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Muscles Used in Diagonal Lunges

by Jen Weir Google

About Jen Weir

Jen Weir writes for several websites, specializing in the health and fitness field. She holds a Bachelor of Science in exercise science from Montana State University, is an NSCA-certified strength and conditioning specialist and maintains a personal trainer certification from the American College of Sports Medicine.


The diagonal lunge is a hybrid of the traditional lunge and the side lunge. During a diagonal lunge, you step forward at a 45-degree angle with your knee lined up with your toes. These lunges can be performed using your body weight only or you can hold a dumbbell in each hand for added resistance. Whichever way you choose, diagonal lunges will work several muscles in your lower body.


Diagonal lunges are a very effective exercise for developing the gluteus maximus. This muscle is the prime mover of hip extension, which occurs when you return to the upright position. The gluteus medius and minimus make up the hip abductors and are also used in diagonal lunges. These muscles are activated as move your lunging leg to the side away from the mid-line of your body.

Tensor Fasciae Latae

This muscle is located on the lateral hip and assists the gluteus medius and gluteus minimus in abducting the thigh during diagonal lunges.


The rectus femoris, vastus lateralis, vastus medialis and vastus intermedius combine to form the quadriceps and work together to extend your knee. These muscles are used in a powerful contraction when your push off the floor with your leading leg to return to the upright position.


The adductors are a group of muscles on your inner thigh that work to bring your legs together. The adductors of the back leg are worked as you lunge forward while the adductors of both legs are used as you bring your legs back together when returning to the standing position.


Though the muscles of the core are not used directly during diagonal lunges, they are crucial for keeping your torso upright and stable. During the exercise, your upper body should remain erect and move as little as possible, with all of the movement occurring in your lower body. Strong abdominal and back muscles will help you use proper form.

References (2)

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This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.