Reverse Dumbbell Lunge Workouts, Technique, Muscles Worked and Benefits

The Reverse Dumbbell Lunge is a unilateral exercise than can be used to build strength, muscle hypertrophy, and enhance movement mechanics for strength, power, and fitness athletes.

While most athletes spend a good amount of time training the squat and deadlift, the Reverse Dumbbell Lunge (and other unilateral leg exercise) should be incorporated into a strength training program to add variety and eliminate imbalances.

What are the Benefits of the Reverse Dumbbell Lunge?

  • Maximize muscle development
  • Decrease movement imbalances
  • Increase injury resilience
  • Improve balance and coordination
  • Stimulate the body in new ways
  • Test and enhance lower body mobility

The Reverse Dumbbell Lunge is also a highly functional way to develop strength and resilience for trail runners, hill walkers and anyone that loves to explore by foot.

Stronger legs, created through identifying, working on, and eliminating weaknesses in movement or strength will make running or walking up mountains considerably easier and safer physically.

What Muscles does the Reverse Dumbbell Lunge Work?

The reverse lunge targets the muscles in the lower body, primarily the ones below.

Hamstrings

The hamstrings are used to eccentrically control the load as the lift descends as well as help to extend the hips in deeper reverse Reverse Dumbbell Lunges. Like most Reverse Dumbbell Lunges, the hamstrings, glutes, and quadriceps are targeted.

Gluteals

The glutes work to extend the hips and stabilize the movement as a lifter descends down into the reverse lunge. Additionally, glute activation and strength can play a role in knee stabilization.

Quadriceps

The quadriceps work to extend a flexed knee, which can be targeted to a greater or lesser extent based on the distance at which a lifter steps backwards (longer step back will result in more hip flexion rather than knee flexion, hence less quadriceps involved).

Man performing lunges in the park
Build powerful unilateral strength

Additionally, a lifter can perform front foot elevated reverse Reverse Dumbbell Lunges to increase the range of motion and quadriceps involvement.

How to do the Reverse Dumbbell Lunge

  1. Deadlift two dumbbells (one in either hand) into a fully extended standing position.
  2. Let your arms hang by your side.
  3. Inhale and brace your core, glutes and grip
  4. Set the back and place the majority of the loading in your right leg as you step your left leg backwards.
  5. With the hips loaded underneath the torso, and weight properly dispersed in the right heel and midfoot, stand up with a vertical torso.
  6. Exhale as you rise back to the starting position
  7. Alternate legs and repeat

Extra Training Tips for the Reverse Dumbbell Lunge

The distance you step backwards will depend on the amount of hamstring and quadriceps involved. Be sure to step back enough that your back left knee (when on the ground) is in line or behind the right heel.

Keep your arms engaged and active during the entire movement. Don’t let them limply flail or swing around.

You may have a slight forward lean with the torso, similar to an angle that would happen in the back squat.

Reverse Dumbbell Lunge Workouts

WORKOUT 1

AMRAP in 15 minutes

  1. 20 Frog Pumps
  2. 20 Single-Leg Glute Bridges (10 each leg)
  3. 20 Air Squats
  4. 20 Reverse Dumbbell Lunges (10 each leg)

Complete as many rounds as possible in 15 minutes. Must complete all reps of one exercise before moving to the next.

Score is the total number of rounds completed and reps on the unfinished round.

Tips and Strategy

Make sure that you are engaging your abs through Frog Pumps and Glute Bridges as it can be easy to overextend the lower back in these movements. If you are feeling your lower back get tight through the workout make sure to slow down, check your form, or scale the exercise back so we feel the burn in the legs and hips.

Intended Stimulus

This should be a relentless blast to the glutes. The variety of angles we use to hit the glutes should allow you to keep pushing through the 15 minutes.

Movement Standards

Frog Pump: Lay on the ground with your back flat on the ground and feet together just like in Butterfly Sit-Ups. Lift your hips from the ground with your upper back still planted on the ground. Lift your hips all the way up then lower them down for one repetition.

Single-Leg Glute Bridge: Lay on the ground with your back flat on the ground and feet close to the hips. Raise one leg fully extended while the other foot stays on the ground. Lift your hips towards the sky and down to the ground for one repetition.

Scaling

Add a weight across your lap for frog pumps and glute bridges if you have it. Sub to double leg glute bridges if you cannot reach full hip extension on every rep.

WORKOUT 2

For Time

Complete all moves below, followed by a 1 minute recovery x 3

  1. 12 Squats
  2. 11 Push Ups
  3. 10 Reverse Reverse Dumbbell Lunges
  4. 9 Bent Over Rows
  5. 8 Deadlifts
  6. 7 DB Swings
  7. 6 Alternating Snatches
  8. 5 Sprawls
  9. 4 Renegade Rows
  10. 3 Burpees
  11. 2 Double Squat Press
  12. 1 Minute Plank

Rest for 1 minute

REPEAT X 3

WORKOUT 3

For Time

24-20-16-12-8-4 reps of:

  1. Front Rack Reverse Dumbbell Lunges (135/95 lb)
  2. Hand Release Push-Ups

One step on the lunge is one rep.

WORKOUT 4

3 Rounds for Time

  1. 15 calorie Assault Bike
  2. 30 Reverse Dumbbell Lunges

With a running clock, as fast as possible perform the prescribed work in the order written for 3 Rounds.

Score is the time on the clock when the last round of Reverse Dumbbell Lunges is completed.

Intended Stimulus

It is meant to be a hard effort, completing the bike as fast as possible each round and aiming to perform all Reverse Dumbbell Lunges unbroken or with one quick break.

If you don’t have a bike, then row for the same number of calories or run 200 metre. Choose a weight where you can do at least 15 reps consecutively.

Woman warming up
Lunges create powerful and fit legs

REVERSE DUMBBELL LUNGE WORKOUT 5

For Time

  1. 10-20-30-40-50-60-70-80-90-100 Alternating Reverse Dumbbell Lunges
  2. 10 Burpees (after each set)

With a running clock, as fast as possible perform the prescribed work in the order written.

The Reverse Dumbbell Lunges are split reps, so for the 10 reps to start that is 5 on each leg alternating for 10 in total. Make sure the trail knee GENTLY touches the deck every step, and bring both feet together to complete every rep.

The Burpees are standard burpees, get on the deck with chest and thighs touching (does not have to be a strict push-up) get up, then jump and clap with hands overhead to complete the rep.

The key strategy is don’t stop moving.

Score is the time on the clock when the last round of Burpees is completed.

Intended Stimulus

This should be a grind. Increasing rep schemes are my jam because they are so mental. And although it is bodyweight movements, the burn is real!

Scaling

Burpees can be scaled to Hand Release Push-Ups instead of Burpees. This workout would also be nasty with Burpees subbed for some other form of cardio (Cal Row, Cal Ski, or Cal Wind Bike after every set of Reverse Dumbbell Lunges).

WORKOUT 6

4 Rounds for Time

  • 15 Dumbbell Thrusters (2×40/20 lb)
  • 50 Reverse Dumbbell Lunges (2×40/20 lb)

With a running clock, as fast as possible perform the prescribed work in the order written for 4 rounds.

Score is the time on the clock when the last round of Reverse Dumbbell Lunges is completed.

WORKOUT 7

EMOM For as Long as Possible

Minute 1:

  • 1 Reverse Dumbbell Lunge
  • 1 Air Squat

Minute 2:

  • 2 Reverse Dumbbell Lunges
  • 2 Air Squats

Continue with this pattern, adding 1 Reverse Dumbbell Lunge and 1 Air Squat every minute.

With a running clock, perform the prescribed work in the order written for as long as possible. For every minute, add 1 Lunge and 1 Air Squat until failure.

Score is the total number of repetitions completed every minute until failure.

REVERSE DUMBBELL LUNGE WORKOUT 8

3 Rounds for Time

  1. 20 Dumbbell Reverse Dumbbell Lunges (2×50/35 lb)
  2. 20 Alternating Dumbbell Snatches (50/35 lb)

With a running clock, as fast as possible perform the prescribed work in the order written for 3 rounds.

Score is the time on the clock when the last repetition of Alternating Dumbbell Snatches is completed.

WORKOUT 9

For Time

  • 1 mile Run

Every minute, perform:

  • 30 Reverse Dumbbell Lunges

With a running clock, as fast as possible Run 1 mile. Every minute, perform 30 Reverse Dumbbell Lunges until the 1-mile Run is completed.

Score is the time on the clock when the 1 mile Run is completed.

WORKOUT 10

3 Rounds for Time

  1. 50 Walking Dumbbell Lunges
  2. 800 metre Run
  3. 50 Walking Dumbbell Lunges

With a running clock, as fast as possible perform the prescribed work in the order written for 3 rounds.

Score is the time on the clock when the last round of Reverse Dumbbell Lunges is completed.

WORKOUT 11

AMRAP in 10 minutes

  1. 8 Toes-to-Bars
  2. 8 Dumbbell Thrusters (35/25 lb)
  3. 12 Reverse Dumbbell Lunges (35/25 lb)

WORKOUT 12

AMRAP in 20 minutes

  1. 11 Box Jumps
  2. 11 Dumbbell Swings
  3. 11 Reverse Dumbbell Lunges (alternating legs)

Complete as many rounds as possible within 20 minutes

REVERSE DUMBBELL LUNGE WORKOUT 13

AMRAP in 16 minutes

  1. 16 Burpees
  2. 16 Thrusters (40/25 kg)
  3. 16 Reverse Dumbbell Lunges (40/25 kg) (alternating)

WORKOUT 14

10 Rounds for Time

  1. 3 Devil Presses (2×55/35 lb)
  2. 22 Reverse Dumbbell Lunges (2×55/35 lb)
  3. 19 Air Squats

Wear a Weight Vest (20/14 lb)

With a running clock, as fast as possible perform the prescribed work in the order written for 10 rounds. Wear a Weight Vest throughout the workout.

Score is the time on the clock when the last round of Air Squats is completed.

REVERSE DUMBBELL LUNGE WORKOUT 15

For Time

  1. 15 Ground-to-Overheads (155/105 lb)
  2. 100 Reverse Dumbbell Lunges
  3. 15 Ground-to-Overheads (155/105 lb)
  4. 800 metre Run
  5. 15 Ground-to-Overheads (155/105 lb)

Ground-to-overheads can be snatch, clean and jerk, or clean and press.

WORKOUT 16

4 Rounds for Time

  1. 10 Devil Presses (2×50/40 lb)
  2. 20 Reverse Dumbbell Lunges (2×50/40 lb)
  3. 10 Toes-to-Bars

The workout consists of four rounds for time of the prescribed exercises above, on a clock for time.

Score in this workout is based on the amount of time taken to complete the prescribed amount of work.

Scaling

4 Rounds for Time

  1. 10 Devil Presses (2×40/30 lb)
  2. 20 Reverse Dumbbell Lunges (2×40/30 lb)
  3. 10 Toes-to-Bars

WORKOUT 17

8 Rounds for Time

  1. 10 Push-Ups
  2. 30 Reverse Dumbbell Lunges
  3. 20 Sit-Ups

With a running clock, as fast as possible perform the prescribed work in the order written for 8 rounds.

Score is the time on the clock when the last round of Sit-Ups is completed.

WORKOUT 18

6 Rounds for Time

  1. 15 Reverse Dumbbell Lunges
  2. 15 Hollow Rocks
  3. 15 Push-Ups

REVERSE DUMBBELL LUNGE WORKOUT 19

AMRAP in 10 minutes

  1. 15 Reverse Dumbbell Lunges
  2. 10 Push-Ups
  3. 15 Reverse Dumbbell Lunges
  4. 20 Sit-Ups

On a 10-minute clock, as many rounds and repetitions as possible (AMRAP) perform the prescribed work in the order written.

Score is the total number of rounds and repetitions completed before the 10-minute clock ends.

REVERSE DUMBBELL LUNGE WORKOUT 20

AMRAP in 12 minutes

  1. 6 Burpees
  2. 8 Single-Arm Alternating Kettlebell Snatches (24/16 kg)
  3. 10 Reverse Dumbbell Lunges

On a 12-minute clock, complete as many rounds and repetitions as possible (AMRAP) of the prescribed work in the order written. Kettlebell Snatched must return to a dead stop on the floor after each rep.

Score is the total number of rounds and repetitions completed before the 12-minute clock stops.

If you enjoyed these Reverse Dumbbell Lunges then try these Wall Walk Workouts.