Squats VS Lunges: What's the difference

Squats VS Lunges: What's the difference

February 29, 2016 | Photo credits: Madbarz

Bodyweight leg exercises are a great tool for building legs and an overall ripped, lean body. For best results, it's important to know what muscles they work and how.

What is the difference between the two most popular bodyweight leg exercises – squats and lunges? Is one better than the other?

Muscle Activation

Squats and lunges both use glutes, quads and hamstrings. However, a single leg exercise, such as lunge, activates more the gluteus medius muscle for stabilization on one leg.

Lunge and squat can be tweaked for different muscle activation

Leaning forward in a lunge means more work for glutes and hamstrings. Keeping body upright makes quads do most of the work.

Squatting to parallel uses mostly quads. Going lower, or taking a wider stance, activates more glutes and hamstrings.

Why you should do both

Regular leg training with different exercises builds muscle mass, strength, increases endurance and even vertical jump.[1] Get more info on benefits and exercise ideas here.

Lunges and squats mimic functional movements such as – walking, running, going up the stairs, standing up from sitting - and they can help you keep joints healthy and prevent injuries. But the right form and progressions are the key to see results.


How often should you train legs? Workout plans for building muscle at home without equipment are available in the Madbarz Premium. Get yours and see progress faster!


About the Squat

To learn the right squat technique, it's best to practice a box squat, or squatting to a chair first. The key to a good squat is pushing your hips back and knees out to the side, while placing the weight of your body on your heels (the knees mostly shouldn't go further forward than the toes). Only go as deep as you can with very good form. If your form starts to break work on mobility before going deeper.

To build strength and muscle always progress to a bigger load – when regular squats become easy practice the bulgarian split squat, and then the pistol squat.

About the Lunge

Lunge is great for fixing the possible imbalances between both legs and practicing stability. It's important to control the movement. The point of the exercises is to place more demand on the forward leg and then push back up through the foot. Make sure your knees are not going inward. The front foot should support the weight on the heel, not the toes.


Which one do you like better - squats or lunges? Write in the comment below!


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