Female athlete doing a front lunge in her home

Best Bodyweight Leg Workout At Home (The Definitive Guide)

Many people believe that they need weights or machines in order to build strong defined legs at home. That’s not true though. With bodyweight movements, it’s possible to strengthen your legs and put on muscle as well. Below is a look at the best bodyweight leg workout at home, that you can do without any equipment at all. While it won’t transform you into a bodybuilder, it can help give you stronger legs and even build larger leg muscles over time.

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The Best Bodyweight Leg Exercises

Squats

Squats are one of the most basic and most powerful bodyweight leg exercises and should be part of the best bodyweight leg workout at home. This exercise has you dropping your butt toward the floor and lifting it back up again with care to keep your back straight throughout.


Pistol Squats

Pistol squats are a more challenging form of bodyweight exercise that helps work the same muscles as the squat while pointing out any imbalances you may have in the process.  In this movement, you do a squat on a single leg while lifting the other out in front of you. It requires excellent ankle mobility and balance to pull off properly.


Jump Squats

Jump squats are an advanced form of basic squats that help build power and strength at the same time. They’re one of our favourite tools for athletes and anyone looking to jump higher and get stronger. They work just like traditional squats, but you propel yourself up into the air at the end of each rep.


Bulgarian Split Squats

Bulgarian split squats are a powerful movement that makes use of a bench or a chair to strengthen your leg muscles, particularly your quads and your hamstrings. You rest your back leg on the raised surface, usually on a flat bench, and lower your body down in front of the bench with your weight split between your raised leg and your standing leg.


Walking Lunges

Walking lunges are a powerful quadricep workout that has you taking long steps and dropping your rear knee down to the floor while bending your front leg at a 90-degree angle. The workout helps build a strong core while strengthening your legs in a big way, and it’s something that even beginners can start out with.


Reverse Lunges

This workout, much like a standard lunge has you stepping so that your legs are far apart and then dropping your knee down to the floor in a controlled manner. The movement works the glutes, hamstrings, and quadriceps just like a standard lunge, but it does so in a more controlled manner and puts more emphasis on the glutes. It’s also viewed as the safer option because most of the work is being performed by the stationary leg.


Jump Lunges

Jumping lunges are an advanced technique that uses the same motion as a standard lunge, but with a jump as the transition rather than a step. You start with a basic lunge, then jump into the air and switch legs to drop back down to a lunge. It works the glutes, hamstrings and quadriceps just like a lunge, but also engages the core to a higher degree. This is a nice advanced technique to graduate to.


Glute Bridge

The glute bridge is a movement that has you laying on your back with your knees up and your feet flat on the floor. You lift your butt up into the air until you create a flat bridge between your glutes and hamstrings and your back, then drop back down. This movement works the glutes as well as the core and the hamstrings in a big way and is a powerful training tool to help beginners get ready for different squat and deadlift movements.


Skater Jumps

This dynamic movement has you tucking down into an aerodynamic skater’s stance and shifting side-to-side with your legs while swinging your arms, mimicking the motion of an inline skater. It works the glutes, hamstrings, and calves. It engages the core and serves as a powerful warmup for leg workouts.


Single-Leg Romanian Deadlift

The single-leg Romanian Deadlift is a powerful movement for the posterior chain and works the glutes, the erector spinae, the hamstrings, and the adductor muscles. It’s only beneficial when done properly though. It has you lifting your leg and raising it behind you while hinging forward at your hip and dropping your torso toward the floor.


Step-Ups

Step ups are a powerful movement where you put a single leg up on a raised surface, such as a box or a flat bench, and step up onto it by generating force using the raised leg. This is a powerful quadricep workout, but also works the glutes and the hamstrings.


Bulgarian Split Squat Jumps

For a more difficult Bulgarian split squat, this movement challenges you to jump out of the deep portion of the squat and to drop back down into the position once again. It works the glutes, hamstrings and the quad while calling on the core to maintain stability the whole time.


Beginner Workout

This basic sequence is an excellent tool to get you started building your strength. It will work your cardiovascular system while building muscle and strength too.

Warmup

The routine in the video below is fantastic at warming up your lower body muscles and core and also mobilising your joints.  Before starting the bodyweight leg workout make sure you spend 5 minutes following this warm up routine.

The Main Workout

This routine will give you a great all-around lower body workout you can do at home, majorly target the hamstrings, glutes and quads as well as working on stabilization of the lower body and your core.

Rest Between Sets and Exercises – 45 seconds

Routine Frequency – Perform this routine 2 to 3 times a week but not on consecutive days.

Squat – 3 sets of 15 to 20 reps

Tip – To make the exercise harder slow down the lowering portion of the movement.  Aim for a 4-second lowering phase.

Walking lunge – 3 sets of 24 reps (12 on each leg)

Tip – When you are ready to make the exercise more challenging, take out the middle part of the movement where both feet are back together, and instead, bring your bag leg straight through to the front without it touching the floor in the middle.

Isolation Glute Bridge holds – 3 sets of 8 reps (5-second hold and squeeze on each rep)

Tip – To make the exercise more challenging, raise one foot off the floor and do the same movement on a single leg.

Single-Leg RDL – 3 sets of 8 to 10 reps on each leg.

Tip – This exercise requires a good amount of stability in order to perform a full repetition properly.  If you find you are struggling to keep your balance whilst attempting the movement, then simply start with partial reps and work your way up to being able to do the full range of movement.


Advanced Workout

This routine should only be attempted once you can comfortably get through the beginner’s workout.  It’s going to massively help increase strength, muscle and power.

You will notice that on the explosive power exercises, there are increased rest times.  This is due to the nature of the exercise and its purpose.  This program is designed to build, strength, muscle power and stability and is not designed to be a cardiovascular workout.

Warmup

Please follow the same warmup and mobility routine as the Beginner workout.

Main Workout

Pistol Squat – 3 sets of 8 to 10 reps on each leg

Note – Really control the negative part of the repetition.  Aim for a 4 second negative followed by a powerful but controlled positive phase.  Increase the reps to make the exercises harder as you get stronger.  Aim to get 15 to 20 reps per set

Rest – Keep rotating between each leg.

Jump Lunges – 3 sets of 6 to 8 reps per leg

Note – This is an explosive movement designed to improve power, speed and muscle. We are looking to get the max effort out of each rep so it’s important not to go to the point where form becomes loose and your power output is severely diminished.  

Rest – Rest 2 to 3 minutes between each set.

Jump Squats – 3 sets of 6 to 8 reps

Note – This is an explosive movement designed to improve power, speed and muscle. We are looking to get the max effort out of each rep so it’s important not to go to the point where form becomes loose and your power output is severely diminished.  

Rest – Rest 2 to 3 minutes between each set.

Bulgarian Split squat – 4 sets of 10 to 12 reps

Note – Really control the negative part of the repetition.  Aim for a 4 second negative followed by a powerful but controlled positive phase.  Increase the reps to make the exercises harder as you get stronger.  Aim to get 15 to 20 reps per set

Rest – Keep rotating between legs

Single-Leg RDL – 3 sets of 8 to 10 reps on each leg.

Rest – Keep rotating between legs


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Best Bodyweight Leg Workout Takeaway

Following a workout routine like one of the options listed above will give you a challenging workout for your legs and your entire lower body and will give you a strong foundation to work with if you want to move on to lifting free weights or machines in a gym setting.

Just make sure you really get to know the different movements well and try to either work with a personal trainer, work with a friend or to record yourself going through the motions so you can make the necessary corrections to your technique to do each movement as effectively as possible.

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The best bodyweight leg workout at home

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