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Elevated Lunges: How To Do, Benefits,…

There are many different ways to improve your current exercise routine. What about doing elevated lunges, what will the effects be?

Elevated lunges are a lunge exercise variation where you put your front foot on a small elevation like a stepper or a stable weight place.

This makes it so elevated lunges allow a bigger range of motion of your quadriceps and glutes compared to regular lunges. In turn this can benefit muscle growth. Elevated lunges will also train flexibility slightly more.

If you are interested in an elevated lunge where your back foot is elevated, the Bulgarian split squat is likely what you are looking for.

Elevated lunges are a good exercise for building leg muscle strength and endurance. In turn, this makes elevated lunges also good for fitness goals like losing weight, longevity, and athletic performance.

Whether you should add elevated lunges or alternatives to your routine ultimately depends on things like your personal situation, personal preference, and training goals.

How to do an elevated lunge

For elevated lunges you will need some type of stable elevation. Start with something relatively low and if that goes well build up from there. To do an elevated lunge with a stepper take the following steps:

  1. Put the stepper on the ground and stand in front of it at a distance where the following steps can be done at the right angles. Stand with your feet next to each other at about shoulder width and face the stepper.
  2. Take a big step forward with one foot and place it on the stepper. Slowly lower your hips by bending your front knee. How far depends on different factors like knee health but at your lowest point you ideally want your back knee at about a 90-degree angle. You can use your arms for balance if needed.
  3. Push yourself up again into starting position by stretching your legs. Your front leg will likely carry most of the weight.
  4. Repeat with the other foot forward.

Make sure you do the same number of repetitions with each leg first to avoid any muscle imbalances.

When doing elevated lunges you generally want your front knee to stay behind the toes of your front foot. Also make sure you keep the front upper leg above your foot, don’t let it sway left or right.

If elevated lunges are currently too hard for you, you can lower your hips only a small distance or start with an easier leg exercise like bodyweight squats.

On the other hand, at some point bodyweight elevated lunges may become too easy. When this is the case you can hold/wear some type of weight like a weighted vest, dumbbells, kettlebells, weight plates, etc. to keep seeing a lot of muscle growth.

How to do an elevated lunge

Elevated lunges muscles worked

Some of the primary muscles worked with elevated lunges include:

  • Quadriceps
  • Glutes
  • Calves

Some of the secondary muscles worked with elevated lunges include:

  • Hamstrings
  • Core
  • Hip abductors
  • Hip adductors

Compared to regular lunges, elevated lunges will work your quadriceps and glutes slightly more.

The way you build muscle in places like your legs is by engaging these muscles so that they get damaged enough. This may sound counterintuitive but this damaging makes it so your body repairs these muscles, and adds a bit more to be better prepared to exert similar efforts in the future.

If you stick to exercises with the same weight, as your muscles become stronger this same effort may not damage your muscles enough to promote extra muscle growth.

By adding extra resistance to exercises like elevated lunges you are better able to damage the muscles in a shorter amount of time. If you don’t overdo it, give your body enough nutrients, and give your muscles enough rest this can in turn lead to faster and more leg muscle gain.

Depending on your personal situation, workout plan, and training goals, elevated lunges may be a good or bad addition.

Elevated lunge benefits

Some people question how useful this exercise can be but adding elevated lunges to your routine can offer you some amazing benefits. While elevated lunges do train your flexibility slightly more, most of their benefits are similar to regular lunges. Some of the most important ones include:

  1. Stronger muscles: Elevated lunges are a type of resistance training that can help you strengthen your leg muscles.
  2. Can help with losing weight: Doing elevated lunges likely requires more energy than your regular daily activities. Extra muscle mass also helps with burning more calories. Both of these aspects can help with, but are no guarantee for, weight loss.
  3. Improves mood: Exercise like elevated lunges promotes the release of substances that help you feel good.
  4. Helps you avoid muscle asymmetries: By putting your whole weight on one leg at a time you reduce the risk of using one leg more than the other like in certain other exercises. This can help you avoid muscle asymmetries.
  5. Improves sleep: Exercise like elevated lunges can improve the quality and duration of your sleep which in turn offers many important benefits.
  6. Flexibility and mobility: Elevated lunges can push your boundaries when it comes to range of motion of certain body parts. By doing this you can gain some flexibility and mobility.
  7. Slows down aging: Elevated lunges won’t influence how many days have passed since you were born. However, exercise can slow down the progress of certain aging markers that are correlated with negative health effects.
  8. Balance and coordination: Balance and coordination are fitness skills that can be improved by challenging them. Elevated lunges can help you with this.

While inevitably some workouts are better for some of these benefits than elevated lunges, it is amazing that you can get so many important benefits from adding one activity to your routine.

Potential risks

The main thing to keep in mind is that elevated lunges can be hard on body parts like your ankles, knees, hips, and back even if you implement the right technique.

If you are weak or sensitive in these body parts you may need to do other strengthening exercises first. Especially if you have any knee pain, you may want to talk to your primary care provider before implementing elevated lunges into your workout routine.

If you feel pain in any body parts it may be a sign you are overdoing it. In that case, you may need some rest, better lifestyle habits, a less intense workout schedule, or it may be a sign that elevated lunges are not (yet) for you.

Elevated lunge alternatives

While elevated lunges can definitely be a great addition to your workout routine, there are also some alternatives available for training your leg muscles and flexibility. Some of these elevated lunge alternatives include:

  • Step-ups
  • Stretching
  • Squats
  • Other lunge variations
  • Bulgarian split squats
  • Deadlifts
  • Single-leg press

Which one of these options is the best depends on things like your personal situation, training goals, the equipment you have available, etc.


Most people will benefit a lot from adding elevated lunges with the right technique to their routine. They can be a great exercise option to strengthen and grow a variety of important leg muscles.

The main thing to keep in mind is that elevated lunges can be hard on body parts like your ankles, knees, hips, and back even if you implement the right technique.

If you are weak or sensitive in these body parts you may need to do other strengthening exercises first. Especially if you have any knee pain, you may want to talk to your primary care provider before doing more elevated lunges.

Also keep in mind that consistency is an important factor for any workout plan. The more you love the exercise you do the easier it becomes to do it consistently. If doing elevated lunges is a workout you love, great. If not lunge alternatives and other exercises can also offer a lot of benefits.

If you do decide to implement more elevated lunges make sure you give your body enough nutrients, rest, and sleep to repair and grow your muscles.