What is a reverse lunge?

The reverse lunge is a great leg exercise that mainly focuses on working and engaging the muscle groups throughout the lower body. The best part is that it can be done anywhere and with no equipment.

Which muscles are used when performing a reverse lunge?

Reverse lunges will activate your core, glutes, quads and hamstrings. Reverse lunges puts less stress then front lunges on your joints and provide more stability in the front leg, which makes them a perfect lunge variation for people who have knee concerns, difficulty balancing, or struggle with limited hip mobility.

What are the benefits of a reverse lunge?

There are several benefits that come with including reverse lunges in your workout routine.

Some of the main benefits of reverse lunges include:

– Reverse lunges improve balance and stability.

Reverse lunges are a lower-body unilateral exercise, which means that they work and engage each side of your body independently. The single-leg movements will make your body activate all of the stabilizing muscles, which will aid in developing balance, stability, and coordination. Working one leg at a time forces core to work harder to keep your body balanced.

– Reverse lunges help with muscle imbalances and build single-leg strength.

Reverse lunge, just like forward lunges, is a unilateral exercise, which means that they can help you improve and get rid of muscle imbalances and improve muscle definition and single-leg strength.

– Reverse lunges improve flexibility and mobility.

Performing this movement will help increase your hip’s range of motion and make you more mobile, which will translate in other exercises, but it will translate in your everyday life as well.

– Reverse lunges strengthen the core.

Reverse lunge will engage and stimulate the core muscles, helping to improve your posture and prevent injuries in the long run.

How to do a reverse lunge?

Performing the movement with proper form is important for any exercise, and the same is true for a reverse lunge.

Here is how to properly do a reverse lunge to avoid injury and gain all of the benefits:

  1. Starting from the standing position, stand completely straight and tall, with your chin and chest up. Pull your shoulders back, and brace your core.
  2. Place your feet shoulder-width apart, toes slightly out. You can put your hands on your hips if you want to or keep them on the side to help you with balance. This is your starting position.
  3. While keeping your core engaged, take a big step backward with your left leg and land on the ball of your left foot while keeping your spine straight. Lower your body until your left leg is forming a 90-degree angle. Your back foot should stay in place.
  4. Push through your front foot to return the left leg back to the starting position. It is up to you whether you want to keep working on that leg or switch legs and alternate between every lunge.

Variations of reverse lunges

There are some reverse lunge variations that can spice up your workout. 

Some of them include:

Weighted Reverse Lunge

If you want to make the reverse lunge exercise just a bit more difficult to pull off, get ready to grab a pair of weights. For weights you can use barbell, dumbbells or kettlebell.

The added weight will make your legs and core work a bit harder. You can also increase the weight with time, as you start to get stronger and holding the weight gets easier.

Reverse Lunge with Rotation

This reverse lunge variation is done similarly to the standard reverse lunge, apart from the fact that you should rotate the torso at the bottom of the movement. You should feel a nice stretch in your lower back.

You can also use a weight and hold it with both of your hands on your chest when performing the movement. If you want to make an emphasis more on your core you can anchor a elastic band to the side and hold it with both hands while making the movement.

Alternatives for a reverse lunge

The reverse lunge (or any other lunge variation) can be problematic, risky, and even painful for those who have knee issues, knee injury, knee pain, or knee instability.

If you want to get the benefits of exercising but you want to spare your knees, some of the fantastic alternatives for a reverse lunge include:

Glute Bridge

Glute bridge is going to target the glutes and hamstrings, which are the two main muscles that perform the lunge without putting strain on the knees.

Step-ups

During lunges, your body weight is transitioned through up and down movements, and the same happens during step-ups, just in a different position that happens to spare the knees from stress and pressure. Start with a lower bench to step on to and gradually increase the range of motion.

Single-Leg Balance

Lunges are known for challenging and improving balance and ankle stability, and this exercise does the same thing! Start on one leg with the knee slightly bent and the other leg lifted up, then start to draw a big circle around the static leg and switch sides.

Mistakes/Safety Tips

There are some commonly observed mistakes when it comes to performing reverse lunges, especially for beginners. Making these mistakes will hinder your progress and could lead to injury. 

When performing the reverse lunges, pay close attention to avoiding:

– Your knee passing your toes.

Make sure to keep your front leg at a 90-degree angle at the bottom of the movement; your knee should not pass the line of your toes because that puts more stress on the knee.

– Hunching. 

You might feel the need to push your shoulders forward and round your back to lessen the pressure on the core muscles, but this move puts unnecessary stress on your back and puts it at the risk of injury. Instead, make sure to keep your shoulders back, back straight, and spine neutral.