Walking lunge exercises are a great way to incorporate both dynamic stretching and strength training into one while at the same time working several muscle groups in your lower body. The lateral, or side-to-side, lunge is a simple, easy-to-use exercise that works out the adductor muscles of your inner thigh, gluteous maximus and front thighs. The lateral walking lunge exercise is straightforward, doesn't require any specialized equipment and is suitable for any fitness level.
Basic Lateral Lunge
To begin a basic lateral lunge, stand upright with your feet under your hips and your hands in a relaxed position to help you maintain your balance. Pull your shoulder blades down and tighten your abdominals to lock in your spine. Step with your right foot two to three feet to the right with your toes turned slightly to the side and gradually shift your weight from your left leg to your right foot. Bend your right knee while keeping your left leg straight and sink into a lunge. Once you're done, push firmly off the floor with your right foot back to your starting position. Repeat using your left leg and alternate repetitions.
Lateral Walking Lunge
For the lateral walking lunge, begin by placing your feet parallel to your hips and your weight on your heels. Extend your arms to the front or the side to help you keep your balance. Step with your right foot two or three feet to the side until you are in a wide stance with both feet pointing forward. Shift your weight to your right foot and keep your left leg straight as you bend and lower your right knee. Lower until your right thigh is parallel to the floor. Push through the left foot until you are in a standing position with your feet side-by-side. Step with your right foot to the side again to continue the lateral walking lunge motion. Complete five to 10 repetitions, then repeat with the left leg leading. Repeat each set until you really start feeling that burn in your thighs.
Barbell Lateral Lunge
Make sure you're comfortable with the weight before starting a barbell lateral lunge. First, position the bar on the back of your shoulders and grasp the sides. Do a lateral walking lunge to the right, keeping as upright as possible. Lower your body by flexing the knee and hip of your right leg, and keep the knee pointed in the same direction as the foot. Return to your original standing position by pushing through with your left leg. Repeat by continuing the pattern, or alternating with the left leg. Remember: a long lunge works your glutes, while a short lunge works your quads.
Taking It Further
For an advanced workout that challenges all the muscles in the lower body, you can progress to a lateral speed shuffle back and forth, as well as combining forward, backward and diagonal shuffles.
Todd Maternowski began writing in 1996 as one of the co-founders of "The Chicago Criterion." He joined the local online news revolutionaries at Pegasus News in 2006, where he continues to work to this day. He studied religion at the University of Chicago.