How to Do Back Rack Lunges Properly

Back rack lunges are lunges done with the barbell placed across the upper back.

They are a popular resistance exercise that is used to build muscles in your lower body and help boost strength in your back, hips and legs.

Back rack lunges also work on upper body mobility and strength.

To do this exercise:

  • Stand with your feet hip-width apart.
  • Place the barbell on your upper back and not your vertebrae.
  • Step forward with your right leg then lower until your right thigh is parallel to the floor and your left shin is parallel to the floor.
  • Press through your right heel to return to starting position.
  • Do two to three sets of around 12 reps.


Back rack lunges are a great exercise for your lower body. Primarily they work on your quads and glutes. Secondary muscles are hamstrings, calves and core.

1.      QUADS

These are muscles located on the front of the upper part of your legs. These muscles help with standing, walking and running.

They are also responsible for keeping your kneecap stable. They help with the extension of the lower leg from the knee.

Quads are made up of the rectus femoris which start from the hip bone and connect to the kneecap.

Vastus intermedius is the deepest muscle in the quads. Vastus medialis is a teardrop-shaped muscle that connects your femur to your kneecap. It connects your femur to your kneecap.

Vastyus lateralis is the largest muscle. It runs on the outside of the thigh. Back rack lunges engage these muscles when you use your legs to go down.

2.      GLUTES

Back rack lunges are great for your glutes. They are muscles that help keep your spine and core stable.

The glutes are made of three muscles.

Gluteus maximus is the largest of the gluteal muscles. It helps create force from the lower body and helps keep you upright when you’re standing or sitting.

When you do back rack lunges and other exercises that emphasize your lower body muscles, this is one of the muscles that will be most noticeable.

Gluteus minimus is the smallest of the glutes. It helps rotate your legs and stabilize your pelvis.

Gluteus medius is located between the gluteus maximus and minimus. It supports the rotation of the legs and stabilizes the pelvis.


These are muscles at the back of your thighs. They help with knee and hip movements in squatting, walking, bending and tilting your pelvis.

When you do back rack lunges, the hamstrings are engaged when they contract to bring your leg behind your body when you bend the knee.

Hamstrings are made of three muscles.

Semitendinosus starts at the pelvis and extends to the tibia.

Semimembranosus is the largest of the hamstring muscles. It starts at the back of the thigh by the pelvis and stretches to the back of the tibia.

Biceps femoris is a long muscle that starts at the thigh and reaches the head of the fibula on the outer thigh close to the knee.

4.      CALVES

These are muscles at the back of the lower leg. These muscles are used for walking, running and jumping. They help lift the heel to aid in movement.

Calves are made of two muscles. The gastrocnemius is what has that notable diamond shape.

The soleus is a flat muscle that lies beneath the gastrocnemius.


Back rack lunges are highly beneficial.


Back rack lunges are a great alternative in case of wrist or elbow injury which can prevent you from doing front rack lunges.

By strengthening your core and glutes, they also keep your lower back strong which prevents lower back pain.


Back rack lunges primarily work on your lower body. This is the largest muscle group in your frame.

This helps cut fat and build muscle mass. This helps boost your resting metabolism which enables you to burn more calories and trim weight.

Adding back rack lunges to a high-intensity training circuit can help your burn even more calories.


Back rack lunges are a unilateral exercise. This means that they work on each side of your body independently.

The singular leg movements activate the aforementioned stabilizing muscles which in turn helps develop stability, balance and coordination.

Because you work one leg at a go, this causes instability which forces your spine and core to work harder to help your body remain balanced.


Lunges can be used to rehabilitate your body when you’re recovering from an injury or went for a long time without exercise for other reasons.

When you do back rack lunges, you correct imbalances and misalignments in your back, shoulders and lower body.


Lunges help strengthen your back and core muscles without straining your spine.

A strong and stable core reduces the risk of injury and improves your posture which makes it easier for your body to do day to day activities.


Back rack lunges work on the lower body. If you wish to diversify your workout routine you can consider the following workouts which work on the same set of muscles.

1.      SQUATS

Body-weight squats can work on your quads, hamstrings and calves.

To do this exercise:

  • Stand with your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart with your toes facing outward and brace your core.
  • Hinge your hips then bend your knees and lower into a squat until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Lift your heels slightly off the floor.
  • Try to keep your torso and shins parallel to each other.
  • Press into your foot to stand.
  • Do eight to 15 reps. Do three sets.


To do this exercise:

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Step your right foot diagonally behind you while lowering your right knee just above the floor.
  • Return to starting position.
  • Repeat for the desired number of times then switch legs.


Don’t step too far forward (or backwards if you’re doing reverse lunges) because this causes imbalance and puts pressure on your knee.

When doing back rack lunges, make sure your knee is aligned with your feet. Making your front knee go over your front ankle ruins your form.

If you are recovering from a knee injury, it is best to avoid back rack lunges, or any other lunges. If your knee is healed, ensure you get the opinion of your doctor.

Back rack lunges help keep your back straight but you can still lean forward and hinge your hips. Ensure you keep your torso perpendicular to the floor to maintain the correct form.