Reverse Lunge and Reach

Reverse Lunge with Overhead Reach (Instructions & Benefits)

The Reverse Lunge and Reach is a warm-up exercise that is a combination of a bodyweight reverse lunge with an overhead reach stretch. It’s a great, multi-joint, warm-up movement that can easily be incorporated into almost any warm-up.

In this guide, I’m going to teach you how to properly do a Reverse Lunge and Reach, what the benefits are along with a few alternatives in case you need them.

How To Reverse Lunge and Reach

Equipment Needed

  • None

Step-by-Step Instructions

  • Start standing tall with feet about hip-width apart.
  • Step backward with one leg, giving yourself enough room to be able to drop into a lunge comfortably without feeling overextended.
  • Keep the chest as upright as possible and drop the back knee to roughly one inch from the floor.
  • As you drop into the lunge, reach straight overhead with both arms (hands should reach directly above shoulders)
  • Now drive through the heel and midfoot of the front foot to drive yourself back up tall.
  • Repeat on the opposite leg and alternate back and forth until all reps have been completed.

Coaching Points

When you step out, make sure to keep the feet shoulder-width apart. If you’re feeling very off-balance in your lunge there is a good chance that you are stepping the lead foot directly in front of the back foot (essentially placing yourself on a tight rope).

Keep the front foot flat on the floor when in the lunge position. One of the most common mistakes is raising up onto the ball of the front foot. One of the reasons for this is often the next most common mistake that I see with Lunges…

Make sure to take a big enough step. Often times I see athletes take way too small of a step. This leads to lunge being extremely cramped and can lead to a whole host of other issues.

Benefits of the Reverse Lunge and Reach

One of the biggest benefits of the Reverse Lunge with Overhead Reach is how multi-purpose it is.

Bodyweight lunges are already a great warm-up movement all on their own. They’re one of the best exercises for opening up the hip flexors and warming up the quads and glutes.

Adding in the overhead reach is a sneaky effective way to loosen up the shoulders and lats at the same time.

Reverse Lunge and Reach Variations

If you can’t do Reverse Overhead Lunges, for whatever reason, here are a few alternatives that you may be able to try out.

Reverse Lunge and Rotate

A slight variation to the Reverse Lunge and Reach involves replacing the overhead reach movement with a twist in its place. Keep the Reverse Lunge the same, but as the knee drops down rotate toward the front knee. Use your hand to grab and pull on the leg a little to help pull you through the twist.

Reverse Overhead Lunge

Reverse Overhead Lunge
Image Credit: Paul Aiken /

This variation isn’t necessarily a warm-up exercise (unless done with a PVC pipe), but it’s a very similar movement that can use inside the weight room.

To perform a Reverse Overhead Lunge, grab a barbell with a snatch width grip and hold it overhead. From here it’s roughly the same as the Reverse Lunge and Reach. Lock the bar in place overhead, step back, keep the chest upright, drop into the lunge, and then drive yourself back up.

Pistol Squat

Pistol Squat
Pistol Squats are a great single-leg exercise that requires zero equipment at all.

Another good single leg alternative for the Reverse Lunge and Reach – that doesn’t require any equipment at all – is the Pistol Squat. If you’re really good at them you literally need no equipment at all, but at most you’ll only need a box or chair to sit down to.

Be careful with using these early in your warm-up. Depending on your body weight and leg strength, Pistol Squats may be way more challenging than your typical warm-up exercise.

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More Links and Info

If you’d like more ideas for exercise you can incorporate into your warm-up, head over to the Warm-Up Section of the Exercise Library. There you’ll find a growing collection of warm-up movements, all with step-by-step instructions.

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