The overhead lunge isn't that commonly seen outside of CrossFit gyms. That's a shame: It's relatively straightforward, you can do it with little to no equipment, and you can do it virtually anywhere. Plus, it'll hammer just about every one of your muscles, promote your stability and mobility, and, well... you get the idea.

How to do an overhead lunge

  1. Hold barbell overhead.
  2. Lunge. In order of ascending difficulty, you can go backward, forward, or, heck, sideways—exerciser’s choice.
  3. There are any number of options to switch it up: Hold one or two dumbbells or kettlebells in your hands. You can hold an object in one hand (the single-arm version) which puts more emphasis on the core. The single-arm version may be easier if you lack shoulder mobility to get your barbell or two-dumbbell-laden arms straight up. You can also hold a single plate overhead in both hands.

What’s so great about the overhead lunge?

The further away from your body you hold a load, the harder is it to control. Putting it up overhead (and holding it there)—then adding the instability and unilateral multijoint movement of a lunge—intensifies an already intense compound exercise.

How can you use it?

Power up your lower body workout by throwing in a few sets of these. Plan it toward the beginning, when you’re less fatigued and can handle the balancing act. Or include them on a low-rep skills-focused day. Just be sure to test your shoulder mobility before trying it—and start light, because this is no cakewalk.