Kettlebell Lunges | Top 8 Lunge Variations You Can do With Kettlebells
You see, squats and leg presses are not all there is to lower body training.
The lower limbs of the body have many more functions, which is why we can include a variety of exercises, such as:
- Running upstairs
While heavy compound exercises are the best option for muscle and strength development, doing more dynamic movements can keep you away from becoming too stiff.
If you are having a hard time doing some of the kettlebell lunges from the list below, then you may have focused too much on heavy lifts and became stiff at one point.
In that case, it would be best to just do bodyweight lunges, until they are easy enough for you to add more resistance (weight).
Click on the jump links below to take you to the different kettlebell lunge variation:
- Exercise: Regular Kettlebell Lunge
- Exercise: One-Arm Overhead Kettlebell Lunge
- Exercise: Two-Arm Overhead Kettlebell Lunges
- Exercise: Kettlebell Walking Lunge Pass-Through
- Exercise: Goblet Kettlebell Lunges
- Exercise: Two-Arm Kettlebell Lunge And Press
- Exercise: Kettlebell Side Lunge
- Exercise: Kettlebell Reverse Lunge
8 Variations Of The Kettlebell Lunges
Kettlebell Lunges are a fun exercise which comes in plenty of variations here are our 8 best picks!
To start off this list, we’ll give you the basics.
If you are not familiar with lunges or have never done them, the regular version may help you get a hang of the movement pattern.
This exercise is done with two kettlebells, held by your sides.
Kettlebell Lunge Execution Steps:
- Grab two kettlebells and hold them by your sides
- Stand up straight with feet close
- Look forward and keep the torso straight
- Place feet shoulder-width apart
- Take a big step forward
- Lunge down on that leg, keeping the torso straight
- Push backwards and get into the starting position
- Do the same motion pattern on the opposite leg
One of the biggest benefits of kettlebells is their ability to engage stabilizing muscles.
Second to that is the fact you can do really complex motion patterns and engage many muscles at once.
With this second exercise, you will work not only on the legs, but also the shoulders and overhead squat mobility.
One-Arm Overhead Kettlebell Lunge Execution:
- Grab a kettlebell, bend over slightly and do a kettlebell clean, then lift it over your head
- Keep the opposite arm to the side for balance
- Keep feet close and take a big step forward
- Lunge down, keeping the torso straight (avoid hitting the knee on the ground)
- Push back up to the initial position
- Repeat the movement on the same leg
- When done, switch the kettlebell to the other arm and repeat the same thing on the opposite side
If you’re having hard time developing that overhead squat mobility, the 2 arm version of the kettlebell lunge may be even better.
With this exercise it would be more adequate to alternate between legs, rather than completing one set for each leg, separately.
Two-Arm Overhead Kettlebell Lunges Execution:
- Grab two kettlebells, bend over slightly and snatch them up to shoulder level, then lift them up and over your head
- Keeping that static position, take a big step forward, keeping the torso straight
- Lunge down slowly, without hitting the ground with your knee
- Push back up to the initial position and do the same on the opposite leg
- Alternate between legs
Another physical quality that traditional weight training can’t develop optimally, is coordination between limbs.
This is where the lunge pass-through can come into play, to help you develop not only strength and coordination, but also core stability.
Kettlebell Lunge Pass-Through Execution:
- Take a kettlebell with your right arm and hold it to the side
- Step with your feet close to one another and keep torso straight
- Look forward and take a big step forward with the left leg
- Lunge down
- When you are at the lowest portion of the lunge, pass the kettlebell under your left leg and grab it with the left arm
- Lunge up and forward
- Repeat the same on the right leg and alternate between sides while walking forward
- As you advance, go directly from left step forward to right step forward without stopping at the middle. This is the best range of motion to develop stabiltiy and coordination.
Note: If you are uncertain of this exercise, make sure to have a personal trainer watch over your form.
This fifth exercise is essentially a regular kettlebell lunge, but done with a single kettlebell.
Besides improving strength and conditioning in the lower body (quadriceps, glutes, hamstrings), the goblet kettlebell lunge can help you develop static elbow flexion lockout strength, as you are holding the dumbbell in front of the chest with both arms.
Goblet Kettlebell Lunges Execution
- Grab a kettlebell with both arms and lift it up to chest level (hold it comfortably)
- Keep torso straight and feet close
- Take a step forward with one leg and lunge down
- Avoid hitting the back knee in the ground
- Lunge back to the initial position
- Repeat the movement pattern on the opposite side
Now if you want an advanced compound exercise, this sixth movement we have for you may be just what you were looking for.
While the overhead kettlebell lunge will develop static, lockout strength, this one will dynamically involve the shoulder musculature with an overhead press.
Kettlebell Lunge And Press Execution:
- Grab two kettlebells and lift them up to shoulder level, keeping the elbows in front of the body
- Stand up straight with feet a couple of centimetres apart
- While keeping the back straight, take a big step forward with one leg
- Lunge down and simultaneously push the kettlebells over your head
- As you step back up to the initial position, lower the kettlebells down to the shoulder line again
- Repeat on the opposite leg. Step forward, lunge down and press, push back up to the initial position
With modern-day sedentary lifestyle, hip tightness is a very common thing among people.
This may cause a lack of mobility and chronic pain or discomfort in that area.
Well, if that’s the case with you, the side lunge might as well be one of the best hip mobility exercises you can do.
Note that in the very beginning, given that you’ve never done it, you will more than likely need just your bodyweight.
Kettlebell Side Lunge Execution:
- Grab a kettlebell and hold it with both hands at chest level, like you would for the goblet lunge
- Step with your feet in a wide stance
- Keep torso straight
- Lunge down to one side slowly, keeping the torso and core balanced
- Stay down for a split second
- Return to the initial position in a wide stance
- Do the same on the opposite side
- As you progress, go directly from one side to the other, without the midpoint
Note: If this exercise is hard for you, replace it with a split squat
The vestibular apparatus, responsible for balance and orientation does well when you see what’s in front of you.
When you move backwards, opposite to what you see in front, it gets different.
This is one of the best lunge variations to help develop lower body balance.
Kettlebell Reverse Lunge Execution:
- Take two kettlebells and keep them by your sides
- Keep torso straight and head looking forward
- Step with feet parallel to one another, placed at about shoulder-width
- Take a step back and lunge down carefully, maintaining core stability
- Return back to the initial position and repeat on the opposite leg
Kettlebell Workouts and Variations
We get it, 8 variations may be too much for you to handle in one single workout.
You don’t necessarily have to use all of them at once!
Your best bet would be to pick a couple of exercises from the list, and combine them with other lower body kettlebell exercises, to make for the perfect leg workout.
To change up the exercise and engage more muscle groups and fibres, you can utilize different variations of lunges.
Throw in some steady state cardio after the weighted workout and you’ll be pretty much done!
Here are our TOP 3 picks for kettlebell and bodyweight exercises, as well as lunge variations to combine in a workout:
#1 Kettlebell swings
After a good full body warm up, the workout can start with kettlebell swings.
This is quite a dynamic exercise that activates your legs, shoulders and lower back.
The execution of it is quite simple:
- Stand with your feet wider than shoulder width
- Grab a kettlebell with both hands and let it hang down freely between your legs
- Bend over and let it go between your legs, stretching the hamstrings and keeping torso straight
- Extend the torso up, swinging the kettlebell
- Contract the glutes up top and repeat the motion pattern
#2 Walking lunges
Static lunges are cool, but eventually they become too easy.
This is exactly when you can start utilizing the walking lunge variation.
Walking lunges generally require more focus and more balance, hence, engaging more of the balancing muscles.
The walking lunge, when done correctly, looks something like this:
- Step forward
- Lunge down
- Go up on the front leg and proceed to stepping forward with the opposite leg
#3 Side lunges
Just going forwards or backwards won’t cut it.
The legs are really functional and can cover a vast variety of angles, including going side to side.
Including side lunges into your workouts allows you to develop more hip, knee and ankle mobility, while also activating different zones of the leg muscles.
#4 Bodyweight jumps
When using weights in a leg workout, at one point, you might feel stiff.
This stiffness can lead to feeling clumsy, which is exactly where jumps can be useful.
Whether you are working with barbells, dumbbells and machines or just kettlebells, we ALWAYS recommend finishing the workout with bodyweight jumps.
This allows you to maintain or even improve the explosiveness in your lower body musculature.
Kettlebells vs. Barbells and Dumbbells
Alright, you can combine different kettlebell lunge variations and exercises, but should you throw in barbells and dumbbells as well?
Well, if you go to any commercial gym, you can instantly see a couple of free-weight modalities:
All 3 of the above have advantages, disadvantages and certain means of use.
However, there is one question that surrounds free weights.
That is, which one is better?
When it comes to this comparison, there is one thing we can say for sure, and that is namely the fact that none of the 3 is best all-around.
All 3 have their applications, which is why we should make use of all 3 types of equipment, in specific cases.
Kettlebells For Dynamic Exercises
When it comes to doing explosive and dynamic movements, kettlebells are king.
If you are primarily training for a discipline that requires explosiveness, such as sprinting, kettlebells might turn out to be your best friend.
The reason being is that kettlebells can target many different muscles in dynamic movement patterns.
Think about the kettlebell swing for example, it’s a very dynamic exercise that goes all the way down from the shoulders to the glutes.
Dumbbells And Barbells For Heavy Compounds
Especially if you are a beginner, odds are you are still learning the proper execution of basic, compound movements.
The best way to do so, is by using barbells and dumbbells, simply because they are not as tough to use as kettlebells.
In some instances, such as a lunge, the kettlebell might not be the best and most comfortable option for beginners.
This is exactly why a dumbbell or a barbell can be your best option if you are looking for massive strength and muscle gains.
If however, you just want to diversify, get more dynamic, work on stability and break loose from the chains of the fatiguing heavy weights, then kettlebells are your best option.
The lunge is one of the best exercises to target the quads, hamstrings and glutes, while also engaging the lower back and the rest of the core to stabilize the torso.
Using the kettlebell lunge and its variations in your kettlebell training routine may be one of the best tools for lower body development.
Even if you are mostly engaged in strength training with barbells and dumbbells, including dynamic kettlebell exercises can be good for breaking up stiffness and developing more mobility.
Ultimately, you should be looking to include as many free weight equipments as possible, simply because all of them have a certain benefit, that can improve your performance and looks.