Exercise Profile
  • Target Muscle Group
  • Exercise TypeStrength
  • Equipment RequiredDumbbell
  • MechanicsCompound
  • Force TypePush (Unilateral)
  • Experience LevelIntermediate
  • Secondary Muscles
    Calves, Glutes, Hamstrings
Target Muscle Group


Quads Muscle Anatomy Diagram

Dumbbell Rear Lunge Overview

The dumbbell reverse lunge is a dumbbell lunge variation and an exercise used to target the muscles of the quads, as well as the rest of the muscles of the leg.

The lunge is a foundational movement pattern that every lifter should strive to master.

Dumbbell Rear Lunge Instructions

  1. Set up with your feet shoulder width apart and hold a dumbbell in each hand by your sides.
  2. Step back with one leg and allow both knees to bend simultaneously.
  3. Descend until the back knee touches the floor.
  4. Drive through the front foot and extend the knee as you stand up fully and return to the starting position.
  5. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.

Dumbbell Rear Lunge Tips

  1. Reverse lunges are a more advanced progression and should only be utilized once one has the requisite hip and core stability. In general, a proper single leg progression scheme might look like this:
    • Step Up
    • Split Squat > Front foot elevated
    • Reverse Lunge > Front foot elevated
    • Single Leg Squat to Bench
    • Lateral Lunge
    • Bulgarian/Rear Foot Elevated Split Squat (RFESS)
    • Single Leg Squat From Bench
    • Walking Lunge
    • Forward Lunge
    • Single Leg Skater Squat
    • Pistol Squat
  2. Don’t rush the progression scheme, earn the right to use every exercise and don’t neglect any of them.
  3. When you go to push back to the starting position, fight the urge to lead the movement with your shoulders by hyperextending at your spine. Instead, look to drive the movement via force from your lower body.
  4. In the bottom of the movement both of your legs should be at 90 degree angles at the knees.
  5. Keep in mind that with any sort of lunge or split squat pattern, if you want to emphasize the quads, focus on taking a slightly smaller step and drive  up through the ball of the foot.
  6. If you want to emphasize the glutes and hamstrings during any sort of lunge or split squat pattern, focus on taking a slightly larger step and drive up through the heel of the foot.
Posted on: Tue, 02/27/2024 - 14:42

Is there a difference between doing this and the Split Squat?

Going back to a neutral standing position I'm toasted before I switch legs.

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Tue, 02/27/2024 - 19:09

The motion does make it more challenging and taxing. There is more stability required to get into position for each rep. If the split squat serves you better, feel free to do that.

Posted on: Fri, 02/16/2024 - 13:44

Hi, can i replace this exercise by dumbbell squats ? For context, i follow the 5 days dumbbell program.
Thank you

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Thu, 02/22/2024 - 10:09

I believe you can do that. If you make the change, let us know what you think. Thank you for reading M&S!

Posted on: Thu, 10/12/2023 - 06:36

Start with 3 lb weights (or no weights at all), position a pillow at your heels in the starting position, that way when that back knee goes down, there’s some cushion. Makes all the difference.

Siegfried Heintz
Posted on: Wed, 10/05/2022 - 12:27

Haven't really had a chance to work out at all over the past couple years. Physical and the COVID turn 68 this past September. Working at the intermediate level day two. It's really giving me more motivation in all things

Tony Nelson
Posted on: Mon, 12/13/2021 - 20:32

Ya, for those that struggle or its painful its much easier without weights...and you still feel the burn. Work up to 5lbs, etc.

Posted on: Tue, 05/18/2021 - 14:25

Is there any substitute for this one? It hurts my knee and makes a loud noise when I hit the floor as well.

Posted on: Mon, 01/11/2021 - 18:21

Hello, do I do 4 sets of 10 with each leg? Or is it 10 reps with both legs, as in alternating?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Tue, 01/12/2021 - 11:00

Hey Danny - which workout are you referring to?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Mon, 01/18/2021 - 09:33

Most likely, yes. I can't know exactly unless I know which workout you're referring to.

Posted on: Sat, 01/16/2021 - 21:20

For the dumbbelll rear lunges, is it 4 sets of 10 each leg?

Posted on: Tue, 08/04/2020 - 19:36

Is there a benefit to doing one side at a time or is it acceptable to alternate legs in the same set? Thanks!

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Mon, 08/10/2020 - 11:24

Hey Trapper

When using lighter weights I recommend performing one side at a time. That will help to really load that muscle. When using heavier weights (performing with a barbell and plates) I recommend alternating legs.

Jose Contreras
Posted on: Tue, 07/14/2020 - 17:38

Any alternative to this? I'd really like to know for my workout.

Posted on: Tue, 10/22/2019 - 03:52

My upper quad/groin area muscle pops when i do this, feel it still grabbing retrying months after..any stretch suggestions. thanks

Neer malhotra
Posted on: Fri, 08/16/2019 - 07:30

Nt able 2 do this exercise
It hurt my knees
Any substitute for rear lunge

Posted on: Tue, 06/23/2020 - 15:11

Maybe a little late, but I have the same problem, and for me it helps putting my feet further apart, and not bending to far down

Posted on: Sun, 11/15/2020 - 14:43

This is the most difficult one for me too. Try doing it without any weights first. Try going slow and not all the way down.

Posted on: Tue, 11/24/2020 - 16:33

Same to me, I put a pillow on the floor so it don't hurt at least for me, I hope this help someone.