat down towards the ground, keep your knees behind your toes and take the dumbbells down to touch the floor.
- Squat as low as possible and keep your abs engaged and spine flat.
- Push yourself back up by sliding your left foot in.
- Repeat the move for 10 to 15 reps and switch sides.
6) Side lunges with kettlebell lift
- Start by taking a wide stance position and hold a kettlebell or dumbbell in both hands.
- Slowly lunge to your left side, keeping your right leg straight and shifting your hips over your left foot.
- Shift your hips back and engage your glutes, and at the same time, lift the dumbbell straight up until your shoulder level.
- Lower the dumbbell and take the initial position.
- Repeat the same on the other side and complete at least three sets of 10 to 15 reps.
7) Dumbbell lateral lunges
- Stand upright with your feet at a hip-width distance.
- Hold a dumbbell in each hand and place them on the top of your shoulders. Your palms should face each other, and your elbows should be bent. You may also hold one dumbbell with both your hands on your chest.
- Now take a big step out to your right side and bend your right knee.
- Slightly hinge forward at your hips, and rest your buttocks back to lower your body into a lateral lunge position.
- Make sure to keep your core properly engaged and your chest lifted. Your knee also should not move forward more than your toes.
- Slowly push your body through your right heel and take the starting position.
- Complete at least eight to 10 reps on each side.
You can include these lunges in your strength training routine. Aim to perform a few of these exercises at least three times a week.
Make sure to give your glutes, legs and hips enough time to fully rest and recover between sessions.