The Right Way To Do A Curtsy Lunge

Lunges are a staple body weight exercise. Just about anyone who has gone through a public school gym class can tell you that they do a number on your lower body — and that's a good thing. They work the glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings, and calves which can burn some serious calories.

But when you repeat the same exercise routine, your body starts to adapt, as shown in a 2016 study published in Current Biology. That doesn't mean you should stop exercising, though. It just means you need to switch it up, and curtsy lunges are a great way to do that.

Curtsy lunges work your quads and glutes just like regular lunges. But they have the added perk of working your hip abductors and gluteus medius too. Your hip abductors help bring your thighs together while your gluteus medius works with your hip abductors to stabilize your legs when moving from side to side. This stability is especially useful for dancers, yogis, and gymnasts.

As important as the muscle is, working the gluteus medius isn't easy. Most body weight exercises like jumping jacks, squats, and traditional lunges just don't touch it, but curtsy lunges really put it through its paces.

How to perform a curtsy lunge

The key to curtsy lunges is to properly distribute your weight. This will help you avoid injuries while getting the most out of the exercise.

As with standard lunges you will want to start with your feet shoulder-width apart and your arms at your side. Shift your balance so most of your weight is on your right foot and bring your left foot back. Plant the ball of your foot and bend your knees as you sweep your left foot behind and to your right the way women do when curtsying, hence the name of the move.

As you bend your knees, bring your arms up. Some people clasp their hands in front of them while others put their hands on their hips. Choose whichever best helps you balance. Rest in this position for a few seconds, then carefully rise up, lower your arms, and return to the starting position. Go through a few reps on your right leg then switch sides and repeat.

Once you get the hang of basic curtsy reps, you can try a few variations. You can hold a barbell across the back of your shoulders, grab a weight in each hand, or hold onto a medicine ball. Try a few and see which works best to keep your workout varied and effective.