Reverse Lunge

Published on: August 29th, 2019
Updated on: November 28th, 2023
This article is in categories: Exercises | Fitness

The reverse lunge is a lower body exercise that works the hamstrings, quads, glutes, and calves of a single leg. The motion is similar to the forward lunge, except you step behind instead of forward. The backward movement offers benefits over the forward step.

Benefits of the Reverse Lunge

  • Strengthens the full leg (hamstrings, glutes, quads, calves)
  • Improves knee stability
  • Reduces knee shear experienced in the front lunge
  • Increases hip and ankle mobility
  • Assists in maintaining proper position (knee over the heel) compared to the front lunge, where it is easier to overstride.
  • Develops power production in the front leg, which will benefit running or other athletic movements
  • No equipment needed
  • Can be performed anywhere

Movement Standards

  1. Start in a standing position with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  2. Step back with one foot to a comfortable distance. Land on the ball of the foot with your heel off the ground.
  3. Lower your hips by bending at the knees while your torso stays upright. Your gaze should be forward.
  4. Stack your knee of the forward leg over your ankle, keeping it perpendicular to the floor.
  5. When both knees reach 90-degrees, return to the standing position by pushing off the ground with the rear foot and lifting with your front leg.
  6. Alternate legs and repeat for the recommended number of repetitions.


  • Overstriding with the rear leg or not bending the back knee may strain the hip-flexor.
  • Maintain control when lowering to prevent crashing your knee into the ground.
  • Do not position your foot directly behind the opposite during the step back to prevent instability.
  • Keep your spine neutral and your front foot flat on the ground to reduce the risk of injury.
  • Ensure the area is free of obstacles.

Variations of the Reverse Lunge

  • Standard Forward lunge
  • Weighted Reverse Lunge
  • Front Foot Elevated Reverse Lunge
  • Crossover Reverse Lunge
  • Walking Lunge
  • Split Lunge

Progressions for the Reverse Lunge

  • half lunge or reduce the range of motion to your ability.
  • Split Squat holds. Hold in a reduced range of motion to increase strength and stability.
Share This On: