The Reverse Lunge is my favorite lunge variation for developing lower body strength in wrestlers.
While I think lunges and other single leg exercises are great supplemental exercises, I feel that the Reverse Lunge does the best job of mimicking the lower body mechanics used when stepping up to finish a leg attack or high dive.
I will be honest though- now that I have the guys I work with pushing and dragging the prowler more, I’m finding that I’m using lunge variations in their programs less often.
Because the pushing the prowler builds single leg strength, too (you push off of one leg at a time). Additionally, the prowler is more specific because you’re driving the weight in a horizontal direction.
As such, I typically tend to favor prowler pushes.
However, if you don’t have access to a prowler, Reverse Lunges are my go to exercise for single leg strength development.
Here’s a quick video of me performing a standard Reverse Lunge.
One of the biggest breakdowns in technique that I see with the Reverse Lunge, or any lunge for that matter, is a loss of stability through the core. Here are 2 quick videos to show you what I mean:
I see the technique breakdown in the first video more. My wife sees the issue in the 2nd video more, and since she was filming, she told me to film that too!
Most often, these technical breakdowns will occur as you move up in weight. It’s a good indication that you’re using too much weight.
So, you have 2 options. First, if you have good body awareness and experience with performing lunges, simply make an adjustment to the weight (lowering it) if you notice your form breaking down.
Or, you can hold dumbbells (or Kettlebells, which I prefer) in the rack position. Here’s what I mean:
By holding the weight up on your shoulders like this, it prevents you from losing core stability and breaking at the hips.
Additionally, I feel this way better simulates how you will be carrying your opponent when you look to step up to finish a shot. So, not only will holding the weight in the rack position auto-correct any form breakdowns at the core, it will also have a better carryover to the mat.
If you don’t like holding dumbbells or Kettlebells in the rack position, you can hold a barbell like you would a Front Squat:
Or Zercher Squat: