This week's exercise is a an old staple in a lot of my programs. I usually begin my clients off with a dumbbell variation and then progress to a barbell held in the back squat position. I really enjoy this exercise myself. The exercise is the Barbell Reverse Lunge. Incorporating this exercise into your program offers a number of benefits. First it gets people out of their old comfort zone of bilateral lower-body exercises. Second it emphasizes single-leg work which we could all stand to do a bit more of and which helps correct asymmetries between left and right. Third it allows people to assume a great hip separation position in which one hip is flexed and the other is extended all while maintaining a neutral lumbar curve which does wonders for improving mobility. Oh did I mention that these produce an incredible metabolic response.
All in all there just isn't many more exercises than the lunge that offers such a great return on investment. The fact that I am sharing the barbell version is just simply out of preference and the fact that it is typically easier to hold one hundred pounds on a barbell across the back then two fifty pound dumbbells in each hand. Really the implement used to load the exercise doesn't matter you can use kettlebells, barbells, or dumbbells and the benefits remain the same.
Anyway let's get into the details, how to do it and what it should look like.
1. To begin the exercise pick up a barbell and press it up over your head. Lower the barbell behind your neck and head so that it rest upon the top of your shoulders. Assume a stance with your feet together no wider than hip width. Below is a picture of the correct starting position
2. To initiate the movement pick up your right foot and reach with your foot straight behind your body making sure that your foot, knee, and hip all stay in a straight line. Your right foot should make contact with the floor on the toes. Once your toes touch the ground allow your toes to curl and focus on droping your right knee to the ground. During this movement your chest should remain up and presented and your lower back should stay neutral or slightly extended. In this bottom position your right knee should make contact with the ground and your left knee should be bent. Each knee should make an ankle that is 90 degrees or acuter. Your left shin should remain vertical with your knee directly over your ankle. Below is a picture of the correct bottom position.
3. To return to the start position drive through your left heel and push off your right toes, which should still be flexed and in contact with the ground, and return to the start position while keeping your chest up and head forward.
Below is a video of me demonstrating the entire exercise. I hope you try incorporating this exercise at least once into your weekly programming.
Practical, Purposeful, Effective Training