I’m always looking for new ways to work my legs. Because, let’s be real: You can only do so many squats and lunges before you lunge your way to sleep. Just joking, but really—show me a split lunge or deadlift and I’ll happily add some in on leg day to switch things up. And then I discovered the curtsy lunge.
The curtsy lunge is just what it sounds like: A workout form of the curtsy, aka the classic formal greeting that you’ve seen women in royal castles (ahem, Meghan Markle) or old Western movies do. Literally. You essentially take one leg behind the other and bend down, which, though it sounds simple, actually makes your glutes burn. Unlike regular lunges, the curtsy form (which is fun to do if you pretend you’re curtsying to the Queen of England) works your bum even more while strengthening your hip abductors and adductors.
The thing is, one little yet common mistake can render the exercise not as effective and even lead to injury. “This is what I see all the time in class—you’re gonna go into a curtsy, you’re sticking your booty out, and your hip is gonna be super to the back,” says Megan Roup, obé fitness trainer who just led our Well+Good Retreat in Miami. “That is really incorrect.” So it’s wrong when your butt is over-extended and your hips are angled backwards.
Nailing a curtsy lunge is all about keeping things straight. “You’re gonna cross that leg behind you, you’re gonna sink your hips down vertically, and you’re gonna rotate your hips forward,” Roup explains. “It’s just like your hips are headlights—I want you to shine them bright to the front. So your butt isn’t sticking back—it’s nice and straight, in line with your back. And that’s a nice, strong curtsy lunge.” Now curtsy away, your highness.
Other ways to work that bum include this amazing abs and buttock workout and Jennifer Lopez’s butt workout, straight from her trainer.
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