By Ebenezer Samuel
If there’s a weakness to traditional lunges, it’s that they tend to focus either on the anterior or posterior muscles. Lunge forward, and you’re really loading your quads; lunge backward, and you’re activating your glutes and hamstrings.
But the forward-reverse lunge is a move that combines both exercises into one total-leg movement so that all your leg muscles are working. It’s the basis of this three-exercise leg circuit, which will test your strength and balance, improve your athleticism and speed, and jack up your heart rate. This is a great bodyweight move that can be done either at the start of a quick metabolic leg session or at the end of a comprehensive leg workout.
To do a forward-reverse lunge, hold two dumbbells at your sides (or use no weight at all to get started), stand tall with your chest up, then lunge backward with one leg until that knee nearly hits the ground. Then immediately shift into a forward lunge. When your opposite knee nearly touches the ground, shift back into a backwards lunge. To get the most from this lunge, move through it at a slow, controlled pace to better manage your center of gravity and stay balanced.
Complete 8 reps on one leg before moving onto the other leg.
Without putting down the dumbbells or taking a break, transition into backward-forward walking lunges. This phase of the routine serves as a slight drop set—you’re alternating legs to create an organic breather while still squeezing out a few more reps.
Do a total of 8 reps, 4 per leg, switching legs each rep.
Once you lunge through that eighth rep, immediately transition into another terrific move for lower-body athleticism, the reverse lunge to high knee. On this move, you’ll first lunge backward before driving your moving knee in front of you as high as possible. Hold for a count before shifting into the next backward lunge.
This final move in the leg circuit is an awesome one for enhancing your straight-ahead speed. It’s a chance to train your legs to go from hip extension to hip flexion explosively and with clean mechanics. Start off by doing this move slowly to maintain your balance, and increase your speed in subsequent rounds once you you’re comfortable with the movement.
Your goal is to drive your knee straight forward and up; don’t let your leg swing outwards as you come up. Make sure to keep your chest up and your upper body tall—you’re bringing your knee to your torso, not shifting your torso down to meet your knee.
Perform all 8 reps on one leg before hitting the other leg.
Directions: Perform each of the following moves in order.
1. Forward-reverse lunge: 8 reps per leg.
2. Walking back-forward lunge: 8 reps total.
3. Backward lunge to high knee: 8 reps per leg.
That’s 1 round. Do 2-3 rounds, resting 2 minutes between each.