Dumbbell side lunge exercise

Dumbbell side lunge

Exercise details

  • Target muscles: Quadriceps (Vastus Lateralis, Vastus Medialis, Vastus Intermedius, Rectus Femoris)
  • Synergists: Gluteus Maximus, Adductor Magnus, Adductor Longus, Adductor Brevis, Soleus
  • Dynamic stabilizers: Hamstrings, Gastrocnemius
  • Important stabilizers: Erector Spinae, Anterior Deltoid, Upper Pectoralis Major, Lower Pectoralis Major, Biceps Brachii, Brachialis, Brachioradialis
  • Mechanics: Compound
  • Force: Push

Starting position

  1. Stand tall holding a dumbbell in each hand, with your arms by your sides. Alternatively, hold one dumbbell by your chest with both hands, as illustrated in the figure.


  1. Keeping your back neutral, inhale as you take a large step (lunge) to one side and lower your body by bending at the hip and knee of the stepping leg.
  2. Exhale as you drive through your heel to push your body up and step back into the starting position.
  3. Repeat for the prescribed number of repetitions.
  4. Repeat with your opposite leg.

Comments and tips

  • Use the dumbbell side lunge to build unilateral lower-body strength and enhance your balance and coordination.
  • For the safety of your knees and ankles, keep your knees and feet pointing in the same direction.
  • You can also alternate between sides instead of performing all repetitions on one leg before doing the other.
  • Make sure to land on your heel first when lunging. Your back leg should remain straight.
  • When you lunge, do not round your back. Maintain an upright torso throughout the exercise.
  • Once mastered, try the barbell side lunge, which is more advanced. The barbell side lunge requires more balance and coordination because it utilizes a higher center of gravity. This leads to more core activation compared to the dumbbell side lunge.
  • To make the dumbbell side lunge slightly more challenging, use two dumbbells and hold them up against your shoulders instead of letting them hang by your sides. Doing this will move your center of gravity higher, which requires more coordination and balance.
  • See also the dumbbell lunge and dumbbell rear lunge for more exercises that target the quadriceps.

Dumbbell side lunge video


ExRx.net, Dumbbell Alternating Side Lunge

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