Exercises You Should Be Doing: Barbell Reverse Lunge – Front Squat Grip

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Today we’re starting the CP expansion, and the staff – along with the interns and other helpers – are going to be moving equipment, rubber matting, and god knows what else, over to the new facility for the next 12-16 hours

I didn’t want to leave all of you hanging, so here’s a quick post on one of my favorite exercises I hate.

Enjoy (wish us luck)!

Quick, off the top of your head pick a handful of exercises you absolutely hate.  Exercises that, if you had to choose between doing one of them or throwing an ax into your face, you’d seriously consider the ax.

I know “hate” is a strong word. Speaking from a personal standpoint there are plenty of exercises that I hate doing, but LOVE how they make me feel and the results they elicit on my body.

– Bulgarian split squats and bench pressing come to mind (the latter making the list because I’m an absolutely abysmal bencher).

– Turkish get-ups really come to mind.

– And yes, sometimes I even dread my beloved deadlifts – particularly when I have to pull from a deficit.

If we were to pool everyone’s answers, though, I’m sure we’d get a hodge podge of exercises and movements ranging from the OLY lifts to rotator cuff drills. Still, if I were a betting man I’d be willing to wager that two exercises could easily make it into the Top 5 Exercises We Hate But Love Them Anyways:

Single leg work (in any form) and front squats.

NOTE: Just so we’re clear, in this context “hate” doesn’t mean people don’t do them.  It just means there’s a teeny tiny part of them – a molecule! – that would rather swallow a live grenade than head to the gym that day and perform what’s on the paper.

So it only makes sense to combine the two!

Barbell Reverse Lunge – Front Squat Grip

What Does It Do: As with any single leg variation, we’re getting a crock-pot of benefits:  increased single leg strength, improved hip stability, increased core  strength and stability, ankle mobility, glute activation, blabbidy blah, blibiddy boo, you’ve heard it all before.

By that same token, what I really like about this variation – reverse lunge – is that it tends to be a little more “knee friendly,” as there’s very little deceleration involved compared to things like forward lunges or walking lunges. In other words, compared to the latter, reverse lunges don’t entail you having to step forward and slowing down your entire bodyweight.

As such, this variations bodes well for those who have cranky knees.

Something else to consider is the bar placement.  With the barbell loaded anteriorly (in front of the body) there’s a fairly aggressive anti-flexion component of the torso, which will encourage a bit more thoracic extension.

Key Coaching Cues:  I prefer the cross body grip as shown in the video, but if someone has ample wrist flexibility to do it, I’m not opposed to using the clean grip.  I just find that those people are few and far between, and generally opt for the cross grip.

The bar should rest on the “meaty” part of the shoulders – I like to tell people to find their shelf – right up against the neck.  Yes, it’s uncomfortable.  Yes, you’re just going to have to suck it up.

Elbows should point straight a head, and NOT towards the floor.  I like to tell people, “chest up, elbows up” throughout.

With your eyes also looking straight a head, un-rack the bar and take two steps back to set up.  From there, extend one leg back to perform a reverse lunge.  The back knee should GENTLY tap the floor, and then, pulling through the front heel of the front leg, you’re going to return back to the starting position making sure to “finish” with that same side glute. Squeeze that bad boy!

God you’re sexy.

Try this one out and let me know what you think.


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Plus, get a copy of Tony’s Pick Things Up, a quick-tip guide to everything deadlift-related. See his butt? Yeah. It’s good. You should probably listen to him if you have any hope of getting a butt that good.

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