Which Are Better: Squats or Lunges?

Written by holly huntington
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Since your time is important, you probably want to get the most out of your exercise routine. Some exercises can appear to offer the same benefits, such as lunges and squats, but one can actually be more advantageous to do than the other. This is true for lunges, offering at least two more benefits than squat exercises. In addition, squats have one negative that lunges do not.

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Muscles and Balance

Squat exercises and lunges have benefits in common, such as the fact that both work the lower anatomy. They both work the same lower body parts: the glutes (also known as gluetals), the hamstrings and the quadriceps, which are all lower body muscles. Both exercises work each of these groups simultaneously, so you get a complete lower body workout all at once, benefiting your thighs and buttocks as well as your lower leg muscles to some degree. But there is one added benefit of doing lunges over squats -- lunges improve your balance. Lunges require you to put your weight on the toes of the foot left behind in the lunge movement. As you extend one of your legs forward and bend the other leg slightly -- placing your weight on the toes of the foot left behind you -- you are able to more effectively balance your body. This isn't easy at first, but it will improve overall body balance.


Lunges are a better exercise than squats -- even though they work the same lower body parts -- because the movement in the lunge exercise conditions the lower body more for some sports activities. Sports that require a lunge movement during activity include basketball, soccer and tennis. Squat exercises don't offer that benefit.

Form Replication

You will only commit yourself to doing an exercise that you feel you can do. Confusion about the right exercise form, fear of injury and how complicated an exercise is can dissuade you from doing it. Not doing the exercise, then, limits the physical benefits you seek. Lunges are easier in form to replicate than squats, which require careful adherence to a proper form to avoid problems physically. This makes lunges a better exercise over squats if you have these concerns.

Squat Drawback

You don't want to do an exercise that could potentially cause you to have physical problems later on. Lunges are less likely to do that, since it is easier to naturally replicate the form required for this exercise. On the other hand, squats are a little unnatural in action, leaving open the potential for back strain or even knee injury if you don't have the right posture during the exercise -- or if you attempt to use too heavy a weight when you complete the exercise incorrectly.

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