A woman doing lunges

How to Do Curtsy Lunges: A Step-by-Step Guide

If you’ve ever seen a ballerina perform or have watched classic movies, you probably know what a curtsy is and the role it plays. A curtsy is a short and elegant movement where one bends the knees to touch the floor with their hand while bending the other leg and placing that knee on the floor. That said, today we are not going to explain to you what a curtsy is or why ballerinas do it in a performance. You and I both don’t care about that right now. What we are going to explore in this blog post is how you can do a curtsy lunge exercise at home or at the gym! Keep reading if you want to find out more about this great variation of lunges.

What is a curtsy lunge?

A curtsy lunge is a type of exercise that works your lower body, primarily targeting your glutes, quadriceps, and hamstrings. This exercise is perfect for beginners because it’s relatively simple, but it still gives you a great workout. If you want to strengthen your lower body, you really can’t go wrong with curtsy lunges. A curtsy lunge is very similar to a regular lunge, but the difference is that you finish the movement with a curtsy; that is, you end the movement by bending at the knee, placing your other knee on the floor, and “curtsying” as you would with a full-length curtsy. Since curtsy lunges are more difficult than regular lunges, they can provide a greater challenge, leading to more muscle growth. The fact that it’s more challenging is why you should include this exercise in your lower body workouts.

Why do a curtsy lunge exercise?

As we have mentioned above, curtsy lunges work your lower body muscles, but that’s not all! This exercise also improves knee health and works your core stabilising muscles. Curtsy lunges can help you stay fit and healthy as you get older. They’re particularly good for older adults, as they can help improve knee health. We already know that knee injuries become more common with age, making it difficult to exercise. Luckily, curtsy lunges can help you reduce the risk of knee injuries. Studies indicate that regular curtsy lunges can help strengthen knee muscles, making the knees more sturdy and reducing the risk of injury.

Curtsy lunge vs. regular lunge

Curtsy lunges and regular lunges are remarkably similar exercises, but there are some subtle yet important differences between the two. While both exercises primarily work your lower body, core muscles, and knee health. Curtsy lunges also strengthen your hamstrings and glutes a bit more than regular lunges do. Curtsy lunges also target your upper body a bit more than regular lunges do since you’ll be holding a dumbbell in each hand while performing this movement. Regular lunges, on the other hand, demand you hold your body weight with your arms and legs. A single-leg push done on a leg press machine is an excellent way to improve knee stability while still reaping the strength training advantages of a lunge.

Step-by-step guide: how to do a curtsy lunge?

You might not be aware of this, but it’s actually quite easy to do. Curtsy lunges are essentially the same as regular lunges, but the difference is that you finish the movement with a curtsy; that is, you end the movement by bending at the knee, placing your other knee on the floor, and “curtsying” as you would with a full-length curtsy. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to do a curtsy lunge exercise: 

  • Stand with your feet hip-width apart, holding a dumbbell in each hand. If you are a beginner, you can use your own body weight as resistance by performing the exercise without weights. 
  • Take a big step forward with your right foot so that your feet are about 4 or 5 feet apart. Make sure to keep your knees slightly bent. 
  • Push your hips back, bending both knees until both knees are at 90-degree angles and your back knee almost touches the floor. 
  • Switch legs so that your other leg is in front of you while the other one is bent behind you. Finish the movement with a curtsy by placing your rear knee on the floor and bending the front knee until it almost touches the floor.

Curtsy lunges with weights

As you have read above, curtsy lunges are an excellent exercise for the lower body muscles. At the same time, they also work your core muscles and improve your knee health. This will require a little more strength, but it will also challenge your muscles in different ways. You can also try doing weighted lunges with a barbell instead of dumbbells. This will require a little more strength, but it will also challenge your muscles in different ways. Simply hold the barbell along your upper thighs with both hands, and bend your knees and hips as you would during a curtsy lunge with dumbbells.

What are the Curtsy Lunge alternatives?

There are tonnes of great exercises that work your lower body, but it can be overwhelming to choose between so many different variations. If you’re a beginner, it’s a good idea to start with the basics, such as doing regular or curtsy lunges. Once you get more comfortable with those, you can try some of the exercises listed below: 

  • Squats: Squats are the ultimate lower body exercise. It works your quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, and core.
  • Jump Squats: This is a great alternative to regular squats if you feel that squats are too difficult for you. Jump squats are similar to regular squats, but you simply jump up from the squatting position instead of slowly standing up. Mountain Climbers: This is a great exercise that works your lower body without putting too much pressure on your joints.  
  • Goblet Squats: Goblet squats are great if you want to work your upper body while strengthening your lower body. It targets your glutes, quads, hamstrings, and core.
  • Deadlifts: Deadlifts target your lower body, core, and upper body. It’s one of the best exercises you can do, and it’s super simple.
  • Tuck Jumps: This is a great exercise that works your lower body. You simply tuck your knees into your chest and then jump as high into the air as you can.

Curtsy lunges muscles worked

The curtsy lunge primarily engages the quadriceps and the glutes. The gluteus maximus, medius, and minimus make up the three gluteal muscles. Like all other lunging motions, the curtsy lunge activates the glutes. In addition, the curtsy lunge engages the calves. As a result, while the quads and glutes receive most of the tension during the curtsy lunge, the calves also play a role in the exercise.

Tips and tricks for your first curtsy lunge workout

Start with fewer repetitions, as these exercises are challenging even for experienced gym goers. Make sure to use proper form when performing the exercises. Doing the exercises incorrectly can cause injury and won’t help you achieve results. Don’t forget to warm up your body before your workout. A warm-up can help reduce your risk of injury and improve your overall performance. Find the right pace for you. Everyone has a different pace when it comes to fitness, so don’t compare yourself to others. Focus on your own journey and goals. Stay hydrated. It’s easy to forget to drink water while working out, but it’s important to stay hydrated.

Yoga and Curtsy Lunge Pose

Curtsy Lunge Pose, is a standing hip opener that is comparable to high lunge pose practise (Ashta Chandrasana). The accessible hip opener Ashta Chandrasana (Crescent/High Lunge) also lengthens the front of the thigh and shin. Your balance, stability, and concentration are all enhanced by this strengthening stance. It creates room in your hip, deeper core muscles like the psoas, and the front of your chest/ribs where tension and stress may be stored.

A lady doing Ashta Chandrasana


So there you have it, folks. We explored what a curtsy lunge is, why you should try it, how to do it, and even some tips and tricks for your first try! Now all you have to do is put in your best effort and show up for yourself. If you want to make real progress towards your fitness goals, you have to be willing to put in the work. The curtsy lunge recruits and emphasises muscles that are often underutilized. The gluteus medius is an important muscle for stability, but it isn’t directly targeted in standard squats and lunges. Curtsy lunges can be reserved for leg days or added to a full-body workout. There are a few form details to take note of. Once a bodyweight curtsy lunge is easy, try adding weight in one of the ways below. Take care that you’re still maintaining proper form, as the torso may fall forward under the pull of the extra weight. If you twist your hips as you’re curtsying, you’ll lose the activation in your glutes and hips. You’re allowing your knee to fall too far over your toe line, which can cause injury.