What Are Lateral Lunges?

A lateral lunge, also known as a side lunge, is a bodyweight exercise that works for multiple muscle groups throughout your lower body, including your quadriceps, abductors, glutes, and hamstrings. Practice lateral lunges by moving your left foot out to your side, extending your left leg as you hinge your right knee.

Lateral lunges are a type of famous exercise called lunges that work on your lower body, and specifically on your inner thigh muscles to make them stronger. If you have any kind of imbalance in your leg, lateral lunges are better than other famous exercises like squats since they work on the legs individually. 

Lateral lunge exercise is more difficult than a squat but it also provides you additional benefits. For example, if you want to strengthen your lower back muscles but feel back pain while doing most exercises, you can try alternating lateral lunges as it is gentler on the back. 

What Muscles Worked By Lateral Lunges?

The two muscle groups that get impacted by lateral lunges the most are your quads and glutes. Unlike other forms of lunges like the traditional lunges or the reverse lunge, lateral lunges work on both inner and outer thighs. This means that people who want to strengthen their thighs just to improve their functional power also benefit from the exercise. 

How to Do Lateral Lunges?

If you have experience doing lunges as your weight loss exercise or strength exercise, you will easily learn how to do lateral lunges as both exercises are somewhat similar. You can add it to your workout at home as this exercise does not require any special type of equipment.

 Here is a step-by-step guide on how to do lateral lunges the correct way:

  1. Start the exercise by standing straight with feet at a hip-width distance to each other. 
  2. Put your hands in front of your chest and take a lunge at your side with your left leg. 
  3. Your toes should point in the same direction. 
  4. Now, bend your knees, keep the hips back, and take a step outward. 
  5. While doing this pose, you will feel as if you are sitting on a chair with just one side of your lower body. 
  6. To release this pose, you will have to push off your left foot. 
  7. You can do an alternating side lunge by switching between your legs. 
  8. As a beginner, 10 sets of lateral lunges are enough for you. 

Check out this video to learn how to do a Lateral Lunge provided by Cult Fit

This video gives you a step-by-step guide to performing Lateral Lunge by Cult Fit that helps you work your obliques.

What Are the Variations of Lateral Lunges?

Although the exercise engages your body quite actively, you might feel a little bored while practising the same exercise again and again. In such a case, you can try lateral lunges variations such as alternating lateral lunges, lateral lunges with hops, or deep side lunges. 

Here is a list of some variations you can try at your gym:

1) Lateral Lunges With Hops

Also known as rope side lunges, this exercise requires you to work with hops while you take lunges. The major benefit of this exercise is that it works on your hands’ muscles too. 

2) Dumbbell Lateral Lunge

Also known as a DB lateral lunge or side lunge with dumbbells, this exercise requires you to pick weights while you take lunges. This exercise is for people who want to build their biceps along with working on their quads and glutes. 

3) Low Side Lunges

Also known as a low side-to-side lunge, this exercise is quite effective at building your strength and increasing flexibility in your legs and the hips. It can also increase the strength of your core muscles and improve your balance on both sides of the body.

What Are the Benefits of Practicing Lateral Lunges?

Here is a list of benefits that you get by practising lateral lunges workout regularly:

1) Strengths Your Lower Body

Just like regular lunges, lateral lunge exercise too works on your lower body and strengthen hamstrings and quads. The exercise also works on the various muscles present in the inner thighs such as the adductors and the outer glutes. 

2) Improves Your Stability

 Lateral lunges can help you do your day-to-day life activities better by improving stability and body balance. From sitting and standing to improve your body posture, this exercise can contribute to everyday tasks. 

3) Makes Your Better At Sports

Along with day-to-day tasks, lateral lunges also help you get better at sports such as skiing or cycling. If you perform any sports that require leg strength, alternating side lunge can improve your performance. 

4) Makes You Look Tall

By practising this exercise regularly, you can improve your body posture and that leads to a straight spine. When you stand straight with the correct posture, you look taller than you would in a hunched position. 

What Precautions And Safety Points for Lateral Lunges?

Whether you are performing side lunges workout or variations such as low side lunges, deep side lunges, etc., you have to keep the following points in mind to ensure your safety:

  1. If you have an existing knee injury, you should avoid side lateral lunge till you completely recover from that injury. If you are still adamant about performing the exercise, you should consult a physician first. 
  2. Intense variations such as dumbbell lateral lunge or rope side lunges should be avoided by pregnant women. 
  3. Maintaining a proper form will prevent you from getting injured or putting strain on any muscle while performing side lunges workout. 
  4. Do not take a large lunge or you will end up putting straight on your loin area or the inner thigh. You can use a mirror to check that your body alignments stay on the right track. 
  5. Increase the weight only gradually while practicing DB lateral lunge.
  6. Do not lean forward during the deepest point of the lateral lunge. Otherwise, you will disrupt your posture or slouch. 
  7. While doing the side lateral lunge, never let the bent knee move past your toes as it puts pressure on your quads. 
  8. Shift to side lunge with dumbbells only when you have mastered the basic posture. 


Whether you are a beginner or someone with years of experience in the gym, lateral lunges workout is highly beneficial for you. It is easy to learn how to do it the right way and even easier to perform. Add the exercise to your lower body workout right away and be ready to get strong quads and glutes. 

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June 23, 2022

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