Reverse Lunge & Curl-to-Press Combo

Today I’d like to share a ‘new’ exercise with you that I think you’ll really enjoy.  I’ve been experimenting with it for several weeks, first on my own, then with other trainers, and with several of my more adventurous clients.  We’ve all had the same response:  Deceptively difficult, and massive metabolic demand.  Before I explain the why,  check out the video below to see theReverse Lunge & Curl-to-Press Combo:


There are a few reasons why I’m becoming a big fan of this combo, despite the fact that I’m not typically a fan of combo exercises.  This one was inspired by some of the ideas that Todd Wright and Dave Tiberio shared at the Perform Better Summit, and a knee-friendly lunge variation that Nick Tumminello has shared.  (See Nick’s lunge HERE.)

Todd and Dave discussed their use of upper-body drivers to change the emphasis of a movement.  Reaching forwards, backwards, sideways, etc., can create a drastic difference in the impact that a movement has.  In Nick’s lunge variation, he explains that the forward reach (and resultant torso lean) increases loading of the posterior chain.  You know that I’m a big fan of lunge matrices, and I wanted to apply this idea of a forward reach/driver to the reverse lunge.

In my very first experiment with this movement, I integrated it into a circuit that included Prowler rows/bear crawls and med-ball throws.  Even with 5lb dumbbells, I quickly realized how metabolically demanding it was.  It also left my glutes pretty sore for the next two days, which surprised me a bit.  Alas, I forgot about our friend Isaac Newton, who likes apples more than Will Hunting.

See, those 5lb dumbbells don’t weigh 5lbs when they’re falling towards the ground like apples.  When you consider gravity and momentum, your body has to work pretty hard to decelerate those weights.  What’s the result?  A whole ton of eccentric work!  (It’s not actually a ton, unless you’re moving really fast.)  The eccentric stress is one of the reasons I like this movement; your body has to work much harder than you’d expect with relatively light weights.  This means that even folks who are fearful of heavy weights can get a great training effect.

Due to the rather complex nature of the movement, and the fact that you’re going to be using much lighter weights than you’d use for a regular reverse lunge, curl, or press, I’d suggest that you use this for conditioningafter you’ve practiced it.  You’ll achieve a full-body metabolic effect with minimal load, and be able to emphasize the glutes during your training.  Can I get a hell yea?!

I’ve been using this exercise in circuits and complexes, and you can use it as a finisher all on it’s own.  You can apply it in several different ways; alternating legs, single leg, giant sets or interval-based conditioning.  To start, how about 3-4 rounds of 8-12 reps per leg.  Once you’re comfortable there, you can try timed sets such as a 30/30 work/rest ratio, or the bastardized Tabata protocol, of 20/10 work/rest ratio.  I’d use a single leg for each ‘set’ of the Tabata, so you’d have 4 minutes and 8 sets, 4 on each leg.  If you can get that one done, let me know; I’d be impressed!

Lastly, if you’re wondering why I’m listening to Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture while training, my answer is simple:  Because it makes everything epic.

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