Exercise Profile
  • Target Muscle Group
  • Exercise TypeStrength
  • Equipment RequiredBarbell
  • MechanicsCompound
  • Force TypePush
  • Experience LevelIntermediate
  • Secondary Muscles
    Calves, Hamstrings, Lower Back
Target Muscle Group


Quads Muscle Anatomy Diagram

Barbell Lunge Instructions

  1. It is safest to perform the lunge inside a squat rack. Set up for the exercise by setting the barbell to just below shoulder height and loading the weight you want to use.
  2. Stand under the bar with your feet at about shoulder width apart. Position the bar so that it is resting on the muscles on the top of your back, not on the back of your neck. The bar should feel comfortable. If it doesn't, try adding some padding to the bar.
  3. Now take your hands over the back and grip the bar with a wide grip for stability.
  4. You should now bend at the knees and straighten your back in preparation to take the weight off the rack. Keeping your back straight and eyes up, push up through the legs and take the weight off the rack.
  5. Take a few steps back and stabilize yourself. You are now in the starting position.
  6. Step forward with your left leg while maintaining your balance and squat down through your hips. Keep your torso straight and head up. Don't allow your knee to track out over your toes.
  7. Push yourself back to the starting position by using your heal to drive you.
  8. Repeat this movement with your right leg and then repeat for desired reps.

Lunge Tips:

  1. Never allow your knees to track out over your toes during this movement. Doing so will place undue stress on the knee joints. 
  2. This exercise requires a good deal of balance and is not recommended for those with balance issues. Begin by using a very light weight to first perfect the movement.
  3. Keep your head up and back straight throughout the exercise. Never allow your back to round. 
Posted on: Thu, 11/30/2023 - 15:17

I only have a Smith machine available. My question is is there a difference between a reverse lunge in a barbell lunge?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Thu, 11/30/2023 - 20:26

The reverse lunge will put a little more emphasis on the quads, but ultimately, the difference isn't enough to be concerned with if you need to make the substitution.

Tashiana Bostick
Posted on: Fri, 09/30/2022 - 21:10

Of it says 3x12 reps is that 12 each leg? So 24 reps in total? Or 6 each leg Wich will be 12 reps in total?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Tue, 10/04/2022 - 07:23

Yes, Tashiana. 12 each leg for 24 total reps. Hope this helps!

Tashiana Bostick
Posted on: Fri, 10/07/2022 - 22:32

Thank you! :)

Posted on: Thu, 01/17/2019 - 18:23

Are there any other alternative lifts/movements that will hit the same muscles as a barbell/dumbbell lunge? Or should I maybe start with very light weight until I build up the strength. I believe I am one of those with a balance problem, or maybe just lack of coordination when it comes to this lift. Any tips or tricks are greatly appreciated!

Posted on: Sat, 02/25/2023 - 14:34

Nothing wrong with bodyweight or bar only... I can squat heavy, DL heavy and bench heavy.. but to start these is very humbling.

Posted on: Sat, 08/19/2017 - 07:40

Hello, is this exercise interchangable with the Dumbbell Lunge?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Mon, 08/21/2017 - 08:51

Hi Nathan,

Sure, it could be.