Movement Muse

Your body is your home ~ treat it well. Your life is your art ~ let it move you.

Alternating Reverse Lunge

Amanda Ford

KEY POINTS

The Alternating Reverse Lunge is a classic movement that will help strengthen the muscles of your legs and hips. Lunges will also test and improve your balance.

  • To initiate the moment, step backward and then sink down into the lunge. As soon as your back foot makes contact with the floor, move your body DOWNWARD toward the floor. Down. Down! Down, down, DOWN!
  • Keep the knee of your front leg pointing directly forward over your toes. Do not let your knee drift toward your midline as shown in the picture below.
  • Sink down as far as you can control the movement. Stop just a few inches before your back knee touches the floor ~ if you can get that low.
  • Press down strongly into your front foot to bring yourself back to the starting leg. I repeat: PRESS DOWN STRONGLY INTO YOUR FRONT LEG.
  • DO not propel yourself forward using your back leg.
  • Change which leg you step back with after each repetition. Perform 10 - 20 total repetitions (5 - 10 each leg).
  • To increase your challenge, you can lunge off a box (between 5 - 10 inches), hold weights in your hands or both. These options are demonstrated in the video above.
  • Once you master this lunge, progress to the Reverse Lunge to Balance.

Remember: Think down! Sink down!

My entire body is moving forward in the picture below. See how my front knee is driving forward of my toes? This is incorrect.

Keep the knee of your front leg pointing directly forward over your toes as shown in the picture below.

Do NOT let your knee drift toward your midline as shown in the picture below.

To return to the starting position, root down strongly into your FRONT foot. Push your entire foot into the ground or bench, giving a little extra attention to your front heel.

You will push out slightly from your back foot, but this is not as important as driving through your front leg.

Focus on pushing down through your front leg as shown in the picture below.

 

ADDITIONAL THOUGHTS

Your have probably seen lunge variations where people step forward to initiate the movement. When using a lunge for strength training purposes (as opposed to as mobility exercise or as part of yoga asana or natural movement flow), I practice and teach reverse lunges exclusively. I do not step forward into the lunge when using it as a strength training (i.e., with added load) movement.

The reverse lunge allows people to more easily load their posterior hip (posterior hip = your butt and the backs of your thighs). Training your posterior hip is important, because these are the muscles to help you stand from a chair and climb stairs, not to mention run, jump and hike. If you want to be dynamic and playful in your body well into your old age, a strong backside is essential.

Yep. A strong backside is functional and fashionable.

The reverse lunge will also be gentler on your knees than its sibling the forward lunge precisely because its shape encourages a posterior loading pattern.

 

WATCH IT ONE MORE TIME...