Why Your Body Needs Lateral Training

For strength and agility gains, take things to the side.

The majority of our daily movement is forward and backward. Our workouts tend to be no different: Most exercisers focus primarily on linear training. But that one-dimensional approach gives short shrift to muscles like the abductors and adductors, limiting agility.

What’s more, when your body isn’t accustomed to lateral motion, it takes more effort—a serious disadvantage whether you’re playing tennis or skiing. The solution to the imbalance is simple, though: add more side-to-side movements to your workout. “Exercises like multi-planar lunges are great for teaching the body to move in all directions,” says Matt Delaney, a Tier X coach at Equinox Columbus Circle.

Ready to work all the angles? Try the lateral-training moves in the slideshow below. Cherry-pick one or two for your regular routine; or, do them all for a quick lower-body workout.