Dumbbell Lunges – Quadriceps Exercise Guide with Photos


Muscles Targeted: The dumbbell lunge exercise is one of the best exercises you can perform for targeting the gluteus maximus (butt muscles) along with the quadriceps “quads” which are the four large muscle in the front of the thighs. The hamstrings are the muscles located on the back of the thighs and they are targeted as a secondary muscle with this exercise along with the calves (muscles on the lower leg).


Exercise Instructions: Stand up straight and hold a dumbbell in each hand while letting the dumbbells naturally hang down at your sides. Be sure that you have enough room to perform this exercise. Begin by stepping forward with one leg to execute the lunge movement while keeping the other leg set in place. Be sure to step forward enough so that you get a great stretch and place maximum tension on the key muscles of your legs. To finish the movement, bring the active leg back to the starting position. You can either continue to lunge with the same leg or alternate the lunge with the opposite leg.

Why This Exercise is Important: The dumbbell lunge is a fantastic exercise for several reasons. First off, it’s a movement you can perform virtually anywhere. You can do it in the convenience of your own home or even in a hotel room if you’re traveling. All you need is a small pair of dumbbells and a small area and you’re set. The lunge is probably the most used exercise for anyone who wants to tone, tighten and even build up the glute muscles of the buttocks. It’s also a great exercise for the quads (front of thigh) along with the hamstrings.

Things To Avoid: Technique is critical when doing the lunge so make sure to always stay focused when doing this movement to avoid injury. Avoid using too much weight and start off with very light dumbbells to get the motion down correctly before increasing the weight. As you lunge forward, the most important thing to avoid is having your front knee go past your toes which places way too much tension on the delicate knee ligaments. You want to have the knee of your front leg be positioned lower than your toes at the bottom of the movement (full lunge position) with your weight on your quadriceps and heel of your foot rather than going too far forward on your toes which places excessive tension on your knee. Keep your back flat with your shoulders back and your chest high and focus your eyes in front of you.

Reps and Sets: Overall repetitions should be around 8-15 per set. Avoid going too heavy on the dumbbell lunge since you don’t need excessive weight to get a great workout. Total sets should be in the range of 3-8 depending on how many overall exercises you’ve chosen to do in your overall leg workout.

Other Exercises To Use: Other great exercises include the barbell squat, leg press and barbell step-ups. Don’t forget to also include exercises for your hamstrings and calves to round out your overall leg workout.

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    • Hi Steph – You should start out with 12-15 reps for 3-5 sets when doing dumbbell lunges. The key is to go very slow and make sure your technique is spot-on at all times.

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