Lunges are a great exercise for the lower body. What do lunges do for your body?  

They work the glutes, hamstrings, and quadriceps, which are large muscle groups in your legs and buttocks, and legs. Lunges can help you improve your fitness level and increase your muscle size.  

In this guide, we will break down the different types of muscles and how to use lunges as part of your home fitness program.  

Lunges are a powerful exercise that impacts the entire body but focuses mostly on the lower body by targeting the quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes.

Your buttocks and thigh muscles will get an intense workout through lunge variations, and you will also develop better knee stabilization and hip alignment.  

1. Weight Loss 

Yes, lunges can help you with weight loss. Do lunges help lose belly fat? You cannot spot reduce fat, so every time that your body loses fat, it is taking pieces from all over.

Depending on your body composition, you will lose fat from various places until you reach a low body fat percentage. Lunges will help you lose fat, and they will help you build muscle.  

2. Develops Balance & Stability 

One of the benefits of lunges is that they involve separating the legs and require muscle activation to keep you upright. As muscles grow, you will also be developing better balance and stability in your muscle groups.

By training one half of your body at a time, your body is forced to correct muscle imbalances. You must also actively balance while performing the lunge, which improves your overall balance.  

Women Doing Yoga Lunges

3. Increases Body Symmetry 

Body symmetry means having your body in alignment on both sides. Your left quadriceps, for example, should ideally be as strong as your right quadriceps. In many people, muscle imbalances are developed naturally and then not corrected.

Through functional movement where each side of the body is worked separately, such as lunges, body symmetry is achieved. If you perform lunges, you will have better body symmetry and end up with aligned muscles on both sides of your body.  

4. Builds Muscle 

Lunges work to build muscle in the main muscle groups in your buttocks and thighs: quadriceps, glutes, and hamstrings [1]. These are major muscle groups in your body, and recruiting each of these muscles in a compound movement is more likely to lead to muscle growth. 

Lunges are one of the best exercises you can do to focus on building muscle in the lower body.  

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5. Improves Spinal Health 

Lunges help improve your spinal health because they do not load your spine. Instead, lunges decompress the spine. This gives your spine a chance to take a break and not carry the load of your body anymore.

People who suffer from back pain will find that lunges lessen their pain because of the improvement in spinal health [2] 

6. Increases Everyday Function & Flexibility 

The lunge is a functional movement, so when you perform lunges regularly, you increase your everyday function and flexibility. This is important because it makes it easier for you to live your life comfortably and without pain.

For example, walking upstairs becomes easier, as does going for a hike. Lunges also work your hip flexors and keep them flexible.  

7. Strengthen Legs And Buttocks 

Lunges work the muscles in your legs and buttocks, so they will naturally strengthen them. If you want to focus on your thighs or buttocks region, then you want to add lunges to your workout routine.

If you strengthen your legs and buttocks, you will lose fat while adding muscle and create a tight body that is strong and moves well.  

8. Improves Coordination 

Lunges work to improve coordination because they ask you to focus on one half of your body at one time. This is similar to your body’s stability, balance, and muscle symmetry benefits.

When you work one side of your body at one time, it forces your brain to work with your muscles to understand the pattern and stay balanced.  

9. Better Moods & More Self Confidence 

Lunges can contribute to a better mood and more self-confidence. Many people are self-conscious about their buttocks and thighs.

Performing lunges can help tighten those areas as well as make them stronger, which is a win-win. Performing any exercise can release endorphins, which help put you in a better mood for your day.  

Women Lunging Outdoors

6 Different Types Of Lunges & The Muscles They Work

1. Stationary Lunges

Stationary lunges involve staying in one position or remaining “stationary.” These lunges focus on the hamstrings, quadriceps, and glutes. Most of the weight is placed on the front leg while the back leg works to keep you upright and balanced.

The stationary lunge is the foundation for all lunge types, so it is important to master the stationary lunge before moving on to other lunge types.

2. Side Lunges

The side lunge is a lunge where your body moves to the side. This helps your body focus on lateral movement and targets the hips more than stationary lunges. It also targets the quadriceps and glutes differently because of the angle.

We recommend avoiding side lunges if you have bad knees. It is also important to warm up your hips and make sure your body is ready to be flexible because of the lateral position. 

3. Walking Lunges 

Walking lunges take stationary lunges to a new level. As you perform the lunge, instead of staying in one position, you will be slowly moving forward. The idea is that with these lunges, you vary with the leg you start with and therefore “walk” forward as you go.

Walking lunges are a great variation for HIIT workouts where you want to move more quickly and keep your heart rate up. 

4. Reverse Lunges

Reverse lunges place extra emphasis on the glutes and the hamstrings. If you want to target these muscles, the reverse lunge is the way to go.

Reverse lunges are also great for people with bad knees because the pressure is well distributed and not as heavily placed on the knee joint.

Reverse lunges also bring the core into play and can make it easier to balance. Moving backward will also help you activate your muscles from a new angle. 

5. Twist Lunges

The twist lunge is a movement added to a lunge to engage the core more. What happens is that you twist your upper body to the side while keeping your lower body aligned in the lunge.

The twist takes place as you reach the bottom of the lunge. This movement will also help bring your ankle muscles into action. 

6. Curtsy Lunge

The curtsy lunge is designed to focus on your buttocks. With these lunges, you sidestep your front leg to the side and make a “curtsy” shape. This lunge is one of the most advanced lunge types and should only be performed by intermediate exercisers.

If you are a beginner, we recommend that you master the stationary lunge and the side lunge before diving into the curtsy lunge. 

Related Article - Best Alternatives To Lunges

Women Doing Lunges On Court

Are Weighted Lunges More Effective?

Yes, performing lunges with weights is a great way to accelerate your fitness and create a stronger, healthier body.  

We recommend beginning by using dumbbell weights because these tend to be the easiest to use. Hold the dumbbells on either side of your body with a straight arm. Begin the forward lunge. Once you reach the base of the lunge, begin to move upward again.  

When using weights, move slowly to get the most significant impact on the muscle (you do not want to use momentum). We recommend starting with 3 Lbs. dumbbells and moving up, adding weight each time that you workout.  

How many weighted lunges should I do? This answer depends on your existing fitness level as well as how often you exercise and what other exercises are on your workout agenda for the day.  

We recommend performing weighted lunges in sets. Start with 3 sets of 8 and see if you can comfortably perform the lunges with your weights.

Progressively load additional weights into your routine each week. Remember to prioritize form over the amount of weight you are lifting.

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Woman Doing Lunges

People Also Ask (FAQs)

Are lunges or squats better? 

This is a personal preference. Both lunges and squats work your lower body. Lunges work each leg individually and tend to lead to better stabilization, muscular strength, and aesthetics. Squats are best for beginners who do not have a strong sense of balance. Squats can be progressively loaded as well with weights, which makes both exercises a staple of most fitness programs.  

Do lunges make you gain weight? 

No, lunges are unlikely to make you gain weight. Unless you are performing heavily weighted lunges and are male (women need more than heavyweights to gain weight), you are unlikely to gain significant muscle mass from performing lunges. Any weight that you do gain from lunges will be muscle, which will contribute to a beautiful physique.  

Do lunges reduce a person’s buttocks? 

Lunges work the glutes, which are the muscles in your buttocks. They will firm and tighten the area as they grow, which can reduce the size of the buttocks if you have a lot of fat. However, if you have a flat buttock, you will likely find that lunges provide lift and also a rounder appearance. This is how you achieve the “peach” buttocks that many men and women want.  

How often should you do walking lunges? 

Walking lunges are typically part of a longer workout routine. We recommend performing walking lunges approximately 1-3 times per week, depending on your existing fitness level and routine. Walking lunges are a perfect way to warm up your lower body before lifting weights or can be used on their own as one part of a HIIT workout.  

What happens if I do lunges every day? 

If you do lunges every day, you will build up strong lower body muscles [3]. You will also create a tighter, sleeker look by losing fat and shaping your muscle (by building it!). Many people incorporate lunges into their daily workout routine. As long as you do not have a physical condition that makes it difficult to perform lunges, you should be able to perform them every day.  


Lunges are an excellent exercise that targets the main muscle groups in the upper leg and buttocks.

They can help you lose weight, build muscle, stabilize your knees, align your hips, and fill in as a cardio exercise (if you perform them HIIT style).

 Lunges can also be adapted for all fitness levels and should be part of your regular fitness routine.  





Jo Taylor

Jo Taylor

Hi, I’m Jo. I love sunrise swims, cold water immersion and cats. I have been dedicated to strength training for the past 14 years. I became a qualified Personal Trainer in 2020, and am passionate about helping my clients get stronger. Visit Jo Taylors Website