As effective as meat-and-potatoes barbell moves such as squats and deadlifts are for beefing up your lower half, there are many great lunging variations that you can employ to assist in building bulk and strength—and you’d be wise to do so.

For one, a 2017 study published in the BMC Sports Science, Medicine and Rehabilitation showed that split squats (which are almost identical to lunges) were more effective for loading the quads—specifically the rectus femoris, which gives your quads that teardrop shape—compared with good mornings and deadlifts. And since lunges call for less of a load, they’re typically easier on your knee and hip joints. 

On the following pages, we outline five lunge variations for you to try. 

Add in a couple at the start of your workout to warm up or sprinkle any of them in the middle of your lower-body routine.  

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