8 Effective Lunge and Split Squat Variations

March 3, 2017 by VAHVA Fitness

8 Best lunge and split squat variations to strengthen different parts of the legs. Versatility in training produces great results.

Lunges or split squats are immensely versatile exercises and they can be altered to hit the lower body very differently. 

We already covered tons of different lunge and split squat variations in the previous videos:

The reason why there needs to be versatility in the way you do different exercises, is because small changes can dramatically change the nature of the exercise and hit completely different part of the legs.

For example, pushing through your heels will often activate the glutes and hamstrings, whereas pushing through the toes will use the quads. Whether you go up-down or more front-back in the lunges, will also determine which muscles are used.

Reverse lunge will hit mainly the glutes and hamstrings because you are moving forward while you push yourself up. If you were to do lunges where you take a step forward (and then push yourself back), you would use your quads. 

The center of gravity (weight placement) will also change the nature of the exercise. If you were to use a cable where the resistance is pulling you forward, you would utilize more of your quadriceps muscles.

When the weight is between your legs as in the jefferson lunge, you are also using a lot of your quads. This is because you are leaning forward and then pushing yourself back with the front leg.

Lateral lunges will nicely target the hip adductor muscles and also hit the lateral glute muscle. 

What ultimately matters the most is your personal execution of the exercise. Where does the exercise feel the most? The body will often find the way to utilize the strongest muscle group when needed - this is why mind-muscle connection is important.

You shouldn't try to do all different variations at once. It's recommended to spent at least a while (like a couple of months) on one-two or three different variations. 3 to 5 sets and 5 to 15 repetitions per set is a great range for strength, size and mobility.

This is how you make amazing progress: once one variation starts to feel ineffective and easy, you can switch to a new one and make new gains.


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