Sexy Move of the Week: 1-Arm Overhead Lunge

Skill of the Week: 1-Arm Kettlebell Overhead Lunge

February 23, 2015
Updated May 13, 2020

By holding a single kettelebell or dumbbell overhead while performing a lunge, you’ll be building upper body, lower body, and core strength, as well as increasing power in your legs. This variation of the basic lunge exercise works the entire body and has tremendous benefits for almost all athletes.

In order to correctly perform the 1-Arm Kettlebell Overhead Lunge you’ll need solid footing, a tight core, and proper lunge form, along with tremendous balance and coordination.

The 1-Arm Kettlebell Overhead Lunge builds full body power due to the fact that you must load the feet, knees, hips and core through your shoulders, and quickly unload the weight by driving into the ground.

As a stability exercise, the 1-Arm Kettlebell Overhead Lunge isolates the quads and hamstrings with the lunge motion. Adding the overhead weight causes the stabilizer muscles in your shoulders to fully engage, which forces the core muscles to contract.

How to Perform the 1-Arm Overhead Lunge

How to Perform the 1-Arm Overhead Lunge

Step 1: Get the Kettlebell into Position

  • Hold a single kettlebell or dumbbell overhead with your feet shoulder width apart and knees slightly bent.
  • The best way to get the kettlebell into position is to rack it with both hands, then press it into a stable overhead position.
  • Keep the weight directly overhead (in line with the shoulder joint) and take a comfortable step back into the start of a lunge position.
  • If the kettlebell is in your left hand, place your left foot back and vice versa.

Step 2: Lunge Descension

  • Forcefully drive your forward heel in to the ground and begin to lower your back knee directly under your hips.
  • As you drop your back knee down to the ground, make sure there is no rotation in the knees, hips, or shoulders.
  • Do not lean to one side or the other, keep your core tight and shoulders packed.
  • As always, maintain perfect posture throughout the movement: your head is level, your eyes are looking forward, your chest is proud and your spine is neutral.
  • Drive your knee down until it is just above the ground.
  • In the bottom of this lunge position, your back leg should be as close to a right angle as possible.

Step 3: Lunge Ascension

  • Once your knee is just above the ground, reverse the motion back to the starting position.
  • Don’t bend your elbows throughout the lift or let the weight fall during the exercise.
  • Don’t let your front heel lift off of the ground during the exercise.
  • Once you reach the starting position, pause, and repeat.
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