Barbell Lunge - How Lunge Exercises Terminate Lower Back Torture

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an choosing the barbell lunge for your leg training terminate lower back torture?

Lunge Exercises

Regular visitors to this site know how we champion vigorous leg work to build strength and improve fitness. And while a great number of gym-goers prosper on a traditional diet of heavy, flat-footed barbell squats as advocated by J.C. Hise and Peary Rader, there are many trainees who find themselves unable to squat.

If you fall into this category, what are your options?

Happily, there are a vast array of choices available to you. However, don't do like Arnold and "terminate" this king of exercises just yet. Why? A simple change to how you perform your deep knee-bends can mean the difference between lower back torture and muscular gains.

Barbell Front Lunge vs Traditional Barbell Squat

So you want to build your body? In an ideal world, the solution is a simple one. You squat. And if you train smart and don't get greedy with your poundage progression or training frequency, you grow all the muscle you could possibly desire.

Sadly, however, this ideal world is sci-fi fantasy for many.

Does THIS sound familiar?

  • PAINFUL knees
  • Ankle inflexibility leads to POOR exercise form
  • A long torso transforms squats into lower back AGONY.

But there is good news. Something as basic as foot placement can help preserve your lower back - a common problem when squatting - and shift the emphasis onto the quadriceps, hamstrings and glutes.

And does this solution have a name?


Welcome to the barbell lunge.


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Photo courtesy of John Lawlor

Lunge Exercise Magic

Why are lunge exercises so effective? Sharing much with the traditional squat, the lunge exercise not only trains the hips and thigh muscles, but has one magical element that sets it apart from its deep knee-bend neighbour - keeping the upper back vertical.

Indeed, it is the property of improved posture that safeguards the delicate lower back structure, making the lunges exercise such a productive leg training tool and fine substitute for the barbell squat.

How to do a Lunge

You have some choices regarding how you get the job done. For instance, you can perform front lunges, or rear lunges, or walking lunges - all fine variations of this strength training exercise.

Moreover, these back preserving qualities are further enhanced by removing the resistance from the upper back. For example, dumbbells can be used, or bands, or kettlebells and even sandbags.

The benefit to you?

Just like The Terminator, you get to say "Hasta la vista, baby" to back pain.

In Summary

Choosing the barbell lunge over the barbell squat could be one of the best training decisions you ever make. If lower back injury or poor exercise form are curtailing your efforts in the gym, give this lunge exercise a try - your lower back will thank you for it.

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Barbell Lunge to Muscle Building Exercises

Barbell Lunge to Muscle Building

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