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Curtsy lunges are also commonly referred to as crossover lunges.
Lunges are a popular exercise because they can effectively build strength in the major lower body muscles and can be done anywhere. For curtsy lunges to be effective, you've got to perform them using correct technique and, in some circumstances, hold weights to provide enough of a stimulus to challenge the muscles.
Front curtsy lunges do work; they can build strength or size in your lower body muscles, as long as they're done at an intensity that challenges your muscles. According to John M. Cissik of the National Strength and Conditioning Association, for an exercise to stimulate development, strength exercises have to provide enough of a load and be doing an an adequate volume. Doing the front curtsy with just your body weight may be challenging enough to overload your muscles, depending on your training and strength levels. If you can do 12 reps without feeling fatigued, you should either hold a pair of dumbbells or set a barbell on the back of your shoulders. Use a weight that allows you to do six reps, but makes finishing 12 reps challenging. Perform at least three sets if you want to build size in your legs.
The front curtsy lunge targets numerous muscles in your lower body. Your gluteus maximus and hamstring muscles extend your hips, which mean they drive your legs back as you come out of the lunge. The quadriceps, a collection of four muscles at the front of your thighs, straightens your lead knee as you rise out of the lunge. According to Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist Cameron McGarr, the crossover or curtsy lunge places extra emphasis on your hamstrings and glutes.
Front Curtsy Technique
The traditional front lunge involves stepping directly ahead and getting into a staggered stance before dropping into a lunge. The front curtsy lunge, however, involves stepping diagonally across your body. Once you're on balance, bend the knee or your lead leg to drop your back knee toward the floor. Stop just short of your knee making contact with the ground and then come back up before going into the next rep. Your torso should remain erect throughout the entire movement. Once you're done with the set, switch legs, crossing over with your opposite leg.
The front curtsy lunge is a safe exercise for building strength and size in your thighs and glutes as long as you use correct technique. Your lead knee should never go beyond the vertical line of your toes, because that places a significant amount of stress on your knee joint. In addition, keep your torso erect as you perform the exercise. Avoid the tendency to lean forward as you lower toward the floor.