When it comes to lower-body movements, lunges most especially, I often avoid alternating simply because of all the beef involved in the lower bod and how much longer it takes to get there when you’re going along every other, with that built-in break.

But, there are ways of approaching the task differently, shifting focus from strength to endurance: of the midback, especially if you’re holding a weight or weights in a position that requires it, and also to the plyo pop-up from the bottom position of each rep.

If you’re alternating, dial way in on crispy clean form, and press hard through your whole foot to return to standing as quickly as possible. Pop back up like you mean it. Ascend.

The descent matters, too, though. A whole bunch. As much, or more: so many injuries occur — in sport and life — because we don’t know how to descend, decelerate, slow down safely. It’s a skill worth learning, this portion of any lift called the eccentric. Strength-coaching greats make sure their athletes know how to slow down. Even going sideways.

Enter the lateral lunge. The advent of alternation means you get a little extra footwork, which prepares you further to react to what presents itself.

Watch that your bending-leg knee tracks in line with your outside toes of the same-side foot as you sink, pop, sink, pop. Get in your groove and go.

Kettlebell Goblet Alternating Lunge

  • Goblet clean a kettlebell into position, holding it at your chest by the outside handles (the horns), pressing upward with your palms and supporting some of its weight with your forearms and chest.
  • Take a large step out to one side (exact width will vary depending on your levers and flexibility) and as your foot lands, sit back and down on that leg, keeping your torso upright and lowering your hips as far as is comfortable for you. Keep your weight grounded down through your whole foot and at the same time, keep your other foot in contact with the ground.
  • From this low position, propel your body back up to a standing posture.
  • Step out the other direction and complete the mirror image of that movement. Keep alternating until you complete your set, then rest and repeat.
Unapologetically Strong’s founder, Jen Sinkler, is an award-winning writer, editor, publisher, and personal trainer who has been working in the fitness realm since 2003. Her goal is to foster a fitness space that allows people to explore a variety of fitness pursuits, connect in ways that honor all aspects of their identities, and generally flourish as their strongest selves.