The Split Squat and the Lunge exercises are excellent for developing strong muscles of the lower body: the glutes, the quads, the hamstrings, the calves and even the core. They may look quite similar, especially in the starting position as feet are stacked in front of each other in a ‘line’ with each knee bent 90 degrees. However, they have distinct differences.
With a split squat, you’re holding (static) that starting stance while your body raises up and down; the feet never move from their place.
With a lunge, you’re moving your back leg forward or front leg backward – dynamically taking steps. Knees are angled a little more toward the toes rather than straight over the ankles.
Here’s a visual:
While both require an upright posture (don’t take the core out of play and collapse forward!) and mindfulness due to the balance involved, they each carry their own degree of difficulty for different reasons:
With a split squat, the focus is felt mostly on the front leg, especially the quad (thigh) of that front leg and – since it’s a repeated movement in the same position – you’re gonna feel the burn localized there pretty quickly.
With a lunge, the added mobility invites factors like momentum and deceleration into the exercise and requires a greater degree of control. The focus is spread throughout both front and back leg, so while you’ll get the muscles fatigued, the burn is dispersed a bit between both legs.
So, there you have it; a general overview of the differences between these two multi-joint, multi-reward leg exercises. We hope it helps you feel more confident the next time you see “Split Squat” or “Lunge” programmed in your workout!