The backwards lunge is a great unilateral (single body part) exercise to build your glutes and quads. The great thing about lunges, and specifically the backwards lunge, is that they transfer amazingly to sporting performance. Strengthening your glutes in this way is a great way to improve your power output in sprints, and much more.
If you don’t play sports the backwards lunge is still a great exercise to incorporate into your routine as a functional exercise that can help make everyday tasks, like walking and running, even easier. The forward momentum when you drive upwards to the start position mimics the movement of running, thus strengthening your run.
How to do the Backwards Lunge
- Stand straight with your feet hip width apart. Make your core tight.
- With your left foot, take a large step back. The further you step back the more you will feel the exercise in your glutes, the narrow the stance the more quad focused it will feel.
- Lower your hips so that your right thigh becomes parallel to the ground. Your left heel will be raised off the ground.
- To return to the start position, push into your right heel and bring your left leg forward.
- Repeat for the desired amount of reps, and then repeat on the other side for the same reps.
The reverse lunges use the hamstring, glutes (maximus, medius and minimus), quadriceps and calves.
The hamstrings are particularly targeted in the eccentric (lengthening) part of the movement. While the glutes are mainly activated in order to stabilize the knees. As for the quadriceps, the further you step one foot backwards the less they will be used as you go from knee flexion to hip flexion.
Commonly asked questions when performing this workout
- Should my knee go over my toe?
Yes. It is fine for your knee to go over your toe. Think of it this way, when you walk up stairs your knee naturally goes over your toes. This means, contrary to popular belief, it’s natural for your knee to go over your toe.
- Barbell backward lunge
- Front rack barbell backward lunge
- Front foot elevated backward lunge
- Dumbbell backward lunge
- Suitcase hold backward lunge