What is a curtsy lunge?

A curtsy lunge is one of many lunge variations, and it is a compound, functional and effective exercise for the lower body, that mainly engages the quadriceps and glutes.

If your fitness goal is to build a strong and round butt, strong leg muscles, or strengthen your thighs, then the curtsy lunge will be your best friend.

Which muscles are used when performing a curtsy lunge?

The curtsy lunge activates muscles involved in a conventional lunge, which are the quads, hamstrings and glutes. Curtsy lunge engages even more gluteus medius, abductors, and core, which makes them perfect for a lower body workout routine.

What are the benefits of a curtsy lunge?

There are several benefits of performing the curtsy lunge with proper form. Some of the main benefits of a curtsy lunges include:

– Curtsy Lunge Builds Stronger Legs and Glutes

The curtsy lunge will be a great way to build some serious lower body strength. If you are trying to improve your maximum deadlift or squat, the curtsy lunge will serve as an amazing supplementary exercise.

– Curtsy Lunge Provides Improved Balance and Increases Stability

The movement of the curtsy squat means crossing your leg behind you, which means that the muscles in your ankle, calves, quads, and core all have to work together to stabilize your body, which improves your body control and balance.

– Curtsy Lunge Sculpts Glutes

Many other lunges and squats primarily engage the gluteus maximus, while the curtsy lunge also targets the gluteus medius and minimus, which helps to give your butt a balanced, well-rounded appearance.

How to do a curtsy lunge?

If you want to avoid injury and enjoy the benefits, you must perform the curtsy lunge exercise with proper form. Here is how to do a curtsy lunge exercise:

  1. Stand straight with your feet hip width apart. Keep your upper body straight and engaged.
  2. With your left leg and left foot straight in front of you, step with your right foot to the left and back. Both of your knees will bend, and your right leg will be crossed behind you.
  3. Make sure your left, front knee is directly over your left ankle. At this position, you will look like you are doing a curtsy on your left leg with your right leg bent, which is how this lunge variation got its name.
  4. Use your lower body muscles to drive the right foot back into the standing position and the whole torso upright, keeping your spine neutral, back straight, shoulders back, and core engaged. Make sure you are controlling the motion and not using momentum to get back up into the neutral position. You can switch legs after every set or every repetition.

Variations of a curtsy lunge exercise

There are several different variations that can help make the curtsy squat easier, harder, or just fresh and fun. Some of the different curtsy squat variations include:

Curtsy Lunge with Dumbbells

If you feel like curtsy lunges are just not challenging for you anymore, try adding some extra weight in the mix. The extra weight can come in the form of dumbbells. The extra weight will challenge your muscles with added physical tension, and the dumbbell curtsy lunge will definitely make you sweat. 

Curtsy Lunge with Kettlebell

Similar to adding dumbbells, the kettlebell will add more weight, and therefore more tension to the lower body and thighs, as well as engage your core muscles and shoulders.  This will make the body weight variation much more difficult than a conventional lunge or standard lunges. You can also alternate the way you hold the kettlebell (rack, on the side, with both hands), for more diverse stimulus.

Alternatives for a Curtsy Lunge

If curtsy lunges are too difficult, some alternatives include:

  • Fire Hydrants
  • Side Lunge
  • Reverse Lunge
  • One Leg Glute Bridge

Mistakes/Safety Tips

There are some common mistakes many people tend to make when performing curtsy lunges. Some of them include:

– Leaning Too Far Forward

If your front knee extends over your front ankle during the curtsy lunge, you are leaning too far forward. Leaning too forward sacrifices good form, but it also means that you are placing too much tension on your knee and quadriceps.

– Leaning Too Far Back

Some people make the mistake of extending the knee too far behind the front ankle. In this case, the quadriceps are not activated to their full potential.

– Opening Up the Hips in the starting position

Allowing your hips to open up in one direction during the curtsy lunge exercise is another mistake that should be avoided. Instead, make sure that your hips remain square out in front of you to ensure balance.

What does curtsy lunge do for athletes?

Curtsy lunges are great for strengthening your glutes, and strong glutes are essential for good posture. Strong glutes also relieve back and knee pain, improving your athletic performance and lowering the risk of injury. 

Are curtsy lunges good for inner thighs?

The curtsy lunge bodyweight exercise will target the inner thigh, but the adductors are not the prime movers of the exercise. Instead, most of the work will be done by outer thighs, such as quads, hamstrings, and gluteal muscles. 

Do curtsy lunges work gluteus medius?

The curtsy lunge will mainly target two muscles involved in a lunge, which are the quads and glutes. It will also engage the gluteus medius, abductors, and core.