How To Do Side Squats


Chris Freytag demonstrating a Side Squat


Side squats are an exercise that strengthens the legs, glutes, and outer thighs for strong, sculpted legs and a fit, toned lower body. Side squats are like the forgotten cousin of all squats. Often overlooked for the more traditional basic squat or other versions, if you learn how to do side squats you are learning to add lateral movement and extra strength to your outer and inner thighs.

It goes without saying that squats are an amazing workout for the legs. Every trainer and fitness professional around will prescribe squats for leg strength as well as for calorie burn, since working your larger muscle groups burns more calories. Learning the basic squat is your first goal on this front, but once you have the basics, it is important to mix up your workouts and add dimension to the moves. There are many different types of squats, each adding a different twist on the strength it provides. Side squats do a couple things that are unique. First, they add lateral movement to your workout. It’s important that you move not only forward and back, but also side to side. Second, by moving side to side you are forcing more muscles in your legs to turn on and activate, specifically the outer and inner thighs. Total bonus!

No matter which squat version you choose you can count on squats to help build a much tighter and lifted butt. So check out these side squats and try to fit them into your workout once or twice a week.

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How To Do Side Squats

Here are the steps to performing side squats:

1) Start standing with feet hip distance apart and sit back into a squat position by bending the knees.

2) Keep your abs tight and back straight. Step wide to one side staying in your squat position, go back to your starting position, and then side squat wide in the other direction using all your lower body muscles then back to center. Continue squatting side to side staying low throughout.

What Muscles Do Side Squats Work?

Side squats are an awesome power move that works your butt, legs and core while giving an extra focus on the outer thighs that a basic squat can’t!

Benefits of Side Squats

There are many reasons you should incorporate side squat into your workouts. Here are just a few:

Strengthens Butt and Thighs

Side squat is a power move that relies on the butt and thigh muscles to lower and lift your body. Keep your focus on these muscles as you are moving and squeeze the area you want to work.

Strengthens Outer Thigh

The basic squat works your legs and butt. Many other leg exercises will as well. The Side Squat adds the benefit of working your outer thigh by moving you to press from side to side.

Cardio Strength Combo

The movement of the side squat pushes your heart rate up more than other basic strength moves. This makes side squat a great strength and cardio combination!

How Many Calories Does a Side Squat Burn?

People often ask how many calories they are burning in their workouts. Most exercises will generally burn about 100 calories for every 10 minutes you are working. Side squat is the same. Bottom line – the harder you work, the more calories you burn. Want more calories torched? Sit lower and move quicker.

Other Exercises Similar to Side Squats

If you like the side squat and want more moves you can do at home just like it, try these too!

How To Do Walking Lunge

How To Do Plie’ Leg Lift

How To Do Fire Hydrant

Incorporating Side Squats Into Your Workouts

Side squat is an amazing leg exercise all on its own! However, you could also incorporate side squat into other workouts to mix them up. Here are some ideas to make that happen.

Use Side Squats In A Bodyweight Strength Workout

You don’t need to go to the gym for your strength workout. You don’t even need equipment! Check out this challenge!

10-Minute Bodyweight Strength Challenge: Do a light jog in place for 1 minute to warm up. Then do each of the following for 45 seconds, with 15 seconds rest in between.


Side Squats

Tricep Dips

Forward Lunges


Repeat all 5.

Use Side Squat In Your Circuit Training

Circuits are a fun way to exercise and get your strength and cardio in all at the same time. The idea behind circuits is to go from one move, or one “station”, to the next with little or not rest in between. Check this out:

Fat Blasting Circuit Training Workout: Move directly from one exercise to the next with little to no break in between. Rest for 1 minute at the end, then repeat the sequence.

30 seconds side lunges

30 seconds high knee run

30 seconds push ups

30 seconds side squat

30 seconds plié squats

30 seconds bear crawl

30 seconds modified army crawl plank

30 seconds crab walk

Rest 1 minute. Repeat. Stretch.

Use Side Squats In Your HIIT Training

High-intensity intervals are all the rage because they get the job done in record time. Go as hard as you can for 20 seconds, rest for 10 seconds and then go hard again. Here’s a super easy way to kick butt!

HIIT the Floor Challenge: Do each move for 20 seconds, rest 10 seconds in between moves.

Split Jumps

Plank Jacks

High Knees

Side Squat

Go through this sequence 4 times.

Like the results of side squat? Here are 3 more workouts that you are going to love!

14 Days To A Better Butt

7 Squat and Lunge Variations For Toned Legs

10 Minute AMRAP Workout To Torch Calories

Targets: glutes, quads, hamstrings

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