Alternative Exercise to Lunges [Leg Day Workouts]


Are you suffering from toe or knee pain at the time of doing lunges? Well, you are not alone. Many others are having the same experience. Any personal trainer will indeed talk about lunges when it comes to how to have toned legs.

This is because the lunges tend to boost hip mobility, enhance leg balance, and strengthen the core, hips, legs, and buttocks. Still, many fans prefer to avoid lunges. Why so?

This is because, for some, they trigger the unpleasant muscle burn feeling instantly, which is not sufficient to avoid them completely. Another common reason is the pain that the exercises trigger due to which many just dislike them.

If you also fit into any of these categories, it is wise to steer clear of them. Typically, pain during lunges occurs when there is insufficient strength as well as mobility in the joints of ankles and knees.

It can also be the result of the knee going forward past the toes or goes out or into the ankle’s side. It is in this situation that you are at a high risk of injury. Thus, lunges are challenging in terms of doing them right as well as exertion.

However, not all people tend to face these issues due to lunges. So, for those who do, there is good news. While lunges are great workouts for legs, alternative exercises to lunges are also equally effective.

For those who are anxious about this effective lower-body move, there are a couple of alternative exercises to add to your workout routine. Worrying whether you will get time for them or not? Well, do not worry, as they are not time-consuming and can take up to 10 to 15 minutes a day.

Keeping in mind that lunges are critical movements that stopping them totally shall be a big mistake, here are the alternatives to consider, which give similar benefits to lunges.

Single-Leg Balance

This is a simple and great alternative exercise to lunges. A big advantage of lunges is that they put your ankle stability as well as leg balance to test. The same test is also possible with this workout. Here are the steps to perform it:

  1. Stand at a distance of one arm away from a chair or wall.
  2. Keep the feet parallel to one another and hip-distance apart.
  3. Hold onto the chair or wall by involving abdominal’s as well as thigh muscles. Once you get used to it, you may not consider using the chair or wall.
  4. Raise one of the knees to form a perpendicular position to hip crease.
  5. Be in this pose for 10 seconds.
  6. Now, repeat it with the other side.


This alternative exercise is another easy exercise to try. It strengthens those muscles that contribute to moving your body weight across the up and down moves. Now, this is something that happens at the time of lunges. The only variation is that this workout requires a smaller motion range than lunges, which help in strengthening the thighs and knee muscles while decreasing the risk of injury. Following are its steps:

  1. Stand straight in front of a raised platform that can be a step, bench, chair, or a small table. Consider using a low platform so that the hips can remain stable while going up and down.
  2. Put one foot on it (step-up).
  3. Now put another foot to stand on top of it.
  4. Step back down using one foot at a time.

If you wish to make this workout more strenuous, consider holding a pair of weights (5 lb.) in both hands and repeat stepping up and down from 10 to 30 times.

Chair Squat

Yes, it is true that if lunges irritate your knees, even squats will. So, instead of squats, consider performing squats using some support. This will form a modified version. For example, you can use a chair to reduce the range of motion and focus on the upward movement that acts on the backside.
This exercise also moves your lower body while keeping the spine straight, which is a plus for the wellness of your back. Following are the steps to perform:

  1. Sit on a supporting platform, such as a chair. Consider a higher platform here. The higher it is, the simpler it will be for you.
  2. Rest the feet on the floor with the distance being hip apart. They should also be parallel to each other.
  3. Press into heels and squeeze glutes.
  4. Get up straight and stand upright.
  5. Return to the sitting pose slowly.
  6. While performing these steps, it is necessary to retain your spine in the neutral pose.

Goblet Squat

You can perform this workout using a dumbbell or kettlebell. If you use the latter, the exercise is deemed by many as the greatest booster of buttocks’, hips’, and legs’ strength. As both legs are utilized uniformly, this exercise is usually tolerable when the lunges are not. Following are the steps:

  1. Hold the kettlebell in front of the chest as well as nearby to it. Ensure that your elbows point towards the ground while you are standing straight.
  2. Perform a deep squat wherein the elbows need to go inside the knees. Ensure that the feet are a bit wider than the width of the shoulder and the knees are outwards when you are down. Further, look forward, keep the thighs parallel to the floor, let the chest be up, and put all weight on the heels (not on toes) that should be on the floor.

Keeping the thighs parallel activates both the thighs and buttock muscles. In the beginning, performing this exercise 10 times is recommended. If you are not comfortable with the squat, start without a kettle bell.


All the aforementioned alternative exercises to lunges are simple. However, just like any exercise, they need a little practice as well as uniformity in performance. Once they are mastered, most people can perform lunges without knee pain.