Lunges are a great exercise for strengthening, building, and increasing the flexibility of your lower body, especially your hamstrings, glutes, and quadriceps. They also train your calves and ankles. Since they’re performed one leg at a time lunges are also great for correcting strength imbalances and training for many sports.
This article describes how to perform a variation of the typical lunge called the reverse lunge. We’ve also included a video from YouTube to further demonstrate how to do this exercise.
The reverse lunge is done just the way it sounds. Instead of stepping forward as you do to begin regular lunges you step backward with your weight bearing leg while performing the same lunge/squatting movement. They can be done with barbell, dumbbells or kettlebells. If you are just learning this exercise, use no weight to begin and then progress to using dumbbells or kettlebells and then a barbell.
Performing A Reverse Lunge
- Stand with your legs shoulder width apart.
- If using dumbbells for added weight hold them with arms extended alongside your body. If using a barbell, stand with it across your upper back as you would when performing barbell squats.
- Begin the Reverse Lunge by stepping backward, planting your foot, and then bend your front leg until it reaches about a 90 degree angle. The knee of your rear leg should also flex until it almost touches the floor.
- At this point you will be in the same position as you are when doing a regular lunge.
- Then, complete the rep by pushing up with your front foot and leg until you’re again in the starting position.
- Repeat with the other leg.
- Continue doing reverse lunges in this alternating leg pattern until all of the reps you want to do are completed.
- Make sure that you keep your head forward and upper body upright throughout the exercise.
- If you find yourself feeling getting off balance while doing reverse lunges try lightening the weight you’re using.
Video Demonstration: Reverse Lunges With Dumbbells
Video Demonstration: Reverse Lunges With A Barbell
Video Demonstration: Overhead Reverse Lunges With A Kettlebell
Here’s a more demanding version of the reverse lunge that has you holding a kettlebell overhead as you perform the exercise.
Adding Reverse Lunges To Your Workout
Perform this exercise first in your workout. This ensures you will be fresh enough to do them with good form. Start with 2-3 sets of 5 reps on each leg. Increase the number of sets you do as you get stronger.
Reverse lunges are a great exercise for your lower body and provide variety from regular lunges. In addition to helping build strong and muscular legs they’re also great for helping to improve performance in any sports that requires frequent changes in lower body position. This includes tennis, soccer, basketball, and hockey. Add them to your workouts for a month and see what they do for you.