8 Best Kettlebell Lunge Variations for Strength, Hypertrophy and Cardio

8 Best Kettlebell Lunge Variations for Strength, Hypertrophy and Cardio

Nov 12, 2023

Kettlebell Lunge Variations ripl fitness

8 Best Kettlebell Lunge Variations for Strength, Hypertrophy and Cardio

Adding kettlebell lunges into your workout routine is a great way to build strength, muscle and torch calories.

The lunge is already a fantastic lower body exercise on its own.

But when you add the challenging component of a kettlebell, you take the move to the next level.

Kettlebell lunges not only work the legs and glutes through an excellent range of motion, they also challenge your core, shoulders and grip strength.

By holding weight in the rack position or overhead, the lunges force you to engage your core and upper body while stabilizing the kettlebell.

In this article, we will cover the best kettlebell lunge variations to add into your workouts so you’re hitting your legs, glutes, core muscles and full body from all angles.

We'll provide step-by-step instructions for each exercise. Let's get started!

Bearded man doing kettlebell lunges What Muscles Do Lunges Work ripl fitness

What Muscles Do Lunges Work?

Before diving into the variations, let's quickly review what muscles lunges target:

  • Quads: Lunges heavily work the quadriceps muscles in the front of your thighs. The quadriceps (rectus femoris, vastus lateralis, vastus intermedius and vastus medialis) extend the knee joint and are engaged as you drive through the front foot.

  • Glutes: Your glutes power hip extension as you push off the front foot, working the maximus, medius and minimus.

  • Hamstrings: The hamstrings work to stabilize and extend the hips. They pull on the back of the knee.

  • Calves: The calf muscles contract to provide stability as you balance on one leg.

  • Adductors: The inner thigh adductors help stabilize the pelvis and femur as you lunge.

  • Core: Your core engages to keep the torso upright and stable. Obliques also fire on rotation lunges.

Now let's get into the top kettlebell lunge variations to take your lower body and full body training to the next level!

1. Basic Kettlebell Front Lunge

The basic kettlebell front lunge works the legs through a great range of motion while challenging your core and grip to stabilize the load. Here's how to do it with perfect form:

  • Hold a kettlebell by the handle in rack position at your chest. Feet shoulder width apart:
  • Step forward with one leg, bending knees to drop into a lunge.
  • Front thigh should be parallel to floor, back knee hovers off floor.
  • Drive through front foot to return to start. Do all reps on one side then switch.

Aim for 3-4 sets of 8-15 reps per leg. This is a great lunge variation for strength, muscle building and cardio conditioning.

2. Kettlebell Reverse Lunge

The reverse lunge targets the same muscle groups as the forward version, but works them in a slightly different way.

  • Hold kettlebell at your chest in rack position. Stand with feet together.
  • Take a big step backward with one leg, lowering into a lunge.
  • Front knee bends to 90 degrees, back knee hovers above floor.
  • Drive through front foot to return to start position.

Complete 8-12 reps on one side then repeat on the other. The backward stepping motion improves balance and coordination.

3. Kettlebell Side Lunge

This dynamic lunge variation brings your legs through movement in the frontal plane. It will strengthen your inner thighs.

  • Hold the kettlebell at your chest. Stand with feet hip width apart.
  • Take a big step to the side, push hips back and bend side knee to lower into a side lunge.
  • Keep other leg straight with toe facing forward. Go deep but don't let knee collapse inward.
  • Drive through heel to return to start. Switch sides each rep.

Aim for 10-15 reps per side for 2-3 sets. This move also engages your glutes and challenges your balance.

4. Kettlebell Curtsy Lunge

This graceful lunge variation involves crossing the back leg behind the front to increase range of motion.

  • Hold kettlebell at your chest in rack position. Stand with feet together.
  • Take a big step diagonally backwards with one leg, crossing behind the other.
  • Both knees bend as you drop down. Front knee stacks over ankle, don't let it collapse inward.
  • Drive back up to return to start position. Alternate legs each rep.

Shoot for 10-12 crossback lunges per side for 2-3 sets. Really sit back into your hip on each rep.

5. Kettlebell Lunge and Press

This combo move turns your lunges into a challenging full body exercise by adding an overhead press.

  • Hold the kettlebell at shoulder height in rack position to start. Feet hip width apart.
  • Step forward into a lunge, dropping your back knee just above the ground.
  • As you drive back up through the front foot, press the kettlebell straight overhead.
  • Return kettlebell to shoulders as you step back to start. Alternate sides.

Aim for 8-10 reps per side for 2-3 sets. Maintain core bracing as you press the weight overhead.

6. Kettlebell Lunge and Row

Here's another great combo move, working your back as you lunge. It challenges your core stability and coordination.

  • Hold kettlebell by the horns at your side in one hand. Stand with feet hip width apart.
  • Lunge forward, bending both knees to drop down.
  • As you drive back up, row the kettlebell up to your side, keeping your torso upright.
  • Return to start and repeat on the other side.

Shoot for 10-12 reps per side for 2 sets. Squeeze your back as you row.

7. Kettlebell Overhead Lunge

Holding the kettlebell overhead during lunges is an intense core challenge. Use a lighter weight to start.

  • Press kettlebell overhead, holding it with both hands. Stand with feet hip width apart.
  • Step forward into a lunge, allowing the back knee to hover above floor.
  • Push through front foot to return to standing, keeping kettlebell above you. Alternate sides.

Build up to 3 sets of 8-10 reps per leg. Keep your core engaged to stabilize the overhead load.

8. Kettlebell Rear Foot Elevated Split Squat

This single leg move works the legs through an extra large range of motion for maximum strength.

  • Hold kettlebell in rack position at your chest. Stand with feet together.
  • Step backward with one foot, placing it on a bench or box behind you.
  • Bend both knees to drop down, allowing back knee to bend more than 90 degrees.
  • Drive up through front foot to return to start. Complete reps then switch legs.

Aim for 8-10 reps per side for 2-3 sets. Keep your torso upright and core braced.

Lunge Variations For Any Goal

There you have it - 8 excellent kettlebell lunge variations to take your lower body training to new heights!

Choose 1-3 lunge variations to add into your existing workout routine 1-3 times per week. Mix up the exercises each session to continually challenge your muscles in new ways.

Here are some sample kettlebell lunge workouts:


  • Kettlebell Front Lunge - 4x8-10 per leg
  • Kettlebell Reverse Lunge - 3x10-12 per leg
  • Kettlebell Overhead Lunge - 3x6-8 per leg


  • Kettlebell Side Lunge - 3x12-15 per side
  • Kettlebell Curtsy Lunge - 3x10-12 per side
  • Kettlebell Lunge & Row - 3x10-12 per side

Cardio Conditioning:

  • Kettlebell Front Lunge - 3x15-20 per leg
  • Kettlebell Lunge & Press - 3x10-12 per side
  • Kettlebell Rear Foot Elevated Split Squat - 2x12-15 per leg

The possibilities are endless when you begin combining lunges with the challenging dynamics of a kettlebell! Experiment with different variations and rep schemes to see what works best for your fitness goals. Just be sure to use proper form to protect your knees.

Adding these multi-dimensional kettlebell lunge exercises into your existing lower body workouts will help build serious strength while torching calories. Your legs and glutes will be feeling it! Give some of these creative lunge variations a try at your next workout.

What are some kettlebell lunge variations ripl fitness

FAQ Kettlebell Lunges

What are some kettlebell lunge variations?

Kettlebell forward lunge, kettlebell reverse lunge, kettlebell lateral lunge, kettlebell curtsy lunge, kettlebell lunge and press, kettlebell lunge and row, kettlebell overhead lunge, kettlebell rear foot elevated split squat.

What are the benefits of using kettlebells for lunges?

Kettlebell lunges into your routine allow you to add weight and build muscle. The offset load challenges your core and glutes to keep you upright.

Kettlebells are great for full-body strengthening.

How does the lateral lunge differ from other lunge variations?

The lateral lunge takes your body movement through the frontal plane rather than the sagittal plane like a forward lunge.

It strengthens the glutes and targets the inner thighs.

How are lunges and squats different?

While squats are a two-legged movement pattern, lunges are a unilateral exercise working one side at a time.

Lunges also have more knee flexion than squats.

What muscles are used in lunges?

The main muscles used are the quads, glutes, hamstrings, calves, adductors, and core muscles like the abs and obliques.

What are the benefits of using kettlebells for lunges ripl fitness

From A Trainer's Perspective

clears throat Alright team, listen up!

I'm going to teach you why kettlebell lunges should be a staple in your workout routine. And I'll keep it fun, I promise!

First off, let's talk about hitting all angles.

With kettlebell lunges, you're working those glutes and quads from multiple planes of motion – sagittal, frontal, you name it!

Unlike that boring barbell, kettlebells allow you to change up the variables and really keep those muscles guessing.

Speaking of variables, have you tried the goblet static lunge?


Well, you're missing out! Holding that bell in a nice goblet position in front of your chest adds a whole new level of core activation and upper back engagement. It's like a lunge and a half!

Woman doing lunges in gym by two kettlebell ripl fitness

Now, I know some of you fitness levels may vary, but that's the beauty of lunges.

You can easily adjust the rep range, use one arm instead of two, or even add dynamic movements.

Whoops, did someone say "full-body strengthening"? Because that's exactly what we're getting with these bad boys!

Listen, whether you're a gym rat or a couch potato looking to improve body mobility, kettlebell lunges are a great exercise for strong legs.

And don't even get me started on the glute gains! We're talking next-level booty sculpting here, folks.

But enough talking, let's actually do this thing!

Step 1: Stand up from that chair.

Step 2: Grab a kettlebell.

Step 3: Assume the lunge position, shoulder-width apart. Wait, you need more instruction? Pfft, I thought this was a advanced class!

kettlebell weights lunges ripl fitness

In all seriousness though, lunges are an amazing lunge pattern that'll have you moving in all directions – sagittal, frontal, transverse. It's like getting a 3-for-1 deal on mobility and strength!

So whether you're looking for massive quads, a gravity-defying glute, or just overall body conditioning, kettlebell lunges have got your back (and front, and sides).

Just don't blame me when you can't fit through doors with those newly strengthened posterior chains!