Lateral squats are a great way to strengthen your inner thigh. You can do this exercise with or without weight. It’s important to keep the knees in line with toes for stability and engage the core on every rep of the lateral squat, no matter what variation you’re doing.
Lateral squats can be done standing or sitting down. If you have knee problems, it’s best not to do them on concrete surfaces because that could put more pressure on your joints than is necessary.
Lateral Squats Walk: This is an advanced move so if you are just starting out, please consult a trainer first before attempting this one yourself! With each step of the walk, rotate your feet 45 degrees outward so they are perpendicular from where they started at.
What are Lateral squats?
Lateral squats are part of the whole body workout known as lateral training. This workout is designed to build muscles by exhausting them in an unusual way.
Lateral training usually involves doing exercises like side lunges, jumping jacks, and other moves in front, back, and sideways directions. But one of its most popular exercises needs no equipment.
Lateral squats are a common move that involves standing tall, placing hands on the back of it for support, and then bending your knees until both legs create an ‘L’ shape. This exercise mainly focuses on the quadriceps but other muscles like glutes, hamstrings, etc. also get involved in the movements.
Lateral squats are a good way to strengthen your legs and it also helps in weight loss. When you do this unusual kind of squat, the muscles in your buttocks contract so that provide stability while the hamstring relaxes for moving forward. This is what makes lateral squats different from traditional squats.
Why do you need to do lateral squats?
Lateral squat benefits:
1. It works on your core and butt muscles to improve muscle tone, weight loss, and body sculpting.
2. Helps prevent injuries of the knee joints by strengthening the muscles that support them.
3. Strengthens your thighs, hips, and glutes.
4. Increases balance, strength, coordination, and flexibility of legs.
5. It is suitable for all fitness levels including beginners who cannot do regular squats due to injury or lack of mobility.
6. It also improves your cardiovascular endurance by giving an extra pump to your heart rate with each crunching movement during the workout.
7. It is an excellent way to improve your overall fitness and health by flattening the tummy, tightening the midsection, and sculpting the lower body.
8. It can be easily included in your daily exercise routine; you can do it at home or in a gym where there are different machines or barbells available for squats.
9. It can be done using a resistance band for added difficulty and variety.
10. It strengthens the lower back muscles that are involved in rotation movements of your spine, helps prevent injury to these muscles, improves posture, and alleviates lower back pain.
Lateral squats are beneficial for runners, football players, athletes that participate in sports involving quick motions of the legs or kicking movements, etc. that need stronger muscles and improved endurance. It is also good for men to improve muscle strength because it helps them maintain lean body mass which is important for sexual performance and helps reduce the risk of osteoporosis.
How to perform a lateral squat:
Instructions on how to do lateral squats:
1. Start standing tall
2. Step out to one side and slowly lower yourself down in a side-lunging position and maintaining good posture (straight back and chest up).
3. A variation is to make your left leg lift up in front of you while leaning forward with the right knee bent.
4. Another variation is to lower yourself by bending at the waist (keeping your back straight) instead of bending at both knees.
5. Do not let your back arch when lowering down; keep it flat and tight for all reps.
Lateral squat variations :
1. Hands behind head, squatting into oblique lunge position (to the right):
2. Hold light dumbbells for added resistance
Doing a lateral squat with a ball is an advanced variation that requires more balance, so it would be wise to start from simpler variations first. Make sure you maintain your balance throughout all reps.
Lateral squat with a ball:
How to do a lateral squat with a medicine ball?
There are variations; you can hold the medicine ball in front of you while taking steps laterally or behind you when taking steps back. Either way, you must keep your torso in an upright position; do not bend forward.
Kick the ball into the air when moving laterally and catch it on its way down. It is advisable to start with one set of reps for each variation before gradually increasing the number of sets and reps over time (12-15 reps on each side).
How do you do lateral squats with a ball behind your back?
Doing so increases the load on your core and hamstrings. Stand sideways with your left side next to an exercise ball and hold it behind you with both hands. Take steps laterally, moving the ball closer to the right foot as you go down into a side squat.
Lateral squats with a ball behind your back benefits:
1. It is an excellent exercise for strengthening your core muscles (especially the transversus abdominis):
2. The load on your hamstrings and glutes is greater when you do lateral squats while holding a ball behind your back, so it’s good for these muscles:
3. Lateral squats with a ball behind your back is also good for developing coordination and balance:
4. It’s a great exercise for increasing flexibility in the hips:
5. You can do it anywhere and without any equipment, so it’s quite convenient:
6. Just remember to start with easier variations like lateral squats with a ball between your feet and then gradually add on extra load (ball behind your back, heavier weight, etc.).
How do you do a lateral squat walk?
The lateral squat walk is similar to lateral squats, but instead of performing the movement standing still, you will move your legs out and in. Stand sideways with your left side next to an exercise ball and hold weights at shoulder level as you would do for normal squats. Then bend your knees to a 90-degree angle and step both feet laterally as far as your legs can stretch. Perform desired reps then switch legs and repeat the same procedure on the other side.
Lateral squat walk with weights
How to do a lateral squat walk with weights?
It is similar to doing a lateral squat with a medicine ball. Stand sideways with your left side next to an exercise ball and hold weights at shoulder level as you would do for normal squats. Then bend your legs to a 90-degree angle and step out laterally with both feet as far as your legs can stretch. Perform desired reps then switch sides.
Lateral squat walk benefits
1. It is an excellent way to work your quads, glutes, and hamstrings:
2. Lateral squat walk with weights helps you improve your balance, coordination, and overall fitness:
3. It’s also good for developing leg strength, which helps you in sports like soccer or basketball:
4. Just like the other variation of lateral squats, the lateral squat walk with weight is more challenging when you hold weights at shoulder level, so it’s a good way to add an extra load if you feel the exercise is getting too easy for you:
Tips for performing the best possible lateral squat
1. Keep your torso upright and aligned during the whole movement; don’t lean forward or backward. Engage your core muscles to support the lower back, protect it from injury and help you achieve proper alignment of your body during this exercise.
2. Breathe normally, exhaling as you bend; inhale as you come up to the standing position.
3. Keep your knees slightly bent during the movement with feet shoulder-width apart to mimic natural body movement when walking.
After the lateral squat workout
It is advisable to do some light stretching post-workout in order to stretch out your glutes, thighs, and hamstrings that are used during this exercise. This helps to improve flexibility and remove waste products from your tissues.
Common mistakes when performing a lateral squat
1. The common mistake is to lean too far forward when squatting down, which may lead to injury of the lower back. Some people even let their hips drop so low that they almost touch the floor – this puts pressure on the knee joint and may also cause knee pain or injury.
2. Stay within your limit when performing reps; always keep your body upright to eliminate stress on the lower back and improve balance. If you have knee pain, do not go down as far as possible so that your knees are bent at a 90-degree angle.
3. Don’t bounce up and down between reps – this may lead to muscle strain or injury of the Achilles tendon/lower calf muscle.
How often should you do lateral squats?
It is advisable to start with two or three sets of 12 to 15 repetitions on each leg. Gradually, you can increase the number of reps and sets for this workout.