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Lateral WorkoutsMost traditional exercise modalities follow a forward-backward direction, such as walking and running, cycling, stairclimbing, rowing, skiing and ellipticals. But in real life and sports activities, we don’t just move forward and backward, but also side to side and rotationally.

For specific sports, such as hockey, tennis, football, soccer, basketball and more, lateral movement is frequent and necessary. But even for those who aren’t athletes, it’s important to train laterally for overall fitness. If exercise is going to be truly functional, it must replicate our movement in all directions.

About 25 years ago, the slide trainer debuted, a slippery platform on which you wore booties to push back and forth from bumper to bumper. While these are still used in some athletic training facilities, they aren’t common anymore at health clubs.

In fact, the next tool for lateral workouts was launched only a few years ago. Unlike anything available today, Octane Fitness’ LateralX lateral trainer delivers low-impact, total-body lateral workouts. It, along with some creative moves on your own, offers a valuable way to train laterally for better overall fitness and athletic performance.

Using the LateralX

Combining forward movement with adjustable side-to-side motion, the LateralX lets you vary movements from an elliptical shape to something like inline skating. Not only do you work your legs, but your upper body is challenged using the handlebars and your core must keep you balanced and stable through 10 varying planes of motion.

More good news? Research shows that the LateralX increases caloric expenditure by 27% and engages the outer and inner thighs up to 30% more over traditional linear ellipticals.

To add even more variety, try the Lateral Interval or Dual Direction routines, or take on the Workout Boosters, including X-Mode, ThighToner and QuadPower, that deliver cross-training interval challenges that will keep your body guessing and getting stronger. And the CROSS CiRCUIT routine lets you multitask combining powerful cardio intervals with strength-training exercises for sessions that fly by.

Incorporating Lateral Movements

Here are more simple ways to add lateral motion to your workouts:

  • Side squat – step right, squat with feet about hip distance apart; step together; repeat to left
  • Skater lunge – stand with feet wide apart, hinge forward slightly from hips, bend right knee and shift weight to right as left leg straightens; then repeat to left side
  • Side lunge – using gliding disks under feet, stand with feet together, then slide right leg out to side while bending left knee; pull right leg in and repeat using left leg
  • Lateral shuffles – quickly shuffle feet with knees bent to travel to right; then repeat to left
  • Jumps – with feet together, jump to the right and left; can pump arms back as if holding ski poles and taking on moguls
  • Jumping jacks – arms and legs are entirely in the frontal plane for this traditional lateral move
  • Grapevine/carioca – with feet together, step out to the right, step your left foot behind your right, step out to the right again, then step together. Repeat to left; can be performed slowly or fast.
  • Pick-ups – with feet together, step out wide with right foot and reach towards floor with right hand; quickly jump to switch to left and repeat
  • Speed skater – with feet together, hinge forward from hips and jump to right side, tapping left foot lightly behind right; then repeat to left side. Stay low, lean forward, reach down toward your front leg and move quickly.
  • Side step – step to the right, then together, to the right and then together; repeat two more times and then move to the left; can accelerate this to become a lateral shuffle.

Fuel your workouts by training laterally. Stay Fueled!