Reverse Lunges: How To, Benefits,…

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When putting together your workout routine you could stumble upon reverse lunges. Find out how to do these.

Reverse lunges are a variation of regular lunges where you take a step back instead of forward.

By doing this, you have more flexibility in choosing whether you want to work your quadriceps or glutes and hamstrings more.

For example, by doing a small reverse lunge, you can really work your quadriceps (front thighs) a lot.

Both variations can be great leg exercises if you do them with enough weight, reps, and sets.

Some people may need to do reverse lunges with weights to be able to do this.

How to do a reverse lunge

Take the following steps to do a reverse lunge:

  1. Stand upright with your feet about shoulder-width apart.
  2. Take a big step backward. Exactly how big this step should be depends on what muscles you want to work and your fitness level.
  3. Lower your upper body as far as comfortable. Your weight should mostly rest on your front foot while the back foot only touches the ground with the front part for balance.
  4. Raise your body again and step back into the starting position.
  5. Complete your set on one side and then repeat the same number of reverse lunges on the other side.
How to do a reverse lunge

How low you want to go during reverse lunges depends on details like your knee health.

When in doubt, you can start with a small range of motion and work up (or down) from there.

Muscles worked with reverse lunges

From a high-level view, the main muscles worked with reverse lunges include your quadriceps (front thighs), glutes (butt), hamstrings (back thighs), calves, hip abductors (outer thighs), and hip adductors (inner thighs).

If you are familiar with the muscles regular lunges work, you will notice these are more or less the same.

However, an interesting aspect of reverse lunges is that you can easily do them in different ways to focus more on certain of these muscles.

Smaller steps will work your quadriceps more whereas bigger steps will work your glutes and hamstrings more.

No matter which of these you choose, keep in mind there are guidelines about how many lunges you should do for certain training goals.

More advanced lifters may need to do reverse lunges with equipment options like dumbbells, a barbell, and a smith machine to reach their fitness goals.

Benefits of reverse lunges

Many of the positive effects of reverse lunges are similar to the benefits of regular lunges but there are a few extra potential upsides.

The benefits of reverse lunges include:

  1. Can grow and strengthen muscles: Reverse lunges make it easy to work your leg muscles in a way that causes growth and strength progress.
  2. Adds targeting flexibility: It is easy to do reverse lunges in different ways which allows you to focus on different leg muscles.
  3. Potentially bigger range of motion: Compared to regular lunges, reverse lunges may involve a slightly bigger range of motion which is generally useful.
  4. Can improve balance and coordination: Reverse lunges can be somewhat challenging in terms of balance and coordination. This can help improve your skills in these areas.
  5. Helps avoid muscle imbalances: By working one leg at a time, reverse lunges can reduce your risk of creating muscle imbalances.
  6. Bodyweight exercise: Many people will be able to see nice results from reverse lunges without investing in equipment or spending time driving to the gym.
  7. Easy to avoid using momentum: Compared to something like walking lunges, it is easy to avoid using momentum to move during reverse lunges. This can benefit your gains.

Reverse lunges are not necessarily unique in all of these benefits but they can still be a great option.

Reverse lunge alternatives

You may also want to know about other ways to work similar muscles and get similar benefits.

Some of the reverse lunge alternatives you can choose include:

  • Regular lunges
  • Squats
  • Step-ups
  • Bulgarian split squats
  • Pistol squats
  • Lateral lunges

Deciding between these alternatives is a case of choosing what muscles you want to work, what equipment you have, and what you like doing.

Are reverse lunges a good exercise?

Reverse lunges can be a good exercise to work a variety of important leg muscles.

Something that positively stands out in this exercise is that you can easily choose between focusing more on your quadriceps or glutes and hamstrings.

Similar to all resistance training exercises, you want to do reverse lunges with the right resistance, repetition, and set ranges for your training goals.

Additionally, there are many other great leg compound exercises too. If you prefer these over reverse lunges, they could be good choices too.


What are reverse lunges good for?

Reverse lunges are good for working your quadriceps, glutes, and hamstrings. Compared to regular lunges, they offer a bit more targeting flexibility and a slightly bigger range of motion.

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Matt Claes founded Weight Loss Made Practical to help people get in shape and stay there after losing 37 pounds and learning the best of the best about weight loss, health, and longevity for over 4 years. Over these years he has become an expert in nutrition, exercise, and other physical health aspects.