The lunge is one of the most effective movements we can use to grow our glutes out of all the different movement patterns. But which lunges variations are the most effective for maximal glute activation and muscle growth. Let’s look at 4 of the most effective lunge variations you can use to grow your glutes.
No spam – just thoughtful training advice
The lunge, also known as the split squat, is a single leg squat exercise that involves placing one foot in front and one foot behind your torso and squatting towards the floor. This is one of the most well-know squatting variations and can be used for both adaptations in strength and muscle mass. It is used by athletes, general populations and bodybuilders the like, making it one of the most common exercises seen in gyms. The lunge targets multiple muscles of the lower body, including the glutes. With over 50+ lunge variations in our exercise library , some lunge variations are more effective than others at targeting the muscles of the glutes.
Before moving forward, it is important to understand the musculature of the glutes, then we can better understand how to create adaptation in this muscle.
The gluteal muscles, commonly referred to as the "glutes," are a group of three major muscles in the buttocks: the gluteus maximus, gluteus medius, and gluteus minimus. These muscles play a crucial role in the movement and stability of the hip and pelvis.
Collectively, the gluteal muscles are essential for maintaining proper posture, walking, running, and participating in various physical activities. Strengthening and conditioning these muscles can help improve overall lower body strength, stability, and athletic performance while reducing the risk of hip and lower back injuries.
Hypertrophy training, also known as muscle gain, in the glute can come from performing a variety of different movement patterns. These include hip dominant exercises (e.g barbell hip thrust)the hinge, the bi-lateral squat (e.g back squat) and the uni-lateral squat like the lunge. This means we have multiple ways to apply stimulus to the glute, which is excellent as it usually means we can perform high amounts of volume throughout a week of training.
Lunges are one of the best exercise variations to induce muscle gain in the glute musculature, this has been shown in studies testing the contraction of the muscles of the glutes while performing different lunge variations. This study was emphasising the important of these exercises for rehabilitation but also notes on their utilisation for other training goals.
Unfortunately we do not have this exercise in our movement library. It will be added in for the next update. The video above shows a standard squat in lunge with a goblet position for the weight, the exercise is exactly the same except for the front foot is elevated on a 20kg plate, therefore increasing the range of motion of the lunge movement.
This is one of the most challenging variations available in the gym, it requires some experience in lunging otherwise it will be very challenging. You should have no issues getting high levels of glute engagement in this exercise and it can produce excellent results when it comes to hypertrophy. In this example it is performed with a dumbbell, but it can also be done with a barbell or kettlebell, either way it will create adaptation in the glutes.
The B-Stance Squat is one of my personal favourite lunge variations and it is very effective at targeting the muscle of the glutes. This is one of the single leg squat exercises that is possible to load heavy once we have been using it for an extended period of time, meaning we can generate high degrees of mechanical tension and create a great deal of growth.
The barbell squat in lunge is a classic lunge variation and can always play an effective role in a strength and hypertrophy training programme, including the role of inducing hypertrophy in the glutes. One thing to take into consideration when performing this exercise is that the knee needs to touch the floor gently and should by no means be slammed to the floor, which can be painful and cause injury.
If you enjoyed this resource you can find more below or try Programme, a fitness app that plans every workout for you – based on your progress, equipment and lifestyle.
This resource was written by Sean Klein. Sean Richard Klein has thousands of hours of coaching experience and a BSc in Sports Science with Management from Loughborough University. He owns a gym in Bayonne France, CrossFit Essor, which runs group classes and a Personal training studio.