Muscles Targeted: Barbell lunges target the quadriceps as the primary muscle group but they also work your gluteus muscles (butt) and hamstrings very well. This is an excellent movement for working your legs and if one of your goals is to tone, tighten and firm up your butt then this is one of the exercises that you definitely want to include in your leg workout.
Exercise Advice: Begin with a very light weight in order to perform the exercise technique safely and correctly. If you have access to a gym with a barbell rack with preset weights, this is a great option to use. This type of weight rack uses a shorter barbell with weights that range from 10 pounds to over 100 pounds. It’s very convenient to use this type of rack system when starting out since you can quickly switch weights without wasting time loading and unloading plates onto the barbell. You can also start with a very light weight compared to a regular Olympic barbell which weighs 45 pounds alone (without any weight on it).
To start, place the barbell on your shoulders and take a shoulder width stance. Slowly lunge forward by bringing your right leg out in front of you and placing your right foot securely on the ground as you bend your knee. Try to focus on keeping your back straight with your shoulders back as you lunge forward and make sure to avoid bringing your right knee over your right foot. If your knee is way over your foot as you lunge forward, your technique is incorrect and you’re placing too much emphasis on your knee versus your quadriceps muscle. Your weight should feel like it’s on the middle of your leg and the heel of your foot versus out in front of you and on your toes.
Things To Avoid: As mentioned above, the main technique mistake on the barbell lunge is to lean too far forward on the downward lunge portion of this exercise and place too much pressure on your knee, which could cause injury. Focus on keeping your weight on your leg muscles and if you feel like you’re leaning forward, make an adjustment to correct your form. It’s always important to do the barbell lunge very slowly and focus all of your attention on placing direct tension on your quadriceps. Avoid trying to lunge back and forth too fast on this exercise since it’s very important to keep your balance to avoid falling or placing undue tension on the knee.
Reps and Sets: Your repetition range on the barbell lunge will be higher in the range of 12-15 reps per set since this is an exercise where you will not be using a very high amount of weight. Do 2-3 total sets of barbell lunges as part of your overall leg workout.
Other Exercises To Use: The barbell lunge is a great finishing exercise to use in your leg workout. A great workout would include a mass building movement like barbell squats for your first 3-4 sets (after warming up). Then you can move into a few sets of the leg press machine and follow them up with barbell lunges for the finishing movement for an effective leg workout.