10 Ways to Lunge

Love all of the cookbook giveaway entries! Keep ‘em coming 🙂

How’s your day going?

Things have been pretty bueno over here. The return of breakfast cookie dough cereal

oats with muffin

(with a crumbled banana almond muffin on top),

some oaties (I made them to take over with a baby meal)

a morning with Livi, and an afternoon with girlfriends.


Michele and Kelly brought their babies for some girl time and playtime. It was so cute to watch the little ones roll around and actually SEE each other. They played with toys and reached for their friends, while Kelly, Michele and I caught up.

Workout-wise, I took the day off (Tuesday and Fridays are usually my off days), because my legs are killlllling me. I checked out a new yoga and fitness studio in town yesterday and hit up a power yoga class. Needless to say, my asana was kicked.


The thing about Tucson is that we have a lot of yoga –various types of practices and really fun, unique studios- but our power yoga options are pretty limited. Before Self-Centered Yoga opened, we had one power yoga studio on the outskirts of town, about a 45 min to an hour drive from pretty much anywhere in Tucson. When I first moved to Tucson from Orlando, it was difficult for me to find a studio that I loved as much as Orlando Power Yoga and Full Circle. I practiced almost daily in Orlando, and while I like the popular studio here (Yoga Oasis), it doesn’t quite have the same feel as classes at OPY or Full Circle (which kicked my booty and left me paddling a canoe atop the Lake of Zen).

The class at this new studio was everything I could have wished for, and I loved the quaint, home-y atmosphere.

yoga studio

(The setting reminded me so much of The Yoga Room in OKC- another one of my studio loves. If you live in OKC, please take a class from Laura and give her a hug from me)

Anyway, I knew it was going to be a good class when we started in child’s pose and the instructor led us through the deep breathing. Inhale, I feel a massage on my shoulders and a press down on my back, exhale, inhale, a press down on my legs, exhale, and a tug on my hips towards the floor. I like when instructors help you get deeper into the poses –then again, I’d pay a random person to rub my back- but a lot of people don’t like touchy-feely teachers.

At work, I have to get an idea of if someone wants physical help or not. A few of my colleagues have been yelled at:



After the deep breathing, we went into the flow and did about a thousand lunges, twists, pulses, standing splits, things left left my biscuits burning. We also finished up with 7 minutes straight of core work, which I shook and mentally cursed my way through.

Going up the stairs hurts quite a bit today, and lunge variations (especially yoga lunges) always have a way of leaving me pleasantly sore.

Here are some of my favorite lunge variations if you’re looking to add some pizzazz to your leg routine:



(As always, check with a doc before making any fitness changes. If you have injuries or limitations, honor your body.)

1. Basic lunge

stationary lunge

-Your feet should be hip-width apart, not directly straight in front of one another. Think of standing on a railroad track instead of a balance beam.

-Shoulders down and back, abs engaged, take a wide step forward, lift the back heel, sink STRIAGHT down (not forward)

-make sure your front knee stays in line with your ankle.

-Keep your back heel raised and don’t let your back knee hit the floor.

2. Lunge and knee lift

knee raise to front

Bring the back leg up into a knee lift, engaging your core.

3. Lunge and twist

lunge with twist

After you get into your lunge position, holding a dumbbell, medicine ball or kettlebell, row to the direction of the front leg. Focus on your obliques and raise back to feet together.

4. Static lunge and pulse

Full lunges for 10 reps, then hold the lowest part of the lunge position for 10 counts and then do tiny pulses for 10 counts. Your biscuits will be on fiiiiire.

5. Lunge and leg lift

leg lift

Squeeze your glutes and lift the back leg up, making sure to keep hips parallel to the front. (Don’t let the hip of the lifting leg tilt up, and keep your core tight)

6. Lateral lunge and hip abduction

lateral lunge side leg raise

Take a big step to the side (both sets of toes still pointing as far forward as possible) and sit your booty back. The leg that stays planted should stay straight and strong and the bending knee shouldn’t extend past the front toes. Put your weight into the bent leg and raise up to standing, lifting the straight leg up and out to the side.

7. Curtsy lunge and knee lift

curtsy lunge knee raise

Cross one leg back and behind the other, and come down into a curtsy lunge. The front foot stays flat on the ground and the back foot has the heel raised off the floor. Bring your weight into your front leg and come up to a side knee lift. Pretend you’re a ballerina 😉

8. Split squat

split squat

Step FAR in front of a step or bench (about 3 ft or so) before placing the back foot on top. Lower straight down into a lunge without letting the front knee extend past your toes. Think about sinking straight down instead of forward, keep your abs tight.

9. Warrior II to Reverse Triangle

warrior 2 reverse triangle

Come into a Warrior 2 position (front thigh parallel to the floor, front heel bisects the heel of the back foot, which is turned at a 45* angle). Straighten the front leg and come into a reverse triangle position.

10. Clock lunges

Try lunging around the clock by performing a forward lunge, then a lateral lunge, and step back into a reverse lunge. For even more fun, try both directions.


Bed time over here- I’ll see ya in the morning with a cookbook giveaway winner + recipe <3



Something to talk about: How often do you work out your legs? What’s your favorite leg toning exercise? Do you like touchy-feely teachers, or no?


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  1. Sana on May 8, 2012 at 12:56 am

    Woaahh, I need to try out all of these lunges! love the pics!

  2. Laura @ prettylittlewords on May 8, 2012 at 1:00 am

    Your daughter is SO beautiful!

    • Fitnessista on May 8, 2012 at 1:00 am

      thank you- i am so in love with her

  3. Julie on May 8, 2012 at 1:07 am

    I used to love lunges and squats and now I dread both. Weighted ones kill my ankles and knees when I was able to do them before… Thank you for this post because it’ll let me try some different lunge variations.

  4. Carolyn on May 8, 2012 at 1:10 am

    I love the lunge variations Gina! My least favorite of them though is the lateral lunge and hip abduction, oh you know, because the ‘girls’ tend to get in my way if I hold dumbbells while doing that move.
    I usually do straight leg toning moves once per week and then combination moves a few times per week. My favorite moves for seeing results in my legs is deadlifts and walking lunges with a barbell.

  5. Linzay @ brokerunner on May 8, 2012 at 1:10 am

    I loooove when yoga instructors help me get deeper into a pose. I would definitely pay someone to push on my back in child’s pose or on my shoulders in shavasana. ahhhhhhh

    • Fitnessista on May 8, 2012 at 1:10 am

      right?! as soon as i feel the instructor helping me, i’m like “yesssssss!!!!!” haha

      • Sara on May 8, 2012 at 1:55 am

        I love that too. I’m not precious of my personal space. Well, not in a yoga class. In the train station at midnight, yes.

        • Faith @ For the Health of It on May 8, 2012 at 9:09 am

          Especially at hot yoga where you have at least three other people’s sweat on you…yeah, you kind of learn to disregard personal boundaries, ha!

        • Linzay @ brokerunner on May 8, 2012 at 10:46 pm

          hahaha yeah please don’t invade my personal space in the train station at midnight. But in yoga, yessss please 🙂

  6. Jacqueline on May 8, 2012 at 1:12 am

    I literally JUST did lunges after my run, while thinking “I need to find a way to make these more interesting.” I come back inside and what pops up on my computer the minute I open the internet? This. Perfect!

    • Fitnessista on May 8, 2012 at 1:13 am

      i was reading your mind 😉
      let me know if you try any of them!

      • Melissa on May 8, 2012 at 2:27 am

        The same exact thing happened to me! love it! thank you!

  7. Julie on May 8, 2012 at 1:57 am

    I LOVE touchy feely teachers! End-of-class massages are the best!

    Love all the lunge options. I usually go with walking lunges and squats for my legs and tush and I always forget about curtsy lunges! 🙂

  8. Shaina on May 8, 2012 at 1:58 am

    I LOVE lunges with leg lifts and abductions – my absolute favorites! Squatting an extra 30ish pounds isn’t working so much for me right now, so I’m super pumped to get back into intense leg workouts. 🙂 I also really like goblet squats and jump squats – the plyo moves getcha every time.

  9. Michelle @ Turning Over a New Leaf on May 8, 2012 at 2:34 am

    I’m sort of ambivalent about touchy-feely stuff. I don’t wig out if an instructor touches me, but I don’t necessarily invite it either. However, I had my butt smacked in Zumba the other day (by another participant). My mind still hasn’t fully processed that one…

    I don’t do a whole lot of leg exercises for a few reasons: I did so many when I was younger, so my legs are already ridiculously strong and muscular compared to the rest of my body (I don’t lose muscle quickly, so it kinda feels like I’m cheating if I spend much time on legs!). Also, I teach Zumba and do a weight training program that utilizes all compound movements with medium-heavy weights, so my legs still get worked out enough there for my taste. 🙂

    • Faith @ For the Health of It on May 8, 2012 at 9:08 am

      Gah, that Zumba butt-smack is so creepy! I had my bum grabbed by a homeless dude the other day when I was running through the park. Total creep-out.

  10. Missy on May 8, 2012 at 3:33 am

    How ironic, I just went to Self Centered Today and took the 9am hathaway class with Courtney . It was a unique class and a beautiful studio. We are lucky to have it. I hope they do well:)

  11. marinka on May 8, 2012 at 4:42 am

    I loooove touchy instructors! Yes please! As you say I’d pay anyone to massage me 🙂 Especially touch as a part of yoga class for me is essential. If it’s missing as if I’m not receiving a whole thing. I have an amazing instructor- when she touches you it’s really relaxing. I can’t forget when I was pregnant I wen’t to her prenatal classes -in the end before shavasana she would cover each of us with a blanket.I would feel so calm,it was kinda magical:)I don’t really do anything special for my legs -I do zumba 3x a week,yoga 1 or 2, running 1 a week…so I think that’s more than enough.I don’t particullary do any body part. I preffer doing it all together:) And I do swimming every day in the summer months

  12. Cait @ Beyond Bananas on May 8, 2012 at 6:08 am

    I love lunges! Clock lunges (I call them around the world) are one of my favorites. There are so many variations to lunges and each work a different muscle!

  13. Brittany on May 8, 2012 at 6:50 am

    The picture of Livi is so cute. Feet up in the air!!!

  14. Catalina @ Cake with Love on May 8, 2012 at 7:21 am

    Love Livi’s green and red outfit!! Also, the lunges are very helpful since I love working on my legs!

  15. Amber @ Busy, Bold, Blessed on May 8, 2012 at 7:47 am

    I love working out my legs but I haven’t been doing much leg work since I’ve been training for my half. I know I should cross train but I’m finding on my rest days, I don’t want to make my legs work and risk them being sore. Only 3 weeks left and then squats and lunges here I come!

  16. Anne on May 8, 2012 at 7:59 am

    Livi’s legs are positively edible!! When I saw that photo I thought she looked like she might be about to start a little exercise class of her own!

  17. Bonnie @ pastepants on May 8, 2012 at 8:23 am

    Oh my goodness Livi’s strawberry-esque outfit is sooooo cute!!

  18. updog on May 8, 2012 at 8:27 am

    Oh man. Babies on a blanket. Too. cute.

    I love touchy yoga teachers. I used to practice Ashtanga yoga a lot, and went to Mysore-style classes in Boulder, where I was living at the time. My teacher made a lot of really gentle but strong adjustments, and I had kind of an emotional attachment to her. One day I asked her when she would give me permission to start practicing Intermediate series, because I was getting all the binds and lifts and stuff in Primary, and she said, “When you stop crying every time I touch you.” Oops! I didn’t know she noticed that I SOMETIMES got teary-eyed when she helped me into those hip-opening poses.

  19. Meagan on May 8, 2012 at 8:33 am

    I’m originally from Oklahoma, so next time I am visiting OKC, I will definitely stop by The Yoga Room! Thanks for the suggestion 🙂

  20. Lindsey on May 8, 2012 at 8:37 am

    Thanks for the lunge ideas, I like to switch it up! Recently I started using the Smith machine for squats and love it, it helps me with my posture. I do legs once a week, but also do cardio 3-4 days a week which counts as a leg workout for me too.

  21. Faith @ For the Health of It on May 8, 2012 at 9:07 am

    OPY is my favorite too! The atmosphere is awesome and everyone is really giving it 8000%. Plus Greg makes one heck of an instructor 🙂

  22. Felicia on May 8, 2012 at 9:12 am

    weighted split lunge…thank you for kicking my ass every time. and making it look good!! haha 🙂

  23. Stephanie @ Legally Blinde on May 8, 2012 at 9:35 am

    Wow, the outside of the yoga studio is just as beautiful as the inside – that looks SO nice!! I love all of the lunge variations – the combination of your descriptions and pictures is perfect. Thank you! And you look awesome, btw! I definitely want to try out the curtsy lunge and knee lift – it looks like fun (and hard work). I’m far from graceful but I do still like to pretend that I’m a ballerina 🙂 Split squats are killer – I definitely remember those from the winter shape-up; they had me seriously shaking. PS LOVE the picture of the babies – how sweet!

  24. Ilana on May 8, 2012 at 9:41 am

    hands on assists: yes please! I’m lucky to assist my mentor’s class once a week (she’s an ahhmazing rockstar of a teacher) and her students are very receptive to as much assisting/enhancing as they can get so I get an hour and a half every week to work magic on these incredible yogis…it’s such a fun experience. I recently took an entire weekend-long teacher training module on hands on asana assists for my RYT500…it was the best weekend of my life 😛

    • Ilana on May 8, 2012 at 9:44 am

      for the reverse triangle, try turning the lifted palm to face you, so you can get deeper into the lateral side stretch.

  25. Felica on May 8, 2012 at 9:44 am

    This is awesome! getting ready for my morning walk and some of these will be perfect at the end. I too am always looking for ways to make my lunges different. About the yoga, as a really tight novice, I really appreciate help from an instructor. I want to make sure that my poses are correct and nothing feels so good as getting deeper into a pose, (except random massage, lol)

  26. Annette @ FitnessPerks on May 8, 2012 at 10:06 am

    I also really love pendulum lunges and walking lunges. Gets the heart rate up and makes your core work hard!

    Love the pics!

  27. mary on May 8, 2012 at 10:15 am

    You might like Sumits Yoga. Watch for one in Tucson or try one in Phoenix. It’s hot yoga but more of a power sequence.

  28. Lisa @ Fresh Spinach on May 8, 2012 at 10:23 am

    I love when yoga instructors really help you get so deep into a pose you never knew you could do something like that. It’s empowering!

  29. Catherine on May 8, 2012 at 10:24 am

    If people say that lunges are hard on your knees, is it because they’re assuming you have bad form? I have no knee injuries but have avoided them. I am thinking that’s silly if I concentrate on doing them right.

  30. Kilee on May 8, 2012 at 10:36 am

    Thank you for all the lounge ideas! I really like your fitness moves posts. Keep them up!

  31. Destini on May 8, 2012 at 10:51 am

    I love that you call it the curtsy lounge! When my trainer first introduced it to me, it felt like the most awkward thing ever. I thought she was trying to kill me(though that thought actually happened often…though I know it was just to push me lol). She always called it the cross over lounge, I call it the pretzel lounge as that is how it felt!

    I love doing leg workouts, makes me feel like the hulk. I just can push so much more weight than any other part of my body!
    I really am loving these posts on specific exercises lately. Great post 🙂

  32. Anna @ The Guiltless Life on May 8, 2012 at 11:16 am

    I LOVE hands-on yoga teachers haha. I will go back to a class over and over again if I know the yoga teacher is a hands-on one. It just really assists you in getting the pose correct. That yoga studio looks adorable!

  33. RachelG on May 8, 2012 at 11:27 am

    There are so many great Zumba songs that work out the bottom half. One of my teachers incorporates about 1,000 lunges into “Drop It Low” and I love/hate her for it. 🙂

  34. Rebecca @ Miss Magnolia Munches & Moves on May 8, 2012 at 11:51 am

    I like teachers to correct my form, which sometimes warrants touching for me to understand. But, I am not all for unnecessary pats of encouragement, especially from male trainers. Today, our crossfit WOD was walk lunging 400 m with a medicine ball. I’m fearful that I won’t be able to get out of bed tomorrow. And your courtsey lunge looks so graceful. 🙂

  35. Melissa (Better Fit) on May 8, 2012 at 11:54 am

    That yoga studio looks and sounds loooovely!

    Yay for lunges! One of my absolute favourite exercises!

  36. Cat @ Breakfast to Bed on May 8, 2012 at 12:19 pm

    I originally read the title as “ten ways to lounge” and got very excited. I do like lunges, but lounging? awesome.

    • Fitnessista on May 8, 2012 at 12:20 pm

      haha i have 1000 ways to lounge 😉

      • Paula on May 8, 2012 at 12:31 pm

        Did you take those pictures of the lunges recently? Your body looks amazing!

        • Fitnessista on May 8, 2012 at 12:49 pm

          wow, thank you! yeah i took them last night

          • Paula on May 8, 2012 at 12:56 pm

            Impressive, congrats on your beautiful little girl and your body after baby 🙂 If you are ever in Chicago we should go to a CorePowerYoga class together, they are ah-mazing!

        • Sarah on May 8, 2012 at 7:51 pm

          I know, I was just thinking the exact same thing!!!

          • Sarah on May 8, 2012 at 7:52 pm

            Haha that formatted so weirdly. I was not going to say “Come to power yoga in Chicago” with me–although I’d love to–I was going to say that I agree with Paula–you look fantastic! I can tell you’ve been working out hard (and that you have been lifting a sweet little one a lot!) You look strong 🙂

  37. Lizzie on May 8, 2012 at 1:23 pm

    What great timing that you posted all these different lunges. I had my first training session at a new gym last night and we did a variation I hadn’t tried. My knees didn’t hurt for once and I realized I’ve had poor lunge form for 24 years!

  38. Amy@healthyhungryhappy.com on May 8, 2012 at 2:54 pm

    ahh that baby pic is so cute!! i bet they’re so fun to watch together.

    love the new takes on lunges-especially curtsy lunges and split squats-those are hard!

  39. Katie @ A Full Plate on May 8, 2012 at 3:52 pm

    I don’t mind touchy feely instructors…espicially in yoga when corrections are needed to avoid injury. My friend is a yoga teacher and I love the way she handles it…in our first downward dog she’ll ask that anybody who doesn’t want to be touched or given adjustments to raise their leg. I think more teachers need to be more like her though. Throughout class she is going around to make sure everyone has correct posture, their foot is in the right place, etc. She also will pulls on my hips while in downward dog, which sounds weird but it feels great!

  40. queenoffitness on May 8, 2012 at 6:05 pm

    gina, GREAT photos!! 6 & 7 look brutal but fun. i’ve never done those kind of lunges before but i will mos’ def be trying them soon.

  41. Alyssa on May 8, 2012 at 6:43 pm

    Ha! The touchy-feely yoga teachers reminds of a really embarassing moment I had the other day. I was talking with a new friend and she was telling me about her new yoga class. I’ve been looking for a new studio to try and so I said, “Do the teachers touch you? I really like it when they touch you in class.” I sounded like a total PERV! She looked at me like I was crazy and I tried to explain what I ment, but, yeah. She pretty much avoids me now. But I LOVE it when they help you with the poses- my first yoga teacher would do this little neck-adjustment whenever we were in savasana and it was total gold.

  42. hayes on May 8, 2012 at 6:53 pm

    Congratulations on the Fitness Magazine win! I stumbled across your blog a few weeks ago and now check it all the time. I have even tried almond butter and find it delish 🙂

    Love your blog!

    • Fitnessista on May 8, 2012 at 7:05 pm

      thank you, hayes- and thank you so much for reading! <3

  43. OneFitTwoFit on May 8, 2012 at 7:51 pm

    Whoa! Super excited about the 10 lunges! Thanks!

    And holy crap, you look amazing.

  44. Morgan Medeiros on May 8, 2012 at 10:08 pm

    Love the lunge guide- so effective!
    I am a Master’s Student in Nutrition, avid runner, and health enthusiast, and I absolutely love your blog- you provide great insight and inspiration for anyone who has ever had a goal to be healthier and happier in their own lives. I’d love your insight on my own blog- if interested, feel free to visit me over at Lucky #13(.1)! Keep doing what you do, you’re fantastic! http://luckythirteenone.blogspot.com/

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