Quads and lunges are two very popular lower-body functional training exercises designed to mimic everyday moving patterns and improve muscular strength across this region. Given the compound (multi-joint) nature of both exercises, squats and lunges are a go-to movement for enlisting multiple muscles at the same time, as well as improving your balance, flexibility, and even core strength.

Although both exercises share similar benefits and target mostly the same muscle groups, how they are performed differs from one another. We went to the experts to learn more about how these moves differ, and how (and when) to incorporate them into your routine.

What’s a Squat?

“Squats and lunges are two different exercises that work similar muscles,” says Robert Brace, owner of Brace Life Studios. “In a squat, you begin in a standing upright position, with your weight evenly distributed on both feet, before pushing your hips back and lowering your body into a seated position and then pushing through the heels to return your body to standing.”

Essentially, squats mimic the movement of sitting and standing back up. “They work the main muscles of the legs, the quadriceps, the hamstrings, and glutes,” explains Laura Flynn Endres, a personal trainer and the founder of Get Fit Done.