Tutorial: Thigh Toning Squat Lunges

See video

The Thigh Toning Squat Lunges Exercise is designed to tone your legs, especially your thighs,  lift your butt, and promote good fat burning.

There are several variations within the exercise, all with their own focus; this gives you the opportunity to choose which will work best for you.  You can of course also follow the variant I do in the video, which is do a combination of them all in one long, fat-burning, thigh-toning set.  Keep a keen eye on your form; mind your posture and rely on your core.

Ideally, a set is 30 repetitions or more; one repetition contains one squat and one lunge with the right or left leg back, but start from where you are and work your way up to this (look below at the "make it work for you" section for tips and advice).

Remember to breathe, and have fun!

In this video, we will be using one nine pound dumbbell. In my personal workouts, I start at ten pounds, and go up from there. If you are just beginning to work out, I would recommend a lighter dumbbell, such as 8 pounds. You can also use a kettlebell, yoga block, or household items such as a soup can or even just your hands. All you need to achieve great results is to stay with the form and technique, and add some extra resistance as needed. I will be describing the exercise as if I was using a dumbbell, as that is what I used in the video.

Proper Technique, Posture and Tips

  • Start by standing with your feet hip width apart.
  • Hold the dumbbell at the bulb end with both hands, thumbs resting on your chest/sternum.
  • Draw your abs in and upward with your sternum lifted up towards where the ceiling and wall meet.
  • Push your "veranda" (bottom edge of the outer part of the shoulder blade) down towards your waist and lower back.
  • Squeeze your shoulder blades together slightly at the very bottom of the blades, towards the spine.
  • Make sure the knee on your front leg does NOT go in front of your toes when you are in the lunge or squat positions.
  • Keep more of your body weight onto the heel of your front foot rather than the toes, this will help you to keep with proper knee positioning in both lunge and squat positions.

I offer several variations within this exercise, dependant upon your needs, wishes and wants.  They are listed below:

1-Standard:  Keep your feet hip width apart at all times, while performing a half-, or demi-squat,  lunging straight back a moderate distance (not too far or too short) in a square lunge. If you look sideways in the mirror, there should be a straight, plumb line from the crown of your head to your kneecap.

2-Curtsy: While keeping your feet hip width apart, perform a half-, or demi-squat with deep curtsies when you lunge (step far back behind yourself to the back corners and rotate your back knee inward under you).

3-Turn-in, Turn-out: Still performing the demi-squats as described above, but here you will pigeon-toe as much as you can in the squat position, then curtsy while turning both legs out -- this is the only time where you are allowed to have some weight on the toes and only in the demi-squat position. You will transfer your body weight back to your heels in the curtsy position; think of rotating the legs from the upper thighs throughout the exercise (imagine a line on your thigh where the elastic band on a pair of briefs/boy shorts would be; rotate from there). This is the absolute focus of this variation of the exercise.

4-Narrow Stance: This variation focuses on butt lifting - perform a narrow demi-squat, followed by a narrow lunge with a step back more deep than wide.

5-Wide and Deep Squat: Best for toning your front thighs and building strength, along with toning the outer and upper part of your glutes and hips.

6-Wide and Deep Squat, With a Bounce: The same as #5, with the addition of a bounce in the lunge position. This will provide added toning to your quads(front thighs). This is a good burnout exercise.

This will produce optimal results.

Make It Work for You
Start where you are, right now.  Do not compare yourself to anyone else.  Just look at your own accomplishments, and follow your own improvements.  Start by considering doing multiple sets of low reps if you are unable to do a long single set. You still get all the repetitions in if you think of the "big picture."  Soon enough you will be doing longer sets, and before you know it, you will surpass you initial goals, and set even higher goals.  Up and beyond!

Pants: Lululemon Wunder Under Crop Reversible, Black/Navy
Top: MPG Sport Elle #LT49, Turqouise
Shoes: Capezio Women's DS11 Fierce Dance Sneaker, Black



“Physical fitness is not only one of the most important keys to a healthy body, it is the basis of dynamic and creative intellectual activity”

Tell me how many reps and sets you were able to accomplish, which variations are your favorites,  and write about your successes in the comments below! xx