How To Do The Reverse Lunge

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In This Series

The lunge is a terrific functional exercise. You work a whole host of lower-body muscles in a manner that directly translates to improved sporting performance. And if you don’t play any sport, then you’ll at least appreciate how much better you’ll be at walking. Frankly, there aren’t many lower-body exercises better than the forward lunge, but one of them is the reverse lunge.

While both the forward and reverse lunge do a great job of working your thighs, glutes and calves, the latter has the edge because the forward momentum generated when you drive back up to the starting position more closely mimics the movement of running. It’s also easy to overstep and get your weight in the wrong position during the forward lunge, whereas if you put it in reverse the movement naturally brings your weight over the front heel, which is where it should be.

So the reverse lunge is one of those rare cases where the variation might be better than the original exercise, like the Godfather Part II. And if you want to argue about that then let’s turn to the unassailable example of Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls being better than Ace Ventura: Pet Detective – we can all agree on that at least.

How To Do The Reverse Lunge

You might assume that a reverse lunge is exactly the same as a forward lunge done backwards, and you’d be more or less right. Start by standing straight and bracing your core muscles. Then take a giant step backwards with your left foot. Bend your right knee until it’s at 90°, and lower your left knee until it is also bent at a right angle. Then push back up and return to the starting position.

Make sure you keep your torso upright throughout the movement. You can opt to alternate legs with your reps, or do all of them on one leg before switching to the other.

Reverse Lunge Variations

Reverse lunge with dumbbells


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Once you’re comfortable with the bodyweight version of the reverse lunge, add a little weight to make the exercise more difficult and more rewarding. Hold a pair of dumbbells by your sides as you lunge.

Reverse lunge to biceps curl

Don’t let your lower body have all the fun. Hold a pair of dumbbells by your side as you lunge backwards. Then, as you push forwards back to the starting position, curl the dumbbells up to your shoulders.

Nick Harris-Fry
Senior writer

Nick Harris-Fry is a journalist who has been covering health and fitness since 2015. Nick is an avid runner, covering 70-110km a week, which gives him ample opportunity to test a wide range of running shoes and running gear. He is also the chief tester for fitness trackers and running watches, treadmills and exercise bikes, and workout headphones.