Barbell overhead lunge exercise

Barbell overhead lunges

Exercise details

  • Movement pattern: Lunge
  • Mechanics: Compound
  • Force: Push

Main muscles activated

Muscles activated by barbell overhead lunge


Starting position

  1. Stand holding a barbell directly over your head, with your arms almost fully extended.


  1. Keeping your torso upright, inhale as you lunge forward with one leg and lower your back knee until it almost touches the floor.
  2. Exhale as you drive back up with your front leg and step back into the starting position.
  3. Repeat the lunge with the same leg for the prescribed number of repetitions. 
  4. Repeat the exercise with the opposite leg leading the lunge.

Comments and tips

  • For your safety, keep your back neutral and your head, feet, and knees facing forward.
  • Make your lunges big. At the end of the lunge, your front knee should be behind the toes of your front leg.
  • Do not lock out your elbows.
  • To begin with, practice the barbell overhead lunge without plates. Add plates when you are ready.
  • The barbell overhead lunge is an advanced exercise. It can be dangerous if performed with poor form or with too much weight. For this reason, master the barbell lunge before attempting to perform this exercise. You may look into the lunge and the barbell shoulder press to practice correct form, with the latter helping you to raise the barbell over your head.
  • The larger your lunge is, the more emphasis you will place on your gluteus maximus instead of your quadriceps. Conversely, the smaller your lunge is, the more emphasis you will place on your quadriceps instead of your gluteus maximus.
  • The barbell overhead lunge develops balance and coordination. It also improves the functional strength of your lower and upper body. Your core muscles are also engaged during this exercise to stabilize your torso.
  • You may also look into the dumbbell lunge and the barbell side lunge.

Barbell overhead lunge video


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