Dumbbell Side Lunge: Excellent for Toning Your Legs and Booty

Dumbbell Side Lunge is really an excellent variation to train your Quads and Adductors. If you’ve been searching for a simple, yet effective way to get fit and strengthen your legs and hips, you’ve come to the right place. This classic exercise is great for toning and strengthening your lower body, while also providing a great cardio workout. In this article, we’ll go over all the details, from the basic instructions to tips and mistakes to avoid. So grab your dumbbells and let’s get started.

Dumbbell Side Lunge Summary

  • Primary Muscles: Quadriceps
  • Secondary Muscles: Adductor Magnus, Gluteus Maximus, and Soleus
  • Equipment: Dumbbells
  • Mechanics Type: Compound
  • Force: Push
  • Utility: Basic
Graphic image of a fit woman performing alternate cable triceps extensions.

Dumbbell Side Lunge Instructions

  • Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and hold a dumbbell in each hand.
  • Step one foot out to the side, bending the knee and shifting your weight to the bent leg.
  • Push off the bent leg to return to the starting position.
  • Repeat on the other side.
  • Continue alternating sides for desired number of repetitions.

Video Tutorial

How to do a side lunge correctly, with Megan Roup

Dumbbell Side Lunge Muscles

Target (Agonist)

  • Quadriceps


  • Adductor Magnus
  • Gluteus Maximus
  • Soleus

Dynamic Stabilizers

  • Gastrocnemius
  • Hamstrings


  • Erector Spinae
  • Levator Scapulae
  • Trapezius – Middle
  • Trapezius – Upper

Antagonist Stabilizers

  • Obliques
  • Rectus Abdominis
Image of the skeletal muscular system with the muscles used in the dumbbell side lunge exercise highlighted in red and the rest in blue.

Benefits of Dumbbell Side Lunge

Performing the Dumbbell Side Lunge exercise can be incredibly beneficial for a strength training or fitness routine. This exercise engages the quadriceps, glutes, and hamstrings, allowing for greater strength, power, and stability. Additionally, the Dumbbell Side Lunge helps to improve balance, coordination, and flexibility while promoting muscular endurance. The exercise also helps to burn calories and fat while increasing lean muscle mass and cardiovascular endurance. Ultimately, performing the Dumbbell Side Lunge is an effective way to increase overall strength and conditioning.

Tips for Performing Dumbbell Side Lunge

The dumbbell side lunge can be an effective exercise to help you get fit and reap the benefits of increased strength, improved balance and better coordination. To make sure you are doing the exercise correctly and to get the most out of it, here are some important tips to keep in mind.

  • Do Your Primary Compound Exercises First. When you execute your primary compound exercises near the beginning of your routine you will ensure that you can perform them optimally, and then conduct isolation exercises to focus on distinct muscle groups afterwards. In this case you would want to do barbell squats first if you plan on doing them the same day you are doing lunges.
  • To Build Speed, Bring Up The Acceleration of Your Movements. First you want to ensure you focus on good technique or you will be more likely to develop an injury. You will want to lower the weight to 50-60% of your one rep max when you are training for speed. Additionally, don’t pause in between every repetition.
  • Change Up Your Sets and Reps on Different Days. Your target to begin with should be to do 3 sets to near fatigue with 8-15 reps. Then you can build up to 5 sets. If your muscle tissue aren’t tired at the ending of 3 – 5 you need to change something. First you can increase the resistance to make each rep harder. Second, you can cut reduce the rest time between each set.
  • Inhale When You Stretch Your Muscular Tissues and Breathe Out When You Contract Your Muscular Tissues. Breathing is very important and sometimes until you train yourself to breath during a workout you will hold your breath.

Benefits and Tips Video

Lateral Lunges...You're Doing It WRONG

Frequent Mistakes To Avoid

When performing the dumbbell side lunge, it is important to take your time and focus on proper form. Doing the exercise incorrectly can lead to injury, so it is important to understand the common mistakes that people make with this exercise and how to avoid them. Below is a list of mistakes to look out for when performing the dumbbell side lunge.

  • Ignoring Your Pain. Tender muscle pain and injured muscle pain are not the same and you need to be able to tell the difference. Once you are in true agony and not just sore when training you should stop immediately, or you will certainly make your injury even worse.
  • Training All Alone. Having a workout buddy is usually a good driving force for improvement and motivation. On the contrary when you train by yourself you will likely quit earlier, believe your own lame excuses and all in all just not work as hard.
  • Letting Your Form Slip. Everyone has fallen victim to trying to lift just one more rep, especially when you are motivated. Be careful slipping in your form is one of the fastest ways to injure yourself.

Variations and Complementary Exercises

If you’re looking for an alternative to Dumbbell Side Lunges, there are a number of variations, complementary exercises, and alternatives that can help you target the same muscles and get a similar workout. Here are a few exercises to try:

Graphic image of Dumbbell Elevated Split Squat.

Dumbbell Elevated Split Squat: The Dumbbell Elevated Split Squat is an excellent alternative or complementary exercise to the Dumbbell Side Lunge. It works the same muscle groups as the Side Lunge, but in a different way. The Dumbbell Elevated Split Squat targets the quads and glutes, while also engaging the core and stabilizing muscles. This exercise requires you to stand on one foot with the other foot elevated, then lower yourself into a lunge position with the elevated foot flat and the back leg bent. This exercise can be performed with or without dumbbells, depending on your fitness level. It is an effective way to build strength and stability in your lower body, while also improving balance and coordination.

Graphic image of Dumbbell Clasp Grip Sumo Squat.

Dumbbell Clasp Grip Sumo Squat: The Dumbbell Clasp Grip Sumo Squat is an excellent complement to the Dumbbell Side Lunge, as it targets many of the same muscle groups in a slightly different way. This exercise works the inner thighs and glutes, while also engaging the core muscles to keep your balance. It is a great alternative to the traditional Squat exercise and can be a great way to add variety to your workout routine.

Graphic image of Bulgarian Split Squat.

Bulgarian Split Squat: The Bulgarian Split Squat is a great complementary or alternative exercise to the Dumbbell Side Lunge. This exercise works the same muscles as the Side Lunge, but with a greater emphasis on the quads. It is performed by standing in a lunge position with one foot placed on a raised platform behind you, and then performing a single-leg squat with the other foot. The Bulgarian Split Squat helps to improve balance and stability, while also building strength and size in the quads. The Bulgarian Split Squat can be used to add variety to your workout routine and to challenge your body in new ways.

Check Out These Top Dumbbell Exercises

Graphic image of Squat Sidekick.

Squat Sidekick: Squat Sidekick is a great alternative or complementary exercise to the Dumbbell Side Lunge. This exercise targets the glutes, hamstrings, quads, and core and can be done with a variety of equipment such as a kettlebell, medicine ball, or dumbbell. Squat Sidekick helps strengthen the muscles in the legs and core which are used during a side lunge. It also helps to improve balance and stability. This exercise can be done at any fitness level and is great for toning, sculpting, and strengthening the lower body.

Graphic image of Squat Hold.

Squat Hold: Squat Hold is an excellent complementary or alternative exercise to the Dumbbell Side Lunge. It involves standing with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, while holding a dumbbell in both hands. With your feet firmly planted on the ground, lower your body into a squat position, keeping your back straight and chest up. Hold this position for 30 to 60 seconds, focusing on squeezing your glutes and core muscles. This exercise works the same muscles as the Dumbbell Side Lunge, but with a greater emphasis on glute and core strength.

Graphic image of Squat.

Squat: Squat is an excellent exercise that complements or serves as an alternative to the dumbbell side lunge. It is a full body movement that works the quads, glutes, hamstrings and core muscles. With proper form and execution, the squat can help you to increase balance, coordination and overall strength. Squatting with proper form also helps to improve posture and flexibility. The motion of squatting helps to strengthen the lower body and the core muscles, which are important for any activity that involves standing, sitting or walking. Squatting is a great way to build muscle, increase strength and power, and enhance overall fitness.

Opposing Complementary Exercises

In addition to the Dumbbell Side Lunge, there are a few other exercises that can help strengthen opposing muscle groups and provide a balanced workout. These exercises will help you build strength and stability in the muscles surrounding your hips, glutes, and legs.

Graphic image of Resistance Band Single Leg Curls.

Resistance Band Single Leg Curls: Resistance Band Single Leg Curls are a great complementary exercise to Dumbbell Side Lunges, as they work the opposing muscle group. The Single Leg Curl works the hamstrings and glutes, while the Side Lunge works the quads. By doing both exercises together, you can ensure that your lower body is evenly worked and you will benefit from increased strength and stability. Additionally, Resistance Band Single Leg Curls are very easy to set up, so they can be done in any setting with minimal equipment.

Graphic image of Resistance Band Leg Curls.

Resistance Band Leg Curls: Resistance band leg curls are an excellent complement to the dumbbell side lunge. This exercise works the opposing muscle group of the quads, the hamstrings. By performing resistance band leg curls after a dumbbell side lunge, you target the muscles in the back of your legs while also stretching them out and increasing their flexibility. This dynamic duo of exercises helps to build strength and promote balance in the lower body.

Graphic image of Smith Machine Hip Thrust.

Smith Machine Hip Thrust: The Smith Machine Hip Thrust is an excellent exercise to complement the Dumbbell Side Lunge. It works the opposing muscle group of the glutes, hamstrings, and hips to provide balance and symmetry to the lower body. The hip thrust is performed by placing a barbell across the hips, then pushing the hips up while keeping the upper body stationary. This exercise strengthens the glutes, hamstrings, and hips, while also helping to improve overall core stability. When combined with the Dumbbell Side Lunge, the two exercises can help to create a balanced and well-rounded lower body workout routine.


The dumbbell side lunge is an excellent exercise for getting fit. It targets your glutes, quads, and hamstrings, so you get a great full body workout. Plus, you can modify it to make it easier or harder depending on your fitness level. Just remember to keep your feet shoulder width apart, and don’t rush through the reps! So if you’re looking for an effective way to get fit, give the dumbbell side lunge a try. And if you’re still looking for more ways to up your fitness game, be sure to check out our other fitness articles!

References: Wikipedia | ExRx.net | PubMed.gov

Pin image for dumbbell side lunge post. With an image of a woman performing the exercise on Top and a graphic of the exercise on the Bottom.

Join Us On Social Media

Copyright © 2008 - | Privacy | MuscleMagFitness Powered By | MAcademyORON.org