3 Lateral Exercises to Include in your Training

Lateral movements are often neglected. You might be thinking, "why would I need to know how to move side-to-side when I move forward in every other motion?"

You're right. You do primarily move forward; walking, running, biking, heck, even when you're sitting you're primarily in a forward position.

But what happens when we are forced to move side-to-side? Say, to avoid a curb while walking, a rock while running, or rugged terrain while hiking? This is how tripping and falling can occur.

Lateral movements are important to learn and incorporate into your programming, regardless if you have hiking or running goals. Lateral exercises are for every human.

Below are a few exercises to consider.

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Lateral Exercises:

1. Lateral lunges. I'd go as far as saying this is one of the most common lateral exercises. It's a go-to because you can vary it through using different modalities (kettlebells, dumbbells, a barbell, cables, etc.), as well as alter the depth/ROM by using a plate or step.

2. Side step-ups. Are you tired of me talking about step-up variations yet? Step-ups are a very functional movement (hello, we use steps in our home, office, etc.), but side step-ups can often be overlooked. Side step-ups require you to properly activate your glute to ensure your knee doesn't cave in or roll too far out. This is only going to help you avoid losing your balance when a surprise curb comes out of nowhere!

3. Weighted skaters. Skaters are fun because they get your lateral work in, increase your heart rate, and you get to look and feel like an Olympic speed skater. Okay, maybe not Olympic, but you know what I mean. The key here is to make sure your toes stay facing forward for proper glute, quad, hammie activation.

Please note: one of these lateral movements is not superior to the other. How/if/when they are placed will depend on your goals (that's why it's important to work with a certified and reputable coach, especially at the start!)

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