Crash Course: Clean Grip Reverse Lunge

by Chris on January 28, 2012

Today I’ve got a new twist on an old cornerstone exercise: the lunge. Lunges are among those basic movements that have a place in almost any program. There are a ton of variations on the humble lunge that you can try and you can regress and progress the basic lunge pattern to suit pretty much anyone.

One of my favorite modifications to the lunge is the reverse lunge. It’s a great progression to the traditional lunge and it will light up your posterior chain (glutes and hamstrings).

Now take the reverse lunge and introduce a clean grip bar placement (think front squat grip with a barbell) and you’re placing a greater demand on the rest of the posterior chain from the spinal erectors (low back) all the way up. This combination makes the clean grip reverse lunge an excellent way to strengthen everything on the back of your body.

Another excellent way to make this movement more difficult (if it wasn’t hard enough already) is to elevate your front foot while performing it. This increases the range of motion and will place an even greater emphasis on the hamstrings and glutes. Give it a shot.

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Laura February 18, 2012 at 4:57 pm

Great looking Reverse Lunge. I really like how you’ve added a number of elements to make it more challenging. I’ll definitely need to give this variation a try; thanks!

Chris February 18, 2012 at 6:51 pm

Thanks Laura. Glad you found this useful. Let me know how these work out for you.

Sven August 10, 2012 at 10:47 am

I love this variation and use it regularly. On the other hand, what would you say is the best variation to target the quads?

Chris August 10, 2012 at 10:49 am


If direct quad work is your goal you might want to go with something like a Bulgarian Split Squat or traditional lunge.

Sven August 10, 2012 at 11:36 am

Thank you very much for your answer. The clean grip reverse lunge will always be my favourite, and I do feel it in the glutes and hamstrings a lot. But to target my lagging quads, I might try the forward lunge again, then, cheers.

Phillip Davis January 16, 2013 at 3:08 pm

Best leg work-out ever! I superset the Reverse Grip Lunge with 10 squats, 5 lower half sqauts and and 10 Deadlifts. I always start with the bar on the ground so I can get a power clean in between sets and a push press when I’m putting the bar on my back for the squats. I jump out of the gym after this workout, and it helps a lot with knee pain. I’m 6’6″, 210, with a very lean, athletic build. After the Reverse Grip Lunges, I feel two inches taller.

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