How to Do Dumbbell Reverse Lunge Properly

The dumbbell reverse lunge is a perfect exercise that works on the lower body. It is particularly known for helping build the glutes.

Adding dumbbells to your lunge exercises helps grow your lower body muscles.

To do this exercise:

  • Get into the starting position by standing tall with a dumbbell in each hand.
  • Step back with your right leg, approximately two feet from your left foot. Inhale as you lower your body while keeping your back straight.
  • Exhale, push up and return to the starting position. Use the balls of your feet to push and focus on your quads. Press with your heels to focus on your glutes.


The dumbbell reverse lunge primarily targets the glutes. The lunges also work on leg muscles, the quads, hips and hamstrings.

1.      GLUTES

The glutes are superficial muscles that are posterior to the pelvis. They are made of the gluteus maximus, gluteus medius and gluteus minimus.

The gluteus maximus is the largest part of the glutes. It gives the butt its distinct round shape.

It helps with hip extension and hyperextension.

The gluteus medius is an extension of the gluteus maximus towards the femur. Its main function is hip abduction and stabilizing the hip joint.

The gluteus minimus is the smallest part of the glutes. Its main function is hip abduction and internal rotation of the leg.

2.      QUADS

The quads are a muscle group of four muscles that sit on the upper front part of the thigh.

The quads are made up of the rectus femoris, vastus lateralis, vastus medialis and vastus intermedius.

The rectus femoris is the only muscle in the quads to cross both the hip and knee joints. It is involved in both the flexion of the hip and extension of the knee.

The vastus lateralis is the strongest muscle in the quads. It runs down the outside of the thigh and ends above the kneecap.

The vastus medialis runs down the inside of the thigh and ends near the knee. It plays a huge role in tracking the knee.

The vastus intermedius runs down the center of the thigh between the vastus lateralis and the vastus medialis.

It helps with preventing over flexing of the knee.


Like the quads, the hamstrings are a group of muscles found in the back of the thigh.

They are made of the biceps femoris, semitendinosus and semimembranosus. They all originate from the posterior of the lower pelvis.

The functions of the hamstrings are hip extension, hip hyperextension and knee flexion.

Hip and knee flexion occur during lunges. This is when the hamstrings are activated.

4.      CALVES

The calves are the diamond shape muscle found on the back of the lower leg. They are made of two muscles, the soleus and the gastrocnemius.

The calves help you move forward, backward, sideways and help absorb the impact of activities such as walking.

They provide ankle and knee stability.

When you are pushing your foot away from the ground, the soleus helps with knee flexion.



Doing dumbbell reverse lunges helps improve glute strength and hip mobility. This helps with knee stability and improves the range of motion of the ankle.

This is because the glutes are strong enough that the knees and ankles don’t have to compensate.


This exercise will help strengthen your lower back. You will also improve your posture and core stability.

This enables you to minimize the risk of lower back pain when doing exercises or activities that activate lower body muscles.

Strong glutes help provide lumbar support.


Strengthening your glutes helps you stop and change direction more efficiently.

Your weight shifts from side to side when you’re changing direction quickly.

Adding muscle to your lower body helps improve your ability to change direction at speed. This is especially useful for athletes such as runners, basketball, football and rugby players.

You also improve your neuromuscular coordination when you strengthen your lower body. This helps improve your movement coordination.

Building your lower body muscles increases your stride efficiency making you a more powerful runner.


These exercises will provide variation to the dumbbell reverse lunge while still providing the same benefits.


This is a split squat. It provides even more challenge to your glutes and quads.

To do this exercise:

  • Hold two dumbbells in your preferred position with your chest up and shoulders down.
  • Put your back foot on an elevated surface and your front foot in an ideal position.
  • Drop your back knee towards the floor and squat with your front leg while maintaining a slight front lean.
  • Push your front foot through the floor to return to the starting position.
  • Do up to 16 reps then switch feet.


This exercise can be a bit challenging due to how much balance it requires. You can do it with bodyweight or add dumbbells.

To do this exercise:

  • If you are using dumbbells, hold them at arm’s length in front of you or beside your thighs.
  • Pick one foot off the floor, balance on one foot and soften your working knee.
  • Keep your chest up and shoulders down. Don’t rotate the working hip upwards.
  • Hinge until your navel is parallel with the floor and feel a stretch in your hamstring.
  • Stabilize and return to starting position and repeat.


Make sure you hold the dumbbells at your side to ensure you use the most weight.

A common dumbbell reverse lunge mistake to avoid is not bending the knee enough. This can lead to strained hip flexors.

To avoid this, drop your back knee straight down as you take the step back.

Make sure the back knee slightly hovers over the ground. It shouldn’t touch the floor.

Avoid stepping too narrowly. People lose their balance with the reverse lunge by trying to place the back leg directly behind the front leg. Your feet should remain hip-width apart as you do the step back.