Front Loaded Reverse Lunges.
Get ready to fall into a love/ potential hate relationship with these leg killers.
Lunges are nothing new for most gym-goers, but changing the way you perform them could have a huge impact on your strength. If you are like most people, you perform bodyweight lunges or hold dumbbells in your hands. You are awesome. If you are like some people, you perform lunges with a barbell on your back. You are also awesome. If you are like few people, you perform lunges with a barbell in the front-rack position. Congratulations, you are freakin’ awesome!
How to Do It
Start in the front-rack position shown below. The bar should be resting on the “meaty” part of your shoulder. It is going to be a little uncomfortable at first, but all I can do is sympathize and say it’s worth it. Actively think about reaching your elbows up towards the ceiling. Now, reach back with one leg and lower down until your knee touches the ground (hovering just above the ground is also okay). Then, push yourself back up to the standing position. Repeat with the opposite leg.
The first benefit of holding the barbell in the front-racked position is the recruitment of your upper back muscles. Who doesn’t want a nice back a shoulders come summertime? Also, your upper back muscles have to work to hold this position throughout the whole exercise. Working to hold this position can be especially great if you suffer from poor posture. You should try to keep your elbows reaching upward the whole time and not let them drift to point toward the ground.
The second benefit is core activation. 1) Your core has to keep you upright even though you had the bright idea to put weight in a position that makes you want to bend forward. 2) Your core has to stabilize while you balance on one leg to reach back and plant your foot behind you to perform the lunge and also support you as you come back to the starting position.
The third benefit is that it works each leg evenly. We all have a tendency to favor one side during various lifts. But with the lunge you have to do to the same amount of work on each side, which can help even out any asymmetries.
Bonus benefit! Why did I pick reverse lunging over forward lunging? Reverse lunging is far more knee-friendly than forward lunging. This means less risk of injury and potential pain. Also the forward lunge relies heavily on the quads, whereas the reverse lunge shifts the reliance to your glutes and hamstrings. This means great things for your backside 🙂
Here’s how you can fit Front Loaded Reverse Lunges into a workout:
1) Front Loaded Reverse Lunge 4 sets of 8
2) Goblet Squat 3 sets of 12
3A) Romanian Deadlift 3 sets of 10
3B) Jump Lunge 3 sets of 16 total
4) Glute Bridge 2 sets of 20
-Keep your elbows up. Aim to point them right at the mirror or wall in front of you.
-Keep your core strong. Breathe and focus on contracting your abs a little bit throughout the whole movement.
-Don’t try to put too much weight on the bar at one time.
-Try to start lowering your body toward the ground as you are stepping back.