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The Reverse Lunge: The Best Lower Body Exercise For Women

Posted Nov 22 2008 1:16pm

Photo by kretyen
In order to achieve the shapelyproportions that most women desire, training should be focused on the hips, buttocks, and thighs as this is an area where 90% of all women gain the majority of their weight. Therefore, it only makes sense that a woman’s exercise routine should have specific exercises aimed at working the larger muscles of the lower body.  Working the larger muscles will burn calories at a faster rate than will working the smaller muscles.  And there is no better exercise for working the lower body than the reverse lunge.

Why the reverse lunge vs. the forward lunge?

The forward lunge itself is a great exercise for women.  It works nearly every major muscle group in the lower part of the body. Plus, it improves flexibility in the hip flexors, which can become tight during aerobic exercise, which could pull your spine out of alignment thereby increasing your risk of back injury.  When done properly, the lunge is safe for joints, it is back friendly, it burns maximum calories for the energy expended, it promotes lean muscle tone, and it works! But the safest and most effective variation of lunging is the reverse lunge.   When you reverse your lunge, the effects on the muscles are the same, but less stress is placed on the knees because they cannot extend beyond the toes.  And by taking a step backwards instead of forwards, it is easier to maintain balance because your weight is primarily centered upon your forward leg, which remains stationary.  The main purpose of the reverse lunge is to develop the quadriceps and hamstring muscles in the thighs and to shape the glutes.

How to do the reverse lunge.

First of all, remember these proper form rules.

  1. Always keep your head up, shoulders back, chest out, and back straight.
  2. Never allow the knee to touch the floor.
  3. Your striding knee and thigh should always line up with your foot as misalignment can cause injury.

Stand upright with feet close together.  Keeping your torso erect, take a controlled step backward with one foot as you bend the knee of your forward leg. Step back far enough that your knees don’t pass your toes. After your toes and the ball of your rear foot contact the floor, continue into a deep lunge until your front knee forms a 90-degree angle. At this point, your forward thigh should be parallel with the floor and your knee should be positioned over your ankle and your foot. Your forward leg should bear most of the weight and your shin should be vertical. Your trailing knee should be extended so as to stretch your hip flexors. The greater the stretch, the better the butt!  Don’t let the trailing knee touch the floor. Push off with your rear foot and return to standing position in one fluid motion. Alternate legs on each rep or do a set of reps on one leg before switching to the other.  If you want to build more muscle tone, hold a pair of dumbbells at your sides for added resistance.

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