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  1. #1
    Boomer Sooner gneal's Avatar
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    Squats vs. Lunges.....

    Ok, first of all, I'm not training to become huge(not possible genetically anyway). I would like some additional muscle and definition in my legs and lunges have always been part of my training. I've never been real comfortable with doing squats, although lately I have considered using the Smith machine for starters.

    It appears that squats are king when it comes to getting good results for your legs but my question is this: Can lunges do the job as well as squats? I would be interested to hear everyone's opinion on these two exercises and hear what everyone thinks.

    Thanks in advance...
    Greg
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  2. #2
    When in doubt, mumble namtrag's Avatar
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    I do both, I feel like they hit totally different muscles. When I do lunges I feel it more in my inner thighs, squats more in the ass and quads
    Yorkshireman I: Right! I had to get up in the morning, at ten o'clock at night, half an hour before I went to bed, eat a lump of cold poison, work twenty-nine hours a day down mill and pay mill-owner for permission to come to work, and when we got home, our dad would kill us and dance about on our graves, singing Hallelujah!
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  3. #3
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    How you do the lunges directly affects what area of the legs and glutes it will target. Deep lunges affect the glutes and hamstrings more. Closer steps work the quads more. Try them both and you will see exactly what I am saying. Walking lunges with dumbbells are awesome for cutting fat because it becomes a cardio and weight session simultaneously if you take enough steps to exhaustion. I done these till I've almost puked.
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  4. #4
    Registered User Todd_A's Avatar
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    I would not think you would want to use a lot of weight when doing lunges. There is too much movement and too many paces to get out of allignment and cause problems under a heavy load. But with lighter weight I think lunges are a great exercise, but I dont think they can replace what squats do for you.

    I hate squats too and I seldom do them, and my lower body suffers. I think part of my new years resolution may be to start doing squats religiously.

    Also, if you have not been doing squats, you should start light so that your weaker "helper muscles" that are not getting worked right now have a chance to catch up. I noticed that my legs can squat way more than my lower back can support effectively.
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    Have you considerd the leg press?

    A few years ago I got away from heavy squats and did the majority of my building with my legs with leg presses. I rarely do lunges. I got really good results by doing heavy leg presses, moderate weight with squats. My legs look really cut by changing this. I still believe that you need to squats.
    I also do leg curls and extensions which I also believe is a must for definition.

    I have a photo in my gallery that shows my progress with changing to this kind of workout. The one where i am in green shorts.

    I also believe in the genetic part because of my stature BUT what the hell try the best you can right?
    Every day counts.

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  6. #6
    Boomer Sooner gneal's Avatar
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    I actually do leg presses, lunges, and extensions when working my legs. I do lunges with 20lb. weights in my hands and my legs are hurting for two to 3 days afterwards(a good hurt).

    I think it may be time to expand my routine a little and do some squats with light weights. Thanks for the response guys....
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    Try bench step ups too. Here is how I do them:

    Stand parallel to the bench, one foot on the bench, holding a db on that leg. Push up with the foot that's on the ground until it is level with the bench. Lower back down and repeat 24 more times. Then, switch sides and 25 on the other side. Excruciating, mix of cardio and weight training.
    Yorkshireman I: Right! I had to get up in the morning, at ten o'clock at night, half an hour before I went to bed, eat a lump of cold poison, work twenty-nine hours a day down mill and pay mill-owner for permission to come to work, and when we got home, our dad would kill us and dance about on our graves, singing Hallelujah!
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    Originally Posted by gneal View Post
    Can lunges do the job as well as squats?
    The first thing I thought when I read this was, "Not unless you do lunges with 200 lb dumbells." But since I don't do lunges, I can't realy say if that's true.
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  9. #9
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    You could add jogging a padded track, stair master and the exercise bike to the mix too.

    I find that squats & lunges are usually too much for most people so I tell them to start with the cardio stuff first. Opening up your lungs will help greatly in all your lifts as you get deeper into weight training. You'll be able to handle you body weight easily once the cardio equipment gets easy for you so the next step would be to add more resistance. You can do that by either adding more resistance to the cardio machine or weight train.
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  10. #10
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    I do the leg-press and can rep 450 lbs 3 sets. I tried the squats today and could only do 135 lbs. The bar killed my shoulders and was not comfortable at all. I did not have a spotter but I can honestly say that I will NEVER get to the 450 mark with squats - with or without a spotter!

    I have heard that squats are the best for overall core training though.
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  11. #11
    Canis Belli Whiskeyjack's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by dkf10425 View Post
    How you do the lunges directly affects what area of the legs and glutes it will target. Deep lunges affect the glutes and hamstrings more. Closer steps work the quads more. Try them both and you will see exactly what I am saying. Walking lunges with dumbbells are awesome for cutting fat because it becomes a cardio and weight session simultaneously if you take enough steps to exhaustion. I done these till I've almost puked.
    This is all good stuff and intriguing. I'd like to try the step lunges but the gym doesn't have enough floor space.
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    Originally Posted by Todd_A View Post

    Also, if you have not been doing squats, you should start light so that your weaker "helper muscles" that are not getting worked right now have a chance to catch up. I noticed that my legs can squat way more than my lower back can support effectively.
    no kidding ... it has taken a month of 'no weight' squats to get
    to the point of just squatting the damned bar without my spine
    feeling like it was going to drop out of my ass!

    but even those no-weight squats have had an impact ... and with
    a little weight its getting more all the time ...
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  13. #13
    Currently Clean Bulking Shreddedgeek's Avatar
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    IMO Squats are a Mass Builder where the Lunges are Shape builder.

    There is no better leg buiding exercise other than squats, being a compound exercise the primary target is the Quads but the secondary benefits are astronomical. (lower back, gluts, hams, core,..ect) The advantage with squats vs lunges with building muscle is that you just can't move enough weight with lunges. It does not matter if you are training to become huge or training to add some thickness, you must have enough weight to challenge the muscles and as you add weight you are not going to be able to do a lunge in correct form without risking injury. Overcome the fear of Squats and use the lunges to sculpt the Hams/Glutes.
    Squat it does a body good!
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    Thumbs up

    Originally Posted by Shreddedgeek View Post
    IMO Squats are a Mass Builder where the Lunges are Shape builder.

    There is no better leg buiding exercise other than squats, being a compound exercise the primary target is the Quads but the secondary benefits are astronomical. (lower back, gluts, hams, core,..ect) The advantage with squats vs lunges with building muscle is that you just can't move enough weight with lunges. It does not matter if you are training to become huge or training to add some thickness, you must have enough weight to challenge the muscles and as you add weight you are not going to be able to do a lunge in correct form without risking injury. Overcome the fear of Squats and use the lunges to sculpt the Hams/Glutes.
    Great post! Ditto....
    Being a real lifter is not about a number, or a medal, or somebody else telling you that you are a real lifter. It is about commitment to the iron and strength of purpose.
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    Registered User gbg's Avatar
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    If you have any sort of back injury "herniated disk" or worse I would suggest to stay away from squats stick w/db lunges/l.press/step ups.
    Being a real lifter is not about a number, or a medal, or somebody else telling you that you are a real lifter. It is about commitment to the iron and strength of purpose.
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    Originally Posted by Shreddedgeek View Post
    The advantage with squats vs lunges with building muscle is that you just can't move enough weight with lunges. It does not matter if you are training to become huge or training to add some thickness, you must have enough weight to challenge the muscles and as you add weight you are not going to be able to do a lunge in correct form without risking injury.
    Yeah, that's sorta what I was getting at in my post. No weight, no growth.
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  17. #17
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    Squats Vs Lunges? No comparison at all.
    It's difficult to stand out if you're too busy trying to fit in. ~

    GOD IS GOOD.....
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    Originally Posted by mridgley View Post
    I do the leg-press and can rep 450 lbs 3 sets. I tried the squats today and could only do 135 lbs. The bar killed my shoulders and was not comfortable at all. I did not have a spotter but I can honestly say that I will NEVER get to the 450 mark with squats - with or without a spotter!

    I have heard that squats are the best for overall core training though.
    Try not to take this the wrong way, but you are absolutely right. You will never squat 450 - with that attitude. Sorry to be harsh, but it is true. Squatting heavy pretty much beats everyone down the first few times they try it, and not just because the bar hurts, but because squatting is a challenging, technically demanding, and just plain hard lift to complete properly. This is one of the reasons why some lifters refer to them as 'The king of lifts' or something similar. Former world record holder (In OL'ing) Victor Schreiner once referred to squatting as 'The basis for life on earth as we know it'. And he said this for a reason.

    Train your upper back hard. Traps, posterior deltoids, etc. When you squat keep your back as tight as possible, and pull the bar into your back as hard as you can. Imagine trying to bend the bar, if you will.

    Hitting a big squat is one of the most satisfying things than can be accomplished with iron.
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  19. #19
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    Originally Posted by Shreddedgeek View Post
    IMO Squats are a Mass Builder where the Lunges are Shape builder.

    There is no better leg buiding exercise other than squats, being a compound exercise the primary target is the Quads but the secondary benefits are astronomical. (lower back, gluts, hams, core,..ect) The advantage with squats vs lunges with building muscle is that you just can't move enough weight with lunges. It does not matter if you are training to become huge or training to add some thickness, you must have enough weight to challenge the muscles and as you add weight you are not going to be able to do a lunge in correct form without risking injury. Overcome the fear of Squats and use the lunges to sculpt the Hams/Glutes.
    Squats do something else which I can't quite put a finger on - I've heard talk about them affecting metabolism, etc. - that when I do them I find my entire body grows; my upper body grows faster, more noticeably, than if I had skipped them.
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    My problem with squats (I do them every leg day) is that I end up having a sore lower back, and it doesn't really feel like I am using my legs. My back gives out before my legs do.

    Lunges, you can definitely tell they are burning up your legs.

    I do agree that squats are the king though.
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    Originally Posted by bodyhard View Post
    Squats Vs Lunges? No comparison at all.
    x700. Either one is not a replacement of the other
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    Originally Posted by namtrag View Post
    My problem with squats (I do them every leg day) is that I end up having a sore lower back, and it doesn't really feel like I am using my legs. My back gives out before my legs do.

    Lunges, you can definitely tell they are burning up your legs.

    I do agree that squats are the king though.
    Form. Drop the weight, work on perfect form, then build back up.

    Bad form + even medium weight = imminent injury
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    Originally Posted by Mark1T View Post
    Form. Drop the weight, work on perfect form, then build back up.

    Bad form + even medium weight = imminent injury
    I need to find someone to workout with me who can help me with my form. I watch myself in the mirror, and I'll be damned if I can tell what I am doing wrong.
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    Squats trumps all when it come to building mass.If your not doing squats I feel your cheating your self.Squats hurt so many people because they haven't got good form down.Leaning forward with the wieght on their neck causing back and neck pain or going down to far and using a bounce to force it back up causing knee pain.Bad form has scared alot of people away from squats and I was one of em.

    My nephew started working out with me about 6 months ago.He played HS football and had a free-wieght krazy coach and taught me good form.He started me doing heavy dumbell squats with back straight and head looking up.Then I progressed to front barbell squats with strict form.Now for the last four months I've been doing regular barbell squats with no pain except where I should have it.I feel there is less stress on the back and knees if you do 5x5 instead of 3x10 and you can pack on more wieght too I went from 185lb to 300lb one rep max.

    If have nobody to help you with form check out youtube for squat videos you'll be a squat form expert in no time.And go buy a barbell pad too.
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    Registered User blopid's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by gneal View Post
    Ok, first of all, I'm not training to become huge(not possible genetically anyway). I would like some additional muscle and definition in my legs and lunges have always been part of my training. I've never been real comfortable with doing squats, although lately I have considered using the Smith machine for starters.

    It appears that squats are king when it comes to getting good results for your legs but my question is this: Can lunges do the job as well as squats? I would be interested to hear everyone's opinion on these two exercises and hear what everyone thinks.

    Thanks in advance...
    Greg
    It's funny this post was put up today because I just started doing lunges this week... I always do squats on leg day, but this week I did lunges with 40lbs dumbbells, and let me tell you... My ASS HURTS!!! LOL It's been sore for about three days... So, I agree that lunges are no substitute for squats, and if you want a sore ass... Do lunges... :-)


    Peace...
    God is always with me and I'll never give up...
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    I do both heavy squats (5 x 5) and DB lunges (5 x 5). I do the shorter lunges that target the quads more and I must say that they take as much or more out of me than the squats. (I walk around between sets of squats, but find myself sitting between sets of lunges.)
    I agree that they do not replace each other but rather compliment each other. I combine them with leg curls, and high rep leg press. On cardio days I do 20 minutes of of stairmill after the treadmill. With this mix of low rep/heavy and high rep/lght, I am finally starting to see some progress on my legs.
    I may even take some pics soon.
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    Originally Posted by namtrag View Post
    My problem with squats (I do them every leg day) is that I end up having a sore lower back, and it doesn't really feel like I am using my legs. My back gives out before my legs do.
    If I had to guess, and that's all I can do from here, I'd say that your hamstrings are tight and causing you to round your lower back when your at the bottom of the movement. Hamstring stretches and lower back work will fix this problem.

    The other thing that causes lower back pain is leaning too far forward when driving up. I have this poblem when the weight gets heavy. I have to keep reminding myself to keep my chest up and to look straight ahead.
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    Originally Posted by blopid View Post
    It's funny this post was put up today because I just started doing lunges this week... I always do squats on leg day, but this week I did lunges with 40lbs dumbbells, and let me tell you... My ASS HURTS!!! LOL It's been sore for about three days... So, I agree that lunges are no substitute for squats, and if you want a sore ass... Do lunges... :-)


    Peace...
    I have never felt like puking after squats, but I feel like it almost every time I do walking lunges. Make sure to do at least 24 (12 each leg), and only rest 60 seconds between sets. Do a minimim of 3 sets. It's the most excruciating unintentional interval training I have ever done.

    Still there is no substitute for squats
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    Registered User egoatdoor's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by gneal View Post
    Ok, first of all, I'm not training to become huge(not possible genetically anyway). I would like some additional muscle and definition in my legs and lunges have always been part of my training. I've never been real comfortable with doing squats, although lately I have considered using the Smith machine for starters.

    It appears that squats are king when it comes to getting good results for your legs but my question is this: Can lunges do the job as well as squats? I would be interested to hear everyone's opinion on these two exercises and hear what everyone thinks.

    Thanks in advance...
    Greg
    The answer is no. And training won't make you huge. Eating ( as in calories, protein and carbs) will. Look at all the skinny guys in the gym who are there every night lifting away for hours. Are they huge? No and so aren't many of the guys who are benching 315 pounds.

    That being said, squats will increase your testosterone levels much more than any other exercise except maybe deadlifts and they build muscle not only in the legs, but the lower back, glutes and even the traps( think about it...having 225, 315 or 405 pounds sitting on your traps..they can't help but grow). This will build muscle and increase your strength, but will not by itself "make you huge".

    And definition comes from diet and cardio, not a particular weight training movement.
    Real men hit the weights AND do their cardio.

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    You can spend a lot of time on Google searching for the best exercises for different body parts. IMHO, there is no one answer - it's what works best for you. Having said that, squats are a compound exercise, and like all compound exercises they have benefits: 1) compound exercises cause your body to release more testosterone and HGH, which increases muscle mass 2) compound exercises usually allow you to lift more weight since you're using multiple muscles - more weight = more growth. Squats are to the legs what bench press is to the chest.
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