Barbell Reverse Lunges: Muscle Worked, Benefits And Foam

Barbell lunge are a great exercise to strengthen your glutes, hamstrings and quads. But they can be tough on the knees. Many people therefore opt for reverse barbell lunge, as they take some of the load off the knee joints.

Barbell rear lunges are also a good exercise that work the hamstrings. They are excellent for developing leg strength and power.

In this blog post, we’ll explore the following:

  • Barbell Reverse Lunges Benefits
  • What is Barbell Reverse Lunges
  • Muscle Worked During Barbell Rear Lunges
  • How to Do Backward Lunges Correctly
  • Best Variations

Barbell Reverse Lunges Benefits

There are benefits to completing reverse lunges as part of your lower body workout routine. Here are a few benefits to consider:

What is Barbell Reverse Lunges

Reverse barbell lunges are a variation of the traditional lunge exercise where you perform the movement in a reverse motion.

Barbell backward lunge are an excellent variation of lunges to build thigh muscles and glutes. The reverse lunge is less stressful on the knees than the traditional barbell lunge.

Instead of stepping forward with one leg, you step backward, creating a challenging movement pattern that targets different muscles and provides unique benefits.

Note: Barbell reverse lunge also known as rear lunge, backward lunge, back lunge.

Muscle Worked During Barbell Reverse Lunges

Barbell reverse lunges are a compound exercise that primarily targets the muscles of the lower body while also engaging the core for stability and balance.

The primary muscles targeted during reverse lunges are your glutes, hamstrings, and quadriceps.

Additionally, the reverse lunge engages your core muscles, including your abdominals and lower back, as well as your hip stabilizing muscles and calf muscles.

This makes it a great exercise for developing overall lower body strength, balance, and stability.

Muscle Worked During Barbell Reverse Lunges

How To Do Backward Barbell Lunges Correctly

The reverse lunge is great for developing balance, coordination, and unilateral lower-body strength. Start light until you learn balance.

Reverse Barbell Lunge

To perform a reverse barbell lunge, follow these steps:

  1. Load some weights onto your barbell and place it securely on your traps.
  2. Keeping your torso upright, inhale as you take a large step backward with one leg and plant your forefoot behind you.
  3. As you do so, flex the knee and hip of your front leg to allow yourself to descend into a kneeling position.
  4. However, do not allow your rear knee to make contact with the floor.
  5. Exhale as you get back up into the starting position by extending the knee and hip of your front leg and pushing off with your rear leg.
  6. Repeat the movement with your opposite leg.
  7. Keep switching between the leg with which you lunge backward.


  • Keep your torso upright and your head facing forward.
  • Do not allow the knee of your back leg to touch the floor.
  • Be careful that the knee of the forward leg does not extend past the toes as you bend the leg.
  • If you suffer from balance problems, it is best either avoid it, or just use your own bodyweight while holding on to a steady object.
Know More: 15 Best Barbell Leg Workout For Mass and Strength

Reverse Barbell Lunges Variations

The rear barbell lunges can be done in different ways to suit your fitness level.

If you are new to the backward barbell lunge, you may want to modify it to make it easier. One way to solve this problem is to do a bodyweight lunge. Another approach is to use a lighter weight.

If you are looking for a more advanced variation to stimulate different muscle fibers in the legs, then try landmine reverse lunge.

1. Barbell landmine Reverse lunge

The landmine reverse lunge is a variation of a reverse lunge and an exercise that works the muscles of the legs.

The landmine reverse lunge takes advantage of the landmine implement to provide a fixed plane of motion. This makes it easier to stay upright during the exercise and more stable than other versions.

Barbell Landmine reverse Lunge

How To Do Landmine Reverse Lunge

  1. Position yourself with your feet at shoulder width
  2. Grab the end of a barbell in a landmine attachment at waist height.
  3. Take a step back with one leg and allow both knees to bend.
  4. Bend your knees and lower your body until your back knee almost touches the floor.
  5. Stand up and extend the knee as you drive through the front foot, returning to the starting position.
  6. Do the desired number of repetitions.


  • Make sure you complete an even number of repetitions on each leg during the time for the exercise.
  • Since the weight is in front of your body, do not allow the weight to pull you forward and change the angle of your torso dramatically.
Know More: Landmine Exercises for Building Muscle and Strength

2. Barbell Elevated Reverse Lunge

The barbell elevated reverse lunge also known as deficit reverse lunge is a challenging variation of the regular reverse lunge that targets the glutes and hamstrings.

The deficit is created by lunging backwards from a raised platform. This makes it easier on knees.

During this movement, the front foot is slightly raised, which makes the step-down at the end more difficult.

Doing this exercise correctly is particularly difficult, because you’ll need a lot of flexibility and strength in your back leg

Barbell elevated reverse lunge

How To Do Barbell elevated reverse lunge

  1. Standing on a weight plate or low step, place a barbell across your upper back. 
  2. Keeping your abdomen tight, break at the front knee and step back with your opposite leg. 
  3. Slightly lean your torso over your front thigh. 
  4. Return to the start position and repeat.


  • Make sure your back knee doesn’t collapse toward your body.
  • Your forward knee should not pass beyond your toes.

3. Barbell Zercher Reverse Lunge

If you want to clean up your lunge and split squat mechanics, then you should try the Zercher Lunge.

I think people will be more likely to comment that the lift is dangerous, when in reality the discomfort is outweighed by the benefits.

Many lifters place too much weight onto the quadriceps and knee of the front leg by allowing the hip and knee of that front leg to travel forward. 

Barbell Zercher reverse lunge

How To Do Barbell Zercher reverse lunge

  1. Hold a barbell in your arms. Stand with your feet hip-width apart and hands crossed over each other.
  2. Inhale and step back into a lunge on your left leg, making sure that the ball of your foot makes solid contact with the floor.
  3. Keep your spine neutral – you might feel like you’re leaning forwards slightly to maintain a neutral spine – and your right knee tracking slightly over your right foot.
  4. Return to the starting position and repeat on the other side.


  • Keep your spine neutral, and your core braced throughout the lift
  • You don’t need a heavy load to experience the benefits of this exercise.
  • It is easier to keep working on the same leg for the desired number of repetitions before switching sides

4. Front Rack Barbell Reverse Lunge

The barbell front rack reverse lunge is similar to the reverse barbell variation, except that it involves placing the barbell in a front rack position.

The front rack position creates an entirely new challenge as the weight is pulling you forward, causing you to keep the core muscles engaged.

It helps you to improve abdominal stability and body balance by keeping your core muscles engaged throughout the movement.

How To Do barbell front rack reverse lunge

  1. Start the exercise by loading the barbell. Use momentum to ‘clean’ the barbell onto your anterior shoulders with the bells facing outwards.
  2. Keep your elbows high and in front of you the entire time, with your hands close together by your neck
  3. Initiate the movement by stepping backward with one foot while the front foot is rooted to the floor.
  4. Descend into a lunge position by bending at your hips and knees.
  5. Once your back knee almost touches the floor, you’ve reached the end.
  6. Reverse the movement by extending the knee of the front foot and slowly bringing the trailing leg back to the starting position.


  • When you put the bar in the front rack position, make sure to put it on the meaty part of your shoulder. This will keep you from hurting your collarbone.
  • If you are having difficulty balancing the barbell on your shoulders, you could try holding it with a crossed-arm grip.

Common Mistakes to Avoid During Reverse Barbell Lunges

To get the most out of your reverse barbell lunges and avoid injury, it’s important to perform the exercise correctly. Here are some common mistakes to avoid:

1. Allowing your front knee to track too far forward

A common mistake people make when performing reverse barbell lunges is allowing their front knee to track too far forward over their toes.

This can put excessive strain on your knee joint. To avoid this, make sure to step back far enough so that your front knee stays directly above your ankle.

2. Arching your lower back

Another common mistake is to arch your lower back during the exercise, which can put too much strain on your lower back muscle.

To avoid this, engage your core muscles and keep your back straight throughout the exercise.

3. Collapsing Knee

Be mindful of your front knee position and avoid allowing it to collapse inward during the lunge.

Keep your knee straight and balanced with your feet throughout the move to keep your body in line.

4. Lack of Control

Maintain control throughout the entire range of motion. Don’t rush through the lunges or use momentum to do them.

You should focus on a slow and controlled descent, stopping briefly at the bottom position.

Barbell Reverse Lunge Alternatives

If you are unable to complete this exercise, here are some alternatives that achieve the same goal. These alternative exercises all focus heavily on your legs, while also promoting stability.

1. Barbell Side Lunge

The barbell lateral lunge is the best alternate of the reverse lunge that people typically perform when they want a little more glute involvement with the movement pattern.

The unilateral movement of side lunges can help you to improve muscular imbalances, increase strength in each leg, and benefit from a functional movement.

2. Dumbbell Lunges

Dumbbell Lunges are an excellent exercise to build quad muscles and glutes. The forward lunges will cause more damage to the quads because they rely on the quads to lower themselves on the eccentric portion. The reverse lunge uses the hamstrings to control the eccentric.

It requires good balance, so if you have issues keeping your balance, start off by doing the lunges exercise without a dumbbell as you learn the proper form.

3. Bulgarian Split Squats

Bulgarian split squats are similar to reverse lunges, but with the back foot elevated on a bench or step.

This variation increases the range of motion and focuses more on the front leg, especially the quadriceps and glutes.

It can be performed with a barbell, dumbbells, or bodyweight.

Frequently Asked Question

Is the reverse lunge better for knees?

Backward lunges are safer for the knees because they work the muscles of the glutes, hamstrings, and quads more easily.

Should the knee touch ground on a reverse lunge?

You shouldn’t touch the knee to the ground while doing reverse lunges. You should always try to get your back knee as close to the ground as possible.

How many reps should I do for reverse lunges?

For reverse lunges, begin with 3–4 sets of 10–15 repetitions on each side.

Select your sets and repetitions based on your ability to maintain good technique throughout all of the sets and repetitions.

Why do deficits reverse lunges?

The range of motion at the hips is increased by using a deficit, as you are lunging deeper than you would just on a flat surface.

Stretching the hips helps them to be more mobile and flexible, which helps the lower body to move better. 


Barbell Reverse Lunges are an excellent way for beginners to develop their leg strength, as well as hip flexibility, balance, coordination, and agility.

The barbell lunges will help you build those muscles in your legs that get neglected during other exercises like squats or deadlifts.

They also provide strength work for your core and are great for developing strong quads.

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