How to Do Side Lunges

The lungs are an effective exercise targeting the lower body. Specifically, they work the glutes, hamstrings and quadriceps. One type of lunge that also incorporates the inner thigh muscle is a side lunge (also known as a side lunge).

If you have any imbalance in your legs, you may want to incorporate thrusts. While exercises like the squat work both legs at the same time, side lunges target the legs individually. This helps strengthen stabilizer muscles, improve balance, and create symmetry in both legs.

Side lunges can also be gentler on the lower back than squats, although they tend to be more difficult than squats as they require ample balance.

For starters, you won't need any special equipment because side lunges are bodyweight exercises. As you go, you can add weights and thus increase the difficulty of the movement. Add side shots to lower body exercises several times a week to target your leg and glute muscles.


Like regular lunges, side lunges are a lower body exercise. They primarily target large muscle groups in the legs, such as the hamstrings and quadriceps. Lateral lunges also work the inner thigh muscles, such as the adductors and outer glutes.

Taking regular side shots can improve balance and stability, which is beneficial for daily activities. Having good balance makes it easier to move from a sitting position to a standing position, prevents falls, and helps improve your fitness during exercise.

Increasing leg strength with side thrusts can be especially helpful for those who enjoy skiing. When skiing, the muscles of the inner thigh, such as the adductors, are activated. Since side steps increase strength in the outer and inner thighs, they are great moves to prepare for a ski trip or competition.

Step-by-Step Instructions

If you are familiar with lateral lunges, learning lateral lunges is a natural progression. You will need a lot of space on each side. For beginners, no special equipment is needed. As your strength builds, you can choose to add weight to this exercise (like the kettlebell illustrated above in a vertical row combination with side lunge kettlebells) or continue at bodyweight alone. In addition to the equipment used during exercise, a towel is optional and a bottle of water is highly recommended.

When you're ready, see how to safely and effectively perform lateral thrusts:

1. Begin in an upright position with your feet hip-width apart.

2. Place your hands in front of your chest.

3. With your left leg, take a big step to the side. Both toes should be pointing in the same direction and your feet should be flat on the floor.

4. When exiting, bend your left knee and keep your hips back. It should look like you are trying to sit on the side of your lower body on a chair.

5. Release the position by pushing your left foot back to the starting position.

6. Perform 10 side lunges with your left leg, then switch to the right. Repeat for additional sets.

Common Mistakes

Although side lunges are suitable for beginners, it is important to practice proper form to minimize the risk of injury. Avoiding these common mistakes will help you improve your form.

Pulse too shallow or too deep

Taking too small a side step during the lunge does not create adequate strength and balance. On the other hand, doing a very large lateral push can put strain on the inner thigh and loin. Knowing the size of the step to take when lateral loading is not a perfect science, but it is an important factor in getting it right. Using a mirror can be helpful to ensure that your alignment stays on track.

Your front leg (or the leg you are stepping with) should be at a 90-degree angle when you bend your knee, and the other knee should be straight and just inches off the floor.

Leaning Forward

At the deepest point of the side lunge, the front leg's knee is forward and the hips are back, so it may seem natural to lean the upper body forward. However, this will affect your balance and can result in sloppy posture and poor posture. Although the side lunge is not aimed at your back, you should keep it as straight as possible, as bending your back can cause strain.

The knee of the front leg passes the toes

There are many things that squats, regular lunges, and side lunges have in common. A common consideration is that the bent knee (the side you are throwing on) should not extend past the toes. This puts more weight on the quads and can be intense on the knees.

Modifications and Variations

Side lunges are a beginner-friendly exercise, but people with different levels of experience with this move may need more challenging modifications or variations.

Do you need a modification?

Side shots require good balance and coordination. If this is challenging for you, start with a shallow version of the side lunge to understand the form. When you feel more confident in your ability to balance during the movement, you can try a full side lunge. While a shallow lunge does not result in a deep stretch and the muscles may not seem challenged, it is a good starting point for true beginners.

Having something in front of you, such as a sturdy chair or furniture, can also help you balance during this exercise. Just be careful not to lean too far forward if you need to grab onto something in front of you.

Ready for a challenge?

To add intensity to your side lunges, switch from body weight to just holding dumbbells in each hand. Instead of placing your hands in front of your chest, keep your arms at your sides. When diving to the side, the knee of your front leg should be between your arms, each holding a weight.

Adding weight not only makes this exercise more advanced, it also contributes to progressive overload. As you progress, you can continue to increase the weight of the dumbbells. This helps build lower body strength and helps build muscle over time. You can also use a kettlebell for an added challenge.

Safety and precautions

The practice of any type of exercise, whether with body weight or weighted lateral lunges, should be taken seriously to avoid injury or strain.

People with knee injuries need to be especially careful. If you experience any pain or discomfort in your knee when performing the lateral thrusts, stop the exercise immediately and speak with a healthcare provider.

Lateral thrusts are safe for most pregnant women during the first and second trimesters, but modifications may be necessary.

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Source: Health Magazine

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