Reverse lunges is a great exercise that many fitness enthusiasts, including myself, often forget about. The other day I came across a legday-program with reverse lunges that reminded me how beneficial these exercises can be. Especially if, like me, you’re a runner, reverse lunges is an exercise that’ll do you good in the long run (haha, got that? In the long run…) to strengthen the muscles you use while running.
In general, lunges are a must on legday. But why reverse lunge?
Why the reverse lunge is great
Many of the girls that come to me hate lunges with a passion – understandable! They are tough when performed with weights and especially when you do lots of them. However, the forward lunge has been found to elicit a much higher level of muscle activity in the gluteus medius, the gluteus maximus, and the hamstrings than many other lower-body exercises.
So why the reverse lunge? Apart from the fact that it is an exercise more gentle towards the joints due the stress that does not happen in the same way when doing the forward lunge, it also forces the body to move in a direction we’re not used to as much – backwards! The reverse lunge is a more foolproof way of doing lunges, as the center of gravity always remains between the two feet, as opposed to moving forward in the forward lunge. In the reverse lunge, you move your body up and down and not through space, which really makes it more of a deceleration lunge and, as mentioned, places less stress on the joints.
As such, it’s easier to avoid injuries with the reverse lunge, especially when getting tired – it’s hard to push back all your weight in a forward lunge, which often results in difficulties in getting correctly back to the starting position of the lunge.
In general, the reverse lunge is perfect for you if you have knee issues, lack hip mobility and also if balance is not your strongest point.
How to do reverse lunges
Stand tall with your feet about hip width apart. It’s important to keep a distance as otherwise you’ll encounter troubles staying balanced. Keep your hands either on your hips or – if you want a more challenging lunge – over your head (straight arms).
Then step straight back with your right leg, lowering your body toward the ground until your front knee (the left) reaches 90 degrees. Your back knee should be close to the ground, but not touching it. Then return to the standing position by putting most of the pressure on the heel of your front let while contracting the glute. Repeat the movement with the other leg.
Important considerations: keeping your core tight will help you stay balanced, so start out standing in a position that lets you keep your shoulders back and your chest out. Also, remember to keep about 90% of the pressure on the heel of the front foot. Don’t lean too much forwards or backwards – aim for your upper body to stay straight.
Feel like it’s too easy? Once you feel like you got to know the reverse lunge so well that it’s a piece of cake to do hundreds of them, consider adding weights such as dumbbells or barbells to toughen it up.
Most important – don’t forget your lunges
Nomatter if you prefer forward or reverse lunge, the lunge is a great workout due to its focus on hip mobility as well as the muscles we use in everyday life. Especially for frequent runners, it’s important to work on the muscles of the lower body – but apart from the lower body muscles, the lunges also work your core as you need to stay balanced.
Oh, and a nice little extra that comes along – lunges also help you shape your booty!
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