The Exercise You Should Try Instead Of Curtsy Lunges

A curtsy lunge is a lunge variation in which you step back into a curtsy and dip down low. Healthline states that these are lower body exercises that try to target the gluteus maximus, gluteus medius, and inner thighs. Additionally, this movement is thought to help with balance. But unfortunately, despite its potential benefits, it carries a risk for injury other lunges don't, and it may not be suited for everyone.

Certified personal trainer, Mathew Forzaglia, tells Livestrong that curtsy lunges are bad news. He states, "I hate curtsy lunges with a fiery passion." He explains that your knee gets twisted when performing them, and by not doing them properly, you can injure your knees and ankles. These movements require excellent knee stability and ankle mobility to do them correctly — something most people don't have. And if you try to do these lunges quickly, you'll likely see little benefit since momentum will be doing most of the work. Fortunately, Forzaglia has an alternative.

Swap lateral lunges for curtsy lunges

Instead of risking knee or ankle injury, Forzaglia recommends doing lateral lunges, also called side lunges. They work the same muscles as curtsy lunges and can help improve mobility, according to Women's Health. And research backs this up. A 2018 study published in PLOS One found that six weeks of lateral lunges built muscle and increased muscle power in team sport players.

There are a few best practices to keep in mind with this exercise. First, you always want to make sure your feet are in line with your hips, and your toes are pointed forward. As you step to the side, you want to lower only until your hip is the same height as your knee. Avoid arching your back as you bend forward slightly. Push down through the heel as you come back up to starting position. You can continue on the same side or switch sides with each repetition. Adding dumbbells can help challenge you as you begin to build strength (via Women's Health).