When it comes to muscular development of the lower body, we automatically think about squats and deadlifts. If you train for powerlifting, or simply love those movements, that's perfect. But it's time we add something else to that short list: the reverse lunge.
Not only will it develop your muscles to a high degree, but maybe more importantly, I've never had an athlete complain about pain related to this exercise. Can't say that about squats and deads.
Note: You can certainly load the exercise to a higher degree than demonstrated in this demo clip. You can also change the hip, torso, tibia angle, and weight placement based on your training goals.
- It's more knee friendly than the regular lunge since you don't have to stop and decelerate the forward movement of the body. You can focus on loading (taking a stride backwards), then on exploding forward.
- Acceleration is the nature of this exercise, and it has great carryover to running, sprint acceleration, and athletics in general. Make sure to angle your lower leg (tibia) to a higher degree if you want to train more accelerative qualities.
- It's functional for humans, as we do move using one leg at the time.
- The reverse lunge has an extremely low risk for injury or pain in the lower back compared to the squat and deadlift.
- It's great for the development of hip and core stability. You can increase these effects by loading asymmetrically – hold a dumbbell with the opposite hand of the working/front leg.
Bonus: If you typically train using only bi-lateral movements, many problems can be prevented or corrected by just adding more unilateral exercises into your training. Use the reverse lunge as a complimentary exercise to the regular powerlifts, or as a solid substitution to them.