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

Share This:

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.


Did what you just read make your day? Ruin it? Either way, you should share it with your friends and/or comment below.

Share This Post:


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.

I don’t share email information. Ever. Because I’m not a jerk.
  • Awesome Tony, I havent tried the crossed thumb grip like that before. Thanks for the video and tip.

    • TonyGentilcore

      Glad you liked it Rob. Hope all is well your way.

  • Warren Hebert

    It makes me wanna cry but this is my favorite exercise that I’ve seen out of the CP camp. Anterior loading with single leg work has created a ton of possibilities with my programming. My other favorite is a single leg goblet squat off of a box. CP is responsible for doubling my thoracic extension strength-amen.

    • TonyGentilcore

      Right on Warren!

  • Mike A.

    snatch grip deadlifts from a deficit make me consider seppuku. same with barbell TGU’s.

    • TonyGentilcore

      Oh boy. Snatch grip from a deficit are BRUTAL!!!!! I’m right with you on those.

  • ec (no not that one)

    what does that say about me if this (and front squats!) are among my most favorite exercises??? you can keep anything “myotatic” locked away forever, though.

    • TonyGentilcore

      EC (no that that one)…haha. I like that. If those are your favorite exercises, than you are a masochist. A jacked masochist….;o)

  • Barath

    “Squats don’t kill people, lunges do” – Official NRA line.

    • TonyGentilcore

      Great quote.

  • James Alfonso

    After reverse lunges FSG today…”I promise you, you’ll be fine tomorrow” – Tony G.

  • Pingback: Top Good Reads of the Week: Edition 12 | LaVack Fitness()

  • Phil

    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, core is super strong and tight. I’m 6’6″, 210, with a very lean, athletic build. After the Reverse Grip Lunges, I feel two inches taller.

    • TonyGentilcore

      Glad you like this variation Phil. It’s a killer one for sure.

  • Laura

    I absolutely love fitness and can not live without trainings. To provide my body with enough nutrition for my active lifestyle I am taking Military Grade Nutritionals. Impressive results! Everytime I take it, I get an intense boost of energy from my workouts. What’s also great
    about these supps, they don’t just bring you up and then down again, they
    enhance your energy and endurance when you need it most.

  • Joseph V

    Tony –

    Why do some people say your knee should not touch the floor when doing lunges? Conversely, why do you say to go far enough day to gently touch the floor?

    • TonyGentilcore

      I don’t think there’s anything wrong with the knee touching the floor, but I just don’t want people to plop their knee on the floor so that they crush their knee cap. That’s all. They need to actually learn to decelerate their bodyweight. If they just collapse to the ground and smash their knee into the ground that sorta defeats the purpose.

  • Pingback: Top Good Reads of the Week: Edition 12()

  • Pingback: 7 days of CrossFit WODs | My Crossfit Colorado()

  • Pingback: Massivt benpass med utfall (Leg day!) | Wolber()

  • user name

    When I tried this exercise I felt it mainly taxed my upper back, stability and glutes and not so much my legs. Does that mean those parts are weak in comparison to my legs?

    • TonyGentilcore

      I’d argue you’re doing it right. The upper back has to work really hard (isometrically) to keep the torso upright and to prevent you from falling forward during the exercise. That are “may” be weak (it’s a weak point on a lot of people), but even very strong people get sore there too performing this variation.