Reverse lunge curls work the biceps brachii as well as the glutes and quadriceps muscles. They also provide an intense—if short—cardiovascular workout.
Compared to the regular lunge with bicep curl, the reverse variation puts more tension on your glutes than your quads because you're breaking at the hips first and will thus be leaning forward more.
So if the regular version bothers your knees, do the reverse lunge with bicep curl instead.
You can also see our complete dumbbell arm curl guide to learn the proper curling technique if you need a refresher on the form.
Reverse lunge curls exercise details
- Main Muscles: Quadriceps, glutes, biceps brachii
- Secondary Muscles: Hamstrings, abs, brachialis, forearms
- Exercise Type: Strength
- Exercise Mechanics: Compound
- Difficulty Level: Intermediate
- Equipment Needed: Dumbbells
How to do reverse lunge curls
- Stand up straight with your feet hip-width apart and hold a pair of dumbbells by your sides.
- Step backward with one leg and lower your hips toward the ground until both of your knees are at roughly a 90-degree angle.
- Perform a bicep curl once you're in the lunge position.
- Push yourself back up by pressing through the foot of your front leg.
- Repeat the movement with your other leg and do 3-4 sets of 6-12 reps per side.
How effective are reverse lunge curls?
The reverse lunge to bicep curl is effective in many different ways. But it does have it's downsides as well, which we'll discuss in just a moment.
First off, the reverse lunge curl helps to strengthen your glutes and quads, which are two areas that many people want to improve. Having strong legs not only improves your confidence and enhances your physique, it also helps you to live a more functional, fun, and independent life.
No longer will you need to miss out on fun nature hikes now that you have the leg strength to complete them. And, if you're a bit older, the reverse lunge curl can also help you to get out of chairs and baths more easily; hence, they're an excellent exercise for just about everyone.
Reverse lunge curls are also incredibly time-efficient because you're training multiple muscle groups in one convenient exercise. Speaking of which, you can do this exercise virtually anywhere as long as you have a pair of weights, so it's most definitely convenient.
The downside, if you're a bodybuilder, is that although reverse lunges create a good muscle burn, they don't overload your biceps with heavy resistance. After all, most people can lift far more weight on reverse lunges than on curls. So if you want to isolate your muscles to maximize their development, then there are better exercises out there.
Reverse lunge curl alternatives
The squat curl to press is a true full-body movement. It activates virtually every muscle that you have and burns a ton of calories in the process. So if you want to build lean muscle and sculpt a toned physique, then this exercise will definitely boost your energy expenditure and get you on the right fat loss path.
You also don't need as much space as you do with the reverse lunge to bicep curl. This is because you're simply moving straight up and down in a squat rather than lunging back. So if you just want to focus on working your muscles rather than on improving your balance and coordination, this full-body squat is a great alternative.
Similarly, you can just do squat curls if you want to remove the pressing component from the exercise. The advantage of this movement is that it's more time-efficient than the reverse lunge with bicep curl because you're training both sides of your body simultaneously.
Reverse lunge curls are a great exercise for toning your biceps and legs while getting your heart pumping in the process. With a simple pair of weights and a small training space, you have everything that you need to take full advantage of this underrated strength training drill.
You can also progress to more advanced variations to kick the intensity up a gear and make your muscles burn even more. For example, rather than performing one reverse lunge followed by one bicep curl, you can lunge backward and do 10 bicep curls in succession instead. This will really test the strength of your legs because you'll need to contract your quads until you've done all 10 curls.