Exercises for the Vastus Lateralis (Outer Thigh)

*All illustrations reprinted with permission from ISSA and Fred Hatfield

This muscle can be worked using the following methods, but there are machines designed to specifically target this muscle. Look around your gym for a machine that you sit in with legs extended. When you sit in the machine you open your legs as if doing the splits.

Leg Extensions
Difficulty Level - Easy
  1. Sit on the leg extension machine with your back against the pad and feet under the pads. Place the pads just above the feet.

  2. Curl the legs up until you reach the top position.

  3. Lower weight back to starting position. Lower legs should be vertical to the floor.

Hack Squats
Difficulty Level: Easy
  1. Lay back in the hack squat machine with shoulders place on the pads.

  2. Place feet about shoulder width apart (or where comfortable) with toes pointed out slightly.

  3. Squat down until there is about a 90 degree angle in the knee joint as shown in the illustration.

  4. Push back up until you are back in the starting position.

  5. Repeat for recommended reps.

Lunge Walking
Difficulty Level: Medium
  1. Grab two dumbbells and hold them to your side.

  2. Step forward with your right foot until your upper thigh is about parallel with the floor. Keep a slight bend in your left leg.

  3. Take a step forward with the back leg and continue the form while walking.

Difficulty Level: Medium

Lunges are performed exactly like the above walking lunges, except, instead of walking forward, you step back and repeat wit the other leg. Both can be done with either dumbbells or barbell.