Exercise Tutorial: Lateral Lunge

The lateral lunge is a exercise to target the glutes and hamstrings. Although both feet are planted, it's more of a single leg exercise.

In the lateral lunge, you drive your hips back and put your bodyweight onto one leg. From there, I imagine pushing the ground away with the same leg im loading and thrusting the hips forward. The side you load, is the side of the glute you’re going to feel. You should feel a stretch on your other leg from keeping it straight as you lean.

The 3 key points are 1. Stand wide, 2. Point toes forward and 3. Keep shins as vertical as possible

1. By standing wide, you're giving your hips more room to move making it easier to lean onto one side. However, you don’t want to stand so wide that your stretching leg’s knee is caving inwards (you may feel a stretch in the knee joint). If that is the case, you’ve gone too far. The stretch should be in your inner thigh.

2. Point toes forward so your hips don't drift too far laterally.

3. Keeping shins as vertical as possible will ensure you're loading your hamstrings and glutes rather than your quads. This is why I like it as a precursor to deadlifts especially if you or your client have a "squatty-deadlift" (a squatty deadlift is when your hips are parallel to your knees in the bottom of deadlift).

If your shins are drifting over the toes, put a bench in front of your shins to remind you to extend your hips back rather than sit down straight.

Lastly, I like this exercise because it's a frontal plane leg movement which most people are missing in traditional bodybuilding and powerlifting programs. You don’t need a lot of weight to feel this movement initially. Start with 15-20 pounds for 15 reps on each leg and see how it feels. This make its perfect when you have minimal equipment but even more effective if you have access to heavy weight.

This is great for everyday people and athletes. I can see applications for basketball, soccer. baseball and football athletes who want to develop their ability to change directions explosively.