Lateral Lunge

Lateral Lunge (How To, Muscles Worked, Benefits)

Lateral Lunges are a great bodyweight warm-up exercise those focuses on the groin, but also will stretch and warm-up the quads, glutes and hamstrings. And because they don’t require any equipment they can easily be added to any warm-up, whether on the field or in the weight room.

In this guide, I’m going to teach you how to properly do Lateral Lunges along with some important coaching points and variations that you can try out.

How To Do Lateral Lunges

Equipment Needed

  • None

Muscles Worked

  • Quads
  • Hamstrings
  • Groin

Step-by-Step Instructions

  • Start in a standing position, feet hip-width apart
  • Step out laterally, wider than shoulder-width
  • Shift your weight towards the foot that just stepped out (the lead leg).
  • As you shift your weight, bend the lead leg and keep the back leg straight.
  • Push the hips back, keep the chest up and keep the lead foot flat on the ground (do not shift to the ball of the foot).
  • Finally, extend up and step the trail leg back up to hip-width.
  • Continue until the distance assigned is completed*

Coaching Points

Oftentimes, I see athletes who turn this movement into a full ‘butt-to-the-floor’ on the lead leg and then turning the toe up on the back side leg to manage the position. This may look good, but it defeats the purpose of stretching the back side groin. By turning the toe up, the stretch moves to the hamstring which is not where the emphasis should be.

*Lateral Lunges can also be done in place if you are short on space. Instead of bringing the trail leg to the lead leg after lunging, simply drive the lead leg back to the original starting position and then repeat. In this scenario, I like to alternate legs back and forth.

Lateral Lunge Alternatives

Need an alternative for Lateral Lunges? Here are a couple of exercises that you may be able to use as a replacement.

Elbow to Ankle

Elbow to Ankle is a great dynamic warm-up movement.

Take a big step forward with the right foot, bend the front knee and drop the back knee towards the ground – similar to a lunge. Brace the left hand on the ground and try to take the right elbow to the right ankle.

If you can’t quite get the elbow to your ankle, that’s okay, just go for as much range of motion as you can get. On the other hand, if you can get your forearm all the way onto the ground then gold star for you.

Leg Swings Side to Side

Another really good and really simple warm-up movement to loosen up the groin are Side to Side Leg Swings. They can be done with minimal space and no equipment. You can also quickly switch to Front to Back Leg Swings and warm up the hip flexors and hamstrings as well.

Lateral Lunge Variations

Side to Side Lunge

Side to Side Lunges are a very similar variation to Lateral Lunges. The only change here really is that you get into a wide stance and merely shift from one side to the other. So, the feet stay in place and you basically shift from a Lateral Lunge position on one side directly into a Lateral Lunge position on the other side.

These are an especially effective variation if you are short on space.

Goblet Lateral Lunge

If you’d like to turn Lateral Lunges from a warm-up movement into a strength-building movement, then grab a kettlebell.

Cradle the kettlebell at the chest, just like you would with a Goblet Squat. Then, perform Lateral Lunges just like you would normally.

More Links and Info

Looking for more exercises to incorporate into your warm-up? Go check out the Warm-Up Section of our Exercise Library.

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