Dumbbell Lunges -
Build Muscle In Your Lower Body With
These Awesome Variations
If you train your lower body with
minimal equipment, adding dumbbell lunges and various lunge variations to your
workouts makes perfect sense.
I'm Psymon H., the 50-something-year-old warhorse making his
name from growing muscle and improving physiques with minimal equipment. In
this "read-and-train article, we're going to delve into the dumbbell lunge
We'll discuss everything from what muscles are being worked
during the exercise, how to perform the perfect dumbbell lunge, and how to step
your game up with different lunge variations from walking lunges and the side
lunge with dumbbells to the dumbbell reverse lunge and forward lunge.
Building the Quads, Gluteus Maximus, Hamstrings, and Calves
amongst other muscle groups the dumbbell lunge is a multi-joint exercise that
lengthens the muscles during the eccentric portion of the movement and
contracts them during the concentric aspects of the movement.
An important note to make about the dumbbell lunge is that the
longer the stride, the more the hamstrings and glutes are involved.
Is The Dumbbell Lunge Effective?
There are numerous benefits to the lunge for both runners and
lifters wanting to build muscle and strength. One thing that makes this
exercise so effective is that several lower body muscle groups work
Considered a unilateral movement because of the amount of work
undertaken by the front leg compared to the rear leg, lunges challenge and
improve stability, balance issues, and balance coordination while limiting
strength imbalances between both legs since they have to do the same amount of
The Forward Lunge - How To Do Dumbbell Lunges Correctly
The Forward lunge is the most basic of all lunge variations and
a great starting point if you've never done this exercise before.
Items Needed: One pair of dumbbells
Cue 1 (Starting Position): Start by standing with feet set
shoulder-width apart and dumbbells in hand using a neutral grip.
Cue 2: Lift your chest and maintain a flat back throughout the
Cue 3: Take a medium to large step forward and slowly lower down
until your front knee is at a 90-degree angle to your ankle and your back knee
is hovering over the floor. You should be on the toes of your back foot.
Cue 4: Push your front heel into the ground as you raise back
into the standing position. As This is a dynamic movement, both feet should
finish shoulder-width apart at the end of each repetition.
Do Dumbbell Lunges Build Mass?
With each set of dumbbell lunges, you should aim to leave no
more than 1-2 reps in reserve. This means that after a set you believe that if
pushed to carry on, you would only be able to carry out a further 1-2
repetitions before complete failure.
How Many Dumbbell Lunges Should I Do?
Try to keep reps between 5 and 20 repetitions per set.
Dumbbell Lunges vs The Dumbbell Split Squat -
Are They The Same?
At first glance, the dumbbell lunge looks identical to the
dumbbell split Squat. While the cues look the same, there is one significant
difference. The lunge is a dynamic movement that requires you to step forward
and back. The Split Squat is a static movement that requires the feet to
stay in the same position.
More Quad Growing Articles
Dumbbell Squats: 4 Unusual Variations To Beef Up Your Quads & Strengthen Your Knees
Dumbbell Lunge Variations:
Side Lunge With Dumbbell aka The Lateral Lunge:
What are dumbbell side lunges?
This is definitely a side step up from the original forward
lunge; and an exercise that puts major stress on quads, glutes, hamstrings, hip
flexors, abs, and adductors. This variation can help improve your balance
coordination and stability in your ankles and knees.
Items Needed: 2 dumbbells
Cue 1: Stand with feet hip-width apart and the dumbbells in
front of you. Raise your chest and maintain a flat back.
Cue 2: Keeping your feet pointing forward and flat on the floor,
take a wide step to the right side.
Cue 3: Keep your hips back as you bend your right knee and lower
the two dumbbells in front of you.
Cue 4: Push off your right foot to get back to the start
The Dumbbell Walking Lunge is a natural progression from the
step forward lunge and a lunge variation that demands a lot from your lower
body, especially your quads, hamstrings, and glute muscles.
The major advantage dumbbell walking lunges have over their
barbell counterparts is that it naturally brings the weight to your side,
ensuring you maintain an upright flat back. Barbell tends to bring your upper
body too far forward during the movement.
Items Needed: 2 Dumbbells
How To Do Walking Dumbbell Lunges?
Cue 1: Start in an upright position with feet set hip-width
apart and dumbbells in each hand using a neutral position. Lift your chest and
maintain a flat back throughout the exercise.
Cue 2: Step forward with the right leg and let both knees bend
together until your front knee is at a 90-degree angle to your ankle and your
back knee hovers lightly over the ground.
Cue 3: Drive through your front heel and extend your knees until
you are in the standing position.
Cue 4: Step forward with the left foot and let both knees bend
together until your front knee is at a right angle to your knee. Drive through
your front heel until you are standing and repeat on both legs for the desired
amount of repetitions.
Dumbbell Reverse Lunge - aka Reverse Dumbbell Lunges:
If you want to put more spite and effort into your Hamstring and
glute development, the dumbbell Reverse Lunge is the lunge variation for you.
The Dumbbell Reverse Lunge requires balance coordination and sure footing with
every step back.
Items Needed: One pair of dumbbells
Cue 1: Stand with feet hip-width apart and dumbbells in hand
using a neutral grip. Lift your chest and maintain a flat back.
Cue 2: Keeping an upright torso, take a step back so that your
back knee lightly touches the floor or hovers over the ground and your front
knee bends at a 90-degree angle to your ankle. You should be on the toes of
your back foot.
Cue 3: Push off the toes of your back leg and extend your knees
until you are right back in the starting position.
Advanced Dumbbell Lunges
There comes a time when exercises become stale. To keep
progressing, new and advanced dumbbell lunge variations need to be added.
We've added three advanced dumbbell lunge variations for you to
include in your lower body workouts so no matter if you want to build muscle or
simply challenge yourself, you'll be able to take your dumbbell lunge to a new
The Platform Reverse Lunge is vicious on the lower body from
start to finish. The art here is to aim to get your back knee lower than the
level of the platform to increase the stretch at the bottom of the movement and
to give yourself further to travel on the way back to the top of the movement.
You can place even more stress on the vastus medialis muscles
while strengthening the knees by using a "Knee over Toe" approach on
Items Needed: low platform and one pair of dumbbells
Cue 1: Ensure that the
platform is secure and won't tip over during the lunge by placing weight at the
Cue 2: Start with both
feet on the platform and choose which foot you will step back with first. Keep
your chest high and back flat.
Cue 3: With dumbbells
in hand using a neutral grip, carefully take a step back off the platform with
your lunging leg. Ensure you plant your toes firmly on the floor before
completing the full lunge.
Cue 4: Once in the
extended lunge position, use your legs to help you drive up to the start
position on the platform.
Choosing Urethane and Rubber Dumbbells For Your Home Gym
Lunge Variation 2: Spring-Loaded Forward Dumbbell Lunges
Imagine taking a standard dumbbell lunge and adding additional
force; now you have one of the best dumbbell lunges at your disposal. This
movement stimulates growth in the Quads, Hamstrings, and Glute muscles.
Items Needed: One pair of dumbbells, Two heavy resistance bands, Velcro,
and a sturdy upright anchor.
The Setup: Loop
the first band to an upright anchor at hip height and use a wrist strap or
Velcro to attach the second band. This exercise does come with a warning –
Please make sure the upright anchor is secure and the Velcro strap can take the
pressure of the two bands under tension. If you don't have Velcro or a
heavy wrist strap, you can loop the second band around the first band to create
a knot, but this can be a bitch to undo once you’re done.
Cue 1: With the first
band attached to the anchor, step inside the second band and have it resting
around your Hips. Grab both dumbbells and step back until there is a good
amount of tension in both bands. At this moment, you should feel as if you'll
be catapulted across the room if you were to lift both feet off the ground.
Cue 2: (The Start of
The Movement) Take a step forward into a front lunge with your front leg at a
90-degree angle. Make sure to take your time with your foot
placement so you do not lose your balance. Concentrate on the contraction in
your front Quad and Glute.
Cue 3: Once you are in
the down position, push back against the band as you begin to bring your front
foot back to the standing position.
You should concentrate on doing one leg at a time and once you
master the movement, you can alternate legs during a set.
While the dumbbells offer the usual stress on your Quad muscles,
the bands give serious tension to both ends of the movement. When you step
forward into the lunge, you will feel the band accelerate. As you
step back, you will feel yourself fighting the tension in the band as well as
the gravity from the dumbbells
To maintain control of the movement, ensure you slow down. When
it comes to a kick-ass dumbbell leg workout to initiate growth, the
Spring-Loaded Lunge is one of my favorite movements.
Lunge Variation 3: Incline Knee Over Toes Dumbbell Lunges
Dumbbell lunges placed on an incline transfer additional stress
on muscles surrounding the knee like the vastus medialis (aka -the teardrop).
When you add a knee over the toe component, you strengthen the ligaments and
tendons surrounding the knee joint. If you're new to this exercise, slowly work
up to this advanced dumbbell lunge exercise.
Items Needed: A low platform or a bumper plate and two
Cue 1: Stand on the edge of your platform with your heels and
drive your toes into the ground. Have the dumbbells at your side using a
neutral grip. Raise your chest and make sure your back remains flat throughout
Cue 2: Working the right leg first, step back with the left leg
into a reverse lunge. You should be on the toes of your back foot with your
rear knee lightly touching the floor or hovering just above the ground.
Cue 3: Lean slightly forward in the bottom portion of the
dumbbell lunge so that your front knee travels over your toes. Bring the
dumbbell forward so they are in line or just a little in front of your front
Cue 4: Drive your front toes into the ground as you extend your
knees and bring your feet to the start position.
Thank you for taking the time to read our Dumbbell Lunges article