Christine Envall Female Bodybuilder Australia

Reverse Lunges

I often get a lot of people commenting on the size of my hamstrings and asking me how to get better glute/hamstring development. It is not often that one exercise is responsible for the development of a muscle group, but in this case, there is one exercise that is absolutely essential to getting thick hamstrings and long glute tie-ins. This one exercise is also the best for getting rock hard glutes. I call it a 'Backwards' or 'Reverse' Lunge, and it must be performed on a smith machine.

To perform the exercise, stand under the bar in the smith machine rack. Your feet should just be slightly in front of your body, in a narrow stance (narrower than shoulder width, but not completely together). I stress JUST SLIGHTLY IN FRONT as I see many people trying to do this exercise with their feet too far in front, making it like a regular lunge.

To start the exercise, step back with one foot. Take quite a big step, so that the knee on this leg almost touches the ground. The knee of your grounded leg should bend to a right angle, but your knee should not come over the front of your toes. The grounded leg is the one that is going to do the work on this rep, the other one is really just for balance. To come back to the top, use the power in your grounded leg, namely the glute and hammy to push yourself up. Don't use the leg you stepped back with to push you up. This is the cheats way and won't give you the correct development. You only cheat if your are about to fail on your last set! As you come up, bring the leg you stepped back with back together with the gounded one. Then step back with the leg that was grounded, and repeat the whole process. Once you have stepped back once with each leg, that is one repetition. Keep your torso upright and your head up while performing this exercise. The smith machine helps to prevent you from leaning forward and also helps keep your balance when pushing up from the bottom of the rep. Remember not to let your feet creep too far in front of your body as you may tend to step a bit further forward with each rep.

On this exercise, 10 repetitions is best. I like to do four sets, increasing the weight with each set. On the fourth set, I might fail at 8 reps.

This is not an exercise to use light weights on. Do as much weight as you can so that the final set is a real strain and you really have to work hard to control the lowering phase and the raising phase is slow and steady. This exercise is also quite taxing on your cardio system if you are not used to it. You may find yourself quite out of breath at the end of the set.

WARNING: For up to a week after first performing this exercise you may experience stiffness and soreness, particularly when you try to sit down. Don't worry, the results are well worth it. I first saw this exercise done by a guy at my gym about 9 years ago. He was preparing for a comp and had the most striated glutes I had ever seen.

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