Kettlebell Lunges- 18 Variations (Workouts Included) – JLFITNESSMIAMI

Kettlebell Lunges- 18 Variations (Workouts Included)

Using kettlebells with your lunges can make your routines more dynamic and versatile. 

In this article we will go over:

✔️ Why use kettlebells with your lunges and split squats
✔️ Variations
✔️ Workouts

Why use kettlebells with your lunges

What's in a walking lunge? You need strength, you need stability, you need mobility and muscle endurance.

You can use barbells, dumbbells and even sandbags with your lunges. But kettlebells offer unique benefits. You can carry them in different ways for one.

Here are some examples below:

As you can see you can't place a barbell in a unilateral front rack position. And you can't use dumbbells with a bottoms up hold.

The ability to carry the kettlebell in different ways can make lunges more interesting and better suited for transitions like in kettlebell complexes or flows.

And it's easier to keep a kettlebell or two in your living room than it is for a barbell.

You're able to use kettlebells in dynamic movements

Here I am combining a kettlebell halo to a forward lunge (this movement is #8 on this list). You can plug this movement into a warm up or a circuit. 

The halo portion of the exercise is for shoulder mobility, which you definitely need for kettlebell training (and for quality of life).

Kettlebell Walking Lunge Variations

Kettlebell lunges are an excellent way to add variety to your lower body workout routines. Some of the following lunges will focus more on core strength, others on upper body stability and others will focus solely on lower body strength and development. 

I will also include split squats here as well. Split squats are similar to a lunge, the only difference is that you do them in place, you don't walk with them.

#1 Kettlebell Walking Lunge with Goblet Hold

 Kettlebell Walking Lunge With Goblet Hold

This lunge variation is very beginner friendly. 

Tips on how to do it:

✔️ If you're feeling your arms getting tired from carrying the kettlebell in this position then bring the kettlebell closer to your body. 
✔️ Keep the kettlebell at chest height.

#2 Double front rack lunges

Double Front Rack Lunges

This variation is probably the one that will get you the strongest due it's load capacity. Using two kettlebells at once will give you the ability to really challenge yourself, strength wise.  This variation will put more size on your lower body and build the most strength.  

Tips on how to do it:

✔️ Keep your arms close to your body. Don't waste energy by flaring your elbows out.
✔️ Make it more challenging by pausing one second at the bottom position.

#3 Standard kettlebell lunges

Standard Kettlebell Lunges

This lunge is similar to previous one, and you can even use the same weights, but placing the kettlebells to the sides of your body would make this movement more manageable. 

Tips on how to do it:

✔️ Don't let the momentum of the forward walking lunge to swing your arms forward.

#4 Double Overhead Walking Lunges

Double Overhead Walking Lunges

This is a full body movement. Carrying kettlebells overhead will really test your upper body strength, stability and endurance. A lunge like this would be great for anyone but more so for military personnel, fire fighters and athletes.

Tips on how to do it:

✔️ Start with light weights if you are new to this exercise. 
✔️ Keep a subtle bend at the elbows.
✔️ Keep your arms close to your head, the further they are from your head the less control you will have the kettlebells. 

#5 banded Split Squats

Banded Split Squats

This is a great way to add intensity to a split squat. I'm using a thick band that you place underneath the middle of your foot and wrap it around your neck.

The band will try to resist you from extending your front leg, and this is where the challenge comes into play. Since the resistance band is constantly trying to push you back down, there's constant tension on your lower body. 

Tips on how to do it:

✔️ Use a band that will give you no slack. The band should have constant tension through out the movement. 

This lunge variation has a bit of a set up so I'm including a video so you can see how to place the band on yourself. 

#6 Front rack Bulgarian Split Squats

Front Rack Bulgarian Split Squats

This is one of the most advanced lunges in this list. This a great one to build lower body strength and stability. If placing the kettlebells in the rack position is (as seen in the picture) too much for you, simply opt to carrying the kettlebells at your sides.

But do realize that the front rack position will engage your abs not to mention that it will get your heart rate up. 

Tips on how to do it:

✔️ Before you start, make sure the box or bench you are using is stable and won't move. Place the box or bench next to a wall or add some weights at the corners.
✔️ This lunge variation is about depth and range of motion, so if you can't do deep lunges yet then this set up is not for you.

#7 Kettlebell Deficit Front Rack Split-Squats

 Kettlebell Deficit Front Rack Split-Squats

This is another advanced lunge. When you can't go heavier with your kettlebell lunges, maybe because you don't have heavier kettlebells, then a great option would be to increase the difficulty of a lunge by simply increasing the range of motion of the exercise.

Tips on how to do it:

✔️In the image above I am using two bumper plates but you can use aerobic steps too. 
✔️ Try to get your knee very close to the ground. You should feel a big stretch on your quads. 

#8 Kettlebell Halo to alternating forward lunge


This movement is more of a lunge sequence but I'm showing it here to show you what I mean on the versatility of using kettlebells with your lunges. In this exercise we are focusing on shoulder mobility with lower body strength. You're entire body is busy and engaged. 

Tips on how to do it:

✔️ You can totally use a light kettlebell for this one, a heavy kettlebell is not needed or suggested.
✔️ Take a look on how it's done here

#9 Kettlebell Offset lunges


This lunge is similar to #4 but you'll carry one kettlebell at the rack position. The focus of this lunge is upper body strength and stability.

Tips on how to do it:

✔️If you're having trouble with the kettlebell that is overhead, then use a lighter kettlebell for that arm.
✔️ As with exercise #4, take your time with this lunge.

#10 Single arm Overhead Lunge

Single Arm Overhead Lunge

If you want to try overhead lunges, you might want to start with one arm. See how you manage doing lunges with just 1 kettlebell first.

Tips on how to do it:

✔️Don't let the arm that is carrying the kettlebell sway from you. 

#11 Kettlebell Reverse Lunge to Press

Kettlebell Reverse Lunge To Press

This lunge is similar to the previous one but with more movement. 

Tips on how to do it:

✔️You can do this lunge in place or you can perform it as a walking lunge. 

#12 Kettlebell Reverse Lunge to Knee Drive

Kettlebell Reverse Lunge to Knee Drive

This lunge variation requires a bit of hip flexion and ankle stability.

Tips on how to do it:

✔️ Take a moment at the top of the movement to pause.  

With kettlebell training make sure you are not wearing shoes with too much cushion. Let the muscles of the feet work harder by using shoes with medium to minimal cushioning. 

#13 Rotational Kettlebell Lunge

Rotational Kettlebell Lunge

This lunge is somewhat unique because it is done in the transverse plane. More of that in the section below. 

Tips on how to do it:

✔️ Think of "opening up your hips" when you rotate backwards. Now, it's not truly backwards, that would be a traditional lunge. In this lunge your foot should land somewhat at a 45 degree angle.  

It's not necessary to go for a deep lunge in this variation.

Kettlebell exercises and movement planes

Movement planes refer to the three planes of motion in which human movement occurs:  the sagittal plane, the frontal plane, and the transverse plane.

The sagittal plane divides the body into left and right halves and movements in this plane involve forward and backward movements, such as walking or running.

The frontal plane divides the body into front and back halves and movements in this plane involve side-to-side movements, such as jumping jacks or lateral lunges.

The transverse plane divides the body into upper and lower halves and movements in this plane involve rotational movements, such as twisting or turning.

Understanding movement planes can be helpful in designing workouts that target specific muscle groups and movement patterns.

So, which movement pattern do you think Rotational Lunges fit into?

Take a moment to go back and look a the image and video......

If you said "transverse" then you are right. 

#14 Side Lunge and clean

 Side Lunge And Clean

If you know how to do single arm cleans well, then try incorporating them into a side lunge.

Tips on how to do it:

✔️Step laterally and shoot your hips back and let the kettlebell simply "drop" on the way down.

#15 Kettlebell Side Lunge to Goblet Cleans

Kettlebell Side Lunge To Goblet Cleans

This lunge is similar to the previous one but you use two hands.

Tips on how to do it:

✔️Keep the kettlebell close to your body as it travels down and up.
✔️Don't collapse too forward with your spine. 

I find it that is not necessary to use a heavy kettlebell for this one. 

#16 Unilateral Kettlebell Reverse Lunges from Deficit

Unilateral Kettlebell Reverse Lunges from Deficit

This lunge is similar to #7. 

Tips on how to do it:

✔️You can use a step or a heavy bumper plate.
✔️When you lower yourself to the floor, your knee should come very close to the ground. Make sure you can do this before you load up on heavier weights for this exercise.

#17 Curtsy Lunge Cleans

Curtsy Lunge Cleans

This lunge variation requires balance and ankle flexibility and it will also focus on the outer portion of your glutes.

Tips on how to do it:

✔️ Take your time with this lunge. 
✔️ It's not necessary to go heavy with this variation. 

#18 Static Lunge to Press

Curtsy Lunge Cleans

This is the only lunge in this list that doesn't require lower body movement. It's a static lunge. This one is about lower body endurance and upper body strength.

Tips on how to do it:

✔️ Once you get comfortable with the exercise, make it more challenging by placing your knee closer to the ground. 
✔️ Perform your press with control. 

Workouts with Kettlebell Lunges

Don't let this simple approach fool you. These exercises have been selected for maximum efficiency.  

lower body kettlebell workout

Full Body Kettlebell Workout

I have created a full body workout using some of the lunges in this list. 

full body kettlebell workout

Workout Instructions: There are 3 circuits in this workout. Complete each cicruit in a super set fashion. Once you complete the second exercise of each super set, rest 60 seconds and start the set again. Do each circuit 3x. 

Kettlebell Leg Workout For Size & Strength

To build size with kettlebells you're going to need to use heavy kettlebells, and preferably two at the same time. And you're going to need to add a lot of volume. A lot of sets and/or reps. Here is an example of that below:

Kettlebell Leg Workout For Size & Strength

How to Set up your kettlebell for banded swings

You'll notice that I included banded kettlebell swings in the previous workout. Banded kettlebell swings require you to be super explosive at the hips and this is why I like them. It can require a bit of a set up so I included a video below:

I'm a huge fan of lunges. Lunges can be very challenging and I especially enjoy them because you can do them anywhere. You don't need machines or a lot of space and they are truly a functional exercise. It can be beneficial to a mountain climber as it would be to a firefighter or a grandfather.

If you enjoyed this article share it with a friend who might be interested. 

Happy Training

- Juan

Want more kettlebell workouts like this?

Get 3-4 kettlebell workouts per month.

    Unsubscribe at any time.