Spice Up Your Leg Day Routine: Alternative Exercise for Lunges

alternative exercise for lunges

Lunges are awesome for several reasons:

  • They build immense functional strength as they imitate daily movements such as climbing stairs, walking, etc.
  • They are unilateral (work one leg at a time). Research shows that when you perform unilateral exercises to increase muscle strength on one side of your body, voluntary strength increases on the non-working side too.
  • The unilateral aspect makes it excellent for your core too.

Even though lunges are a great functional exercise, you might look for alternative exercises for lunges either because you are bored of them, want knee-friendlier alternatives, or want to challenge your muscles differently.

So, in this blog, we’re going to share with you 5 alternatives to lunges that’ll mimic the lunge movement pattern to some extent and target the same muscle groups namely your quadriceps, glutes, hamstrings, and calves.

5 Alternative Exercises To Lunges

Check out our list of the best alternatives to lunges that you can try at home or the gym.

1. Bulgarian Split Squat with Dumbbells

The movement pattern in this alternative exercise for lunges is similar to the lunge except for the fact that it doesn’t involve any forward or backward movement.

How to perform

  • Stand facing away from a bench.
  • Assume a hip-width stance while holding a dumbbell in each hand with your palms facing your thighs. 
  • Place your left foot behind you on the bench while balancing on your right leg. This is the starting position.
  • Maintain an upright torso throughout the movement. 
  • Lower your right knee until your thigh is almost parallel to the ground.
  • Pause for a second and then return to the starting position.
  • Perform the desired number of reps on this side and then switch sides.


To stimulate higher muscle growth, you can modify this exercise by going down to the bottom, coming up halfway, then going down again before you return to the starting position.

Related: 10 Simple & Effective Dumbbell Exercises For Killer Legs - Men & Women

2. Dumbbell Step-ups

What makes this exercise a great alternative to lunges is that they can be progressed or regressed easily, are quite similar to lunges in terms of movement pattern and are also excellent for building core strength. 

How to perform

  • Hold one dumbbell in each hand with your palms facing your thighs.
  • Begin by standing behind a bench.
  • Place your right foot on the bench.
  • Use your right heel to lift the rest of your body and exhale as you bring the left foot onto the bench next to your right foot. 
  • Inhale and step your left foot back down to the ground again.
  • Now return the right foot to the ground. This is one rep.
  • Perform the desired number of reps on this side and then switch sides.

3. Single-leg deadlift with kettlebell

Fire up your glutes and core with this amazing lunges alternative at home!

alternative exercise for lunges

How to perform

  • Stand with your feet hip-width apart and hold a kettlebell in your right hand.
  • Shift your weight onto the left leg while keeping a slight bend in your knee.
  • Now hinge your hips forward and lower the kettlebell towards the ground. Simultaneously extend your right leg straight out behind you, keeping it in line with your torso.
  • Lower the kettlebell down until you feel the stretch in your hamstrings.
  • Slowly return to the starting position while maintaining a straight back.
  • Perform the desired number of reps on this side and then switch sides.

4. Sled drag

Feel the burn in your quads and hamstrings with this joint-friendly lunge alternative!

How to perform

  • Load a sled and fix the straps with attached handles to the sled base.
  • Assume a wide stance with your feet and face the sled.
  • Begin by grasping the strap handles and pulling the straps taut.
  • Engage your core and upper back and start pulling the sled by taking small and rapid steps backward.
  • Start slow and then gradually increase your speed.

You might like: 10 Amazing Resistance Band Exercises To Fire Up Your Legs

5. Goblet Squat With Kettlebell

One of the best leg exercises instead of lunge as it activates your quads, glutes, and hamstrings more effectively compared to a simple bodyweight lunge.

alternative exercise for lunges

How to perform

  • Assume a slightly wider than shoulder-width stance.
  • Begin by using both hands to grasp the horns of a kettlebell and position it in front of your chest and your elbows pointing straight down.
  • Keeping your core engaged, lower yourself into a squat position until your thighs are parallel to the floor.
  • Pause for a second and then push through your feet to return to the starting position.
  • Perform the desired number of reps.


The next time you feel you can’t do yet another lunge, try these alternative exercises for lunges.

We’re sure these alternative leg exercises to lunges will keep your body guessing and take your leg day routine to the next level!

And if you need the perfect set of dumbbells/kettlebells for your home gym, check out Burnlab’s 6-in-1 adjustable dumbbell kit right here.

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