The barbell lunge is one of the best leg exercises for the glutes and quads because you can emphasize one muscle depending on how you do the movement. The further you lunge away from your body, the more you target your glutes. But the closer you are to your body when you lunge, the more you work your quads… It’s a win-win situation!
Now, the barbell lunge is better suited for intermediate lifters because there is some developed skill required to balance the weight and perform the exercise simultaneously. But, once you get the hang of the barbell lunge, you’ll be on the fast track to making some serious gains!
In this Exercise
- Target Muscle Group: Quadriceps (Vastus Lateralis, Vastus Intermedius, Vastus Medialis, Rectus Femoris), and Gluteus Maximus
- Type: Strength
- Mechanics: Compound
- Equipment: Barbell
- Difficulty: Intermediate
- Unrack a barbell like you would a squat and give yourself plenty of space to perform the lunges.
- Keep your back straight and core tight with a shoulder width stance.
- Lunge forward with one leg so your lunging knee is vertical to your heel and your back knee should almost touch the floor.
- Push off the ground with the heel of your lunging leg as quickly as possible to end up back in the starting position.
- Repeat with the opposite leg.
Variations & Tips
- Practice first with your body weight to get the movement down if you’re a beginner.
- The further out you lunge the more you’ll work your glutes.
- The closer you lunge to your body, the more you’ll work your quads.
- The lunge is very beneficial for coordination, balance, unilateral (One-sided) strength, athletic performance, and explosiveness.
- Make sure your knees never go past your feet when you lunge to protect your knees.
- Always drive through your heels to perform the positive portion of the movement.