Strength Training

Front Lunges Suck. Do THIS Instead…

Walk into any gym on any given day and you’ll see Front Lunges being performed. They are one of the most popular exercises in the world…but they shouldn’t be.

I think they suck.

Watch the video below to find out WHY I think they suck and WHAT you can do about it…

Next time you goto the gym, try substituting your front lunges with “my” version of reverse lunges.

I’d love to hear your feedback after you give them a try! (Drop me a comment below.)

-Joe D. 



  1. I have seen a lot recently that says unilateral lunging movements can contribute to knee injuries. What are your thoughts on this?

  2. Thanks for the video!

    I’m currently not very flexible and it’s caused issues with my knees when doing squats. I’m starting to incorporate the limber 11 into my daily routine and I’m hoping that that will eventually give me the mobility I need for squats. Would these reverse lunges be a suitable squat replacement (until my mobility increases) if I’m using squats for strength training? My thinking is that so long as I’m doing these with enough weight, they should work well as a temporary (or maybe permanent…) replacement. Is there another exercise that would be better?

  3. Gonna give these a go this week. I have always done the front lunge, be it for exercise or warm up for field hockey. Thanks Boss!

  4. I am a 74 year old guy very active in the gym but with a bad hip on one leg and a frozen toe on the opposite foot. These are a perfect alternative to the front lunge for broken down old guys. Thanks for the video.

  5. Joe,

    I totally agree with your reverse lunge thought process. It’s a great exercise and I agree with the forward shin angle when lowering. Just like when you squat it’s the same exact position, just with the rev lunge it’s on one leg instead of 2…great job

  6. I recently started one of your programs. I was a competitive gymnast for sixteen years and have been lifting for about 6 years now. in the last two years my nutrition and exercise regimen have been really fine-tuned and have changed in positive ways. Just shy of where i want to be, i messaged a friend who is super into your programs and i’ve been looking at your stuff since then. I’m so excited to see where I am after the Strong Bastard Program. It’s been a while since i’ve gotten my butt kicked quite this much and I LOVE IT. I’m turning into a Defranco fanatic. Thanks for bringing exercise truth into the world. I’m sick of all the false information out there. Six years in, and in the past year and a half maybe, i’ve finally found that over training was so counterproductive. So glad to be using your program to help me reach my goals! Training smart is where it’s at.

  7. Joe,

    I started doing these with clients a few years ago. All of them love the benefits and all of them feel stronger with their knees intact. I sent this video to a few of my long term clients and they all agreed that this makes a ton of sense and they want to continue doing them.
    Loved the family appearance. Keep up the great work!!

  8. Hey, I tried your reverse lunge and haven’t gone back! It definitely makes my knees feel more supported, and I have more balance in general doing it this way. No more dreading this part of my workouts – Thanks!

  9. Now I have even more reason to be annoyed by the guy at my gym who does front lunges… on a bench… in front of the squat rack… JUST WHY

  10. Hi Joe,
    I have been listening to your podcasts and recently bought Built 2 Last. I’m a 37 year old business guy/desk jockey who still thinks and trains like an athlete. I have 4 young kids and need to stay strong and fast. I have 2 questions to ask.
    1) Kelly and Roop talk about avoiding deep tissue release prior to a workout. They equate it to getting a massage and then going for a workout. Do you think the foam roll warm up falls in this category? I liked you analog of bubble gum in the Gainz after 40 podcast and agree. What’s the best practice here from your perspective?
    2) My right hip has degenerative arthritis. Unfortunately I have to get a hip resurfacing at HSS later this year. Any way to modify the lower body routine to stay strong and mobile? Obviously I have to work within the constraints of my condition/injury. Have you worked with pre/post patients to continue to maintain strength?

    Thanks for the feedback. Love the podcasts.

  11. Hi Joe, I am curious as to why you want the knee travelling forward over the toes. Specifically, if you happen to have clients with anterior knee pain and/or patella tendon issues, regardless of the fact the reverse lunge takes some of the pressure off, with anterior knee positioning and encouraging anterior weight shift (even if the heel stays down) are you not still increasing shear forces through the knee? On that note I was also curious as to where you coach knee positioning in higher loaded positions such as the Bulgarian split squat. By the way, love the website and the podcast, much more entertaining than most of the bland strength and conditioning talk around these days. Thanks for your time, Dan.

  12. I found your podcast and fell in love with it fast. Now I am thrilled to explore your website, and check out all the great videos you have posted. You’re passionate about what you do, and it comes through every week.

    With this video, I am so happy to see that I’m not alone in the front lunge bothering my knees! I won’t do those anymore, and instead I do walking lunges. Seeing that your chest should be a bit forward, is very helpful. I tend to keep upright and sometimes wobble because of it. Thank you for such great videos and for helping us out!

  13. I loved this video! You’ve become a gold standard in S&C so it’s nice to see your thoughts on front lunges! They destroy the patellar tendon and give the exerciser a tendinopathy over time due to the eccentric action of the end point on the lunge. I see people doing hundreds of these in body pump, how can we stop them? Or perhaps laugh at them when they’re on crutches because they just won’t listen! Keep up the good work mucca

  14. I have seen on Google that Joe had a fantastic 15 exercises to increase your vertical jump. It has since been deleted and I was wondering if anyone may have a copy somewhere. Thanks!

  15. Rick,
    I like Walking Lunges because you are applying the force “down & back” into the ground as you step forward. (This closely resembles the Reverse Lunge…the only difference is you’re actually moving forward when you perform the “walking” version.)
    To summarize:
    Reverse & Walking Lunges = Good
    Front Lunges = Suck

  16. Great video, i ve recently added bulgarian split squats done with the knee reaching forward as far as possible (similar position) and it also made my knee feel great (Poliquin front leg elevated split squats ) – they feel great on the quads:)

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