How to Do the Lunge With a Twist

Proper Form, Variations, and Common Mistakes

Body Achieves What Mind Believes
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Targets: Abdominals, glutes, quads, hip flexors, and hamstrings

Equipment Needed: Medicine ball, dumbbells, and weights (all optional)

Level: Beginner

The lunge with a twist exercise is a great core exercise that builds lower body strength. Performing the lunge while holding and rotating a medicine ball from right to left engages the quads, glutes, and core while improving balance and proprioception, though using this equipment is not required.

The lunge with a twist is also often incorporated into prep time for certain physical activities.

Benefits

This type of stability exercise isolates your quads and hamstrings during the lunge. By adding the twisting motion (with or without added weight) your glutes contract more fully as you engage your core.

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Watch Now: How To Do a Lunge With a Twist

The lunge with a twist is also a great way to challenge your balance and engage the muscles used for any exercise you perform one leg at a time, such as running, cross-country skiing, and even cycling. You can also use lunge twists as a warm-up for these workouts.

Step-by-Step Instructions

  1. Stand with feet about shoulder-width apart.
  2. If you're using a medicine ball, hold it in front of you with elbows bent about 90 degrees. If you're just starting out, you may want to perform the move without weights until you build up your strength.
  3. With your right foot, step forward into a basic lunge position. As you bend your knee, be sure to keep your knee over your right foot (don't twist at the knee).
  4. From your torso, twist your upper body to the right. Keep your core engaged and squeeze your glutes.
  5. Reach across your right side with your arms outstretched.
  6. In a slow, controlled movement, bring your arms back to the center.
  7. Step the right foot back and return to your starting position.
  8. Aim to complete two sets of 10 reps on each side.

Common Mistakes

You're Twisting Your Knees

To avoid injury and get the benefit of a solid core workout, makes sure you're twisting from your torso in your lunge. The movement should come from your ribs rather than your lower body.

Your Lunge Position Is Off

In every lunge you do, keep an eye on your form. Before you start your lunge, check to make sure:

  • You're facing forward.
  • Your back is straight with shoulders back.
  • Your core is engaged.

As you lunge, be sure to keep your knees in alignment—don't let them get ahead of your toes, as this can strain your quads.

Modifications and Variations

Need a Modification?

If you don't have a lot of strength and stability in your hips or knees, start out taking it easy with lunges. While you generally want your knees to be at a 90-degree angle in a deep lunge, it's best to take it slow and work up to that form if it's uncomfortable for you.

If your knee is giving and collapsing as you bend, you may need to do more shallow lunges until you build up your strength.

Up for a Challenge?

The easiest way to challenge yourself with lunges is to increase the number of reps or sets you do as you gain strength and endurance.

To further increase the difficulty, try performing the lunge with a twist barefoot. Without the additional support of shoes, the small muscles of your feet and ankles must become engaged to maintain your balance.

You can also turn the move into a walking medicine ball lunge: Instead of returning the foot you used to perform your lunge back to start, return to center by twisting your torso forward and pulling the other leg forward to your original standing position.

Safety and Precautions

If you have a knee or hip injury or are recovering from surgery, you may want to avoid exercises like lunges until you're healed. Ask your doctor, physical therapist, or trainer for suggestions, modifications, similar moves you can add to your workout as you rehabilitate and heal.

As always, it's a good idea to chat with your doctor before you start a new workout or add a new exercise to your routine.

Try It Out

Lunge twists are a great workout on their own, but you can also pair them with other moves that work the same muscle groups for a more intense lower-body workout:

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