So many bodyweight fitness enthusiasts skip leg day like it was the plague. After all, you hide them under your jeans, right? Who needs to work them out? Haha! Legs are obviously just as important to work out.
Thankfully, you can use bodyweight exercises to build muscle and strength in your legs. Here are 3 bodyweight leg workouts to help you build stronger, leaner legs without the need for weights. Say yes to leg day!
Bodyweight Leg Workout 1: The Leg Murder Workout
Here’s a fantastic bodyweight leg workout to help you build strength and lean muscle in your quads, hamstrings and glutes. After all, no one wants chicken legs!
If you don’t like chicken legs then you will like this bodyweight workout. If you like having chicken legs, then this is your opportunity to changes your ways. Using bodyweight exercises is one of the most effective ways of burning out your legs. Many weight lifters suffer from the top-heavy syndrome. Their upper body is extremely developed yet their legs are little chicken sticks. Using this twice a week will add some bulk to your lower half and give you the ability to jump over small homes and kick down locked doors.
Ok, maybe not the last couple, but I haven’t done this routine for years on end so just it might just be true, O ye of little faith! Try this legs workout and you’ll definitely be crying!
How To Perform the Bodyweight Leg Workout
For each exercise, do as many reps as you can in 60 seconds then immediately move to the next exercise. Once you finish 1 round, rest for 30-40 seconds. Do 5 total rounds. You can download the bodyweight leg workout training PDF for free by clicking here. Print it out and check off the boxes as you follow along.
This is a classic bodyweight exercise. Probably the most basic other than the push-up. But I’d like to give you some helpful tips to make sure you do it correctly.
Tips: Keep your feet parallel and feet hip-width apart or further. Now here’s the KEY to this exercise. Drive outward with your knees. Pretend you are carrying 300lbs on your shoulders and you need a crazy amount of support. When your knees collapse inward it increases your likelihood you’ll have an injury. Even though calisthenics exercises don’t require weight, you should still protect your joints. Imagine driving your knees outward while performing this exercise.
This is another exercise a lot of folks do improperly. Here’s how to do it. Step with your left leg outward about 2 feet. Your left knee should not be further than your left foot. It should also be aligned with your left foot. So those are the two points to this exercise. Keep your knees away from going over your toes. And keep it in line with your foot. This will protect your knees.
One of the reasons this leg workout is so good is the unique calisthenic leg exercises part of it. Sumo squat is one of those exercises. It’s just like the bodyweight squat but your feet will be pointing outward and quite a bit further than hip-width apart.
Pro Tip: Just like with the bodyweight squat, drive those knees outward. Think outward = protects your knees! Inward = hurts your knees.
This is an advanced version of a “split squat”. It’s more challenging. Place your back leg on a bench, couch, or stable chair. Make sure your front leg is out far enough so your knee doesn’t go over your toes. Keep your back knee bent. Lower until your front knee is about 90 degrees. Then drive through your heels upward until your front leg is straight. Just like with all squats, drive that knee outward.
Here’s the only isometric knee exercise in the workout. Keep your knees bent at a 90 degree angle the entire time. If that’s too difficult, then you can start off with your knees at a 45-degree angle. If the 90 degree angle is too easy, pick up a weight and hold it.
Pro Tip: Place an object like a foam roller or even your fists between your knees. Squeeze your knees together against the object. This will intensify the wall sit and engage your abductor leg muscles. You can do the same thing for your abductors (outer leg muscles) by placing your hands on the outer portion of your knees. Then press your knees outward against your hands. Leg day will turn into crazy-intense day! Haha. You’ll thank me later. 😉
For extra flying distance, you can hold some dumbbells in your hands while doing these exercises. Also, you can swap regular squats with pistol squats.
Five rounds of five 6o second sets is not trivial. If your level of fitness is there yet, you can adjust the set duration. The important thing is to try hard to stick to the duration you choose for all exercises.
Alright, not that you’ve finished reading, time to workout those legs! If you’d like an additional bodyweight leg workout, here’s one called the Golden Bodyweight Leg Workout.
Bodyweight Leg Workout 2: The Elephants Leg Workout
This bodyweight workout is all about giving your legs the strength of elephant legs (obviously a bit of an exaggeration but your legs will feel super strong).
Elephant legs are solid tubes of pure muscle. Well, not pure muscle, there’s a lot of fat in there.
But for the purposes of this leg workout, we’re going to focus on the muscle part.
Elephants can carry up to 19840 lbs on top of their own weight which can get up to 14000 lbs.
We don’t promise you’ll get anywhere near that kind of strength, but human legs can do some absolutely impressive things, and with enough practice, you can get there. Try this workout on your next bodyweight leg day!
If you perform these bodyweight exercises regularly, this could be the first step to building “elephant-like” strength!
Let’s get to it.
Do each exercise for the specified amount of time, rest for 10 seconds, then move to the next exercise. Once you finish one round, rest for 1 minute. Do 4 rounds total.
Alright, I explained quite a bit how to perform Bodyweight Squats above. Just another reminder here to drive those knees outward, ok? Keep your back straight as you go down. I like to place my hands behind my head with my elbows flaring out. You can also try the Matt Furey Hindu Squat version where you brush your fingers against the ground with each rep
Step out with your left knee so that your knees aren’t over your toes. Lunge down until your knees are at a 90-degree angle. Step back to starting position and repeat on the other side.
This Wall Sits exercise is in the leg workout above called “Leg Murder”. If you haven’t tried the advanced wall sit variations then here is your chance. Press your knees against your fists or hard object to work the adductors. Press your knees against your hands on the outer portion of your knees to work your adductors.
Instead of regular squats, you can do pistol squats.
Feel free not to reach the specified amount of seconds and reps, as long as you’re giving it your all.
Bodyweight Leg Workout 3: Quick & Brutal 4 Minute Body Weight Leg Workout
This last body weight leg workout routine is designed to blast your legs and butt muscles in a very short amount of time. Most people think that you need to spend hours in a gym to get firm buns and toned, sculpted legs. This is a fallacy. You just need a bit of commitment and this workout as your go-to guide to achieving great looking legs.
The above video will guide you through each exercise in the leg workout. Make sure to notice the form that I show you in the video. Whenever you are doing bodyweight leg exercises, it is especially important to remember to not let your knees go over your toes. Some exercises will force this to happen but as a general rule to any exercise, try to keep your knees either in line or on the inside of your toes.
3 Reasons This Body Weight Leg Workout Is So Good:
1. This Leg Workout Incorporates Supersets
Supersets are when you do two or more exercises in a row with little to no rest in between. The idea it to totally fatigue the muscle from many different angles and not give it a chance to recuperate between sets. So by the end of it, you’re totally dead.
2. This Leg Workout Incorporates Angular Training
Angular Training is when you target one muscle group from multiple angles. In this leg workout, you will be adjusting your foot position several times throughout the workout. In this way the emphasis shifts from one part of the muscle to another. This way, you totally fatigue your entire leg and butt muscles in a short amount of time.
3. The Leg Workout Incorporates The Principle of Slowness
Most people just want to crank out reps during their body weight leg workout routines. This is stupid. It’s not about how many reps you can do but how you perform the reps. You want to be slow and deliberate in your workouts. This workout incorporates a deliberate 5 second up and 5 second down movement. It is a total killer for your legs.
Exercises In This Leg Workout Routine
1. Elevated Stationary Lunge
The Elevated Stationary Lunge is the most difficult bodyweight leg exercise in this routine. It puts almost all of the focus on your front leg and the fact that you are doing the movements slowly helps to blast the leg muscle even further. Try to make sure that your knee is not going over your toe during this exercise.
2. Stationary Lunge
Stationary Lunge is a great bodyweight leg exercise for developing tremendous strength. In combination with the other exercises, this will totally fatigue your muscles to the max.
3. Narrow Stationary Lunge
The Narrow Stationary Lunge is unique but very effective. Basically, you move your back leg up so that your feet are relatively close together. This positions the muscles in a different way that changes the focus differently. In combination with the other bodyweight leg exercises in this routine, this exercise is extreme.
4. Side Lunge
The Side Lunge is the final exercise in this bodyweight leg workout. It again changes where the workout is targeting in your butt or legs.
Hope you find a bodyweight workout here that you love and do regularly. Remember that bodyweight exercises are amazing at building strength, burning fat and protecting your joints so you can stay fit well into your later years.
Did you enjoy this bodyweight workout? Here are more you can try…
Body Weight Leg Workout Links
Your general cardio is also important to improve. Here are 10 insanely effective cardio workouts for you to try too.