You’ll be thanking me for this week’s Best Butt Exercise, because it targets the sides of your butt (the gluteus medius muscles, if you want to get specific). What does this mean for you? A rounder butt!

Side lunges, or lateral lunges, are great because they target the side portion of your butt and help to round out your shape – and who doesn’t want to move a bit closer to that elusive bubble butt? While short-term instant fixes like butt enhancement underwear can be great to even up your butt shape, an exercise like this will help craft you a genuinely better butt shape for the long term.

side lunges
Image credit: Screenshot from Youtube video (embedded below)


Exercise: Side Lunges
Muscles worked: Glutes (including gluteus medius), hamstrings, quadriceps
Jolie Recommends: 3 Sets of 20 per side, or lower reps of around 8-10 per set if performing these weighted.
Difficulty rating: 5
Effectiveness rating: 7

I’ve hesitated posting about these for a little while, because they can be a challenging exercise for some. Personally, I find them a little difficult, especially on the knees and if you have limited flexibility you will feel these in your inner thigh/groin muscle area as you lunge to the opposite side.

Nevertheless, I definitely am a fan of butt exercises which hit the gluteus medius, so I couldn’t not include this as one of the Best Butt Exercises.

Read on to find out how to do them.

Best Butt Exercise #22: Side Lunges

As with all exercises, form is ever-important, and particularly so for side lunges, as they involve stress and forces to the knees in a lateral motion that most people’s bodies may not be used to at first. Don’t let that put you off, because done correctly, this exercise is great, and will even help strengthen your leg muscles to support and protect your knees.

That being said, start off slow until you get used to the exercise. Think bodyweight only (no added dumbbells or weights), and a smaller range of motion until you build some strength.

This is what the side lunge looks like:

How to Do the Move

  1. Start standing upright with feet together, and core muscles engaged.
  2. Keeping the left leg straight the whole time, take a large step out to the side with your right leg, bending at the knee.
  3. Sit your hips back and push your butt out behind you as your right knee bends, as if you were sitting in a chair.
  4. Pushing through your right heel, drive up as you engage your glutes to push up out of the lunge and return to the starting position. This is one rep.
  5. Repeat on the same side, or alternate sides (your preference) for the desired number of sets and reps.

Perfecting Your Form

  • Your feet should point forwards, or be slightly angled outwards as is comfortable for your bent knee. The bent knee should not track over the front of your toes, and should be vertically stacked on top of your foot (don’t let the knee roll inwards).
  • Keep the core muscles tight and engaged the entire time.
  • You will get the most glute engagement by focusing on pushing up through the heel of your foot and squeezing with your glutes to push yourself back up to the starting position.
  • Lunge down and up with as much control as possible, using your muscles to do the work – not momentum.

Reppin’ It

Because this can be a challenging exercise for those not used to this kind of lateral movement, I would recommend to start small and build your way up to 3 sets of 20 reps per side.

A progression plan might start with shallow-depth lunges (bodyweight only), and increase the difficulty by increasing the lunge depth  – sinking that butt down lower, then adding weight once form is perfected.

Best Butt Exercises: Side Lunges
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One thought on “Best Butt Exercises: Side Lunges

  • April 11, 2015 at 4:54 pm

    I like this exercise, particularly for flexibility reasons. I find it great for the inner part of the legs as well if I am getting too stiff, and it can’t hurt that it’s good for the butt as well!

    Although I haven’t used it for these reasons, it’s interesting to hear that it can help with a rounder butt, I think guys probably have even less in the roundness part naturally.


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