For most people, hopefully their lifting career will span over anywhere from 20-40 years, so it is completely understandable to get sick of doing squats all the time to work your legs, lets switch it up a little bit!
Today we are looking at another wonderful knee dominant exercise that you can include into your leg workout, the Reverse Lunge. The big different between a lunge and a split squat is that one of the legs move in a lunge, in comparison to the squat, where both legs are in a fixed position. Also, the lunge allows the legs to work unilaterally, which is essential when working with athletes to fix imbalances between legs.
I prefer the reverse lunge rather than the regular lunge because it is easier to create the proper angle in the front leg; also, you do not need to move the front foot, so rather than setting it at a different spot every rep, the lead leg stays in place. Another benefit to the lunge is that it incorporates more motor recruitment by forcing the body to maintain balance through movement in space rather than having your body in a fixed position.
- Keep a 90 degree angle in the front leg – the angle of the back leg is not very important, but you want to keep a 90 degree angle at the ankle, knee, and hip joint in the front leg
- Keep the back straight – it is very difficult to keep the back dead straight in a lunge, as long as the back is straight, it is okay if the angle of the torso changes a little bit, but be careful you do not have too much movement and bring yourself into a position where the movement is more hip dominant.
- Use the appropriate loading mechanism – if you are new to lifting, DO NOT load a barbell with weight on your back and do a reverse lunge. Make sure that you use the right mechanism to lower your risk of injury, the reverse lunge can be effective with: Body Weight, a Dumbbell (loaded like the Goblet Squat), Barbell, Body bar, etc.
- Knee passed the ankle – here is a big difference from the squat pattern, with the lunge you do not want to let your knee shoot forward beyond your foot. Remember, you want that 90 degree angle
- Don’t rush through the movement – it can be very difficult to get used to the movement of placing your foot far enough back that you can properly complete the lunge, take your time and establish the motor neuron pathway necessary to complete the movement fluently
Take your time leading up to adding this one into your routines, no need to rush, for many people, this is the first leg exercise introduced into your routine that has you moving with an external load. No need to rush, but give it a shot!