While the lunge is admittedly one of the most popular exercises to strengthen your glutes, here's why the Bulgarian split squat is actually better for your butt. You power this movement with your front leg, driving into your heel as you step back up to stand. Stepping backward keeps your front foot firmly rooted, making it easier to ensure that your front knee doesn't extend beyond your toes. Copyright Policy | Livestrong.com Join STACK and gain instant FREE access to resources that have helped millions of people jump higher, run faster, get stronger, eat smarter and play better. any of the products or services that are advertised on the web site. You might wonder whether one lunge has benefits over the other. , The Reverse Lunge is great for developing an athletic lower body, perfect for any sport requiring speed and power. By: Kelly N. Vance . The two lunge variations are actually quite similar to one another. Traditional forward lunges and reverse lunges share many similarities. | It’s been that way for so long that to question its supremacy is considered to be blasphemy in some gym circles. Early Sampling: Which is Better? Each lunge variation helps target different muscles. Read more: 22 New Lunges to Supercharge Leg Day. Stand with your feet about hip-width apart, arms at your sides. The reduced glute and hamstring activity decreases knee stability and diminishes power development on the upward phase of the Lunge. Once you can complete 3 sets of 15 reps per leg, you are ready for the Step-Back Lunge. The material appearing on LIVESTRONG.COM is for educational use only. Bulgarian Split Squat vs Lunges. Lunges are better for runner. The Reverse Lunge, or Step-Back Lunge, is an under-appreciated variation of a popular leg exercise. This variation puts more effort on the glutes and works the quads much harder. Published: 08 July, 2011 . What's More Important When Training Athletes: Technique or Weight? Start with no weight and hold the squat rack for added stability if necessary. Your knees also work in a broader range of motion to return to standing. Because the first action of the reverse lunge is a backward step, the front leg maintains reflexive stability throughout the hip and knee joints, and does not have to go into an open chain to achieve that position, unlike the forward lunge. Reverse lunges are more beginner-friendly too because it’s easier to stay balanced when you step backward. Multi-planar lunges (ones that require you to move in ways other than just forward and backward) — like the lateral and curtsy ones — can help improve your training by targeting different angles of your muscles and joints, according to the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM). While all types of lunges can boost your strength gains, the variation you choose can affect the pressure on your joints, which can be problematic if you're experiencing knee pain. Read more: What Muscles Do Lunges Target? The LIVESTRONG Foundation and LIVESTRONG.COM do not endorse The step length of the reverse lunge will also be identical to the forward, and for that matter, the step width and neutral spinal position will also be that of the forward lunge. However, the Reverse Lunge should be at the top of your Lunge variation list. Reverse lunges also tend to put you in a better, safer lunging position, he says. Terms of Use Step about 3 feet forward with your right leg, bending the knee until it forms a 90-degree angle. Keep your left toes pointing forward and left leg fully extended. | Stand with your feet about shoulder-width apart. To stand up, you push through the front leg glute. It should not be Both a standard and reverse lunge can be challenging if you haven’t done them before and developed appropriate balance skills. While performing a reverse lunge, keep about 70 percent of your weight on your front leg, Cheng says. The shin is more vertical during the Step-Back Lunge, with the knee a good distance back from the toes. How to Do a Plank Without Wasting Your Time, 12 Effective Arm Exercises Without Weights, Why Sled Training Makes Sense For Everyone, Troubleshooting the Lunge: How to Fix Your Form, Get Faster for Any Sport With This 12-Week Speed Workout. Bend your right knee until your thigh is parallel with the ground. Reverse Lunges – A Different Alternative. In this position, the quads apply too much pressure, while the glutes and hamstrings lose leverage and power, often causing knee pain. As you perform this move, take a peek down at your front leg to make sure your knee doesn't go beyond your toes. Refer to the illustration and instructions above for how to perform this exercise correctly. Both the lunge and the squat activate the quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes at different stages of their movement. Bulgarian Split Squats vs. Lunges | Livestrong.com The key for carry over to the reverse lunge is to focus on the eccentric and isometric portion of the movement. Take a step back with your right leg, crossing it behind you, keeping your heel lifted off the ground. Stability is important to build strength and power; if you are unstable, you will not be able to add sufficient weight to improve your leg strength. Lunge Vs. and Fact Checked . The Best Strength and Power Superset for Athletes, Why Nutrition Isn't About Making the 'Perfect' Choice, Quick Cues to Clean Up Your Kettlebell Swing, A Peloton Bike Probably Won't Get You Your Dream Body. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Squats and lunges can put a lot of stress on the knee joint. The basic lunge works the quads, glutes, and hamstrings.To correctly do a lunge: Start by standing up tall. If you want to make this move more difficult, hold a pair of dumbbells. Comparing squats vs lunges, which do you think works better for someone focused on bodybuilding? Lunges vs Squats for Bodybuilding. The calf is more contracted during the Forward Lunge, illustrating that more pressure is toward the toe, compromising the knee. The dumbbell reverse lunge engages the hamstrings, glutes, and core during a workout. siliscarad/iStock/Getty Images. Lunges Vs. Squats: Celeb Trainer Harley Pasternak Weighs In On The Great Leg-Day Debate. RELATED: Speed Drill of the Day: Reverse Lunges, Topics: This helps engrain the pattern and improves the athlete’s kinesthetic sense throughout. Lunges work slightly more of the inner thigh and pelvic floor muscles. The reverse lunge places more emphasis on the glutes than a standard lunge. Do your Reverse Lunges late in your leg workout with lower weight for hypertrophy, muscular endurance and a good burn. In a reverse lunge, as the name suggests, you reverse the basic lunge movement. The Walking Lunge, Dynamic Forward Lunge, Split Squat, Side Lunge, and Clock Lunges are all adequate ways of strengthening leg musculature. Here are five ways to make your reverse lunges work better for you. That way, you'll feel both your quads and glutes fire up during the movement. Doing reverse lunges can help perfect your alignment and keep your knees safe. used as a substitute for professional medical advice, | Neither option is better, but you should be picking the variation that's more closely aligned with your goals. Why Hip Thrusts Are Better for Your Butt Than Squats, NASM: "THE LUNGE – AN EFFECTIVE LOWER BODY TRAINING EXERCISE", NASM: "7 WAYS TO EFFECTIVELY BUILD STRONGER, LARGER GLUTES! While you perform this lunge, keep your core engaged and hips pointing forward, according to NASM. Forward Lunge vs Reverse Lunge. diagnosis or treatment. Skater Lunge. Reverse lunges performed one leg at a time are more stable. Keep most of your weight in your front leg. LIVESTRONG is a registered trademark of the LIVESTRONG Foundation. She is a former American College of Sports Medicine certified personal trainer and currently works as a Level 1 CrossFit coach. … Bend your right knee until it hovers above the ground. Choose the safest lunge variation for you and get ready to reap the strength-building benefits. Switch up the tried-and-true lower body exercise with these lunges that will help you avoid a plateau. At the same time, bend your front knee until your front thigh is parallel with the ground, squatting down as if you were curtsying. Both are lunging movements, but the reverse variation is quite a bit different than its forward counterpart. advertisements are served by third party advertising companies. Your back knee should hover an inch above the ground and your front thigh should be parallel to the ground. Reverse vs Forward Lunge. I believe Reverse Lunges are superior to Forward Lunges because backward momentum keeps the body in the ideal lunge position—weight on the heel with the knee above the ankle. The reduced glute and hamstring activity decreases knee stability and diminishes power development on the upward phase of the Lunge. Reverse Lunge. This is especially true for deep squats and forward and walking lunges. Lunges stretch and work the hamstrings more than the split squat. Above is an exercise demo on how to properly perform this movement. Bar placement and/or equipment can vary. Press into your front heel and bring your right leg back to standing. However, a reverse lunge can be gentler on your knees. Lunges have a leg up when it comes to sculpting a tight butt and legs for a number of reasons. But lunges can strain the knee tendons and ligaments considerably. The movement during the reverse lunge lets you get deeper than the traditional lunge, helping you to maintain correct joint angles for optimum strength. There's less chance of lining your limbs up in goofy positions, and more of a chance to feel that tension through those targeted muscles. Make sure the toes in your right leg stay behind your right toes. During a Forward Lunge, momentum shifts the center of gravity too far forward, placing the body weight on the ball of the foot rather than the heel and moving the knee too close to the toe. Lunging backwards places the athlete in a more powerful position since the front leg is parallel to the floor. Do your Reverse Lunges early in your leg workout with increased weight for strength and power. Reverse Lunges vs Forward Lunges – Which Are Better? Squats vs. Lunges for People with Knee Pain. Both work the balance. Exercise of the Week: Reverse Single-Leg Lunges. RELATED: Andre Johnson DB Reverse Lunge to Upright Row. 2. Trx reverse lunges / lunges is a gym work out exercise that targets glutes & hip flexors and quadriceps and also involves hamstrings. 2020 Lunges improve the performance of athletes and runners. Dr. Bailey is also an Anatomy and Physiology professor. So, instead of forward, you are taking a step backwards and then lowering your body in a lunge. As a result, it emphasizes … WORKOUTS If you have preexisting knee issues, though, ease into these movements carefully and stop the exercise if you feel pain or discomfort. The Step-Back Lunge ensures that pressure stays on the heel, whereas the momentum of the Forward Lunge is more likely to shift the pressure to the ball of the foot. Reverse lunges. Start by practicing a Split Squat with no weight. Forward Lunge: Which Is Safer for Your Knees? Press into the heel of your right leg and use your glutes and hamstrings to press back to standing, bringing your right leg back to the starting position. Dumbbell Reverse Lunges vs Squats. If you’re going to look at split squat vs lunge, then you really should differentiate between forward lunges and reverse lunges. When it comes to training your lower body, the squat reigns supreme. LUNGE The reverse lunge is a unilateral lower body movement that can be done using bodyweight or with any external load. Split Squats are better for bodybuilders. They provide similar benefits as they target the same muscle groups, and will both provide value to your workout although, the Forward Lunge may target the quads a little more whereas the Reverse Lunge targets the glutes a little more. The first major difference between these two movements is the way in which they are performed. Sklar’s recent Instagram workout starts with 8 alternating reverse lunges, which hit the whole leg and push you to finish in hip extension, with a strong glute squeeze. As the lower part of the body moves, the upper muscles in the back and the core are engaged. They use the same muscles and each can be an effective tool to strengthen much of the lower body. If you have knee pain, try doing box squats to reduce your range of motion, and switch to reverse lunges… ... That includes forward lunges, reverse lunges, side lunges, skater lunges… Step forward with one foot until your leg reaches a 90-degree angle. You shouldn’t have much weight in that back leg. A long-time leg-day staple, lunges strengthen your entire lower body, challenge your balance and improve your mobility. At the same time, bend your left leg to 90 degrees until your knee hovers an inch or two off the ground. Bring the right leg back to the starting position and stand up. Ask the Experts: How Can I Use Stairs to Work Out? The reverse and forward lunge may be among the most popular, but lunge variations don't end there. Here's Why, Football Players: Score Higher on the Bench Press Test in Two Weeks, J.J. Watt Squats Massive Weight and Wants You to Know It's Not a One-Rep Max, 10-Minute Dynamic Warm-Up for Any Workout, Troubleshooting the Lunge: How to Fix Your Form, 5 Things to Remember When You Wing Your Workout, Towel Training: One Simple Hack That Will Crank Up Your At-Home Workouts. Squat vs Lunge 1. RELATED: Troubleshooting the Lunge: How to Fix Your Form. The most important thing to learn before adding the Reverse Lunge to your workout is balance. When you can do 3 sets per leg without losing your balance, you are ready to let go and add back the kettlebell. POWER I believe Reverse Lunges are superior to Forward Lunges because backward momentum keeps the body in the ideal lunge position—weight on the heel with the knee above the ankle. They're particularly great for beginners, since the movement is more controlled, says Matt Cheng, CSCS. Copyright © Plus, reverse lunges generally involve more glute engagement, so they're better for your booty than front lunges. by Steve Theunissen December 11, 2020. written by Steve Theunissen December 11, 2020. Keep most of your weight in the front leg as you press into your left heel and straighten your left leg. Don’t hesitate to hold on to something for balance when you first start out. Privacy Policy During a Forward Lunge, momentum shifts the center of gravity too far forward, placing the body weight on the ball of the foot rather than the heel and moving the knee too close to the toe. Use of this web site constitutes acceptance of the LIVESTRONG.COM During the Step-Back Lunge, the back remains extended, reducing pressure on the lumbar spine and maintaining a neutral center of gravity, ensuring stability. Try to center your shoulders and weight over the top of your hips. For an added challenge, hold a pair of dumbbells while you perform the move. During the upward phase of the Lunge, swinging the back leg forward to a standing position is ideal for developing power in the front leg in the proper direction, thus making the Reverse Lunge an ideal move for athletic performance. Leaf Group Ltd. The big difference between the two is with a front lunge you step one foot forward as you lower your body while with a reverse lunge, you step a foot behind your body when you lunge. It's a "complete" exercise that'll hit the quads, hams, and glutes, all while sparing your knees. Split squats are more suited for bodybuilders. Adding the weight to the opposite hand reduces stability and decrease effectiveness. Lunges also work the nervous system as compared to the split squat. Front lunges are a more challenging movement, placing more emphasis on your quads due to the forward movement, Cheng says. How it works: “Reverse lunges use stability in the front leg to step your rear leg back into a lunge and then power in the front leg to step that rear leg back forward,” Seki says. ", PARTNER & LICENSEE OF THE LIVESTRONG FOUNDATION. . If your goal is strong glutes, taught hamstrings and powerful quads, lunges can help get you there. It is also a more sport-specific movement for sprinting than the Forward Lunge. "For the forward lunge, the center of gravity moves forward of the body during the forward stepping motion, so the reverse lunge may be an option for people who have problems with balance." If you're looking for the most knee-friendly lunge, opt for reverse lunges. Bigger Stronger Leaner The standard lunge is great, but the reverse lunge can do even more. Understand the advantages of the Reverse Lunge over a standard Forward Lunge. The move propels your body forward, which can be jarring on your front knee and force it to bear more weight and the bulk of the stabilization work. And as you perform a reverse lunge, make sure that your front knee doesn't go beyond your toes; keep your front knee over the ankle. Step with your right leg 3 feet behind you and bend your knees until they form 90-degree angles. However Merrill says it's less difficult to balance in reverse lunge because the center of gravity always remains between the two feet. With the help of a dumbbell, the front leg gains more strength and reduces stress on the joints. Adding a weight to one side increases abdominal and spinal erector activation. Deficit vs… While one exercise is not considered better than the other, there are some differences that may make one type of lunge a better option for you. Whether you choose to add forward or reverse lunges to your workout depends a lot on your technique. Reverse lunges allow you to maintain your body weight on the heels while the momentum of forward lunge shifts the weight to the ball of your foot. However, a reverse lunge can be gentler on your knees. Stepping back allows the athlete to get deeper into the Lunge while maintaining adequate joint angles for optimum power. This lunge variation is essentially a jumping curtsy lunge. Unlike other lunge variations, reverse lunges are a more stable movement pattern, as you're stepping backward, according to the American Council on Exercise (ACE). This makes the lunge slightly more dynamic and the split squat a more static movement.No matter the direction in which you are stepping, the lunge will utilize both legs pretty equally to successfully complete a successful rep. Lunges are better for athletes such as wrestlers. Press into your right heel and use your right leg to straighten your leg and bring it back to meet the left. In this position, the quads apply too much pressure, while the glutes and hamstrings lose leverage and power, often causing knee pain. Instant access to FREE resources that have helped millions of people jump higher, run faster, get stronger, eat smarter and play better. KETTLEBELL. Aubrey Bailey is a Doctor of Physical Therapy with an additional degree in psychology and board certification in hand therapy. When you can complete 3 sets of 15 reps without losing your balance, add a kettlebell to the hand corresponding with the front leg. Early Specialization vs. The lunge will be performed walking or with a step forwards, backwards, and sideways, while the split squat is static. Many lunge variations exist, each with their own unique set of benefits. Which Is A Better Exercise? Notice the dissimilarities in the two Lunge photos. As you perform this move, engage your core and keep your spine elongated, according to NASM. Bojana Galic is the staff writer for Livestrong.com and is currently finishing her NASM personal training certification. Squats vs Lunges: What Exercises are Better and Effective. Reverse Lunge vs Bulgarian Split Squat. Reverse Lunge vs. She completed her undergrad education at New York University in 2018. Step-Up. For this sport, you will definitely want to focus more on squats than lunges. They can also be taxing on the knees, according to ACE. Read more: Why Hip Thrusts Are Better for Your Butt Than Squats. The front rack reverse lunge is one of the best variations, as it trains the entire leg musculature while incorporating strength and stability in the upper body and core. If you’ve spent time in a gym or worked out with an exercise video, chances are good that you’re familiar with lunges and step-ups. With your right leg, step 3 feet to the right, keeping your toes pointing forward. Both exercises are effective … Moreover, we do not select every advertiser or advertisement that appears on the web site-many of the The lunge pattern has always been one of the most useful and popular exercise available. 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