Saddlebag Buster: How to Do a Lateral Lunge in 3 Steps

The lateral lunge is the unsung hero of unilateral exercises. Not only does it blast your lower body, but it bolsters your balance, increases flexibility, improves agility, strengthens ligaments supporting your knee joints, AND it targets your side glutes—a.k.a. the saddlebags.

Today, we at are going to teach you everything you need to know about this lunge variation, including how to do a lateral lunge in 3 steps. 

What is a Lateral Lunge?
What Are the Benefits of Lateral Lunges?
What Muscles Are Used In a Lateral Lunge?
How to Do a Lateral Lunge in 3 Steps
When to Add Weight to a Lateral Lunge
5 Common Mistakes When Doing a Lateral Lunge
How to Include a Lateral Lunge in Your Bodyrock Workout

What is a Lateral Lunge?

A lateral lunge, also known as a side lunge, is a lunge in which you step to the side and bend the knee with which you stepped until it reaches a 90-degree angle. Your other leg remains straight. 

That's it!

What are the Benefits of Lateral Lunges?

We've already touched on some of the benefits of lateral lunges in our intro, but let's dig deeper into the perks here, so you can gain a full appreciation of this incredible exercise.

Lateral lunges are a total lower body workout. Yep—they work your entire lower body, including your quads, glutes, hamstrings and calves. What's more, they work many of the muscles lower body moves like standard squats, lunges and deadlifts miss, including:

  • Your gluteus medius (the outer side of the glute muscle)
  • Your adductor (your inner thigh)

AND it works your quadriceps (thigh) muscles in a completely different way. This means that by including lateral lunges in your workouts, you can get more sculpted lean gains for your efforts. 

Lateral lunges promote better balance. By necessitating that you put the majority of your weight onto one side of your body, lateral lunges work to improve balance.

Use the BodyRock Balance Trainer to get the best from your balance training while maxing out your core strength. 

Lateral lunges increase flexibility. Because you have to take a wide step to the side and then bend that supporting knee, you get a great inner thigh stretch in addition to serious resistance training. Remember: a more flexible body is a body that performs better and is more likely to remain injury free.

Lateral lunges improve agility. When you add explosive plyometric movement to your lateral lunge, you seriously amp up your agility training. Agility training helps you quickly start, stop and change direction—all while maintaining spot-on form. 

In addition to helping you build a stronger body that's capable of more powerful athletic performance, agility training is also insanely functional for your day-to-day life, since it can help you better react to slips, trips and other mishaps that could result in serious injury.

Lateral lunges strengthen ligaments. Lateral lunges help to create stronger ligaments, especially surrounding the knee and hip joints, which are among the top injured joints. Just be aware: strengthening ligaments takes longer than strengthening muscles because ligaments get less blood flow. Keep at it and be patient!

Lateral lunges train your core. Core control is essential for lateral lunges—especially when you do them with weight, like a Sculpt Bar, which can hold up to 90lbs of fat torching resistance. This added weight kicks those core muscles into overdrive, forcing them to stabilize and support your movement. The result is a stronger, more sculpted core.

Check out our AB BOOK for a total guide on how to get your sexiest abs ever. 

What Muscles are Used in the Lateral Lunge?

The lateral lunge exercises a host of lower body muscles! This is why you’ll see us doing it in so many of our BodyRock workouts.

  • Your glutes—especially your gluteus medius (the difficult to train 'saddle bag' area).

  • Your quadriceps—especially the rectus femoris, vastus lateralis and the vastus medialis.

  • Your adductors (inner thighs)—both the adductor longus and adductor magnus.

  • Your calves—both the soleus and gastrocnemius. 

  • Your core—especially the erector spinae, hips, abdominals and hamstrings. The glutes are technically part of the core, but we mention them separately for the sake of noting the lateral lunges unique ability to target the gluteus medius in particular.)

How to Do a Lateral Lunge in 3 Steps

Lateral lunges look easy—and they can be—once you’ve mastered proper form. Don’t even think about picking up a weight until you nail the basic fundamentals of the exercise. Doing this will result in your not getting all the benefits of the move at best, and at worst, you can injure yourself.

3 Steps to a Lateral Lunge

STEP 1: Start with your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart. Roll your shoulders back and down, and stand tall—no slouching. You want to maintain a flat back throughout this movement, so lock your proper posture from the beginning.

STEP 2: Take a BIG step to the side and bend this supporting knee until it reaches a 90 degree angle. It doesn’t matter which side you start with—just make sure it is not so big that you cannot support your weight. 

Notes: Ensure your toes are pointing forward, your chest is lifted, your spine flat and the weight of the movement in the heel of your supporting (bent) leg.

STEP 3: Push up, driving up through the heel of your bent leg and come back to centre. Perform on the other side, or, perform again on the same side. Either option is fine, as long as you are training both sides of your body equally. If you do repeat the move on the same side, bear in mind you will end up doing more reps on each leg, which will be more challenging for a beginner. 

That’s it! If you can do this, then you’ve learned how to do a lateral lunge.

When to Add Weight to a Lateral Lunge

Once you’ve mastered the bodyweight lateral lunge, it’s time to up the ante by adding some resistance. This extra resistance will help you build the muscles in your lower body, which is home to your LARGEST FAT BURNING MUSCLES: your glutes and your quads. 

You probably know, you can’t spot lose weight, but by adding lean muscle mass to your frame, you can ignite your overall fat burn, resulting in a more trim, toned physique overall. 

This is why we at always encourage people to load up for lean gains. If your aim is to lose fat, adding some resistance to a 20 minute HIIT workout will get you better results than an hour of steady state cardio like running or walking.

Our recommended resistance for the lateral lunge: The BodyRock Sculpt Bar. The barbell alone is 5 lbs, which is a solid place to start for someone adding weight to this move for the first time.

Another perk of the Sculpt Bar is that it can sit across the back of your shoulders, which forces your posture upright and into the correct position for the exercise.

When you are ready for more weight, the Sculpt Bar can support up to 90lbs of plate weights. Just slip ‘em on and clip ‘em in as you’re ready to take your training up a notch. The BodyRock Sculpt Bar is gear that grows with your gains, which is why it’s one of our best-selling pieces of equipment. 

Things to keep in mind when you add resistance to your lateral lunge:

  • Form is always your first consideration. If your form is faltering, reduce weight.

  • It’s okay if you can’t make it through all your sets with resistance. Use it for as long as you can (while maintaining that proper form) and then drop it and continue with bodyweight until your workout is complete. 

5 Common Mistakes When Doing a Lateral Lunge

Avoid these common form errors and keep crushing those perfect lateral lunges!

  1. You put your weight in your toes. Keep the weight of the movement in your heels at all times. This will not only engage your glutes, but it will ensure the stress stays out of your knees.
  2. You lock your knee joint. Maintain a soft bend in your knees at all times to keep the work of the movement in your muscles and out of your joints.
  3. You turn your torso toward the supporting side. Your torso should stay centered throughout the movement. 
  4. You pivot your supporting foot out. Keep your supporting foot straight forward and in line with your other foot. 
  5. You round out your back. Keep your spine straight at all times. Lift your chest and keep your eyes forward. If you’re having trouble maintaining good posture, hold your BodyRock Sculpt Bar (just the bar) in your hands, over your head. This will force your body upright into correct form.

How to Include a Lateral Lunge in Your BodyRock Workout

There are almost countless ways to include a lateral lunge in your workout, but for beginners, the best way is to keep it simple and effective. 

We recommend adding the lateral lunge as a two minute timed interval to your workout. As a bodyweight exercise, it can serve as a great lower body warm-up. Or, you can load up your Sculpt Bar and smash out a quick and sweaty interval in the middle of your workout, or at the end as a no-holds-barred finisher. 

As you become more familiar with the move, make it part of your leg day routine. The results will be obvious: stronger legs, a more sculpted core, and a more rounded, less saggy backside. 

Want more lower body workouts? We’ve got you covered. Here’s our lower body Sweatflix playlist. 

Tone in Rome—Week 2—Day 4

BodyRock Fat Burn Challenge—Day 15

12 Minute Fit—Day 1

BR20 Day 4—Glutes & Hamstrings

HIITMax Live #101 - Drop Set Legs, Glutes & Thighs

The Daily Hiit | Week 2 | Day 5

DailyHIIT Live #2

DailyHIIT Live #10--Legs

BR20—Day 2—Quads

HIITMax Live #297 - Buy In Legs - Resistance, Strength & Cardio

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