Here at Studio SWEAT onDemand, founder Cat Kom and expert trainer Bethany are celebrating “Leg Day” by giving you the lowdown on the differences between a forward (a.k.a. front) and reverse (a.k.a. back) lunge! Let’s find out the differences, which muscle groups are used for each, and which direction is the best option for you.
When it comes to forward and reverse lunges, both are relatively similar in terms of the synergistic muscles (muscles use when on the move) they hit. Both use the glutes, calves, and thighs. These exercises also strengthen the primary leg stabilizer muscles which include the hamstrings in the back of the upper leg and the gastrocnemius which is also found in the calf.
So, what are the major difference between the two lunges?
The reverse (backward) lunge is the best lunge for beginners, those with any knee problems, and for those who are looking for more stability in an exercise. Because your weight stays stationary on your forward leg throughout the entire exercise, it’s easier to remain still and stand back up to the starting position due to no shifting. The back lunge is also generally more easy to perform with good form – dropping the back knee to 90 degree angle. It also focuses just a little more on the glutes and can be paired with additional weights like dumbbells or barbells to increase intensity. It’s a safe bet!
If you’re seeking a bigger challenge in stability, variation, and would like a little more quad, core or calf action, try the forward (front) lunge! Although this exercise is more difficult to execute properly, it’s especially beneficial for those who are looking to improve their balance and coordination by training both sides of their body independently from the other. Additionally, forward lunges boost your core since you’re constantly keeping your torso upright during the exercise.
To recap, if you’re looking for the safe bet we suggest sticking the the reverse or even a stationary lunge (where both feet stay planted on the ground). You can even take this option if you’re in a class where the instructor is queueing a different style lunge. It’s you’re workout after all. In general if you’re knees are in good shape and you you’re looking to achieve those toned legs and perked up buns, keep both lunges on your list and mix it up! In fact, we just touched on the basics, but the variations for lunges are endless. Check out Studio SWEAT onDemand for more options!