From Warmups To Workouts, Here's Why Lateral Lunges Deserve A Spot In Your Routine
Lunges are a staple in plenty of leg-day workouts—but don't forget there are a few different varieties to try! One great example is the lateral lunge (aka side lunge), which introduces some unique movement and stretching to your routine. Here's how to do them properly, demonstrated by fitness instructor Mindy Lai.
How to do lateral lunges:
- Begin standing with your hands on your hips or in front of your chest.
- Take a big step to the left, bending the left knee and straightening out the right.
- Lower the hips down like you would in a squat.
- Rise back up, stepping the left foot back to center, squeezing the glutes and keeping your chest lifted.
- Repeat on the opposite side for one full set.
- Continue for 30 seconds to a minute as part of a warmup, or complete 3 sets of 10.
Tips & modifications:
- To add a challenge, you can hold weights or a dumbbell in your hands.
- Press into the outer edge of the foot of your straightened leg for extra stability and hip opening.
- Engage your core to help keep your spine straight and chest lifted.
What are the benefits?
Your standard lunge will certainly get your glutes and quadriceps working, but they won't target your abductor muscles (inner thighs) quite as much. With lateral lunges, however, you work both the inner and outer thigh, as well as the glutes and quads.
What's more, this movement targets the sides of the glutes (aka the gluteus medius), which provides stability for the hip joint. Plus, it can help open up any tightness in your hips and groin.
On top of that, the side-to-side movement can help cultivate balance and stability. While it's a great, dynamic exercise on its own, adding some weights to lateral lunges can turn this simple move into a full-body exercise.
Lateral lunges are a beginner-friendly move, perfect for warming up the body before a workout, or even as part of the workout itself. So the next time you want to work those inner thighs and glutes, give lateral lunges a try.
Sarah Regan is a Spirituality & Relationships Writer, as well as a registered yoga instructor. She received her bachelor's in broadcasting and mass communication from SUNY Oswego, and lives in Buffalo, New York.