One of my favorite full body weight lifting exercises is the stationary forward lunge.
The stationary forward lunge is a great replacement for the squat.
You can even perform the stationary forward lunge with a limited amount of weight lifting equipment.
My favorite version of the forward lunge is using a barbell placed in a power rack, but there's many different ways to do this full body exercise.
Target Your Entire Lower Body
The stationary forward lunge is 100% without a doubt a FULL BODY exercise.
Once you do this exercise with weights that feel heavy to you, you will know what I mean.
Your entire body is supporting the weight while you do lunges.
Your lower body muscle groups are especially targeted during the stationary forward lunge. Not many exercises can serve as a good substitute for the squat, but the lunge movement definitely will do a great job.
Your butt, glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps, and calves will be worked very well during the lunge movement.
Many people may even get better results with the stationary forward lunge than the squat.
The Lunge Works Each Thigh and Leg Independently
Any lunge movement will require a huge amount of energy to complete the same number of reps on each side versus the squat movement.
For example, doing 10 reps of the lunge is equivalent to doing a full 20 reps since you'll be doing 10 reps with each leg. With most versions of the squat, you're doing 10 reps total.
BUT, you do get the full benefit for each leg independently. If you think one leg is stronger than the other, the forward stationary lunge is a great exercise to help balance out the strength between legs.
This can be great for increasing your squat and preventing injury on the squat in the future. Your legs need to have balanced strength so you're not favoring one leg during the squat movement.
This can be very important to your long term progress.
If both of your legs are balanced and strong from doing the stationary forward lunge, your squat weight will increase. When your squat weight increases, your entire body will benefit.
How to Do the Stationary Forward Lunge
I want you to watch a great video explaining how to do the stationary forward lunge. Notice the stationary lunge is not a walking lunge variety. You stay in the same area for every rep of the stationary lunge.
Watch this to understand what I mean:
This is actually a very good video showing how to do the stationary forward lunge properly with a barbell in a squat rack stand.
It's surprising to find good exercise videos but the above is actually good.
The stationary forward lunge is an exercise you need to keep perfect form with. So don't use loose form on this exercise. You need to keep it tight at all times, and the strict form will actually help you to lift more weight for more reps.
Weight Lifting Equipment Requirements for the Stationary Forward Lunge
As I said earlier, I prefer and recommend a power rack or squat stands to hold a barbell. From there, you should step under the weight and unrack the bar. Always step backwards out of the rack and be safe.
Always step forward to rack the weight to stay safe. It's always better to be stepping forward after you're tired and backwards in the beginning. You want to be able to see the rack when you're tired and it's never a good idea to step backwards when you're tired.
You can also use dumbbells with no other weight lifting equipment required. This alone makes the stationary forward lunge a great substitute for people who want to workout at home with limited equipment.
Kettlebells, sandbags, or any other resistance can be used as long as you can safely increase the weight over time.
One of the drawbacks to holding weight by your sides is the limitation of grip strength. It also takes lots of extra energy to grip the weight throughout the entire exercise. This is good for overall body development but might take away from your leg development in some situations.
If you really want to focus in on leg development and your lower body, a highly recommend a barbell with a power rack.
You can also see where this man deadlifts and then presses the weight over his head to place on his shoulders in this video:
I don't recommend doing stationary forward lunges like this as this will severely limit the amount of weight you can use PLUS it can be dangerous if you have to press the weight from your back to finish the exercise.
Behind the back presses are not recommended here at Weight Lifting Complete and this can be very difficult from a dead zero position after you're tired.
Many times you'll be worried about getting the weight off your back instead of worrying about the actual exercise.
This style can work if you have Olympic rubber plates with a good floor so you can simply drop the weight behind you once you are finished. You need to be experienced at doing this, though, so again I do not recommend using the methods in the video above.