Welcome to our weekly Move of the Week series. Every Monday, we’ll be sharing with you one of our favourite exercises – how to do them, what muscles they work and why they should be a regular part of your workout regime. This week: lateral lunge.
If you want to run comfortably, then you need to have a strong base – and that means working those leg muscles. It’s not just the glutes and quads you need to worry about though; the muscles on the insides of our legs often get overlooked when we move sagittally (front and back). Lateral (side-to-side) lunges can help to redress that imbalance and keep us running, injury-free.
So, what exactly is a lateral lunge and what muscles does it work?
A lateral lunge is simply a lunge done in the lateral plane – i.e. sideways. It’s great for:
- A good lower body workout: Targets every bit of the leg while challenging the body to move in a less common direction.
- Adaptable: To make it easier, take a more narrow step out and don’t go too deep. To make it harder, add some weight or reduce the amount of time that both feet are on the ground.
- Great for balance: It’s not just about strength but balance and flexibility. In time you’ll be able to lunge deeper – without any wobbles.
Which muscles are worked?
This move primarily targets the lower body, including:
- Adductor (the inside leg muscles that draw the leg in)
- Abductor (the inside leg muscles that allow the leg to move out)
How to do a lateral lunge
Balance is needed here so start by standing up tall and focussing on a spot just in front of you.
- Stand with feet hip-width apart.
- Keeping your left foot firmly planted, lift your right leg and step out to the right before bending that right knee. You want to be sitting back into that right leg, weight towards your heel and back straight.
- The left leg should be straight while the right knee is bent – you should feel the inside of your left leg stretching.
- Lift your body and right leg back up to meet your left.
- Repeat on the other side.
Keen to improve your form? Check out our How To library to see exactly how the experts do over 100 of the most common strength training exercises.
Miranda Larbi is a freelance fitness and wellness journalist, and qualified personal trainer. When she’s not finding new vegan places to eat, she can be found training for the next marathon or cycling across London on a Tokyo bike.