Written by James Cooper
Last Updated

Lateral lunges are an excellent exercise for your glutes, hamstrings, and quads while also working on stretching your hip flexors. This is a great way to tone your legs without going too deep into the muscle groups, leading to injury. With just one simple movement, you can work out many different muscles in the lower body! It’s easy-do it once a day for ten reps.

Lateral Lunges are an excellent strengthening exercise because they target multiple areas of the leg at once, mainly the glutes (buttocks), hamstrings (back of thigh), and quadriceps (front of thigh). They also work on stretching out your hips by targeting hip flexor muscles like those in front of the hip and outer glute muscles. Be sure to follow a complete lower body stretching routine after doing a leg strengthening workout like lateral lunges.

Try this workout, which will target your thighs and butt: 15 reps of each exercise without weight, then 15 with weight. If that’s too hard, try 10-12 reps for each exercise.

Body Weight Lunges (per side)

Stand with your feet together and step one foot forward, bending both knees to lower down into a lunge position with your back knee almost touching the ground. Make sure you are lunging straight up-down rather than lunging forward. Keep your weight in your front heel as you lunge and bring your back knee down, so it almost touches the ground. Also, make sure to push through your front heel on this exercise as if you were trying to lengthen your leg.

Reverse Lunges (per side)

Stand with feet hip-width apart in a split stance position with one foot in front of you and one behind you. Then, step backward as if you were going to take a step off of a cliff and bend both knees to lower into a deep lunge. Keep your back straight and lean forward slightly from the hips as you lunge down. Make sure that your front knee does not extend past your toes.

Side Lunges (per side)

Stand with feet together and step one foot out to the side, keeping both knees straight. Then shift your weight onto that leg as you bend your knee to lunge down on the other side. Make sure your front toes are facing forward instead of facing sideways.

Reverse Lunge With a Twist (per side)

Start with the reverse lunge (step backward as if you were stepping off of a cliff), but instead of bringing your knee down, rotate your upper body to the side that you are lunging on. You’ll want to then step back into your split stance and perform another reverse lunge, rotating the other way.

Donkey Kicks

Get on all fours with hands under shoulders and knees directly under hips. Bring your right knee forward as far as you can, keeping your foot flexed and knee bent at a 90-degree angle. Then, bring it back to starting position by using your glute muscles. Keep your abs tight, so you don’t arch your back during this exercise. Alternate each leg with every repetition.

For weight options, pick up dumbbells at your feet or grab a weighted ball. Do 15 repetitions for each exercise before moving on to the next exercise, and do ten reps of each if you find it too difficult. Repeat the circuit as many times as necessary to complete all 60 reps of each exercise.

You may also try using: Guide to the Best Wrist Weights in 2021

 

Variations of the Lateral Lunge

There are different variations of the Lateral Lunge, which you can do to affect different muscles in the lower body.

1. With your feet together take a large step to your side. Bend both knees deeply, lowering your hips down towards the ground with your hands on either side for balance. Make sure to keep your chest up and back flat at all times.

2. Starting with your feet together, take a small step out to the side to build up resistance in the glutes and hamstrings.

3. Take a large step in front of you while always staying on one foot (same side). Bend both knees deeply, lowering your hips down towards the ground with your hands on either side for

Tips for perfect form during lunges:

  • Keep your chest up and back flat at all times.
  • Make sure to keep your knees in line with the toes of the front foot.
  • You can add weights to increase resistance or repetitions.

4. Starting with your feet together, take a small step behind you while always staying on one foot (same side). Bend both knees deeply, lowering your hips down towards the ground with your hands on either side for balance.

  • This variation will help you to stretch the hip flexors and glutes.

5. Step back into a Reverse Lunge with your knee in line with the toe of your front foot (other leg bent at 90 degrees). Step back into a Lunge with the knee in line with the toe of your other foot (other leg bent at 90 degrees).

  • Keep alternating, stepping back and forth while always staying on one foot.
  • Make sure to keep your chest up and knees in line with the toes of the front feet.

6. You can also make Lateral Lunges with weights! It is essential to maintain perfect form during these types of lunges as well.

  • Always make sure that your balance is secure — you can always use the wall for support.
  • Hold weights with either both hands or one hand, straight out in front of you.

7. If you are feeling stable, lift the knee of your front leg as you step out to the side.

  • Keep your back flat and your knees behind your toes.

8. Or if you want a challenge, lift the knee as you step backward and lift as you alternate Lunges!

  • Make sure to keep your chest up and back flat at all times — don’t slouch!
  • Try to get your bottom knee down at least an inch from the ground.
  • As you get more comfortable, you can work on touching the knee to the floor.

9. You can also make Lateral Lunges with weights or hold onto a medicine ball for added strength resistance! It is essential to maintain good form during these types of lunges as well.

  • Make sure to keep your chest up and back flat at all times — don’t slouch!
  • You can alternate Lunges (for example, step out and then step back) or do them one after another.

10. For a challenge, lift the knee of your front leg as you step out to the side.

  • Keep your back flat and your knees behind your toes.

11. Or if you want a challenge, lift the knee as you step backward!

  • Try to get your bottom knee down at least an inch from the ground.
  • As you get more comfortable, you can work on touching the knee to the floor.

Conclusion

It’s essential to do some variation of a Lateral Lunge to tone your legs without going too deep into the muscle groups. The different variations will work out many other muscles while helping you maintain perfect form and avoid injury. If lunges are something new for you, start with these tips before moving on to more challenging variations like adding weights or doing them one after another.


Sources:

Fitzgerald, Stephanie. “Lateral Lunges: Why and How to do Them.” Seven Steps to Fitness, 2018,

www.sevensteps2fitness.com/lateral-lunges-why-and-how-to-do-them/. Accessed 16 Apr. 2018.

Fitzgerald, Stephanie. “Tone Your Legs With These Lateral Lunges.” The Krazy Coupon Lady, 2018, thekrazycouponlady.com/tone-your-legs-with-these-lateral-lunges/. Accessed 16 Apr. 2018.

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