Dumbbell Reverse Lunge

Dumbbell Reverse Lunge

Adding a dumbbell to reverse lunges will intensify the exercise even more and increase its effectiveness by loading the muscles of the thighs and glutes.

The added resistance will forces these muscles to work more— which will help to strengthen and tone your legs.

Dumbbell Reverse Lunges primarily work muscles of the quadriceps ( in the front of your thigh), gluteus maximus in your buttocks, adductor magnus in your inner thigh and the soleus in your calf.  

You also work the hamstrings in the back of your thigh, and the gastrocnemius in your calf function as a dynamic stabilizers. 

Though it’s a lower body exercise, it engages core stabilizing muscles including the abs and lower back to stabilize your upper body throughout the movement. 

While many women perform the dumbbell reverse lunge because of its thigh slimming effect, the lunge exercise offers tons of other benefits that go beyond just losing thigh fat. 

According to Eric Cressey, MS, CSCS, the dumbbell reverse lunge is more knee friendly compared to the forward lunge variations as it places less demands on the knee. In other words, it has less pressure on the knee joints.

He also adds reverse lunge helps to improve balance, strength, hip mobility and flexibility in the flexors

Its decreased base of support is another element that puts reverse lunge or rear lunge amongst the best.

Unilateral exercises (one legged exercises) not only prevent and correct the muscle imbalances between the two legs, but also tone your abs and build a stronger core by engaging the core stabilizers harder and recruiting more muscles to balance the upper body and support the movement. 

All in all, if you have weak knees or weak joints, this reverse lunge is a more suitable and gentle option than forward lunge. 

For additional challenge, add a pair of dumbbells.

Performing the perfect lunge:

  1. Start in a standing position with your feet side by side, holding a dumbbell on each hand next to your body.
  2. Look straight ahead, and keep your torso as upright as possible, with your abs fully engaged.
  3. Take a step backward about 2-3 feet straight behind you. Raise your back heel off the ground to be on your toes.
  4. Maintain your balance, and keep your torso upright, lower your body by bending your back knee until your front thigh is parallel to the floor. Make sure your knee is behind your hip at the bottom position.
  5. This is to ensure you are getting a good stretch in the flexors and also setting the front leg up in a position where you can use the glutes and hamstrings to help the quadriceps out. 
  6. Pulling through from the front heel to get back up to the starting position. Do 10 reps and switch sides. 

Exercise Table

8-102-3MediumGym or Home

Tips: If you feel this exercise is too difficult to perform with dumbbells, perform reverse lunges without dumbbells, the bodyweight way. As you build strength, slowly and gradually add external resistance such as a pair of small dumbbells to continue progressing. 

Misato Alexandre


After making healthy living a priority, Misato lost over 20 lbs in less than 90 days. Instead of weight loss being a dreading experience, living the lifestyle of health and fitness granted her more happiness and joy than ever before. She co-founded Fitwirr to make health and fitness simple for everyone and share her tips through writing evidence-based articles on nutrition, weight loss, and exercise.

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