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6 Bodyweight Leg Workouts You Can Do at Home

Published May 04, 2019 (Revised: February 13, 2020) Read Time: 6 minutes
Ben Kissam

Written By: Ben Kissam, BS

Ben has a B.S. in Movement and Sports Science and over 7 years Certified Personal Training Experience.

bodyweight-leg-workout
<script type="application/ld+json"> { "@context":"http://schema.org", "@type":"BlogPosting", "author": { "@type": "Person", "name": "Ben Kissam, BS" }, "publisher": { "@type": "Organization", "name": "Warrior Made", "logo": { "@type": "ImageObject", "url": "https://www.warriormade.com", "image": "https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/media/public/2020/02/bodyweight-leg-workout-thumbnail-0157.jpg" } }, "headline":"6 Bodyweight Leg Workouts You Can Do at Home", "datePublished":"2019-05-04", "dateModified": "2020-02-13", "description":"You can burn fat and add muscle with the right bodyweight leg workouts. And with the right exercise progressions, anyone can do them.", "image": "https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/media/public/2020/02/bodyweight-leg-workout-thumbnail-0157.jpg" } </script> <script type="application/ld+json"> { "@context": "https://schema.org", "@type": "FAQPage", "mainEntity": [{ "@type": "Question", "name": "How Do I Make My Legs Bigger With Bodyweight?", "acceptedAnswer": { "@type": "Answer", "text": "If you’re wondering if you can bulk up your legs with bodyweight exercises, the answer is yes. The key to getting bigger, more muscular legs (or making them toned and fit) is to incrementally add to your exercise progressions―rep by rep, set by set." } }, { "@type": "Question", "name": "What Does a Good Bodyweight Leg Workout Look Like?", "acceptedAnswer": { "@type": "Answer", "text": "Proper exercise progressions are key for getting results with a bodyweight leg workout. Without the right exercise progression, you risk ineffective workouts, feeling discouraged about what you can’t do, or even injuries to your knees, hips, or ankles. A progression is over time, building up the number of reps and sets you’re doing during workouts. You don’t need weights or fancy equipment to constantly progress the exercises you’re using in at-home workouts—just incremental progress." } }, { "@type": "Question", "name": "Why Are Exercise Progressions Important?", "acceptedAnswer": { "@type": "Answer", "text": "Because it takes time for your muscles to get stronger and burn off stored fat. That’s why it’s better to do a lot of quality reps and build up slowly over time." } }] } </script> <article> <div> <ul> <li><a href="#section1">What Does a Good Bodyweight Leg Workout Look Like?</a></li> <li><a href="#section2">Why Are Exercise Progressions Important?</a></li> <li><a href="#section3">The 6 Best Bodyweight Leg Workout Progressions</a></li> <li><a href="#section4">Bodyweight Workouts for Your Legs—Wrapping Up</a></li> </ul> </div> <section> <p>Bodyweight leg workouts make your legs stronger, <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/4-best-core-exercises-for-beginners" rel="noreferrer">increase core strength</a>, and increase cardiovascular fitness. The right leg workouts burn a ton of calories and can give you results in just thirty minutes per day.</p> <p>Your legs contain some of the biggest muscles in your body. The <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/glutes-101-best-exercises-for-your-gluteus-maximus" rel="noreferrer">glutes</a>, hips, <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/the-5-best-calf-exercises" rel="noreferrer">calves</a>, and hamstrings are the primary muscles you’ll work in a leg workout. </p> <p>A good bodyweight leg workout trains these major muscle groups, your core, and your cardiovascular fitness at the same time.</p> <p>In this article, we’ll break down the six best bodyweight leg workouts you can do at home. We’ll also explain how it’s totally possible to <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/diet/top-7-post-workout-foods-for-lean-muscle/" rel="noreferrer">add lean muscle</a> to your legs doing just bodyweight exercises.</p> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section id="section1"> <h2>What Does a Good Bodyweight Leg Workout Look Like?</h2> <p><i>Proper exercise progressions</i> are key for getting results with a bodyweight leg workout. </p> <p>Without the right exercise progression, you risk ineffective workouts, feeling discouraged about what you can’t do, or even injuries to your knees, hips, or ankles.</p> <p>A <i>progression</i> is over time, building up the number of reps and sets you’re doing during workouts. You don’t need weights or fancy equipment to constantly progress the exercises you’re using in at-home workouts—just incremental progress.</p> <p>For example, if you do a <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/what-is-functional-training-and-can-it-benefit-you" rel="noreferrer">high-intensity interval</a> (HIIT) workout of squats and <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/how-to-do-perfect-squats-and-pushups" rel="noreferrer">push-ups</a>, count the total number of push-ups and squats you did in that workout. Write it down. Next time you do that workout, aim to do 2 to 3 more total push-ups or squats. Yes, 2 to 3 reps is enough. </p> <p>Little jumps are the way to go.</p> <p>If you’re wondering if you can bulk up your legs with bodyweight exercises, the answer is yes. The key to getting bigger, more muscular legs (or making them toned and fit) is to incrementally add to your exercise progressions―rep by rep, set by set.</p> <p><i>(For good bodyweight leg workouts, use the eighteen exercises and six bodyweight leg workout progressions below.)</i></p> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section id="section2"> <h2>Why Are Exercise Progressions Important?</h2> <p><i>Because it takes time for your muscles to get stronger and burn off stored fat.</i> That’s why it’s better to do a lot of quality reps and build up slowly over time. </p> <p>If you’re doing advanced exercises with poor form, because you aren’t strong enough yet to do them correctly, you’ll burn fewer calories, get discouraged, or possibly get injured. </p> <p>And if you never progress your exercises—for example, you <i>never</i> try bodyweight squats and only ever do sit to stands—your workouts won’t be challenging and you won’t get results.</p> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section id="section3"> <h2>The 6 Best Bodyweight Leg Workout Progressions</h2> <p>You can do these bodyweight leg workout progressions right at home. </p> <p>Check out the “<i>Use This Legs Progression For</i>” ideas at the top of each leg workout for the specific benefits of each workout progression.</p> <div class="row justify-content-center text-center"> <div class="col-12 col-md-4"> <video class="d-block mx-auto" autoplay loop muted> <source src="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/media/public/Assets/media/exercises/beginner/ALTERNATING-REVERSE-LUNGES.webm" type="video/webm"> <source src="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/media/public/Assets/media/exercises/beginner/ALTERNATING-REVERSE-LUNGES.mp4" type="video/mp4"> </video> </div> </div> <h3>1. Lunge Progression: <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/perfect-form-alternating-reverse-lunge/" rel="noreferrer">Alternating Reverse Lunges</a>, <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/perfect-form-drop-lunge/" rel="noreferrer">Drop Lunges</a>, <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/perfect-form-jump-lunge/" rel="noreferrer">Jump Lunges</a></h3> <p><strong>Use This Legs Progression For:</strong> strong glutes, <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/the-3-best-hamstring-workouts" rel="noreferrer">hamstrings</a>, and stabilization and balance (one-legged exercises are also great for core strength).</p> <p>Because most people are ‘quad-dominant,’ glute training should be a priority for your workouts. Weak glutes are a muscle imbalance that can lead to back pain, knee pain, and make you weak at certain exercises. And lunges are fantastic for strengthening the glutes. </p> <p>Alternating lunges require no jump. Over time you can add plyometrics in with this progression, doing sets of drop and then jump lunges in smaller sets until you feel comfortable stringing them together.</p> <div class="row justify-content-center text-center"> <div class="col-12 col-md-4"> <video class="d-block mx-auto" autoplay loop muted> <source src="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/media/public/Assets/media/exercises/beginner/SUMO-SQUATS.webm" type="video/webm"> <source src="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/media/public/Assets/media/exercises/beginner/SUMO-SQUATS.mp4" type="video/mp4"> </video> </div> </div> <h3>2. Squat Progression: <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/perfect-form-sumo-squats/" rel="noreferrer">Sumo Squat</a>, <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/perfect-form-high-side-lunge/" rel="noreferrer">High Side Lunge</a>, <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/perfect-form-low-side-lunge/" rel="noreferrer">Low Side Lunge Progression</a></h3> <p><strong>Use This Legs Progression For:</strong> strong legs, increased hip flexibility, or if you can’t do full bodyweight squats yet.</p> <p>This squat and lunge progression is great for mobilizing your hips and glutes. And because you don’t have to do a full squat, they may be good if you have <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/3-low-impact-exercises-for-bad-knees" rel="noreferrer">bad knees</a>, too.</p> <p>Side stepping during these exercises works your legs differently than regular squats. Stepping laterally with your feet can actually <i>prevent</i> injuries and make you stronger for normal variations of squats and lunges.</p> <div class="row justify-content-center text-center"> <div class="col-12 col-md-4"> <video class="d-block mx-auto" autoplay loop muted> <source src="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/media/public/Assets/media/exercises/beginner/SPLIT-SQUAT-LEFT-SIDE.webm" type="video/webm"> <source src="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/media/public/Assets/media/exercises/beginner/SPLIT-SQUAT-LEFT-SIDE.mp4" type="video/mp4"> </video> </div> </div> <h3>3. Split Squat Progression: <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/perfect-form-split-squats/" rel="noreferrer">Split Squats</a>, <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/perfect-form-couch-split-squat/" rel="noreferrer">Couch Split Squat</a>, <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/perfect-form-jumping-couch-split-squat/" rel="noreferrer">Jumping Couch Split Squat</a></h3> <p><strong>Use This Legs Progression For:</strong> a lower body workout challenge. Good split squats are challenging because they isolate one leg at a time.</p> <p>Similar to the lunge progression, you’ll move from non-plyometric to jumping in this progression. The only difference is the first <i>two</i> require no jumping, not just the first. Regular split squats progress to couch split squats, which only increase the range of motion.</p> <p>With split squats, do all the reps on one leg before switching. This makes them different from alternating lunges.</p> <div class="row justify-content-center text-center"> <div class="col-12 col-md-4"> <video class="d-block mx-auto" autoplay loop muted> <source src="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/media/public/Assets/media/exercises/beginner/FEET-TOGETHER-SQUATS.webm" type="video/webm"> <source src="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/media/public/Assets/media/exercises/beginner/FEET-TOGETHER-SQUATS.mp4" type="video/mp4"> </video> </div> </div> <h3>4. Squat Progression #2: <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/perfect-form-feet-together-squats/" rel="noreferrer">Feet Together Squats</a>, <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/perfect-form-alternating-one-down-two-up-squats/" rel="noreferrer">Alternating One Down Two Up</a>, <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/perfect-form-alternating-one-leg-sit-to-stand/" rel="noreferrer">Alternating One Leg Sit to Stands</a></h3> <p><strong>Use This Legs Progression For:</strong> a lower body workout challenge, to strengthen your knees, or mobilize your knees and ankles.</p> <p>Feet together squats make your ankles and knees more flexible. If you have bad knees, they are a great first squat exercise to help build up the muscles around your knees.</p> <p>This progression works up to alternating one-legged sit to stands. You can modify these when you first start by adding a pillow to the couch which will decrease range of motion. Over time, remove the pillow and try to touch the couch.</p> <div class="row justify-content-center text-center"> <div class="col-12 col-md-4"> <video class="d-block mx-auto" autoplay loop muted> <source src="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/media/public/Assets/media/exercises/beginner/BEAR-SQUAT.webm" type="video/webm"> <source src="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/media/public/Assets/media/exercises/beginner/BEAR-SQUAT.mp4" type="video/mp4"> </video> </div> </div> <h3>5. Leg Workout Progression: <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/perfect-form-bear-squats/" rel="noreferrer">Bear Squats</a>, <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/perfect-form-alternating-curtsy-lunge/" rel="noreferrer">Alternating Curtsy Lunge</a>, <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/perfect-form-dragon-twists/" rel="noreferrer">Dragon Twists</a></h3> <p><strong>Use This Legs Progression For:</strong> a lower body workout that will also get your heart rate up.</p> <p>Your arms <i>and</i> legs are working in this leg workout progression, which turns this into a full-body cardio workout. </p> <p><i>All leg exercises</i> need good form, but be careful working curtsy lunges into your workouts. Make sure the lateral step or ‘curtsy’ isn’t putting a ton of pressure on the knee in front. You can do this by keeping the weight of your body in your heel, not on the front of the foot. And increase your range of motion over time.</p> <p>Dragon twists add an extra layer to the curtsy lunge. You’ll turn around and face the wall behind you for each rep. This is good for strengthening your legs and increasing ankle/hip flexibility.</p> <div class="row justify-content-center text-center"> <div class="col-12 col-md-4"> <video class="d-block mx-auto" autoplay loop muted> <source src="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/media/public/Assets/media/exercises/beginner/SIT-TO-STAND.webm" type="video/webm"> <source src="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/media/public/Assets/media/exercises/beginner/SIT-TO-STAND.mp4" type="video/mp4"> </video> </div> </div> <h3>6. Plyometric Squat Progression: <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/perfect-form-sit-to-stand/" rel="noreferrer">Sit to Stands</a>, <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/perfect-form-sit-to-hop/" rel="noreferrer">Sit to Hops</a>, <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/perfect-form-jump-squats/" rel="noreferrer">Jump Squats</a></h3> <p><strong>Use This Legs Progression For:</strong> to practice squats (the ‘king’ of all bodyweight exercises), strengthen the legs, and for cardio workouts like <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/what-is-circuit-training-and-is-it-right-for-you" rel="noreferrer">circuit training</a> or high-intensity interval training (HIIT).</p> <p>This final leg workout progression is perhaps the most simple—but don’t mistake it for not being challenging. </p> <p>When you start working out, sit to stands might feel like good cardio. But anyone that’s worked out for a long time will tell you jump squats <i>never</i> stop being a good cardio workout.</p> <p>Focus on all the keys for perfect squat form during these three leg exercises. Your legs and feet leave the ground during the second and third movements, but you can work up to jumping higher as you practice.</p> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section id="section4"> <h2>Final Thoughts</h2> <p>Bodyweight leg workouts get results. You can add muscle, burn fat, tone your legs, and improve cardiovascular fitness. But the key to getting results is proper progressions. Small, constant improvements over time will compound and lead to the results you want for your health and body.</p> <p>Try one or all of these six leg exercise progressions. If you can’t do some of them yet or can’t jump, don’t sweat it. Start where you can and work up slowly. That’s the fastest way to reach your goals!</p> <p>Good exercise progressions like these will help you achieve your health fitness goals. So will a supportive community of like-minded people, a little motivation, and great coaches. </p> <p>And you know what? Warrior Made offers it all. With these tools, we’ve helped thousands reach their weight loss goals. </p> <p>Learn more about how the <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/introduction/warrior-made-tribe/" rel="noreferrer">Warrior Made Community</a> can help with your total body transformation.</p> </section> </article>

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