Lateral Leg Exercises

These moves originated from an email I got from a reader asking for some lateral (side to side) leg movement exercise ideas:

Dear Anne,
I really enjoy your strength exercise posts!  I am looking for something to spice up my gym routine.  I find I do a lot of leg flexion and extension, but I get very little lateral movement in my workouts.  Can you suggest something I can do, maybe that would work in the confined space of the gym (i.e. not running side to side).  I do side leg lifts lying down on my side, but anything else?

#1: Lateral Leg Circles

I learned this move in one of my Pilates classes and I love it. It looks easy, but it isn’t! Give it a try :)


1) Kneel on a mat or soft surface with your left knee. Place your left hand on the ground and your right hand behind your head. Lift your right leg straight out.


2) Slowly, with control, start making small circle movements with your lifted leg. Complete 10 circles going forward, and 10 going backwards.

3) Switch sides and repeat using the other leg!


#2: Lateral Leg Lunge

This is another great lateral move to do in a confined space. It’s a nice twist on the usual squat/lunge.


1) Start standing with your feet about hip distance apart.


2) Lift one leg out and lunge to that side, keeping your other leg straight.


3) Come back to your neutral position (see picture with #1).

4) Repeat on other side.


5) Continue to lunge on alternating sides, doing as many reps as you can!


I also made a video of myself demonstrating these moves! Check it out :) Disregard the awkward pause at the beginning while I wait to make sure the camera is on, hehe ;)


  1. 1

    um, those leg circles are HARD!! I have been rocking them in the gym! :)

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