Better Backside with Barbell Lunges


A Part of Fierce Play’s Barbell Powerlifting Series

The barbell lunge is a variation of the standard lunge that incorporates the use of a barbell in three possible ways: a back rack, front rack, or overhead position. The barbell lunge is performed the same as a standard lunge, having the athlete places one leg in front of the body, with the foot flat on the floor and the knee bent, while the other leg remains behind the body. The only difference is that now the athlete must maintain stability with the addition of the weighted barbell. Barbell lunges are a great exercise for strengthening the quadriceps (front of the legs) and glutes (butt muscles) in the body. They also provide an efficient way to continue to work on balance and core strength as the athlete focuses on keeping the bar in a stable position while keeping the chest upright.

Watch the video clip below for a full explanation of technique, tips and tricks for performing the movement with efficiency, as well as precautions for staying safe.


  1. Make a Good Stride: As you step forward with your leg, make a long enough stride so that your weight stays in the heel of the front foot and also prevents your knee from going too far forward where your heel comes up off the ground. Each person’s stride length will be different depending on his/her height, but finding the right stride will protect your knees and ensure you’re getting maximum efficiency from the movement.
  2. Touch the Back Knee: There’s no need to bang the back knee down on the ground once you’ve made the stride or step forward into your lunge. Just lightly touch your knee to the ground before standing back up.
  3. Push through the Heel: To stand back up, focus on pushing through your front heel to gain momentum and get yourself back into standing position.
  4. Knees Over Toes: Keep your knee straight forward and pointed toward your front toe, versus letting the knee tip inward or outward. This will protect the joint and will prevent injury to the knee.
  5. Keep Chest Upright: Just as with the air squat, keep your chest nice and tall and don’t round your back as you complete the lunge. Your spine should be in a neutral position as you lunge forward and step back upright each time.
  6. Keep Arms In Proper Position: When performing a front-rack or overhead lunge, it’s important to keep arms in the correct position. Just as with the front squat, keep your elbows high and shoulders rounded forward in order to maintain a good front rack position throughout the front rack lunge. When performing the overhead lunge, maintain lock-out in your arms overhead while focusing on turning the pits of your elbows to the sky so as to keep the bar balanced overhead without causing strain on the shoulder.

SCALING: Sometimes our mobility or lack of strength can hinder us as we attempt to perform movements with proper form.  Remember: Scaling isn’t a negative thing! It will help you gain strength while staying in a safe position until ultimately you can perform the movement in its entirety. Stay encouraged that as you continue on your fitness journey, you will find that you won’t have to scale as significantly or as often.

  1. Body Weight Lunges: It’s critical to always ensure that before attempting a barbell lunge, you can safely perform a body weight lunge. If you’re struggling to stay steady or keep proper form, scale down to focus on performing body weight lunges until you have gained the strength and control to add a barbell.
  2. Lower the Weight: If you can’t stay stable with the weight you have on the barbell, lower it or even use just the barbell itself. Focus on form instead of weight and the strength will come.
  3. Limit the Range of Motion: If you’re not able to make it all the way to the ground with the back knee, go as low as you can while keeping your body steady and your torso in an upright position.


QUESTIONS: Ready to get started, or curious to learn more about how Fierce Play can help you meet your health and wellness goals? Contact us for more information. Also feel free to check out more of our videos series to learn how to perform the basics with solid form and efficiency. 


Fierce Play’s Barbell Powerlifting Series focuses on proper technique, as well as tips & tricks, to master some of the foundational movements that will be integrated into many of the workouts you will perform. Start your next workout with the confidence and skills to do the movement safely and effectively.


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Mark Mancuso started his fitness journey while enlisted in the United States Marine Corps. Like most individuals, at first, he only focused on bodybuilding type workouts. Mark learned quickly that focusing just on the aesthetics of the body would get you only so far. In 2013, Mark found out about Crossfit and fell in love with everything that it stood for.

In June of 2015, Mark was Honorably Discharged from the Marine Corps and returned from his duty station in Okinawa, Japan to his home in Maple Grove, MN. Not having any formal coaching in Crossfit he was on a mission to find a Crossfit Box to call home. Fierce Play welcomed him with open arms, and he hasn’t looked back. Mark obtained his Level One Crossfit certification in November 2015 and plans to add additional certifications in the future. He also intends to compete in a variety of Crossfit competitions as opportunities arise.


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Jeff Birthler has a contagious passion for fitness. He graduated and obtained a personal training certificate from the National Personal Training Institute in 2010. On his way, he discovered and fell in love with CrossFit. Jeff hasn’t stopped learning, and still seeks a well-rounded education within the health domain, going beyond physical facets. He has trained clients at several corporate gyms, including Fitness 19 and LA Fitness, as he established a plan for his own gym.

Fierce Play was established in 2012 in a 500 sq. ft. garage. After a few moves and upgrades, it now has a permanent, 4800 sq. ft. location in Maple Grove. Jeff calls it “home”.


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