Rear Lunge: A Quick and Easy Exercise To Tone Your Legs

If you’re a woman who has been working hard to tone your lower body, you may have heard of the “women’s rear lunge.” However, if you’ve attempted this exercise and have found yourself struggling with proper form or experiencing discomfort, you’re not alone. The rear lunge is a challenging move that requires balance and stability, but it’s absolutely essential for improving overall lower body strength. Don’t worry though, in this post, we’re going to break down the proper form and technique for the women’s rear lunge so you can confidently add it to your workout routine and start seeing results.

Rear Lunge Summary

  • Primary Muscles: Gluteus Maximus
  • Secondary Muscles: Adductor Magnus, Quadriceps, and Soleus
  • Equipment: Dumbbells
  • Mechanics Type: Compound
  • Force: Push
  • Utility: Basic or Auxiliary
Graphic image of a fit woman performing alternate cable triceps extensions.

Rear Lunge Instructions

  • Stand with feet shoulder-width apart
  • Step backward with one leg, lowering your hips until both knees are bent at 90-degree angles
  • Keep your torso upright and your front knee over your ankle
  • Push off your back foot to return to the starting position
  • Repeat with the opposite leg

Video Tutorial

Reverse Lunge - Modern Woman's Guide to Strength Training

Rear Lunge Muscles

Target (Agonist)


Dynamic Stabilizers


Antagonist Stabilizers

  • None
Image of the skeletal muscular system with the muscles used in the rear lunge exercise highlighted in red and the rest in blue.

Benefits of Rear Lunge

The Rear Lunge is a great exercise for targeting the Gluteus Maximus, a large muscle located in the buttocks. This exercise involves stepping backward and then bending your knee until it is at a right angle. This works the Gluteus Maximus along with the hamstrings, quadriceps, and calves, resulting in improved strength, balance, and mobility. Additionally, since this exercise is performed in a single-leg stance, it can help to correct muscle imbalances between the two sides of the body.

Tips for Performing Rear Lunge

The rear lunge is an excellent exercise for anyone looking to tone their legs and glutes. When done correctly, it helps to strengthen the hips and core, as well as improve balance and stability. Follow the tips below for the best results and to gain the most benefits from this exercise.

  • Maximize Your Range of Motion. By maximizing your range of motion you will guarantee that you work your complete muscle group and that you maintain or gain flexibility.
  • Use a Weight Training Diary. You track of all weights, sets and reps that you perform to ensure that you are pushing yourself during every workout. When you become a more advance weight lifter you will also want to document and track your rest periods. Now there are many high-quality apps to use a record keeper, or you can simply use a little notepad, as long as you use something.
  • Be Sure to Warm Up Your Muscles. It is not necessary to have an extended warm up, you just need to ensure that your primary muscle groups that you intend to target is adequately warmed up and that the joints that will be used are sufficiently lubricated.
  • Execute Drop Sets to Overload Your Muscles. You can use drop sets to increase your strength gains through overloading your muscles to fatigue. A Drop set is when you lift to near failure and then the next lighter dumbbells and continue the exercise. You will be able to drop the weight a few times.

Benefits and Tips Video

10 Beneftits Of Lunges

Frequent Mistakes To Avoid

When performing a rear lunge, it is important to remember that form is essential in order to maximize the effectiveness of the exercise and to avoid injury. To ensure that you are doing the exercise correctly and safely, it is important to be aware of some common mistakes that people make while doing this exercise. Below is a list of errors to avoid when performing a rear lunge.

  • Performing the Exact Same Exercises Every Single Time. Whenever you execute the exact lift every time you work out a particular muscle group you are teaching those muscles to do that lift and not confusing them enough to make them stronger.
  • Relaxing Your Core. When you don’t keep your stomach tight you will be leaving your spinal column vulnerable to injury by not maintaining your internal pressure.
  • Skip Your Cooldown. You will improve your healing time and reduce your muscle soreness if you simple execute a little cooldown and stretching to break up that lactic acid you produced in your muscles.

Find More Dumbbell Exercises Here

Variations and Complementary Exercises

If you’re looking for exercises to complement or substitute for the Rear Lunge, there are many options to choose from. Below is a list of variations, complementary, and alternative exercises that work similar muscles as the Rear Lunge.

Goblet Sumo Squat

Graphic image of Goblet Sumo Squat.

Goblet Sumo Squat is an excellent alternative exercise to the Rear Lunge. This exercise works the same muscles in the lower body as the Rear Lunge, but instead of stepping back with one leg, you squat down with both legs. To perform a Goblet Sumo Squat, stand with your feet wider than hip-width apart, toes pointing outwards, and hold a kettlebell or dumbbell in front of your chest. Then bend your knees and lower your hips until your thighs are parallel with the floor. Push through your heels to return to standing. This exercise strengthens the hips, glutes, quads, and hamstrings, making it a great complement to the Rear Lunge.

Dumbbell Sumo Squat

Graphic image of Dumbbell Sumo Squat.

The Dumbbell Sumo Squat is an excellent alternative or complementary exercise to the Rear Lunge. The sumo squat is performed by placing feet wider than shoulder width apart, with toes pointed outward. With a dumbbell in each hand, squat down as low as possible, then stand back up. This exercise targets the quads, glutes, and hamstrings, and also helps to increase balance and stability. It is a great exercise for those who want to increase strength and power in their lower body, while also building flexibility and mobility in the hips.

Curtsey Lunge

Graphic image of Curtsey Lunge.

Curtsey Lunge is a great alternative or complementary exercise to Rear Lunge. It is a great way to work the same muscles, but with a different range of motion. This exercise can be performed by stepping back with one leg and crossing it behind the other. Then, lower your body until both legs are bent at 90-degree angles. This exercise works your glutes, hamstrings, and quads, while also improving balance and stability. It is a great way to switch up your routine and work your lower body muscles in different ways.

Check Out These Top Dumbbell Exercises

Stationary Lunges

Graphic image of Stationary Lunges.

Stationary Lunges are a great complement or alternative exercise to Rear Lunges. This exercise is similar to the Rear Lunge, but instead of stepping back, you remain in the same spot while performing the lunge. The Stationary Lunge works both legs simultaneously, and targets the same muscles as the Rear Lunge. It is an effective way to build strength and stability in the legs, hips and glutes, while also engaging your core muscles. This exercise can be done with dumbbells or without, making it a versatile and accessible choice for any fitness level.

Smith Machine Single Leg Deadlift

Graphic image of Smith Machine Single Leg Deadlift.

The Smith Machine Single Leg Deadlift is a great complementary or alternative exercise to the Rear Lunge. It is an effective unilateral movement that helps build strength and stability in the lower body while also working the core muscles. This exercise involves standing on one leg with the other leg slightly bent, while hinging forward at the hip and grasping the Smith machine bar with both hands. The back leg is then extended out behind you while you maintain a flat back and your core is engaged. The Smith Machine Single Leg Deadlift is a great way to target the glutes and hamstrings, as well as the lower back, core and stabilizing muscles.

Smith Machine Hip Thrust

Graphic image of Smith Machine Hip Thrust.

The Smith Machine Hip Thrust is an excellent complementary exercise for the Rear Lunge. It works the same muscles as the Rear Lunge, but in a different way. It focuses on strengthening the glutes and hamstrings, as well as increasing hip mobility. The exercise is performed by sitting on the floor with your back against a Smith Machine and your feet flat on the floor. You then thrust your hips up while squeezing your glutes and hamstrings, and then lower back down to the starting position. This exercise can also be done with weights or a barbell to increase the intensity of the workout. The Smith Machine Hip Thrust is a great alternative to the Rear Lunge for those looking to strengthen their glutes and hamstrings and increase their hip mobility.

Find More Glutes Exercises Here

Opposing Complementary Exercises

To build strength in the opposing muscles of the Rear Lunge, it’s important to perform exercises that target them. The following exercises will help to strengthen the muscles that are used in opposition to those used in the Rear Lunge.

Bulgarian Split Squat

Graphic image of Bulgarian Split Squat.

The Bulgarian Split Squat is a great exercise to pair with the Rear Lunge as it works the opposing muscle groups. The Bulgarian Split Squat is a single leg exercise which targets the quadriceps and glutes on the front leg, while the Rear Lunge works the glutes and hamstrings on the back leg. This combination of exercises helps to create balance in the lower body by strengthening both the anterior and posterior leg muscles. By working the opposing muscle groups, the Bulgarian Split Squat and Rear Lunge will help to improve overall lower body strength and stability.

Squat Sidekick

Graphic image of Squat Sidekick.

Squat Sidekick is a great exercise to complement the Rear Lunge, as it utilizes the opposite muscle group. This dynamic exercise is designed to challenge the glutes and quads while also engaging the core. The Squat Sidekick works to strengthen the hip abductors and adductors, which helps balance out the Rear Lunge that primarily targets the glutes and hamstrings. This exercise is a great way to add variety to any workout routine and can be easily adjusted for any skill level.

Squat Hold

Graphic image of Squat Hold.

The Squat Hold is a great exercise to pair with the Rear Lunge. It works the opposing muscle group and helps to balance out the workout. The Squat Hold works the quads, glutes, and core muscles while the Rear Lunge targets the hamstrings and glutes. This combination of exercises helps to increase strength and stability in the legs, which can help improve overall performance. Additionally, the Squat Hold helps to build muscular endurance and improve flexibility, making it an ideal complement to the Rear Lunge.

Level Up Your Leg Day Game With The Women’s Rear Lunge!

Leg day can be tough, but it’s important for building strength and toning up those lower body muscles. If you’re looking to level up your leg day game, the women’s rear lunge is a great exercise to add to your routine. This exercise targets the glutes, hamstrings, and quads, helping to shape and tone your legs. Plus, it can be easily modified to suit your fitness level and goals. Incorporate the women’s rear lunge into your next leg day workout and start seeing the results you’ve been working towards!

References: Wikipedia | | | Comprehensive List of Glutes Dumbbell Exercises

Pin image for rear lunge post. With an image of a woman performing the exercise on Top and a graphic of the exercise on the Bottom.

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