Tip: Kung Fu Lunges for Killer Quads

Got a couple extra minutes on leg day? Add these to your workout plan and try not to throw up.


The "duck walk" is an ancient technique used in kung fu training. Martial arts aside, it's a nasty way to finish off your leg workouts. Just grab a dumbbell or safety-squat bar, set a timer for two minutes, and go!

Technique Tips

Duck lunges are often performed with your knees coming out as you step forward. This gives more of a waddle-look to your lunge. But with this "in line" variation, we can emphasize full range of motion and give your quads a deep loaded stretch.

Take a short lunging step. Stay down and imagine you're LeBron James attempting to lunge in a house of Hobbits. Don't stand up fully until you absolutely have to, or you're turning around to come back.

Notice how the back knee is traveling over the toe and getting close to the floor. You could just let your back leg follow its natural path, but emphasizing the back knee over the toe and towards the floor has a purpose. More on that in just a second.

Try setting a timer for two minutes and see how many you can do. Over a few weeks, attempt to increase the amount you can complete in two minutes. When you hit two minutes without stopping, add a little weight. One or two sets will be more than enough.

For a more advanced variation, a safety-squat bar is a good way to add load:

Why These Work

  • The constant tension: There's a respectable amount of mechanical tension provided in these lunges, given the intense stretch of your quads under load. However, more so these create a lot of metabolic stress. That's why they're best reserved for the back-end of a workout when you're in the mood for some punishment.
  • It's a traveling sissy squat: Take a look at what the back leg is doing. You might recognize the position as being close to a sissy squat, albeit with your torso a little more vertical. Because of this, your back leg is being subjected to some eccentric overload through a big range of motion. Your middle quads (rectus femoris) will be on fire.
  • There's knee-over-toe action: Just like walking up some stairs or riding a bike, there's some knee-over-toe action that won't cause your knees to blow out. Yes, if you've got a shady history with your knees then skip these. But if you have healthy knees these can help you develop your quads while also building some knee resilience.
  • They'll condition you: Nail your key exercises first: some kind of squat, hack squat, leg press, or whatever works for you. Then finish with just a couple of sets of these. It might feel like cardio, especially if going above five reps isn't your forte. But those two-minute sets will help build a level of conditioning that'll increase your work capacity for any workout. They'll tax your entire body.
Gareth Sapstead is a leading strength and physique coach from the UK. He specializes in problem solving and breakthrough training techniques.

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