How to do Curtsy Lunge & Curtsy Lunges with Weights


When it comes to lunges, they’re not created equal, and we wouldn’t want to pick favorites, but if we did, the curtsy lunge just might win. Like most moves, there are rights and wrongs, so Cat Kom is here with Studio SWEAT member Astha to show you the proper way to curtsy lunge with and without weights to maximize your workout and minimize risk for injury. While she’s at it, she’ll run through some common mistakes as well as modifications and progressions to spice it up.

How to curtsy lunge properly:
  • Cross body. Unlike the reverse lunge where you swing your leg straight back, in the curtsy, you’ll swing your back leg back and across your body, dropping your back knee close to the ground. 
  • Alternate or repeat. You can do these in alternating legs, but Cat also likes to do repeaters where you step back on a single side for 10-12 reps before switching sides.
  • Body weight only. For many of us, doing these with body weight only will be plenty difficult.
What muscle groups are we working in a reverse lunge vs curtsy lunge?
  • Reverse Lunge: this works primarily your gluteus maximus – your larger butt muscle.
  • Curtsy Lunge: this move works your gluteus medius – the side of your bum. This can even give you that nice indent that makes your glutes look super toned. 
Most common mistake:
  • Foot position. To do this move properly, your toes should be pointed forward on your front plant foot. When you step back, your back foot should touch the floor only on the ball of your foot. Don’t put your back foot flat on the floor, which risks hyperextension.
Advance and spice it up a little:
  • Add weight (load). Choose weights based on your rep goal for the workout. With dumbbells, hold them to your sides. If you are using a single dumbbell or a kettlebell, hold it up at your chest.
Modification for knee issues:
  • Take a bigger step. If you take a bigger step back/to the side, you’ll get less bend in your back knee which can be more comfortable if you’ve got knee pain, but still gives you that great glute burn.

Have any questions? Do you love curtsy lunges like we do? Drop us a comment below! Want workouts with great curtsy lunge options? Check out our Free Trial over on Studio SWEAT onDemand! Download the app, or if you happen to live in southern California, visit us in our San Diego studio.